Saturday, May 13, 2017

Morel Media Dinner at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena

Table place cards at Media Morel Dinner
Last week I attended my second Morel Media Dinner at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena. The luxury resort has been hosting the dinner for four years and it is followed up on day two with a guided hunt on the property for morels by Executive Chef Randy Hoppman and other personnel from resort.

The dinner is spectacular, not just for the food, but for the full experience - the atmosphere, the decor, the hospitality. Dinner is enjoyed in a banquet room overlooking Lake Galena with a table adorned with natural pieces, which included the star of the event - morels. Clusters of wildflowers were set among logs - and I discovered that violets are not all purple. White and yellow violets are also common in the area and I'm in love with the yellow variety. Each place setting was personalized and the details were beautiful.

This was my second time attending the Media Morel Dinner and Hunt and I was delighted that this time, Becky (the other foodie sister) was able to attend with me. We can not only recommend the food served at Eagle Ridge, which is incredible, but we would definitely urge anyone looking for a girls' getaway or sisters' weekend to visit the Galena Territory and the charming downtown area, which makes you feel like you've stepped back in time.

A sunset view of Lake Galena from just outside the banquet rooms

To start off, we enjoyed smoked diver scallops and pistachio cappelletti as an appetizer (following a cocktail hour with wine and morel fondue.) The cold pasta was stuffed with morel and four cheeses with English peas, pancetta, tomato and ramp cream reduction with shaved Grana Padana. It's was a heavenly beginning to a spectacular dinner. 

Our next course was Poussin Poche Roti Watercress Salad, a salad of sous vide spring chicken with grilled asparagus, radish, fried morels, crispy leeks, baby carrots and balsamic rhubarb vinaigrette.

This was my second time attending the dinner and one item I remembered well from last year - and have told many people since then that it was one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten - was the intermezzo of wild violet sorbet. That little treat returned, with a little modification. This year it was a Wild Apple Cherry Violet Sorbet.

The entree was a Morel Crusted Rack of Hare with wild ramp, fave bean puree, black garlic molasses and fregula sara with swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes and blue foot mushrooms.

There was a fantastic finish of Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Mille Feuille with guava curd, almond florentine with while chocolate ribbon and a chocolate mirrored chiffon. Every bite of the meal was beyond amazing.

This trip, the hunt and this dinner have become one of the highlights of my foodie year and I feel so fortunate us foodie sisters were able to spend some wonderful quality time together in such a beautiful place enjoying such wonderful food. We're already looking forward to the 5th Annual Morel Media Hunt. :)

View from the dining rooms at the Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena.

A warm welcome from our host, Colin.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Get a Free Big Mac Today on National Eat What You Want Day

Every day is a food holiday of some sort. Today happens to be National Eat What You Want Day. So, what do Americans want to indulge in on Eat What You Want Day?

A recent Postmates Culinary Cravings Survey found that the McDonald's Big Mac ranks as America's #1 most-craved food. To celebrate the food holiday, Postmates is rewarding 20,000 Chicago residents with free Big Macs all day.

To get the scoop on America's most delicious guilty pleasures, Postmates [] (America's most popular universal delivery app) partnered with the junk food fanatics at [] to find out what Americans like to eat when they can eat whatever they want.

The survey, which you can view here, included some interesting information. Here are where other foods rank:

#1: Big Mac (McDonald's)
#2: Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A)
#3: Crunchy Taco (Taco Bell)
#4: Whopper (Burger King)
#5: McNuggets (McDonald's)
#6: Cheese Pizza (Pizza Hut)
#7: Original Recipe Fried Chicken (KFC)
#8: Baconator (Wendy's)
#9: Roast Beef Sandwich (Arby's) 

The survey also revealed the difference between what men and women crave. Thirty-four percent of men crave meat most often, while forty percent of women crave sweets the most.

Additionally, according to the survey these are the foods that people would most like to indulge in if there were no consequences:

#1: Pizza (13%)
#2: Burgers (11%)
#3: Ice cream (11%)
#4: Tacos or burritos (9%)
#5: Chocolate (9%)
#6: Anything with carbs (like pasta or bread) (9%)
#7: French fries (9%)
#8: Donuts (7%)
#9: Cake (5%)
#10: Chips (5%)
#11: Cheese (4%)
#12: Cookies (5%)
#13: Macaroni & cheese (4%)

To encourage even more Chicago residents to indulge a little, Postmates is delivering a free Big Mac to the first 20,000 Chicago dwellers who download Postmates and order on May 11.

