Mafia Mondays – Fusions in Peru

Going to Peru? Just like Food Mafia

Susan Gilman is a Food Mafia Godfather who recently visited Lima, Peru. Below is an overview of her trip and links to all of her Peruvian reviews. Check out more from Susan’s blog, Food Euphoria.

My kids and I just got back from Peru where we were part a small group arranged and hosted by Liz Caskey of Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences. We loved Peru. The people are very friendly, the cuisine is world class and this country should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Peru has a rich culture and history that includes the influences of several nationalities and regions. The food in Peru is considered to be some of the best cuisine in the world and arguably the best in South America with a mix of immigrant and indigenous influence including Japanese, Italian, French, African, Basque, British, Chinese and Andean.  The Japanese influence created fusion cuisine known as Nikkei, a combination of sushi and ceviches. The celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa who opened his first restaurant in Peru is well known for his unique improvisation incorporating South American and Japanese ingredients. Dining in Peru is a major highlight when visiting this beautiful country.

Depending on the region you are in, one can find traditional dishes as well dishes that incorporate the influences of the country’s immigrants. There is the traditional ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice, pachamanca (meat and vegetables cooked in the ground with hot stones), soups, stews, meats, corn dishes, guinea pig, poultry, seafood and the use of aji chili peppers as well as a wide variety of fruits, tubulars and vegetables. Wines of Peru are becoming more popular as more wines are exported, but Pisco is abundant and everyone makes Pisco Sours differently depending on where you are or who your bartender or mixologist is. The culinary possibilities are endless and Peru is fast becoming a major culinary destination. It is no longer a well-kept secret!

We stayed at the Miraflores Park Hotel in Lima. Beautiful hotel located in the upscale Miraflores district on the Pacific Ocean, near great restaurants and a large outdoor mall and park. It never rains in Lima. The morning mist provides moisture for foliage and lifts so there is some afternoon sun. I have added Lima to my list of cities I could happily live in.


El Pez Amigo

Recommended Dishes: Popurri de Mariscos, calamari, conch, baby shrimp with lime, red onion, red peppers, cilantro and large corn, pisco sour



Recommended Dishes: Grilled Grouper Ceviche, Sole Ceviche, Goat with Rice



Canta Rana

Recommended Dishes: Oysters with onions, Ceviche



Recommended Dishes: Tuna and sweet potato, Lentils with olive sauce, Ceviches


Mesa 18 by Toshiro

Recommended Dishes: Special rolls, delicious shrimp fried rice, sashimi, eggplant with pork, tempuras


Recommended Dishes: Thai chicken wings, Guinea Pig, Mussels tempura, Tamarind yellow fin tuna ceviche, Veal cheeks with penne



Recommended Dishes: Duck balls, Fish with crispy rice, White fish tiradito, Pasta stuffed with cabbage an pork, Eggplant with pork, Maki




Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.


*Guest Razzi – Jason Erkes gets Some Ideas

Food loving friend Jason Erkes from Chicago Sport and Social Club WOWED me with these photos.

He was celebrating a birthday at El Ideas at 14th and Western – which seats 18 people and the cooks prepare and serve you one of a kind dishes.  The pork belly and morel mushrooms dishes look like they would be my favorites – yours?

“Breakfast” – and it is licked off the plate.

Halibut with corn, avocado and lime.

Shrimp with kohlrabi and capers.

Fries and ice cream.

In action.

Pork belly with navy beans, kimchi and scallion.

Morel mushrooms.

Beef with broccoli, lemon and sesame.

Ahoy #VCRaceToMac

On Saturday, July 21st, we were on board “The Perfect Lady,” ready to see The Parade of Boats launch for the 140th Race to Mackinac, sponsored by Veuve Clicquot.  And what a gorgeous sight it was – as we got to sip chilled Veuve Clicquot among friends, gossip and see the sails!


Gourgeres, French for “cheese puffs,” are one of my favorite things to pair with Veuve Clicquot.  Très Français!


Mixture of delicious baguette sandwiches – and we all loved those flags!  All the yachting fare was courtesy of Camille Parker from Le Cordon Bleu.


And of course – The Veuve!


The Perfect Lady – all aboard!

Now, somebody pass The Veuve please – I didn’t have enough!

Check it out on Glossed & Found!

Mafia Mondays – RPM

Love at first site!  That’s what Food Mafia’s Goodfella LindseyC was feeling on her visit to RPM.

“In case you were wondering, yes I took the time to translate “love at first sight” in Italian on my computer for the title of this post, I mean serious business. I brought my family here last weekend who happens to be Italian and with that have some serious standards for cookin’. They are STILL raving about their experience at RPM. We started off with the provolone-stuffed peppers and a plate of the spicy capicola, if you do not order these upon arrival I will be personally offended. They are unbelievably tasty with just the right amount of kick. For my main entree the server recommended several dishes, but my heart was set on the Spicy King Crab Squid Ink Spaghetti. I was very impressed with the amount of crab and surprisingly the portion size! They give you just the right amount and not too much which I feel like a lot of restaurants have lots sight of. My dad ordered the classic Spaghetti and Meatball and my step-mom decided on the Maine Lobster Ravioli…both of which were outstanding! Not to mention our service was some of the best I’ve had in Chicago…RPM was definitely a success!”

