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Hot Doug’s Book Coming Soon

2 May

Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's photo from

According to sources, it looks like the Mayor of Encased Meats himself, Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s, will add author to his growing list of accomplishments.

Within the publishing world, word has it that Sohn is penning a book: Hot Doug’s: The Book. The book is going to be a celebration of his and Chicago’s passion for sausages along with contributions from some of the more famous Hot Doug’s patrons such as Doug Seibold at Agate Midway. The book should be out in Spring 2013.


Zucchini Boat B”Z”T

10 Jul

Inspired by all the amazing produce at farmers markets, I decided to transform a normal BLT with zucchini in place of bread and lettuce. It’s super easy, delicious and even healthy. Here’s the recipe:

Zucchini B”Z”T (2 servings)

2 zucchinis, sliced in half and hollowed
12 strips of turkey bacon
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1TBS lowfat mayo

In the zucchini halves, fill withd tomatoes first, then add mayo and finally bacon.



This Foodie Went To BlogHer Food ’11

23 May
Downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta

Last week I had the pleasure of attending BlogHer Food 2011 in Atlanta. One of the great things about my job is that it affords me the opportunity to experience and learn new things all. the. time. It’s one of the many reasons I love it. Anyway- BlogHer Food was not my first blogger conference, but it was my first food blogger one and it was pretty interesting.

Networking at BlogHer Food 2011

Networking at BlogHer Food 2011

So from the perspective of someone who LOVES food and loves food blogs- I was in awe. I was surrounded by the authors of words I’ve been reading for years and it was a pleasure and honor to be among them. The conference was made up of a decent mix of well established bloggers and newbies to the world. At the very least, this allowed for good discussion at various vantage points.

The conference’s breakout sessions were modeled much in the way a blog post is- interesting perspective and insights with lots of space for comments. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was Recipe Writing: Copyright, Credit and Etiquette, paneled by Dianne Jacob, David Leite, and Liza Barry-Kessler.  The blurry lines of recipe copyright laws makes for a lot of confusion about adapted recipes versus inspired-by recipes or about stealing recipes outright. The rule of thumb I took from it was to source it, including a link, author and if the recipe is in a book, link to the book’s sale page on Amazon.  If you have any question about whether or not you should source a recipe- the answer is YES! Better safe than sorry.

While to content of the conference was engaging, though I didn’t always agree with it, being able to meet lots of new and old writers was a treat indeed. I got to chat with Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and I’m hoping he comes out for an event in the fall (I told him he needs to meet and eat at Hot Doug’s!).  David Lebovitz was there and absolutely hilarious in all of his matter-of-fact glory.

Roast Beef Crostinis

Roast Beef Crostinis

The food at the conference was good; way better than normal hotel conference food. I loved that they had vegan and glutton free options. The real deliciousness came when we ventured into Buckhead to sample Top Chef All Stars’ Richard Blais’ Flip Burger. Outstanding! I had the butchers cut burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions and it was outstanding. The sides were equally amazing; we got to sample the fries, vodka infused onion rings, Brussel sprouts and fried pickles. Heaven.

I opted to stay at the Ellis Hotel instead of the Westin and their Terrace restaurant was equally delicious. It’s all locally sourced produce, meat and dairy and you can immediately taste how fresh everything is. I also loved the second floor terrace balcony. It’s a great way to watch the streets from an elevated perch.

All in all, it was a fun trip that definitely rejuvenated me to be better about this blog (though I still wish I had an extra hour every day I could use for it) and I think moving forward, I’m going to commit myself to telling the story better. Yes, we all love food. But I want to continue telling you WHY I love it and why it means what it does to me.

EVENT: Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine’s Artisan Producers Festival

21 Apr
Sample cheese, plus sweet and savory accompaniments and more at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

Sample cheese, plus sweet and savory accompaniments and more at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

It’s no secret that I love Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine and when I got information about this upcoming event, I wanted to share it out. Below is all the information- I am definitely going to try to stop by. Let me know if you’re going to attend as well!


Free event to meet Pastoral’s featured culinary artisans, sample their products and celebrate small batch food, beer & wine from across America
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine will host its First Annual Artisan Producer Festival, a free event to meet Pastoral’s featured culinary artisans from throughout the U.S., sample their products and celebrate small batch foods, beer and wine while enjoying live music on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at Pastoral’s Chicago French Market location, 131 North Clinton Street, in Chicago. Parking for only $6 will be available for all attendees at 165 North Clinton, the parking lot located just north of Chicago French Market.

The lineup, which now includes more than 35 producers, features 14 cheese makers, including Illinois’ own Prairie Fruits Farm, Michigan’s Zingerman’s Creamery, Vermont’s renowned Jasper Hill Farm and Vermont Creamery as well as a host of other award-winning cheese makers from Wisconsin and around the country.

Additionally, there will be a variety of artisans who produce Pastoral’s distinctive sweet and savory accompaniments, including Michigan’s Seedling Farms, local favorites DAS Caramelini, Sweet Margy Confections and Bennison’s Bakery, Minnesota’s Ames Honey, Wisconsin’s Potter’s Organic Crackers and Quince & Apple Handmade Preserves, Chicago’s own Half Acre Beer Company and Goose Island Brewery, plus New York’s Salumeria Biellese and Sourpuss Pickles among others.

