Archive | September, 2018

Chicago Food Adventure in September Day 2

30 Sep

Saturday began with an empowerment workshop and ended with a visit to Eataly. Hold on, I’m going to share all the deets. I’ve already shared with you about the Manifest Your Vision workshop in a post from last week. If you missed it you can find it here.  After the workshop we planned to connect with my Uncle and Aunt who live in the Chicago area. Before we met up with them my sister wanted to show me a place called the French Market. I had not looked it up or checked it out but, she said they had food and really that is all that mattered. The market was still in the downtown area not too far from the hotel but far enough to grab another Uber. We Ubered all over the Chicago.

I didn’t know what to expect when we got there. I didn’t know if this was a grocery store, a farmers market or what? What I learned is that it is what is called a food hall.  Upon arrival at the French Market the first thing you see is several places to get hot food. All different kinds of food from a variety of vendors. This place would remind you of something just above a food court. With hot food being made and sold and a place to purchase fresh meats and vegetables also. This is where I would like to have lunch everyday. I would alway be able to have something new.

My first purchase at the food hall were pirogi’s. I fell in love with perogi’s at a food festival and I think it was in Chicago too. I had to try them. I picked potato and cheese and spinach and potato. They both were melt in your mouth delicious and I didn’t even use the sour cream this time. My next purchase was an apple pie empanada. Ok, I love empanada too. I had my first one in Chicago too a few years ago. That one was a beef and veggie one. Ok there might have been more than one on that day. But, let me just say that anything with a warm filling and some type of pie crust attached is getting eaten by me.

The next thing I wanted to purchase but did not was a lobster roll. I did not get the lobster roll because I knew I couldn’t eat it all and the ticket price on that baby was not cheap. I didn’t want to be full when I knew we were going to have an early dinner with my aunt and uncle very shortly. But, Lobster Roll I’ll be back for you.

Inside the Food Hall you could find canoli’s, corned beef sandwiches, donuts, sushi, crepes, belgian fries, alcohol, cajun food, vegan choices, cheeses, breads, candies, espresso and more. This place is the perfect place for foodies.

Next we caught our ride over to Oak Park for Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. It was right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I mean how lucky can one get to be able to walk right across or down the street for some straight up soul food? That would be my dream…. We all sat at a table for four and caught up on each other’s lives, celebrations and new beginnings. It was a very nice outing. I decided not to get the waffle because I had pancakes the day before but boy, it was a hard choice. I again got the basics, chicken wings, greens, sweet potatoes and macaroni & cheese.  Everything tasted just as it should. Nothing surprising except the super fast turnaround on the food. My uncle got almost the same as me except he got the potato salad. He ate it all. So, I would have to say that he enjoyed his too. My aunt did get the chicken and waffle with macerated strawberries and whipped cream. They did not get her order right the first time but did immediately correct it. It looked very delicious with those strawberries on top. The restaurant did not have anything on the menu for plant based eaters so my sister just enjoyed the water and the conversation. The menu was very well rounded with soul food and could probably please the palate of almost anyone looking to fill their belly with goodness.

After dinner they took us on a tour from Oak Park to our hotel in downtown Chicago. It’s nice to be shown the area by people who actually know the history behind it. We made it back to the hotel decided for one more outing before calling it a night.

The last stop on our foodie hit list was a place called Eataly. An Italian food lover’s paradise. Groceries and restaurants are housed inside this building. When we got inside I was confused. Is this a grocery store with a hot food station that serves wine? Nope. They have groceries, housewares, wine (yes, you can shop and drink at the same time) and several restaurants for you sit down and eat at if you choose; including a bread shop and a sweet shop. This place was meant for me and could not be conquered in one trip. Saturday was just an introduction and I will be coming back to Eataly for the full experience. This place was the bomb.

On Sunday I made a quick trip to everyone’s favorite Garrett’s Popcorn just to see if I had been mistaken all this time when I thought I didn’t really like it. I thought I try it and compare it to Nuts on Clark, the kind my mother preferred and requested that I bring some back. After the taste test I have determined that I too prefer the Nuts on Clark caramel popcorn. I like a hint of salt with my sweet and N.O.C. has got the ratio of sweet/salt just right.

