Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Holy crap, I'm in trouble. Sprinkles Cupcakes opened on Monday in my neighborhood. It's a lovely and very welcome addition to the Gold Coast. Last night on my walk home from work I tried to stop in and buy a cupcake, but the line was down the block...even at 6:30 pm. They close at 7 pm Monday through Saturday. So tonight again on my way home, I stopped in. The line was much shorter and v. fast. The building is such a great and colorful design inside and out. The staff there is v. friendly and happy. Must be all the sugar... After examining every flavor available today...I bought a red velvet cupcake (left) and a vanilla (right), of course. I devoured the red velvet and saved the vanilla for tomorrow night. The red velvet was heaven and the cake was so moist!

Not to worry, I am still hopelessly devoted (I craved Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes ALL THE WAY from Toronto) to Sweet Mandy B's...still the best cupcake, hands down. But Sprinkles is conveniently on the way home from work, close to my favorite brunch/lunch/snack/dinner place, Feast and around the corner from Sarah's Pastries & Candies. I'm in trouble. I L-O-V-E my neighborhood.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Eat Drink Chicago

Chicago is a great city. Spending a long weekend with Cupcake, eating and drinking our way across town, was as much fun as the last time we did it.

Above: We got major props from the bartender at Frontera Grill when we ordered guacamole and a round of margaritas for dessert. That's how we roll. Holla!

When we arrived, Cupcake took us to a great spot across the street from our hotel called The Purple Pig. Double bonus—we sat next to five local chefs who were on a food tour... we quickly made some new friends. They insisted we share their wine and snacks. By the end we'd sampled the entire menu and only had to order a few dishes of our own. This one was awesome—fava beans, egg and crispy pancetta.

Grilled bread and chicken liver pate with crispy sage leaves.

This one was awesome! Chopped pig's ear with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers and fried egg. Spicy!

Fresh strawberry soft serve with balsamic drizzle. You know you want it!

A spicy breakfast at Xoco, another Rick Bayless spot. A bit too much bread for my taste, so I just grabbed a fork and enjoyed the filling of this chorizo-egg torta.

Grilled fish at Frontera Grill.

The favorite stop of the weekend—Big Star Taco! We were too tired to walk around in the heat shopping so we camped at the bar for the afternoon sampling tacos, guacamole, beer and tasty Mexican Coke (cane sugar instead of nasty corn syrup). It goes really well with $3 whisky shots. Big Star, I love you... let's make it work... even if it's a long-distance thing.

Partied out and relaxing before heading to the airport. We headed back to The Purple Pig to relax on their outdoor patio. Grilled bread with whipped feta and cucumber. So good!

Purple Pig's house made sausage with kale and grapes.


Ketchup & Coke

Not really... but when I saw the bartender make this from a distance I thought he was pouring ketchup over ice, adding some lime juice and planning to crack a can of coke over the whole thing. Turns out he was making a Michelada, which is beer and hot sauce. Fusilli was brave enough to order one and she claims it was quite refreshing. I haven't include the reaction shot I took when she had her first sip. It wasn't the face you make when sipping a refreshing cocktail... more like a glass of hangover medicine.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Paella Party

I was lucky enough to be gifted a precious petri dish of saffron, transported across the ocean by a generous friend a couple of months ago. So of course the first thing that pops into my head is: paella! By happenstance the following week, I found a paella pan on sale for $10 at a kitchen outlet store and the idea for a paella party was born. I know that traditionally Spanish paella is made with rabbit and green beans, but I opted for the seafood version this time: Littleneck clams, squid, jumbo tiger shrimp, haddock, peas and some chopped up kale (I had it laying around in my fridge so I just tossed it in). And what's a paella party without sangria and good friends? Check! If you're going to make paella, don't forget to keep it on the stove just a bit longer so you get that delicious crispy caramelized soccarat on the bottom. Here's the recipe I used, in case you want to have your own paella party this summer, enjoy!