One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is to create something from scratch, an item that I just don’t have time for on a normal week night. I’ve made homemade soups, pizza dough, bread, pasta and more; I love that I have the time to prep properly and enjoy the whole process. It’s like running my own personal restaurant for the day. I must say though, there are some things on my Sunday cook-list I’ve been too intimidated to make on my own just by following a recipe. This is where cooking classes can come in handy and I recently discovered an amazing discovery and booking tool for local classes, called CourseHorse that has a wide variety of cooking classes in Chicago.
In March, I attended my first food event in several months, WingFest, and I couldn’t have picked a better event to get back into the Chicago food scene. Since we’ve returned home from our travels I’ve found that between a busy job and a change in our general lifestyle, attending food events several times a week wasn’t as big of a priority. I still love food just as much as before our travels, but my relationship with food has evolved.
Upon graduating from college I found the existence of a magical new meal called “brunch.” Growing up our family was always up by 9:00 a.m. on weekends thus necessitating “breakfast” and in college I slept well past noon. But the combination of post college partying on Lincoln Avenue with the internal clock of a 7:00 a.m. weekday wakeup soon found me in the 10:00-11:30 a.m. weekend brunch zone and it was glorious! Seven years later I am still a big brunch fan and there are more and more fantastic options than ever before.
Meal planning seems to be all the rage these days. It doesn’t matter if you do it all yourself on Sunday evenings or if you do it nightly with the help of a meal subscription service like Blue Apron or Meez Meals, there is no doubt that people are looking to make their mealtimes easier. Other options such as joining a local food co-op or signing up for a protein subscription box are also becoming more and more popular. Recently I was introduced to a company called Butcher Box, a service that partners with a collective of small farms to bring you 100% grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and all-natural pork each month.
If I was forced to choose one food item, and this one thing would be all I was able to eat for the rest of my days, I feel pretty comfortable saying that pizza would be the way to go. You can go NY style, thin crust, deep dish, marinara, pesto, meat lovers, veggie; the options go on and on. Just as your choices of toppings are never ending, in Chicago your choices of where to order your pizza from can seem endless as well. There are the old staples we all know and love, be it the deep dish spot you take your family when they are in town, or the spot in your neighborhood that is perfect on a cold winter evening. But where to go, when you are in rush before a meeting, hungry because you forgot to eat breakfast, or want to grab something tasty for home as you depart work for the weekend? Persona Pizza, located right in the loop on Washington and LaSalle is your go to for quick, delicious pizza.
There is only one event each year that combines three of my favorite things: wine, food, and home furnishings I can dream about having for my future home someday! LuxeHome®, in partnership with Wine Spectator Magazine is hosting its tenth annual CHILL, an international wine and culinary event featuring some of the best wines from vineyards worldwide, being paired with small bites from some of Chicago’s most distinguished chefs. The best part is that you get to wine and dine your way around the Merchandise Mart’s collection of premier boutiques for home building and renovation all in the name of charity.
A few weeks ago I received an email from friend and fellow food blogger, Amanda Topper of The Ghost Guest inviting me to Sip, Simmer and Savor, a Culinary Event Series by the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection. The event was being hosted by Boka and featuring chefs Paul Liebrandt and Lee Wolen for a special five-course paired dinner with cocktails made from Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection. Boka has been one of those restaurants on my “Must Try List” for years so I immediately jumped at the opportunity to attend and finally be able to recommend the Boka experience.
Even though we are now adjusted to a less nomadic lifestyle with fancy perks such as our own bed and a closet to put our clothes, we still fantasize about our next adventure. The final two months of our trip were heavy on city-centric sightseeing so for my next vacation I’ll be looking for a bit of beach time! So I was excited when a resort based in the Florida Keys, invited me to dinner to learn more about their property! Hawks Cay Resort, Villas and Marina, located on Duck Key is situated roughly halfway between Key Largo and Key West. Over the past few years Jeremy and I both have had multiple friends take trips down to the Keys and rave about its tropical feel and laid back atmosphere. It definitely has risen to the top of our “must visit” list.
Bon Appetit’s Chicago Gourmet is one of my favorite foodie events of the entire year! It’s a chance to mingle with friends, celebrity chefs, and taste food from not only the hottest restaurants in Chicago but from several visiting global restaurants as well. I’ve been attending now for the past few years (see my post from 2014) and every year the weather turns out to be absolutely beautiful for this September affair. Amidst all the foodie fun I realized I had forgotten to take photos of most of what I ate during Chicago gourmet! I did manage to take photos of what really counted, my top 5 favorite bites of the day! Initially my day at Chicago gourmet began slowly as I was running solo without my number one taste tester in tow. I’m still adjusting to not having a partner by my side day in and day out! Luckily about an hour in, Seth of ChiCityFoodie arrived and I found another foodie friend, Allana of AllanaBytes and some of her coworkers. Writing this blog and attending these events is all about having fun and meeting new people and I’m lucky that the food blogger/Instagram community are a really nice and welcoming group.
Guest Post by Gregor McGleish
Just like flight delays and the occasional layovers, hunger can strike at the blink of an eye. Come to think of it, it’s probably one of the reasons why convenience stores are like an oasis in the middle of a desert at an empty airport terminal. We all know how the challenges of travelling entails more than just long plane rides, bouts of boredom, and unavoidable language barriers. Add those to a grumbling stomach, and we’ve got the perfect recipe for a ruined vacation.