Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wildfire


Martini Flight at Wildfire (Cosmo, Wild Raspberry, Appletini with cinnamon on the rim, Stormy Night)

If you've never tried Wildfire, you're in for a real treat. The best things to try are the horseradish-crusted Filet Mignon (even if you aren't really a horseradish fan) or the nut-crusted fish of the day. One of my favorites of the fish has been the macadamia-nut-crusted halibut, but the other day they wowed me with their pistachio-nut-crusted flounder. Their food is just reliably very tasty and their service is always pretty good. My one "con" for visiting Wildfire is that it is a noisy restaurant, so not a quiet spot for a romantic date, but where you need to talk pretty loudly to be heard. However, I'll tempt you more with the food: redskin mashed potatoes seem to be made with cream and butter- don't count calories, but enjoy the masterpiece that they are! :) Each entree comes with a side and the portions are big. Expect to have leftovers if you plan to have dessert- and you should! The triple-layer chocolate cake is amazing, though as a true chocolate-lover, my favorite dessert at wildfire doesn't include chocolate. Ask for their their "off-the menu" Berry Crisp dessert, which is fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, drizzled in a berry sauce, topped with a tremendous oatmeal cookie, crumbled on top (and what makes this dish the best)! It's all topped with ice cream, and yes, could be a meal in itself. Try out Wildfire if you haven't already- it's part of the Lettuce Entertain You network in the Chicagoland area and let us know what you think. Comments are always welcome and your own pictures can be posted on our Chicago Foodie Sisters Facebook page!


Stormy Night Martini



French Onion soup


Tomato & Onion Salad



House Salad


Pistachio-nut-crusted flounder


Steak Diane with redskin mashed potatoes


Filet Mignon (without a crust)


Triple Berry Pie with ice cream (delicious!!!! :)


Key Lime Pie


Triple layer chocolate cake- super moist

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Gage

Delicious cantaloupe soup!

I love this restaurant! This is one of the places I think of to send people if they ask for a recommendation of a nice place to eat downtown. It's right in the loop, just across from Millennium Park and they serve the type of gourmet food that I have come to love (rely?) on in Chicago. I usually recommend going for lunch to offset the cost. The portions are good for lunch and they have usually have daily specials. I have eaten here three times and loved the food, atmosphere and service. Dining outdoors in the summertime is also a great option.

The Gage is located at 24 S. Michigan in Chicago.

Here are some pictures from my most recent meal:

Scotch Egg with stone-ground mustard



Chicken Salad


A delicious cheese fondue with crusty bread.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Best of Ribfest: Two Fat Guys

If you've never been to a rib fest or a rib burn, you don't know what you're missing. At such events, you'll find serious grill masters from around the country. It's prime rib fest and rib burn season as many of the cooks are traveling from one place to another with a full calendar from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I recently attended Naperville Exchange Club's Ribfest in Naperville, Illinois with nearly 40 vendors. I always like to chat with the experts and pick their rib-cookin' brains. In Naperville I talked to Adam Bolgiano of Two Fat Guys from Massillon, Ohio.

This was his first year at Ribfest, but he's been competing since 2005 and he opened the first Two Fat Guys store earlier this year, serving ribs, pork and brisket. The business was started by his brother's father-in-law, Dale Foraker. "We're now Three Fat Guys and a Girl," he joked.

This season's been a busy one for him as they compete in 10 to 15 rib fests each season, "from West Virginia to Michigan to Pennsylvania," he said. "This is our first time in Illinois."

So, what are his secrets?
1) keep the temperature low
2) spice it up (they use a combination of 15 herbs and spices)
3) the wood (homegrown apple/cherry wood)

Here's where you'll find them later this summer - http://twofatguysbbq.com/upcomingevents.htm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wake up those taste buds at Scrambled Diner

My BFF Michelle and I have been getting together on occasion for breakfast for a few years now. We met on the first day of kindergarten for our second-born children. It was the first year the school was offering full-day kindergarten, but there was also a half-day option. So, the first day, I went to pick up my son at lunchtime and I met Michelle. She and I were the ONLY two moms out of about more than 50 to opt for the half-day option. We became instant friends. Those little boys that were just beginning kindergarten are now 12-year-old young men going into 7th grade. Michelle's a sweetheart...warm, compassionate, creative...and like me, she likes to eat. We got into this routine of meeting once in a while at Baker's Square for breakfast. We usually order the same thing -- veggie crepes for her, crepes Lorraine for me.

