what i’m loving: june 29 – july 5

  1. this resource : 15 day blog makeover challenge. | i have been a part of this challenge since the beginning, and i highly recommend it if you are having any trouble building your blog!
  2. this picture of my cats : scroll to bottom | because we just moved them to a new city, and they did surprisingly well during the eight hour drive.  and this picture is one of our favorites.  🙂 
  3. this beer / cocktail : pop-up i.p.a. from boulevard brewing co. | because it is low and alcohol and full of flavor.  it’s a great beer to have around for the holiday weekend!
  4. this appetizer – grilled blue cheese & bacon stuffed onion. | stuffed peppers, yes.  stuffed bread, yes.  stuffed onion?! how can i possibly turn down something so original?  also, if you haven’t tried onion, bacon and blue cheese combined together,  I feel that you need to restructure your priorities.
  5. this restaurant –  stanley’s kitchen & tap. | if you are ever in chicago, specifically lincoln park, and you want a dive-y, laid back, fantastic bar at which you may catch a glimpse of the occasional celebrity – this is it.  the real reason I love this place?  southern chopped chicken salad with buffalo chicken.  this could be my meal for EVERY meal.  every.  single.  one.
  6. this recipe – stuffed french bread. | i’ve been eyeing this one for a while … I absolutely can’t wait to try it, and I think it will be a perfect one to attempt in my make-shift kitchen until we are completely moved in!
  7. this dessert – strawberry lemonade bars. | these just seems so … ‘merican.

chloe and lily.

what i’m loving : june 22 – june 28, 2015

this list is created based solely upon the opinions of a flavor journal.  check out my recipe blog and stay a while!

  1. this resource : cookie + kate’s essential resources for food bloggers. | this link is seriously so helpful for me.  it gives great advice and suggests specific items / apps to use for food blogging!
  2. this picture of my cats : scroll to bottom | Lily is the gray one, Chloe is the white one.  they are so sweet … when they’re sleeping
  3. this beer / cocktail : 3 floyd’s : space station middle finger.| if you’re serious about your beer, then you need to get into indiana asap to visit 3 floyd’s.  people lose their shit for these beers, and space station middle finger is one of my favorites.
  4. this appetizer – ahi tuna tartare. / (or this version – way easier and surely just as good). | because i could live on tartare.  steak, salmon, tuna.  i love alllllll of the tartare.
  5. this restaurant –  gilt bar. | i love, love, love this restaurant in chicago.  it’s sexy, sophisticated, well-priced for downtown and absolutely delicious.  if you’re ever in town, i highly recommend  you check it out.  if you’re feeling REALLY classy, look into getting into the library downstairs…
  6. this recipethis orecchiette pasta dish. | because it reminds me of one I’ve had at gilt bar.  I’ve tried to recreate it, but can’t get it quite right … looks like I’ve got another dish to tackle next month!
  7. this dessert these HUGE cookies. | could these seriously look any more delicious?!

lily and chloe.

chicago deep dish adventure: stop #2.

Cheeeesy.

Pizano’s was another stop on my list.  The fact that it juts happened to be about a block and a half from my hotel made it a MUST-do.  While there was still a monsoon occurring outside as I relaxed in my room, I decided to go to the market across the street to snag a couple bottles of wine and some cheese, crackers and chocolate.  Mm hmm.  That’s a solid vacation in my opinion:  your own deluxe king size bed, a big fancy flat screen, and all the wine you can drink without worrying about any kind of responsibilities.  Holla!

Well, this was around 7:00.  After almost an entire bottle and about a half a block of cheese, I had decided that I had enough of the solo TV time in bed and I needed to get back out there.  Downpour or not, I was determined to continue my deep dish adventure.  Obviously, Pizano’s was the best option because of its super convenient location.

I took the elevator down twelve floors, snagged an umbrella courtesy of the hotel, and cautiously walked through the revolving door out into the storm.  I dashed down the street, through countless puddles, and finally arrived at my second pizza destination.  Hooray!