Pastoral created its Artisan Producer Festival as part of the company’s mission to make buying and eating great food and wine a fun, inviting and educational experience for its customers. Many of the products featured at Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival are sold in the Midwest exclusively at Pastoral. The event will also feature artisan producers featured at Pastoral’s neighboring Chicago French Market vendors.

Saturday, April 30, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Chicago French Market
131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, IL 60661

FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit or call 312-454-2200.

Meet Allison Hooper, Vermont Butter & Cheese, among other culinary artisans at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

Meet Allison Hooper, Vermont Butter & Cheese, among other culinary artisans at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

34 Degrees Crackers; Ameline Mustards; Ames Honey; Bennison’s Bakery; Brunkow Cheese; Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm; DAS Caramelini; Elburn Market; Frisian Farms; Goose Island Brewery; Half Acre Beer Company; L. Mawby (Von Beaumont Distrib.); Milton Creamery; Potter’s Organic Crackers; Prairie Fruits Farm; Quince & Apple; Rich Chocolates & Candies; Rogue Creamery; Salumeria Biellese; Sartori Foods; Saxon Homestead Creamery; Seedling Farms; Seymour Dairy; Shady Lane Cellars (Eno Amano); Sourpuss Pickles; Spring Brook Farms; Sweet Grass Dairy; Sweet Margy’s Toffee; Uplands Dairy; Vanberg & Dewulf (Windy City Distrib.); The Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery; Whimsical Candy; Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Co-Op; Zingerman’s Creamery

Abbey Brown Artisan Soaps; Chicago Organics; City Fresh Market; Delightful Pastries; Fumare Meats; Les Fleurs; Produce Express; RAW; Sweet Miss Giving’s; Vanille Patisserie; and MORE!

Also featuring Bill Kurtis, founder of Tallgrass Beef Company 

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Chicago French Market

131 North Clinton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60661

Monday – Friday
10:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday Closed

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Loop
53 East Lake Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601

Monday – Friday
10:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Lakeview
2945 North Broadway
Chicago, Illinois 60657

Monday – Friday
11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Shop 24/7, 365 days per year at Pastoral’s online store:

About Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine
Pastoral, a venture of Pastoral Enterprises, LLC, is a European-inspired, authentic neighborhood cheese shop, offering the highest quality fine and artisan cheeses from America and around the world, select small production wines and freshly baked breads along with a full complement of related items such as charcuterie, olives and other accompaniments. Pastoral also offers custom gift collections, gourmet sandwiches and salads, picnics and catering. The company was founded in 2004 in the East Lakeview area of Chicago and was named in 2007 as one of six Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT). For more information or to shop online, visit

Time Out Chicago Eat Out Awards 2011 Winners

12 Apr

Best new restaurant: Girl & the Goat (photo from TOC)

Last night the Time Out Chicago Eat Out Awards 2011 held court. With both readers’ choice and critics’ picks categories, lots of great Chicago restaurants felt the love.

Congrats to the nominees and winners.

Readers’ choice winners
Best New Restaurant –
Girl & The Goat
Best New Bar – Bangers & Lace
Best New Beverage Program – Sable Kitchen & Bar
Best Local Coffee Roaster – Intelligentsia
Chef of the Year – Stephanie Izard
Breakout Chef of the Year – Matthew Eversman
Restaurateurs of the Year – Kevin Boehm & Rob Katz
Best New Bakery – Sprinkles Cupcakes
Best New Steakhouse – Chicago Cut Steakhouse
Best Dessert Truck – Flirty Cupcakes
Best Food Truck – gaztro-wagon
Best New Pub Grub – Owen & Engine
Best New Barbecue – Lillie’s Q
Best New Italian – Davanti Enoteca
Best New Patio – Big Star

Critics’ picks
The “Extreme Makeover: Integrity Edition” Award – Ba Le
Best Cure for the Average Brunch – Sunday noodles at Takashi
Best Change of Pace – Jeff Pikus’s Cooking at Maude’s Liquor Bar
Best Cheese Course – The goat-cheese-cashew-caramel gelato at Black Dog Gelato
Best Location for a Murder Mystery – Owen & Engine
Best Reason to Fly Again – Tortas Frontera
Best Community Sponsor – Matt Maroni
Lifetime Achievement Award – Scott Harris
Best Box Lunch – The Bento Box
Least Insufferable Food Term of the Year – “Chimney Cake”
Best Chip Off the Old Block – Ed Marszewski
Latest Reason to be a Homosexual – Downtown Bar
Best Late-Night Destination – MingHin Cuisine
The Sorta-Annual “Proof that Evolution Exists” Award – Caffé Streets
Best Excuse to Be a Localvore – The all-Midwestern lineup of spirits at WaterShed

Goat Cheese and Portabella Mushroom Enchiladas

14 Feb

In preparing for our trip to Mexico, I’ve been on a bit of an enchiladas kick. I love them because they’re very easy and once you get the basic principal of making them, you can have a lot of fun with fillings and flavors. It’s fun living in a city with one of the best Mexican chef’s- that would be you, Rick Bayless– but it’s also fun creating these delicious items in your own kitchen!

