Tag Archives: Lincoln Square

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


  • 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.

Date night: LM in Lincoln Square

10 Jan

This weekend we had a wonderful dinner with friends at LM in Lincoln Square. It was one of those rare nights out, without the baby, and we took full advantage.

LM Bistro

LM Bistro

LM is a small restaurant, but they’re able to get a lot of tables and easily accommodated our larger group. It’s like Mary Popins carpet bag- fits a lot more than you’d think.
We started with cocktails and I was disappointed to find out they weren’t equipped to make my bourbon Old Fashioned. Seemed a little strange that a bar would be left without oranges, but my second choice Manhattan quickly erased any disappointment.

They offer a prix fix menu, even on weekends, and a few people from our party took advantage. I, on the other hand, was hankering for a steak, so stuck to the menu.

I ordered the Arugula salad which came with aged goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts. The salad was nice, but could have used a little more flavor. The aged goat cheese was nice but there wasn’t enough and the hazelnuts weren’t toasted enough so that their sweet flavors really came through.
My Hangar steak was incredibly well seasoned and the peeled Brussel sprouts and potatoes were amazing. Unfortunately, I did not love the cut of meat itself. Having worked for one of the world’s leaders of fine-dining steakhouses, I know what a good steak is. Mainly, a good steak is prime. The fat melts right it and you can cut if with a spoon. This was definitely not a prime piece of meat. It was pretty chewy and not enough marbling.

That being said, given what they had to work with, it was still a tasty entrée.

For dessert, I ordered my staple cheese tray. It came with a soft Brie, a Manchego and another type of cheese, of which I’ll never know because they didn’t explain what cheeses were included. They also only provided four walnuts, which seemed pretty stingy and instead of crackers or wafers, the tray was accompanied with bread. Pretty cumbersome.

Now, despite some of these flaws, the meal experience was wonderful. The company was terrific, the cocktails were delicious and we had a really nice night out with the baby at home with a sitter. A sitter, who by the way, baked macaroons while we were gone, and were much better than the desserts at LM.

I will go back to LM, but will be more guarded by what I order next time.

Address 4539 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone 773. 942. 7585

Bad Apple is no Kuma’s Corner

18 Sep

Photo from The Bad Apple

I had high hopes for Bad Apple. Despite their terrible logo (what can I say? I’m married to a former designer, I take these things into account), a co-worker told me about their Wednesday Kobe burgers and said their other burgers were on par with Kuma’s Corner. In my recent dining experience it was all fine, but it was no Kuma’s Corner.

I went with some girl friends for one of those semi-spontaneous week-night gatherings and this was a good spot in the middle for everyone.

I was coming from a stressful day at work, so I immediately reached for the drink and beer list, and I was impressed. They have a lot, like a lot, of beers on draft, bottles, etc… I got an Alagash White on draft. It was delicious.

As a table, we ordered the goat cheese fondue to share. It was…fine. Not bad, I mean, with goat cheese it’s hard to royally screw it up, but it wasn’t memorable.

For my entrée, I got the veggie burger served as their El Dorado (chili cumin burger, spicy corn & black bean salsa, avocado, shredded lettuce). It came with fries which I upgraded to Truffle status.

The burger was made in-house and it was good. Sometimes when restaurants venture to make their own veggie burgers it can go very wrong. That wasn’t the case here. It was filling, robust and had good flavor, if a bit messy. The fries were good, but that’s because they had truffle oil on top. My friends’ got plain fries and there weren’t great. Also, I’m pretty sure they make their own ketchup, which kudos for trying, but it was gritty, acidic and not good.

All in all, this wasn’t a bad meal, after all I was with wonderful company, but I wasn’t going to write home about it.  I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Chicago’s Lincoln Square and North Center are over saturated with gastro-bars and too often they all fall short. If someone opens up another cookie-cutter bar joint, let’s try to make it spectacular.

The Bad Apple

The Bad Apple

Review: Chelsea Grill in Lincoln Square

29 Jun

I know I’ve said that Lincoln Square needs another pub-grub restaurant like I need a hole in the head, but I think Chelsea Grill has finally figured out how to make it work. The former Erba (which I confess I never ate at) recently re-configured to a lower price p8546_lincolnsquare_print_1oint with basic comfort food offerings and they’re doing it right. And here’s where I think they’ve managed to succeed- they ambiance is great- not too dark lighting (like the Grafton), no bad 90’s pop music playing (like the Daily), no bombardment of flat screen TVs (like the Bad Dog Tavern) and comfortable seating (unlike Latitude). The food was good- I had a grilled chicken sandwich and it was like $8! For all four of us, with appetizers, salads, entrees, a bottle of wine and a shared dessert, it was a few dollars over $100. Not bad! And the service was very friendly and not trying to rush us out.

4520 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 989-4200