Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Resto Review: LINKS Taproom

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Not too far from my kitchen studio, there are a plethora of restaurants, bars and places to check out. The truth is, when I'm working, I don't have much time (if any) before my classes to visit any of these places. And by the time I'm done with a day of teaching, I'm too exhausted to go anywhere except in my car and straight home lol. Thankfully I had a chance to visit LINKS Taproom for brunch on a lovely Saturday with my partner in crime, Melissa of Turning Veganese. If I were sum up my delicious experience in a few words, it's a modern take on a hot dog joint...

Going in, it didn't click in my head why the place was called LINKS Taproom. But it didn't take long to realize why either...


Upon entering, I couldn't help but notice the huge tv screens in the middle of the dining area. These screens are the wave of bar future folks. The screens reflect the 36 craft beers on tap, 3 cask beers and also 5 tap wines. Not only are the names reflected, prices, style, brief tasting notes and even the keg status is clearly outlined. Because it's electronically driven, the screen is updated as often as beer is newly tapped and/or replaced. Genius! So, by this time, it;'s evident where 'Taproom' comes from...

Next, the menu. The menu is full of tasty options. Although we came to try out their brunch offerings, we were spoiled with also trying some of their usual lunch and dinner options. Sausage is king here and hence, this is why the place is called LINKS. Although the sausages are not made in-house, they have a specific sausage maker they work with and their recipes for each are all theirs.

We got to try their signature 'Chicago Steak & Ale' sausage, made with top sirloin, bacon, Bell's amber, and a touch of horseradish. After you select your link, you then have the options for one of five different mustards and a slew of toppings. For our Chicago Steak & Ale, we enjoyed it with cherry grain mustard and beer onions.

Another link we tried was their Vegan link, made with portobello mushrooms, black bean, extra virgin olive oil and tamari. I could easily be vegan if I lived off of these link everyday. In fact, I liked the Vegan Link just a touch more than the Chicago Steak & Ale. As for toppings, we enjoyed this with their creamy slaw, which was light, fresh and full of flavor. Easily my fave dish of the meal!

We also noshed on their Cheese Curds - which is hard to come by the further you are from Wisconsin. Their cheese curds were not some frozen variety that were thrown in the fryer and served up. We were pleasantly surprised with how light, airy and cheesy they were.

But of course, we didn't forget brunch. We got to try two of their most popular brunch items... and boy were they good! If you ever wondered what a beignet and a bratwurst would taste like, look no further. The 'Fat Man in a Bathtub' is what you're looking for, with slices of savory bratwurst tucked into the middle of a sweet and puffy beignet donut. They are served in a small aluminum basket shaped like a bathtub, dusted with some powdered sugar and served with chocolate and raspberry coulis dipping sauces.

The other brunch item was their 'Chorizo Horny.' Cute name and even better breakfast sandwich. I initially expected a chorizo sausage patty with an over easy egg, bacon mayo, spinach, and cheddar all served up in a cheddar and bacon biscuit. But rather than a sausage patty, it was a big chorizo link split in half lengthwise, grilled and stuffed into the sandwich. Insanely good.

By this point, we were stuffed to the limit and were so grateful for the restaurant's quick, friendly and fun service. It's definitely a spot I plan on make time for on the days I'm working at the kitchen studio... and I'm already craving another Vegan Link lol.

Check LINKS Taproom out in the Wicker Park neighborhood!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BBQ Chicken Flatbread

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It's been a busy start of the month for me. Work at the corporate pharmacy has been extremely busy, requiring me to work long longs and dealing without any work/life balance at the moment. It's also impacted how much time I have to update this site with new, tasty things to share. But I've managed to squeeze in a few minutes to share this recipe for BBQ Chicken Flatbread. Tender, flavorful chicken tops a savory flatbread dough which is held together with a blend of cheeses, BBQ sauce, corn, red onion and a sprinkle of cilantro. It's a bold combo of sweet and savory that is extremely easy to prepare!...