From now to on that’s my stop right off the train….

#septemberwritingchallenge

Day30 -1

Chicago Food Adventure in September

30 Sep

Alright, if you have been keeping up with me for the last 7 days you know I spent last weekend in Chicago….. Eating. I took the train from Michigan and my sister flew in from Texas.

When I first arrived I went straight to the hotel. I was greeted by a picket line of striking hotel workers. I had just found out the day before I was to leave that there was a strike. I wish we had learned this earlier. We would’ve made arrangements somewhere else.  Although this was going on outside of this historic hotel; management tried to give the illusion that everything was business as usual on the inside. I’m just going to say that it wasn’t the worst service I had ever seen but, it was not the level of service that I had reserved for.

Anyway, I got to the hotel and had my bags held until check in time. I had already decided that a meal was in order and I had my sights set on Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe’… I found this place online while searching for best breakfast near my hotel. I was captured by the menu headline: Pancakes. I love pancakes. Who doesn’t love pancakes? Who doesn’t love breakfast? Pancakes are like justified dessert, you don’t have to explain or justify a stack of pancakes with syrup, fruit or whipped cream do you.  So, I ordered pancakes. And, bacon, hash browns and an order of biscuits & gravy. Don’t judge me.

Usually when I go to a new restaurant, I go for what I’ve heard was a good menu item or I go and try the basics. If you can pass the basics test then I will move on to something more interesting on the next visit. I did the basic test at Wildberry. I wish I had been more zealous immediately after placing my order.  I was sitting at a table in the middle of the cafe and the people around me at other tables had just started to get their orders. Every plate of food that went by me looked so delicious. There were egg and cheese dishes, breakfast hash plates, and pancakes with all everything…. I was so hungry..

Finally my food came…I got just 2 pancakes since I ordered the biscuits and gravy. The pancakes were hot & fresh, generous in size and fluffy. The taste was perfect. I topped them with the standard butter and syrup and went to work on them before remembering about the biscuits and gravy.

The biscuits I don’t believe were made from scratch but they were not from a can either. So I won’t give them a failing grade on that. But the gravy… it was yummy… It was spicy and flavored with fennel, and what I think was sage. Wildberry passed the gravy test. The rest of my meal was bacon and potatoes. You really can’t mess those two up unless they are not done and I always ask for mine well done. I was perfectly pleased with Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. I hope to return on my next visit to Chicago.

Later in the day when my sister arrived we took an Uber to another part of Chicago to visit the Brown Sugar Bakery. I first heard of this place when it was shared on social media by my cousin or aunt who live in the Chicago area. Every picture posted by the Brown Sugar Bakery made me so excited. It was always of what looked to be a three or four layer cake frosted so beautifully.  And when we got there that’s exactly what they had cakes on top of cakes. I picked a slice of caramel layer cake and a slice of “german chocolate” cake. I tried both cakes when I arrived back at the hotel. My top pick would be the caramel cake. The cake was fresh, tender and just sweet enough. The caramel icing tasted just like caramel. That makes it a winner all by itself.

Next we went to Molly’s Cupcakes in Lincoln Park….I love the ambiance at Molly’s. The decor and set up reminds you of a class room from the lockers and lunch boxes to the tables and chairs in the bakery. The books and posters were all once a part of someone’s classroom. This stop was my sister’s pick as she was looking for vegan cupcakes. When we arrived they had one flavor left in vegan. I’m pretty sure it was vanilla. She had it topped with butter cream and chocolate icing…I opted out of vegan this time. I chose to try four others though. I picked peach cobbler, red velvet, chocolate chocolate and birthday cake..My favorite of the night was the peach cobbler… plain cake, topped with a whopped icing flavored with nutmeg and topped with a real peach slice. Actually all of the cupcakes at Molly’s were delicious. I would go back there again too.

That was my Friday Food Fest in Chicago… Stay tuned for Saturday…

#Septemberwritingchallenge

#day30 -2

Beni Hana with a Bestie

30 Sep

For our birthday’s, every April and September we go to Beni Hana; Me and my BFF Tamiko.  This past Wednesday we trekked down to Farmington Hills to celebrate and enjoy Japanese Hibachi: Fried Rice, Steak, Chicken, and or Shrimp… Along with the good food, we always hope to get a entertaining Hibachi Chef.. This time we got a winner. Will was his name and he was beyond friendly and cheerful as he cracked jokes about each of our specific food requests.

