Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicago's Finest,a restaurant for every occasion

I've lived in Chicago for 2 yrs now and there are sooo many places and things I still want to do that I haven't done yet (I'm finally going to see a show at Annoyance theater this wknd!) that i need to do. Because of my eclectic style in...well everything I've been to some different kinds of place's so today I have a guide for you for every occasion & scenario.

1)You want a great casual brunch and you don't want to spend alot money or worry about parking try Bananas Foster. http://www.bananasfostercafe.com/ It's a cozy little spot with a very friendly waitstaff and the food is great.It is rather small but they have outdoor seating,its a really comfy homey kind of place.

2) You are pretty drunk, on your way home and you NEED food. CJ's is there for you.They don't have a website it seems but they don't need one. CJ's contains the greasiest most heart attack prone food you will ever eat. That's why you go when your drunk,don't do it when your sober you may never forgive yourself. I suggest the chicken philly,its like... chicken heaven,it is so good.Don't get the fries,er do. They're good but they are so greasy you could ring them out and fry a batch of catfish with the grease.Bible(yep I watch the Kardashians,shoot me!)

3)It's date night, you and your man/lady want to go somewhere nice w/out breaking the bank.You head to La Cantina in the south loop. http://www.lacantinagrill.com/ Parking isn't hard to find and they also have small outdoor seating. I suggest you order a pitcher of sangria,its the best and the food is amazing as well. The lighting is dim and its the perfect place for getting tipsy and making out.Hehe!

4) You have friends in town and you want to them to experience both a tourist & resident favorite. You go to Grand Luxe http://www.grandluxcafe.com/ I truly love this place. They only take reservations between a certain time and that can be really really annoying. When you go expect to wait at least 20 mins for 2 ppl. The portions are really rather large,so you get bang for your buck;also because it's owned by the Cheesecake factory the desserts are amazing.

This is my list,do you have anything to add? make sure you come back later this week for my new chicken chorizo burger!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Perfect summer salad

None of you bothered to guess my favorite food,I'm sad :(. Anyhoo its cheese,were you just about to say that? Ya I know.

Well nothing says summer to me like a delicious pasta salad and today I'll share my ultimate pasta salad recipe with you.You know it doesn't have to be summer for you to make this right?

Here's what you'll need:

+ shrimp, I used about 12 medium sized shrimps. I de-tailed them of course.

1) You'll need to make the marinade, use the whole lemon squeeze it good.1/2 c olive oil,tbl spn cayenne pepper and 2 pinches of garlic powder.

2) At this point my rigatoni had been boiling for about 10 mins. Using rigatoni isn't a must,farfalle or rotini works fine.

3) After the shrimp has been marinating for about 15 mins put it on the oven on 350 for about 10 mins. Be sure to turn all the shrimp over after about 5 mins.

4)At this point feel free to catch up on the latest episode of bridezillas,but when the shrimp is done take it of the baking pan and put it in a ramekin so it cools faster.If the pasta is done,rinse it in cold water and stick it in the fridge in the bowl you plan to serve it in.

5) Now its time to chop:

Here I've got a handful of olives cut in half, lil less than half a cucumber and a few slithers of red onion. I tend to enjoy my red onions cooked so I went light on these. Feel free to add a few more slithers. Lastly I've got some feta and Parmesan cheese.

6) Now the pasta is already in the bowl so add some olive oil & adobo seasoning to it and stir,then add the cheese,olives,onions and cucumber's. Lastly the shrimp goes in.Toss it real well,key is to make sure the bowl is big enough to toss well. The final product should look like this:

<----- that right there is pure yumness,and I'll be having the leftovers tonight! Ok kiddies tomorrow is my bday so if you don't hear from me for awhile I'm recovering from,tapas,the winery,drinking,dancing and drinking. Have a good wknd! I damn sure will!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A birthday blog/My first give away!!