Friday, April 3, 2015

Eco Egg Dying for Easter

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Every year, a tradition Patrick's family has is dying eggs for Easter. This year is no exception and I know we're excited to get together tomorrow and show off our creative side. If you're into colorful eggs as well, how about skipping the chemical dyes and create DIY dyes that are kid-friendly and eco-friendly?! Learn how easy it is to make your own colorful eco-eggs with the info below, compliments of Door to Door Organics!: #easteregg #crafts #easter #doortodoororganics #joydelivered.





Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Brunch: Prairie Grass Cafe

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When looking for a restaurant to celebrate Easter, you want to make sure that there's something offered for the entire family to enjoy. Look no further than Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd, Northbrook, IL 60062; 847-205-4433) in Northbrook. Prairie Grass Cafe Brunch 300Chefs Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris have created a buffet experience with something for everyone to enjoy.

Prairie Grass Cafe is known for its sustainable, local and a deliciously healthy focus. Their reasonably priced brunch buffet, at $48 for adults and $18 for children 10 and under, won't disappoint. Guests will enjoy a wide variety of selections, from Prairie Grass Cafe's signature "PGC Benedict" with Poached Egg and Spinach and Roasted Tomato Hollandaise, to an array of salads, savories, creative side dishes, and desserts.  Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Easter Sunday, April 5. Prairie Grass Cafe also will be open for dinner on EasterSunday, offering its regular menu along with specials,
Roasted Lamb Shank with Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Sauteed Fennel ($34), Sauteed Wild Fluke with Seasonal Sides ($32) and Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting ($7.50).
Easter Brunch Menu: April 5th 2015
10 - 2pm    
$48 Adult / $18 Children 10 and under


Every guests starts with our Signature "PGC Benedict" Poached Egg with Spinach, and Roasted Tomato Hollandaise

Buffet
•    Pasta Salad with Watercress Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
•    Marinated Beets with "Capriole Farm" Goat Cheese and Sliced Pears
•    Chopped Greek Salad with Peppers, Cucumbers, Onions, Olives, Feta and Red Wine Oregano Vinaigrette
•    Deviled Farm Eggs
•    Smoked Sturgeon with Cream Cheese, Chives and Candied Red Onions
•    Warm Baked Feta Topped with Thin Slices of Banana Peppers
•    Our Signature Moussaka - Layers of Eggplant, Potato and Braised Lamb topped with Bechamel Sauce
•    Panko and Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauces
•    Sauteed Tilapia with Grapefruit and Capers
•    Fresh "Peekytoe" Crab Cakes over Roasted Tomato Chutney;  Lemon Butter Sauce
•    Crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes with Spicy Aioli Sauce ( Boiled & Fried)
•    Roasted Tri-Color Cauliflower with Spicy Sauce and Bread Crumbs
•    Fennel Raisin Bread, French Baguettes, Multigrain Loaves,
•    Warm Raisin Buns, Cheese and Jam Danish, Chocolate Croissants
•    Applewood Smoked Maple Creek Farm Bacon / Ancho Breakfast Sausage
•    Carved-to-Order Bone-In Glazed Ham
•    Ancho Marinated Skirt Steak
•     "Made to order" Omelet Station
•    Hot Fresh Waffle Station with Maple Syrup

Dessert Buffet
•    Fresh Sliced Ripe Fruit
•    Platter of Berries
•    Crepe Station: Chocolate and Whipped Cream,  Raspberry Jam with Powdered Sugar
•    Double Chocolate Cup Cakes
•    Mom's Homemade Banana Cream Pie
•    Warm Cherry Crumble with Toasted Oat Topping

About Prairie Grass Cafe
Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd.; Northbrook, IL) supports Chicago's Green City Market and local sustainable farms, selecting the freshest ingredients to reflect the season. Prairie Grass Cafe currently serves lunch Monday - Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Sunday through Thursday from5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Prairie Grass Cafe also serves breakfast Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 9:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Light fare is available in the bar Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (847) 205-4433 or visit prairiegrasscafe.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Sunday Brunch: Shaw's Crabhouse

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This Easter Sunday, April 5th, 2015, Shaw's Crab House in Schaumburg is offering both a brunch and dinner buffet that are not to be missed! Priced at $59 for adults and free for kids 12 and younger (limit 2 children per adult), the brunch buffet will feature many Shaw's favorites including a Grand Hot Buffet with Eggs Benedict, Mini Crab Cakes, and Seasonal Fish; a Build-Your-Own Omelet Station; hot delicacies like Golden King Crab, Shucked Oysters, and an EasterSpiral Ham; and the famous Shaw's Sweets Table with an amazing assortment of cookies, cupcakes, and other mini desserts.