In the most recent cases, I’ve made cilantro, goat cheese and portabella mushroom enchiladas with a verde sauce. Here’s my recipe, but as always, it’s more of a guestimation than science.


Goat Cheese and Mushroom Enchiladas


  • 16 ounces of verde enchilada sauce
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 4-8 oz. goat cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded Chihuahua cheese
  • 2 boxes of baby portabellas (sliced)
  • Cilantro (one bunch)
    Cilantro cooking base (3 tbs)
  • Olive oil
  • Shallots (1 cup diced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Turn oven onto 350 degrees
  2. Sautee mushrooms and shallots with the cilantro base until they’re sautéed and most moisture is evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add in goat cheese and mix with mushrooms
  4. Microwave the tortillas for about 45 seconds
  5. In a lasagna-sized cooking dish, pour about a cups worth of enchilada sauce on the bottom
  6. Take a tortilla, fill it with the mushrooms mixture and roll it, placing seam side down in the pan
  7. Rinse and repeat with remaining tortillas and mushrooms
  8. Cover the enchiladas with another cup or two of sauce and then spread the Chihuahua cheese on top
  9. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is browning and bubbling

Vote for Time Out Chicago’s Eat Out Awards

9 Feb

Time Out Chicago's Eat Out Awards Photo from TOC

Some Chicagoans may have picked up on an election around town. No, not that silly mayoral election, I’m talking about Time Out Chicago’s fifth annual Eat Out Awards. This gives diners all over the city a chance to weigh in on who served up the best plates in our fair city.

Below are the categories and the restaurants within them. Go vote for them online here. Voting will go until March 9th and the winners will be announced in the April 14 TOC issue, along with the 15 Critic’s Picks.

My picks include, Intelligentsia for Best Local Coffee Roaster; Billy Lawless (The Gage, Henri) for Restaurateur of the Year; Mastro’s for Best New Steakhouse; More Mobile for Best Dessert Truck; Meatyballs for Best Food Truck; Due Lire for Best New Italian; and Big Star for Best New Patio

On your mark, get set, VOTE!

Best New Restaurant

  • Arami
  • Girl & The Goat
  • Lillie’s Q
  • Owen & Engine
  • Ruxbin

Best New Bar

  • Bangers & Lace
  • The Boiler Room
  • Curio
  • Haymarket Pub & Brewery
  • Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
  • WaterShed

Best New Beverage Program

  • Chizakaya (sake)
  • Duchamp (cocktails)
  • Henri (wine)
  • Owen & Engine (beer)
  • Sable Kitchen & Bar (cocktails)

Best Local Coffee Roaster

  • Asado Coffee Co.
  • Bridgeport Coffee Co.
  • Dark Matter
  • Intelligentsia
  • Metropolis

Chef of the Year

  • Grant Achatz (Alinea)
  • Dirk Flanigan (The Gage, Henri)
  • Sandra Holl (Floriole Cafe & Bakery)
  • Stephanie Izard (The Girl & The Goat)
  • B.K. Park (Arami)

Breakout Chef of the Year

  • Matthew Eversman (Saigon Sisters)
  • Edward Kim (Ruxbin)
  • Guy Meikle (Nana)
  • Bai Ming Wu (MingHin Cuisine)

Restaurateur of the Year

  • Kevin Boehm & Rob Katz (Boka, Perennial, Girl & The Goat)
  • Scott Harris (Francesca’s Restaurants; Purple Pig)
  • Tony Hu (Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Beijing, Lao You Ju)
  • Billy Lawless (The Gage, Henri)
  • RJ & Jerrod Melman (Hub 51, Paris Club)
  • Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar)

Best New Bakery

  • Cookie Bar
  • Floriole Cafe & Bakery
  • La Boulangerie
  • Sprinkles

Best New Steakhouse

  • Benny’s Chop House
  • Chicago Cut
  • Epic
  • Mastro’s

Best Dessert Truck

  • Flirty Cupcakes
  • More Mobile
  • Sweet Miss Giving’s
  • Sweet Ride

Best Food Truck

  • Gaztrowagon
  • Happy Bodega
  • Hummingbird Kitchen
  • Meatyballs
  • Simple Sandwich
  • Tamalespaceship

Best New Pub Grub

  • Blokes & Birds
  • Leopold
  • Owen & Engine
  • The Southern
  • Three Aces

Best New Barbecue

  • Brand BBQ Market
  • Chicago Q
  • Lillie’s Q
  • Pork Shoppe
  • Smokey Bears BBQ House

Best New Italian

  • Davanti Enoteca
  • Donatella Mediterranean Bistro
  • Due Lire
  • The Florentine
  • Three Aces

Best New Patio

  • Big Star
  • D.S. Tequila Co.
  • Epic Sky
  • The Portage
  • Purple Pig