Recently, she told me about a spot in Dyer, Indiana called the Scrambled Diner. She raved about the monkey cakes, which are a giant platter of pancakes with bananas, peanut butter and bacon. It's huge enough for two, easily. We went there last week for breakfast. Since I'm not big on sweet stuff for breakfast, I passed on the monkey cakes, even though they sound and look scrumptious. Instead I opted for a ham, cheese & pepper omelet with bacon and hash browns at the suggestion of another diner who said we HAD to try the bacon and gave the omelet a thumbs up. Here's a look at what I had. The picture doesn't really show what the portions are like. The omelet was huge. I barely finished half. Took home the other half and my hubby enjoyed it for lunch.


Michelle had a skillet. A veggie one, I think. No, I'm sure it was a veggie one. She always eats her veggies.

We dined outside on a pleasant weekday morning. I'd definitely return again. The menu said the sausage is homemade -- and I peeked at another diner's plate and it looked delish!!! Also, homemade hot sauce and homemade ketchup. Lots of tasty breakfast options. The place is breakfast/lunch only and closes early afternoon. Also, be sure to bring cash. No credit cards. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tis the season for farmer's markets

Farmer's Market season is in full swing. Our local one started last month and runs through the end of September. It's one evening a week at a local downtown park. I've been to all but one so far. I've picked up a flower basket, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, green tea, breads, cookies, garlic scapes (which I'd never had before) and other items. There's a lady there each week who sells homemade jellies and jams. I think I'll visit her next week.

I love getting all the fresh veggies, but I also adore the cheese and bread tents. I've gotten super sharp cheddar, Monterrey jack, a creamy one with dill (I think it was Havarti) and a horseradish jack, which was wonderful.

At the bread tent, I usually grab some fresh tomato focaccia and some pretzel rolls. I got there late and they were out of both, so I got some of the herb focaccia, which is also fantastic. Here's a look at what you'll find there:



Looks good, huh? When I was there last week I asked if they had a retail location. She told me that they come from Labriola Bakery and that they have a tea room, Tiffany's Tea Room, in Crown Point where the sell a lot of the baked items you can buy at the farmer's market. I'll have to pay the tea room a visit one of these days.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finger lickin' good



Attended my third Ribfest over the weekend. With the heat (I think it hit 86 degrees that day), I didn't have much of an appetite, but couldn't go and not have something. Sampled some ribs and chicken. Yum!

I love talking to some of the rib masters when I'm there. I chatted with three this year -- all from Ohio. It is amazing how seriously these people take their ribs. They are out there in the middle of the night firing up the smokers. I always hear that cooking them slow is the secret to great ribs. I'll share some other tips in an upcoming blog, but here's a couple pics to whet your appetite.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rx Cafe


I'll start by reviewing my favorite restaurant in all of Chicagoland, Rx Cafe. :) The food is just fabulous at Rx Cafe- wonderful gourmet dishes, prepared in small "tapas" plates for sharing. They also serve a variety of salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, delectible desserts and have a wine menu, though they have no corkage fee for BYOB.

My absolute favorite dish, is the mushroom ragout (pictured above). Mushroom and onion in a creamy broth, topped with puffed pastry. I love trying the new tapas they rotate on their menu and have tried many dishes, all of which have not disappointed.

A small eatery in downtown St. Charles, Rx Cafe is overlooked for the gem that it is. Whenever you are in the St. Charles area, give Rx Cafe a try. Don't be in a hurry when you come, as the dishes take time to prepare and I want everyone to come with the right expectations- take an evening to enjoy well-prepared, wonderfully-tasting, gourmet food with a bottle of wine you bring yourself or purchase there.

Below is just a small sampling of some of the mouth-watering dishes Rx Cafe offers:

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich with a fabulous citrus vinaigrette


Braised Pork and Polenta


Crab and Avocado


Crabcakes


Sauces with crabcakes

blackberry lemon muffin


apple cranberry crisp

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who doesn't love cake?

I just had to share this. Isn't she adorable? She's our 4-year-old niece, Elise. As I served her a piece of cake at my nephew's graduation party, I asked "Are you the one who eats just the frosting and leaves the cake?" She proudly answered "yes" and then did just that -- with three different pieces!




Welcome to Chicago Foodie Sisters!


Welcome to Chicago Foodie Sisters! We’re excited to launch this blog to celebrate our love of food. A “foodie” is defined as an aficionado of food and drink. And aficionados we are. That’s not to say that we are gourmet chefs or dine strictly at five-star restaurants. We simply appreciate well-prepared food - be it a po’ boy or a filet. In this blog, we’ll share some of the great meals we’ve enjoyed at area eateries (usually with pictures) along with some food history, cooking tips, cookbook reviews, new food products. If it has to do with food, we’ll share it with you. Thanks for following us! We hope to get your taste buds tingling and your inner chef to emerge. Bon Appétit!

Becky and Carrie