Shaw's Schaumburg will continue Easter dining with a spectacular dinner buffet that is not to be missed! The Easter Dinner Buffet includes a Cold Seafood & Salad Bar with Oysters, Shrimp Cocktail, Sushi, and three kinds of salad; Grand Hot Buffet and Chef's Table selections like Lobster Bisque, Beef Tenderloin, Easter Spiral Ham, and delicious vegetable and pasta sides; and, of course, a Sweets Table to round out the meal.


Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 847.517.2722.

Shaw's Crab House, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, features a 1940s-style take on the seafood dining experience, with retro leather banquets, polished wood floors, and Art Deco touches. The Oyster Bar provides a more casual setting for diners and serves up live music five nights a week at the Chicago location. Shaw's- The King of Crab! For more info, call 312.527.2722 (Chicago) or 847.517.2722 (Schaumburg), visit the website at www.shawscrabhouse.com, tweet with The Shaw's Mermaid at www.twitter.com/shellyfromshaws,or keep up on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shawcrabhouse and www.facebook.com/ShawsCrabHouseSchaumburg.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Sunday Brunch: Carnivale

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Carnivale, Latin-fusion restaurant located in the West Loop neighborhood, continues to be one of Chicago's most popular destinations for celebratory occasions including Easter and Mother's Day. In honor of these brunch fueled holidays, signature brunch items will continue into the dinner service, including:


Starters
  • Bacon Wrapped Dates - Marcona almond stuffed date, red endive, Fuji apple, romaine
    lettuce, lavender honey vinaigrette, blue cheese sauce 
  • Catalan Deviled Eggs - Aji Amarillo, capers, pine nuts, apple saba 
Entrees
  • Key Lime French Toast - Key lime stuffed French toast, fresh whipped cream, brown butter, pineapple syrup berries 
  • Huevos Rancheros - Corn tostada, beans, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, chipotle salsa, cilantro, farm fresh eggs 
  • Spain's Benedict - Serrano ham, farm fresh poached eggs, pimento hollandaise, papas bravas, English muffin 
  • Fried Egg Sandwich - Two farm fresh fried eggs, homemade smoked bacon, sliced tomatoes, romaine, aged cheddar, toasted sourdough bread, served with tater tots
Sides
  • House Tater Tots 
  • Homemade Candied Bacon 
  • Homemade Pork Sausage 
"Brunch is such a tradition for Easter and Mother's Day.  People want something familiar, but something special too.  Our guests come back every year for these holidays because they know that Carnivale all about creating a memorable celebration, from our menu to our decor," said executive chef Rodolfo Cuadros.
 


 Carnivale can accommodate large parties. Reservations are recommended by calling (312) 850-5005 or www.carnivalechicago.com/reservations.  
 
About Carnivale:
Carnivale is located at 702 W. Fulton Market in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. Carnivale's Latin-fusion cuisine explores dishes from Central and South America, Cuba, Spain and the Caribbean. Featuring energetic colors, glamour, photography and wild design, Carnivale engages all of the senses with global flavors, Latin music and luxurious comfort. The restaurant boasts private event space perfect for large parties, weddings and special events. Carnivale is open every day from 11:30AM to midnight for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit www.carnivalechicago.com, become a fan on Facebook, and follower on Twitter@Carnivale312

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Sunday Brunch: Roy's Restaurant

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On Easter Sunday, Roy’s Restaurant is offering a spectacular, family-friendly two-course brunch menu at the Chicago location and other Roy's Restaurant locations nationwide. Highlights of the menu include:
Complimentary Housemade Brioche Sticky Bun
Choice of appetizer
Delicious entrée

Full menu details are below. The specialty menu is just $39.95 per person and diners will receive a $20 dining card for use during an upcoming visit to Roy’s.


EASTER BRUNCH

STARTER

APPETIZER

ENTRÉE

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