Goose Island 312.

Upon sitting myself onto a bar seat and briefly scanning the draft options, I was a little let down by the beers they had on tap.  I opted for a Goose Island 312, as it was literally the only local beer they had on tap.  (I’m such an IPA / Porter / Stout girl, typically speaking).  The bartender was an older gentleman, and was also VERY accomodating.  I was literally the only person in the joint, but he didn’t once act annoyed that I was there.  (They are open past midnight – baller!)

I ordered spinach dip (his recommendation of the two apps I asked about), and an individual sausage pizza.  I had read on Yelp! that the sausage pizza at Pizano’s was pretty tasty, so I was excited about it.

Mmmm!

Got the spinach dip, pretty good.  Pretty spinach-y.  I liked it.  Got the pizza … they forgot my sausage 😦 but I didn’t realize this until the next morning (of course I had to take some leftovers home with me).  But overall, the pizza was still mighty tasty.  Flaky, buttery crust, prominent tomato flavor, and the cheese was awesome.  I sprinkled a little parm and crushed red pepper on top for some extra flav-ah!

To be COMPLETELY honest, I don’t really have a favorite between Lou’s and Pizano’s in terms of pizza flavor.  Unfortunately, I believe I’d like Pizano’s better had I gotten the sausage on the pizza.  The service, however, was tremendously different.

The bartender even bought my second beer and suggested I come visit him again the following night.  Talk about a turn-around from my devastating service that morning!  I should have gone … oh well.  Next time!  I’ll be back for that sausage pizza!

the day Aarón Sanchez made my lunch.

Aarón Sanchez, celebrity chef from Food Network and one of the coolest people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting, made me lunch earlier this week.

You see, I created my own local magazine (based out of Kansas City) for which I write nearly every article.  I focus my articles upon local restaurants and the people behind them all, which is really a killer concept for my city.  Kansas City is slowly becoming recognized as a culinary destination, and I am SO lucky to have such an exquisite, worldly cuisine available in my backyard.

So where does Aarón Sanchez come into this?  Well, he recently opened a restaurant in one of the suburbs of Kansas City:  Leawood, Kansas.  His restaurant, Mestizo, of course has Mexican influences … but the primary focus is: FRESH INGREDIENTS.  Everything from the chips to the guacamole is made in house, and Aarón really strives to make sure all of his ingredients are as local as possible.  When I was contacted by his PR rep, I instantly jumped at the opportunity to feature such an awesome concept and chef in our magazine.

Myself and my photographer, Lauren, showed up at Mestizo around noon on Monday, August 13.  We sat with Aarón for about 30 minutes as he described his concepts, his past, and his passion for cooking to us.  After the interview, he excitedly told us we would be receiving “the ultimate VIP treatment”.  I think passed out for a minute after that happened.

Luckily, I pushed back through to consciousness as he started bringing dishes out for us, delivering each one by hand and explaining every ingredient.  One of my favorites (but I actually think they were all favorites) was a small tortilla topped with avacado, crab meat, pickled onion, and a thin slice of serrano pepper.

Tortilla, avacado, crab meat, chili flakes, pickled onion, serrano pepper…I could eat 25 of these, no problem.

(Excuse the photo quality; I took these on my iPhone.)

I also thoroughly enjoyed the crisp pork belly tacos, which are available everyday on the menu.

Crispy pork belly tacos … piping hot, handmade tortillas came on the side.

Grilled Octopus Salad

The grilled octopus salad was also delectable, and I eagerly gobbled up all of the extra octopus left on Lauren’s plate (she’s vegetarian).  Sadly, I cannot divulge much more about my experience, as this will be an article in the next issue of our magazine:  concrete city magazine.  But I WILL say, if you are a Kansas Citian and have not yet ventured out to Mestizo, I highly suggest you do so immediately.  The atmosphere, food and cocktail selections are top-notch, and the staff is phenomenal.  Maybe if you’re lucky, you will also have Aarón take care of you, too.

Much love!