Sip, Simmer and Savor: Jack Daniels and Boka

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.

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Our Food Favorites in 2015

The bread bar at Baker Miller in Chicago

Post by Taste Tester #1

2015 was a tough year for us to eat all the great food options we desired. More and more delicious options continue to open around Chicago, but at the same time the goal was to look good for wedding pictures! Eating a little less pizza, more salads at lunch and a better workout regimen allowed us to still enjoy some great food this past year. This list isn’t necessarily what was the hot new opening or the best new chef; it’s a mix of what we enjoyed, brought smiles to our face and overall just some of the BeyondExpecTasetions favorites!

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Food+Wine Festival Coming to Chicago

This morning I received a very exciting announcement that Lincoln Park and Grant Park will be jointly hosting the inaugural Chicago Food+Wine Festival and it will be happening August 28-30 this year!

World-class chefs, sommeliers, cocktail experts, culinary personalities, rising stars, musical acts and more will showcase their talent, innovation and unique flavors of Chicago. Offering various events over three days in beautiful downtown Chicago, the Festival will include Grand Taste tents offering food, wine and cocktail samples from local and regional artisans; over 30 interactive cooking demonstrations and intimate; Toast & Taste, the festival’s signature Saturday night tasting event featuring 16 of the country’s best chefs and live music; Last Call, late-night dessert and nightcap party; book signings; and more.

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Chicago Restaurant Week First Bites 2015 Recap

Last week Union Station’s Great Hall hosted Choose Chicago’s First Bites Bash, a sold out event that successfully kicked off the start of the eighth-annual Chicago Restaurant Week. Officially lasting two weeks from January 30th to February 12th, the 14-day dining event highlights multiple course menus at 300 restaurants around Chicago!

This year over 50 different restaurants came together to offer up samples of their best dishes. This is one of my favorite culinary events of the year and a great way to decide which restaurants you want to visit for a full meal over restaurant week! Every year I’ve attended First Bites I’ve discovered a restaurant I hadn’t yet heard of and surprised me with absolutely delicious food! More often than not the new restaurant (to me at least!) is located in a part of Chicago I have yet to fully explore. I love how an event such as First Bites reminds eaters of these great restaurants that may not currently be the new hot spot or in areas besides the hot spots of West Loop, Logan Square, etc.  Good food is a fantastic reason to explore a new and different neighborhood and try more of their dishes!

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Shine and Dine 2014 Chicago

This August I attended the fourth annual Shine and Dine gala benefiting Step Up Women’s Network at the beautiful Bridgeport Arts Center’s Skyline Loft in Chicago.

This was the third year I attended along with my sister and it’s come to be one of our favorite charity events of the year! The silent auction, wonderful food, and moving speeches from former Step Up participants make it an easy cause to get behind.

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10 Tips for Attending a Tasting Event

This Thursday I’ll be attending “First Bites” at Chicago’s Union Station for Restaurant Week 2013. This is the fourth year I’ve attended the event, and over the years I’ve gained some great knowledge when it comes to knowing how to attend a tasting event. Attending an event with 50 plus restaurants is all about portion control. Most of the restaurants do that for you providing small one-bite portions, but 50 different bites can add up. See read my tips below on how to make it through the whole event satisfied and full, but not too full!! Since the event is completely sold out make sure you attend Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 to try some of the best items that Chicago restaurants have to offer!

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LuxeHome’s CHILL 2012

Last Thursday I had the chance to attend LuxeHome’s Sixth Annual CHILL International Wine and Culinary festival! 40 different restaurants and their chefs, as well as winemakers worldwide shared their best eats and drinks amongst the world’s largest collection of premier boutiques for home building and renovation (aka amazing luxury home items I will NEVER be able to afford) at the Merchandise Mart. Proceeds from the event went to benefit three great charities: Respiratory Health Association, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Lynn Sage Foundation.

I went to CHILL last year as well, and this year there were even more great restaurants and Chefs, take a look below for my favorite CHILL bites!

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