1. Download the Postmates app by visiting:

2. Add a Big Mac to your cart from your local McDonald's

3. Use code EATWHATEVER to get it for free

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Florentine Introduces Spring Menu

There are some places where you dine that you never forget. You remember exactly what you had for each course and know it would be hard to duplicate a meal so magnificent elsewhere. The Florentine would be one of those places. Located in the JW Marriott, this upscale Italian spot has enhanced classics that are traditional, yet creatively improved. Every bite was magnificent. I'm drooling looking at their new spring menu. Take a look and if I were you, I'd make those reservations ASAP. :)

The Florentine Says “Saluti” To Spring 

Loop dining destination opens the book on spring food & drink offerings
The Florentine, the Loop’s destination for delicious Italian cuisine, is ready for springtime in Chicago with a new dining menu and libations perfect for spring in the city.
Featuring seasonal ingredients, Chef Zachary Walrath looks for imaginative ways to brighten up with fresh peas, spring lamb and more while the beverage team turns the page to spring cocktails.
The new spring menu features such dishes as Gnudi with fava beans, oyster mushrooms, prosciutto and parmesan; Risotta with asparagus, morels, porchetta and lemon; Trota pan roasted trout, butter beans, shrimp, braised kale, pancetta, salsa verde and Osso Bucco di Maiale crispy pork shank, harissa, spring onions with a pea shoot salad. The full dinner menu includes:
To add to the culinary experience, guests can imbibe with literary themed cocktails from the beverage team drawing inspiration from the library feel of The Florentine. Each cocktail is named for a book within the restaurant and include the Mirror Image Hanger One “Buddha’s Hand” Citron vodka, lemon, liquid heat; Once is Not Enough Bacardi 8 Anos Rum, strawberry, whites; How it Was Woodford Reserve Bourbon, artisanal bitter, Italian vermouth, old fashioned bitters and The Benefactor Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Galliano l’apertivo and Italian vermouth.
The complete cocktail menu for spring 2017 features:
For additional information about The Florentine or to make reservations, please visit the restaurant’s website.
The Florentine, owned by ESquared Hospitality, reinterprets seasonal Italian cuisine offering an accessible yet elegant dining experience and a menu characterized by simplicity and premium ingredients. Located in Chicago's JW Marriott at 151 W. Adams, The Florentine is open for breakfast Monday through Saturday from 6:30 - 10:30 a.m. and Sunday from 6:30-11 a.m. and lunch daily from 11 to 2:30 p.m. For dinner, The Florentine is open from 5 - 10 p.m. seven days a week and The Lounge serves food until 11pm Monday through Thursday. For more information about The Florentine, please call 312-660-8866, visit or view the restaurant's FacebookTwitter or Instagram pages.
ESquared Hospitality is an international restaurant and hospitality group. Built on a commitment to "Exceeding Expectations" with extraordinary food and excellent customer service, ESquared Hospitality has grown into a diversified group of restaurant concepts, from the flagship BLT Steak New York which opened in 2004 to more than 25 restaurants on two continents. ESquared Hospitality properties include the BLT restaurants, comprised of BLT Steak in New York, NY (2004), Washington, DC (2006), San Juan, PR (2006), White Plains, NY (2007), Hong Kong (2009), Charlotte, NC (2009), Waikiki, HI (2009), Seoul, South Korea (2014), Roppongi, Tokyo (2014), Las Vegas, NV (2014), Ginza, Tokyo (2015), and Aruba (2015); BLT Burger in Hong Kong (2009); BLT Prime in New York, NY (2005) and at the Trump National Doral Miami, FL (2014); BLT Market in Waikiki, HI (2016). ESquared Hospitality also operates two Italian concepts: Casa Nonna in New York, NY (2011), which became the official pizza vendor of Madison Square Garden (2013) and Radio City Music Hall (2015), and The Florentine in Chicago, IL (2010); as well as Horchata De Nueva York (2014), The Wayfarer (2014), and plant-based fast-casual concept by CHLOE. with six locations across New York, NY (2015/2016/2017), Los Angeles, CA (2016), Boston, MA (2017), and standalone bakery, Sweets by CHLOE. (2016). In September 2015, acclaimed Chef David Burke joined E2 Hospitality as a culinary partner to open BLT Prime by David Burke in Washington DC (2016) and Tavern 62 by David Burke (2016). For more information, visit ESquared Hospitality online at,, Twitter @ESqHospitality or Instagram @ESquaredHospitality.