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Celebrate The Chinese New Year in Chicago

6 Jan

Hing Kee Restaurant, photo via Yelp

I get a lot of event notices through my inbox, but I thought this one, in honor of the Chinese New Year, looked especially interesting.

Learn how to make Chinese dumplings and eat a family-style meal (featuring menu items such as pumpkin seafood soup, quadruple happiness pork meatball and water chestnut cake) for a reasonable $38. Not too shabby.

It’s on Sunday, January 15th at 3 p.m. at the Hing Kee Restaurant, 2140 S. Archer Avenue.

Details below. Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with Dumpling Making and a Family Style Dinner!

$38.00 (includes gratuity)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

3:00pm – 5:30pm

Hing Kee Restaurant, 2nd Floor

2140 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL 60616

Tea is included. Please bring extra money if you would like other non-alcohol drinks or BYOB. Seats are limited.

Tickets must be purchased in advance at the event website:

PROGRAM

  • 3:00pm Registration
  • 3:15pm
  • Presentation – Z.J. Tong, President – Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute
  • Chinese New Year Traditions and Stories
  • How Chinese Celebrate the New Year at Home
  • 3:45pm Dumpling (Jiao-Zi) Making
  • 4:30pm Dinner Served

MENU

  • Pumpkin Seafood Soup
  • Appetizer Platter (cucumber, seaweed, wonton, eggplant)
  • Jiao-Zi (Seafood Dumpling & Vegetarian Dumpling)
  • Lemon Chicken
  • Beef with Garlic and Onion
  • Quadruple Happiness Pork Meatball
  • Abalone Mushroom with Bok Choy Tips
  • Braised Bean Curd with Black Mushroom
  • Whole Fish in Sweet and Chilly Sauce
  • Water Chestnut Cake
  • Tang Yuan (Sticky Rice Balls Soup – Dessert)
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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

Pork Belly and Coconut Risotto

12 Apr

 

Lemongrass chicken binh mis, Asian slaw and coconut and pork belly risotto

This weekend I cooked a Vietnamese inspired meal. On the menu was lemongrass and coconut chicken Binh Mis, coconut and pork belly risotto, Asian slaw and banana and mango spring rolls for dessert.

It was a delicious meal and despite how laborious it sounds, it was quite easy. Cook the chicken in the slow-cooker, dice up the slaw and stir up the risotto. I’ll share the ingredients for all items, but today we’ll start with the risotto. Like most things I make, this recipe isn’t a science, but rather a guestimation. I rarely ever follow recipes and this risotto is one I made up. Feel free to reach out with questions if you have any. Enjoy!

Pork Belly and Coconut Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups abrozo rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup shredded (unsweetened coconut)
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb sliced pork belly (cook like bacon and then dice up)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish

Risotto Directions:

  1. Place the diced onion in a deep stock pot and sautee with butter over medium-high heat
  2. Meanwhile- put the chicken stock in a pot and bring to a hot temperature
  3. Once the onion is well sautéed, add the rice and olive oil, stirring continuously until the rice is transparent
  4. Add white wine and continue stirring
  5. Add the coconut shreds and porkbelly
  6. When the liquid is dissolved, begin to add half a cup of chicken stock at a time, stirring constantly and adding more liquid as it is absorbed
  7. Halfway through the use of the chicken stock, add the coconut milk
  8. The texture of the risotto should not be crunchy (I know it sounds obvious, but just saying!). Keep adding broth until you get the right level of consistency. It should take about 40 minutes of stirring, adding liquid and rinse and repeat.
  9. When the risotto is done, garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve.
  10. Enjoy

Vietnamese Sandwich Delight

7 Apr
NhuLan's Bakery

NhuLan's Bakery Lemongrass Tofu Sandwich (photo from Chicago Tribune)

I made a discovery yesterday. My favorite kind of discovery. The delicious kind.

After reading the Chicago Tribune’s ’30 sandwiches in 30 days’ piece, I realized that day 28’s was from NhuLan’s Bakery– mere steps from my house. I consulted with a co-worker, who also lives in the area, and she confirmed the sandwiches from NhuLan’s Bakery are to die for.

Well, you don’t have to tell me twice!

We put the baby in the stroller, put the leash on the dog and strolled a few blocks to experience the wonders of Vietnamese sandwiches from NhuLan’s Bakery last night. I got the tofu lemongrass sandwich and my husband got the grilled pork equivalent. At the bargain basement price of $3.50 each sandwich, we were already happy with our dinner decision.

When we got home, we tore into our respective sandwich bags and dug right in. The result? AMAZING. I was skeptical at first because the tofu was a little too good. Surely they had mixed mine up and put in pork instead. But no, it really was tofu. Sliced deli-thin and perfectly seasoned. My husband’s pork sandwich was equally delicious.

So the verdict: Yes. Yes, yes, and a million more times, yes. We will be back. Soon. And if you’re in Lincoln Square, we definitely recommend you checking it out as well.

Common Threads Mangalitsa Dinner

29 Aug

The Bristol

From our friends at the RIA, we learn of this great event taking place at The Bristol benefiting (newlywed) Art Smith’s amazing Common Threads organization. If you’re not familiar with Common Threads, you should be. They do terrific work and take strides to make our children and country healthier.

Art Smith of Common Threads

Everyone is talking about Mangalitsa is to pig what Wagyu is to beef. What a better way to indulge while giving to a great cause?

The Bristol is set to serve a five-course menu of Mangalitsa pig on September 16 in honor of Common Threads. The Hungarian hog is prized for its luscious, fatty meat. Executive Chef Chris Pandel is working on a snout-to-tail menu to pair with Goose Island beers and Death’s Door spirits. Proceeds will go towards Common Threads, whose mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. Further details are forthcoming. Reservations are accepted and can be made by calling (773) 862-5555.