Yes guys I'm doing my very first giveaway,are you excited? My birthday is this friday so I figured it would be fun to have a giveaway in honor of my bday. I know you guys are sitting on the edge of your chairs wondering what the requirement is...its very simple,tell me what my fav food is?? The first person with the correct answer wins a gift card to Sur La Table.If you've read this blog at least 4 times you gotta know! Anyway I'll be announcing the winner on thursday.Oh and if your reading this and you know me personally,please don't answer the giveaway,thanx!

Today I've decided to do a post on one my fav birthdays thus far. The big 21. Did you bloggers & bloggettes know that I didn't start drinking untill I turned 21. Boy did I drink that night,whew!Anyway it was a great night,at midnight my brother who was 28 at the time picked me up and took me club hopping with a bunch of his friends. It was a complete blast,unfortunately I have no pics from that night as I was too busy chugging vodka and being the dancing queen,lol. What i do have are pics from my party the next day.Here's a blast from the past:
I had just gone to Meijers and bought alcohol for the very first time!! I still have that shirt just wore it saturday..urban 0utfitters=quality.

Ahhh the old apartment,getting libations for the nights festivities.

The evening started with dinner at Olive Garden,me and my cousin standing out front!

I have no idea what I was drinking but I was consuming massive amounts of it! If thats the champagne glass I think it is,I got them on sale at Pier 1 5 yrs ago. I have 20 of them...I needed for a party...they were $1.I have a kitchen addiction...Help!

I think was like the day befor or something. I just thought this is a great picture of my clavical area,hehe! Remember guys the last day to answer the giveaway question is thursday by 10am!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The tuna melt

Do ya'll remember the restaurant Bill Knapps? It was a nice family style,well priced hearty kinda place.After going thru a few changes they filed for bankruptcy and closed the doors in 2002.

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20040830/LIFESTYLE08/408300303/Bill-Knapp-s-gone-isn-t-forgottenI can't think if a tuna melt without thinking of Bill knapps;for this is where I had my very first tuna melt.It was 1997 and my brother had just started college at University of Michigan and we had all gone to get something to eat.As a child I wasn't allowed to order my own food,(go fuckin figure) so my parents had ordered a tuna melt for me. It was sooo amazingly wonderful! I'd had tuna on bread before but I'd never had a tuna melt...Anyway that brings me to my kicked up tuna melt,here's what you'll need:

1.4 or 5 sprigs of cilantro

2. 1 clove garlic

3.1.5 c of mayo

4.1/4th c sweet relish

5.salt & peppa to taste

6.Any bun or bread

7. white cheddar

8. few onion slices

9.2 dash's lime juice

10. 2 cans of 6oz of tuna

Alrighty the mayo is real simple. It's a cilantro lime mayo.Cut up this much cilantro

and the garlic mince it real well.Then to that add the relish,stir it abit. Add the mayo and 2 healthy dashes of lime just.You must mix it very well. Then add the tuna. Again mix that very well it will look like this:
Ok now take an onion and chop up about 8 small slices. Also slice up about 4 piece's of cheese. Now we are ready to assemble.

Slice the bun in half and begin to pack the tuna neatly on both sides of the bun, on top of that goes the onions,then the cheese.

This goes in the oven on 375 for about 10 mins. The bun will be crispy and the cheese melty.It looks like this

The onions add the really great crunch to the melt and the cilantro lime mayo is the only way to go when making a tuna melt...Yes I ate my melt with white zin,so you'd prolly do it to!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Kitchen staples

Ok now this post is about what my personal kitchen staples are. You may find a few of these things odd,bordering on OCDish that's ok,I feel the same way. I'm just going to share a few of my staples with you and maybe you can tell me a few of yours!

1) Cilantro- my relationship with cilantro is real and its not a game.I use it in my scrambled eggs,salsa,pasta's the list could really go on. It's one of the reason's I've not had a roomate since freshman year. I don't want anyone taking the last of my cilantro and not telling me. That is unacceptable.