Will was also a good cook. I think this visit to Beni Hana produced the best food I have ever had there. I think we have visited about 3 different ones in the Detroit area and they always seem to be about the same as far as the food goes. It’s always good but, this time it was mouthwatering delicious. Will used plenty of seasonings, garlic butter and lemon squeezes when he prepared our food. I’m sure our dinner was made and infused with love. I ordered the Beni Hana Trio which is filet mignon, chicken and shrimp along with 3 fried rice, no eggs please and, the veggies. I love the veggies.. I sometimes wish you could just order the fried rice and the vegetables.

I always pay very close attention to how they prepare the food because, every since my first visit several years ago I have tried to replicate the fried rice and vegetables at home. Every time I go back I try to learn something new or find something I may have missed. I only make my fried rice about once a year by request from my mom. She loves it when I make it. I get all the veggies (zucchini, onions and mushrooms), steak, chicken and shrimp and make a hefty stir fry that is quite comparable with Beni Hana if I must say so myself.

What makes the fried rice & hibachi the best is as with any food is to season the food liberally and be very generous with the garlic butter. BE VERY GENEROUS WITH THE GARLIC BUTTER. 

We always finish our Beni Hana visit with ice cream that is given to birthday guests and comes with some dinner items.  I just had plain vanilla and my bff had rainbow sherbet. Our bellies are so full when we leave the restaurant and we don’t even make a dent in our food. We have gotten full from the soup and salad. I always take almost all of my food home and share with my mom and she takes hers home to share with her family. This is our tradition. We already know when April & September come around, it’s not if we’re going; it’s when are we going? We always have a good time.

If you have never been to a Beni Hana find one and check it out. Also, become a member of their birthday club. They will send you a $30 coupon during your birthday month. How cool is that?

Is Beni Hana your favorite Hibachi style restaurant? Is there one you like better?

Let me know in the comments,

Bye for now,

Kim Cherie,

#septemberwritingchallenge

day30 -3

 

 

I fell off….

30 Sep

This last week of my self imposed 30 posts in 30 days has proved to be the hardest…. Everyday since this past Wednesday has been met with some type of obstacle when it came to me posting. I probably could’ve squeezed in something… or anything but, I didn’t just want to post anything. Today is day 30 of 30. I will be -4 of my goal if I let this rest with this post.

I can’t do it. I want 30 posts for September.

So, I have 3 hours left in September and I apologize for in advance overflowing your e-mailboxes and alerts of the next 4 new posts that are going to pop up within the next few hours.

See you at the end,

Kim Cherie

#septemberwritingchallenge

#day30 -4

 

 

Make your own Sweet Balsamic Glaze

30 Sep

A couple of years ago during one of my visits to Outback Steakhouse I ordered a Wedge Salad with my dinner. It was my first wedge salad at Outback; and when it came to the table I didn’t know what to think. There was a dark colored unknown syrupy substance on my plate. I didn’t eat it. I wanted to know what it was because that detail was left off from the menu’s description of the salad. When the server came back to the table I asked her what it was and she explained it was a balsamic glaze. I still didn’t know how that was supposed to compliment my salad so I tried a taste with my fork. I was pleasantly surprised at the sweetness of this new to me glaze garnish. It was so delicious I wanted more than just a drizzle touch on my plate. I wanted it on my on my salad too with my ranch dressing.

From there I researched the internet to find out how to make my own glaze so I could dress my salad just the way I wanted to. It’s very simple. All you need is just a bottle of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

 

Sweet Balsamic Glaze

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a small sauce pot combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved while warming over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Set stove top to low and simmer until mixture has reduced by half. This should take 20-30 minutes.  The glaze is done when it coats the back of a spoon. Let cool.

Use as a garnish for salads, fruits, nuts and cheese.

Store left overs in a small jar.

 

#septemberwritingchallenge

#day30

Mission Accomplished 30 posts in 30 days

 

 

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