2)Cheese- You already knew! I like to have at least 3 different types of cheese in the house at ALL times.Currently I have,shredded yellow & white cheddar,mozzarella,parmesan and a block of romano.This blog is not big enough for me to tell you all the things I do with my cheeses.Ex. last night I cooked some eggplant,corn,peppers,onions & chicken chorizo all together,all together stirfry style. How'd I top it off?? parmesan!

3)Fruit- At least 2 types, currently mangoes and grapes. I love mangoes and yes I'm the girl who spends a silly amount of money to enjoy them when they're out of season.I like to dip them in vanilla yogurt.How do you eat yours?

4)Pasta- any kind,currently housing rigatoni,lasagna & shells. I know I'm trying to stop the pasta thing and honestly I've not had any pasta since maybe last week. It's still a staple though,there is soo much I can do with it.I have fotten really good lately at substituting it with eggplant or squash. Yay!

5) Ice cream- At least 1.75 qts. currently I have about half that amount plus 2 ice cream sandwiches. I really like ice cream sandwiches. I feel like if I have company I need to have a variety to offer them.
My list of insanities really could go much longer but because I'd like you to come back, I won't do that to you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogger meltdown,HELP!!

Ummm I'm a lil salty today and having a huge meltdown. I just deleted all of my "songs of the day", thats right everyone since December. I have no idea how I did it! Damn! If you know of anyway that I can get that info back please help me out. The actual gadget has not been deleted,just the info that was within it.I'm really bad with computers so if you know how to rescue me please throw me a line,thanx. We'll get back to our scheduled posts,when I'm back in my right mind.Damn!

....1.5 hours later...I've scoured the web,there is nothing I can do to restore the "songs of the day". I could have saved them before but I didn't know that,shit! Oh well guess I'll be starting new,please forgive me if I post a few songs that I've posted before. Also forgive my language,it's been pretty bad today I know.Oy vey!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Glenwood Farmers Market

Last week was the opening day of the Glenwood Farmers Market.It's a really small but widely diverse market,with a very cozy feeling.There were so many great things to see and I took so many pictures,I really suggest that if you live in the area...and if you dont;you should come visit. Every sunday from 8am-2pm on Glenwood & Morse.Did I tell ya'll how much I love Rogers Park??

I would have to say about 80% of the products were homemade,by local vendors and actually quite good for you. Here are a few of my personal highlights:
Yeah it's a bit more expensive than the grocery store but its local and fresh. Give you a real sense of community.

If there is soap rehab,sign me up now! I loove all different soap smells. My current soap is cinnamon and I just love all that you can do with soaps,this woman made all of hers by hand!And check out those shapes! She& her husband also made there own honey and she gave me this awesome handout about all the benefits of honey and cinnamon.

Yesss there was a cheese table and this was only half of it. I tried about 4 different cheese's and I really coulda stayed there longer,but of course it was one of the more crowded tables.

Now this woman made her own tea flavor's. The smell was heavenly,and she allowed me a sample. You might not know but tea is my coffee! I don't drink coffee at all but I'm having a cuppa as I type. I'm looking forward to buying some next week.

Lastly there were homemade donuts,whew the aroma was glorious and the taste was out of this world.Now this was certainly not good for me but I enjoyed them none the less.

Homemade batter and deep fried the old school way. One of the bakers explained to me that the deep fryer caused too much smoke and they were not allowed to bring it.Well didn't affect the taste.

Stay tuned this month, I'll be announcing a special give away towards my birthday.That right I"m giving you a gift for my birthday cause I really do appreciate your reading this and your comments! Not sure when my bday is? just check the bday countdown,top of the page,left side!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Orange gingered chicken

From here on out I'd like to use the word wonton as a verb. Like this:Last night I wontoned some orange gingered chicken. Yes you read that right I gingered a chicken breast,what you got to say about that??

So this is a lil something I've never quit tried before so I searched recipes and i found this one on some website,I dont remember which one:

Orange ginger marinade: 1c orange juice,4tb honey,3 tb ginger& 1tb soy sauce. I did not like this recipe,unfortunately I didnt realize that till after I tasted it. Here's what it should have been:

My orange ginger marinade:3/4 c orange juice,3tbs honey,3tb ginger,1tb soy sauce & and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Thats that! I made this marinade and let the chicken breast sit in it for an hour,meanwhile I soaked my rice. Some ppl boil I soak(same w/my lasagna noodles)

After this sat for an hour I cooked on medium heat sprinkling a little salt on both sides.

1) Now I kinda wanted the pulled chicken look,so after about 10mins I turned it on low and put a top over it to let it simmer.

2)Then you have to keep pouring the leftover marinde in so that it gets tender enough to be pulled.I forgot to take a pic of the pulling process! Basically you take 2 forks and get to pullin

3)After i had done the pulling I drained the rice and mixed the meat & rice together.

Then its time to...well you already know,wonton them! I just lay some foil down on a baking sheet and spray it with butter. It's really important to not overload the wonton wrapper you dont want things falling out of it.

If I had cabbage last night I would've made asian slaw but alas I didn't. I made a salad with an zesty asian ginger dressing you can find here:

Here is my finished product..Now everything was yumness but if I could just figure out to stop the ends of the wrappers from becoming so hard after they're baked...

Always remeber to seal your wonton wrappers with a dab of water and bake seam down. I baked them on 400 for about 12 mins

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tinys Lounge Chicago

Today's song of the day happens to be one I am working on in my voice lessons. I feel in love with this song a while back when it was on one of Michael Buble's albums. At that time I didn't know that it had originally been a Nina Simone song. Feeling good is the song,its featured on Jennifer Hudson's weight loss commericail. I think J-hud has an amazing voice but I.do.not. like her arrangement of that song.Here's my fav arrangement:

This wknd I went to one of my favorite little lounges. It's appropriately called Tiny's cause it is.You can check it out here:tinylounge.com . It's a really adorable cozy place with great drinks and a relaxed atmosphere.Eash time I go I have something different and this time I ordered the empanada's they were as delicious as they well portioned.

They are served with a chimichurri,that is out of this world. If Tamar Braxton were here she'd say " Out od this world.com". It was so good, my only complaint is that were not as cheesey as I'd like them. But I would totally order them again.

Now here's the best thing about Tiny's. The Pain Perdu.You will sacrifice your left pinky finger for this pain perdu (what has your pinky done for you lately anyway?) Pain Perdu is a way of life,its a religion,no I'm joking.

Seriously, I've been to Tinys 3 times and every single time I come, I must have pain perdu.It's the best take on banana's foster. It's served w/ a creme anglais, me and my friend we always split it cause there is nothing about this dessert thats good for you. Have you ever been somewhere and you were embarassed by the way you were whoffing down a certain dessert,but you kinda didn't care cause it was incredible??Yep that's me.I can't help it if I wanted to.If you are in Chicago please go,you won't regret it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A baptism to remember!

Hey ya'll ( in my very best Paula Deen voice) I wanted to share some pics from my godson's baptism this weekend! I went to highschool with his mother but we didnt become friends till college..oh crazy college..Anyhoo I was the maid of honor at her wedding:

Thats me to the far right.

This is us again many moons ago on our way for a night out!
So I was very happy when she asked me to be her sons godmother. I bought him his very first bible.It's so cute,he's only 6mos so he isnt reading yet. When he does begin to read it will be something he's able to understand. Here are some pic's from the actual baptism:

The adorable family!

Humph,I look so much more refined now,more sophisticated,I like it! isn't he such a doll tho. He is the best baby he doesn't mind being held by ppl he doesn't really know,and hes not whiny at all. I just wish they lived closer I'm missing sooo much of his life.:(