Spicy Capicola

Spicy King Crab Pasta

Provolone Stuffed Peppers

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

Rouge Haute Nuit

Last night was a HOT time, and by HOT I mean a haute wine soiree at Maude’s Liquor Bar, celebrating the launch of Clos du Bois Winery’s newest wine, Rouge, along with Clos du Bois stylish Winery Ambassador, Katie Lee, and Winemaker Gary Sitton.

There were can-can dancers robed in red performing “Lady Marmalade”.  And somehow my friends and I missed the French-themed caricature artist.

Maude’s Liquor Bar served classic French bites including pomme frites, herb butter ribeye, country terrine with whole grain mustard, Delice de Bourgogne with strawberry preserves, shrimp cocktail, steak tartare, and chocolate mousse with maldon sea salt, to pair perfectly with Clos du Bois Rouge.  They also had some Clos du Bois chilled Chardonnay on hand – which was quite refreshing for the steamy season.

Clos du Bois Rouge (Photo Credit: Jeff Schear, Getty Images)

Maude’s gorgeous shrimp cocktail (Photo Credit: Jeff Schear, Getty Images)

Country Terrine with Whole Grain Mustard

Maude’s Steak

Himalayan Salt Rock Grilling at David Burke’s Primehouse

Looking for the new culinary trend? David Burke’s Primehouse Executive Chef Rick Gresh is on top of it! He’s cooking with Himalayan salt blocks for the new lunch menu. Items will be grilled, broiled, or heated on the blocks and served to perfection! Want to try cooking with salt rocks yourself? Check out the recipe below from Rick Gresh himself for a delicious summer dish, Roasted Broccoli.  Read more ways to bring thrill of the grill back in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Roasted Broccoli

Citrus, Manchego cheese, chilies and mint

2 heads Broccoli, cut into flat ¾” thick pieces
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 oz Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded
½ oz Sherry vinegar
1 ea Orange, zest half, then peel and supreme
1 ½ tsp Red chili flakes or Korean chili threads
1 tbsp Mint chiffonade
1 ½ oz Extra virgin olive oil
as needed Black pepper
as needed Himalayan salt block (Avalible at Sur La Table,, Whole Foods and William Sonoma)

1. Preheat the salt block on the stove over medium high heat for 20-30 minutes.

2. Toss broccoli in olive oil and place on the hot salt flat side down. Cook until browned slightly, flip over and cook the other side until browned and tender.

3. Remove and cut into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl.

4. Add the orange zest, orange supremes, chili, mint, sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper. Toss together, adjust seasoning and place on a serving platter. Top with the Manchego cheese.


Mafia Mondays – Q-ing it up

Summer is a great time for BBQ – and Chicago Q is this week’s feature from our friends at Food Mafia!

Food Review by GoodFella ErinD.

“Champion Chef Lee Ann Whippen’s creations are absolutely mind blowing, even down to the “bread basket” of House-made Bread and Butter Pickles and BBQ Chips you receive at the start of your meal. Whippen’s uses her father’s original BBQ dust on the many of her dishes including the chips. For lunch there is a terrific deal with an individual half appetizer, a main dish and side, as well as a dessert. Chicago q is the perfect place to stop in on a lunch break or during a day out in the city!”

Bread and Butter Pickles and Chips

“We were able to sample a number of different dishes on the menu and every single one was amazing. The Bacon Cheddar Hushpuppies were a spicy version of a classic southern dish with a very creamy mayo dipping sauce. I was in love with the BBQ Shrimp appetizer. The shrimp are all huge, topped with Whippen’s family bbq dust, sitting on top of huge pile of delicious and citrusy lemon-infused grits.”

Bacon Cheddar Hushpuppies

“With your main course, you get four very different types of BBQ sauce to flavor your amazingly lean meat. While they were all great, I adored the Easter North Carolina Vinegar Based sauce. It was perfect if you want something with a nice kick but that isn’t too heavy. I would highly advise choosing the Poblano Cheese Cornbread as your side. It’s nice and creamy with a very subtle spicy aftertaste. Of the extra sides, I would say the Bruleed Macaroni and Cheese is a must have. The Braised Greens with bacon bits are also delicious especially if you’re more of a veggie lover.”

BBQ sauces

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich

Bruleed Macaroni and Cheese

Braised Greens

“Now, normally I pass on desserts but anyone in their right mind would be remiss to do that at Chicago q. While the Chocolate Mousse with Pretzel Crust was very light and the sweet and salty flavors complimented each other amazingly, I couldn’t stop talking about the Mixed Berry Crisp for days. At first I thought the warm mixed berries were somewhat unusual but it was phenomenal and it was topped by granola pieces. This was my favorite part of the meal and is a seasonal dessert so get in quick!”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.

I love Ashore thing

I can picture it now … the summer sun rises high over a crowd clad in seersucker and nautical stripes, and Navy Pier’s iconic view of Lake Michigan frames the sailboats ready to catch the wind.

Come join the excitement on Saturday, July 21st at Ashore Thing, presented by Michigan Avenue Magazine and the Chicago Yacht Club. Take part in the official viewing party for the Parade of Boats, as the 104th Annual Race to Mackinac kicks off! Send off the sailors while enjoying a glass of Veuve Clicquot and sip Belvedere Bloody Mary’s while you watch the yachts set sail.
Indulge in a festive picnic lunch created by Phil Stefani, which includes a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot, champagne flutes, assorted cheeses and crackers, sandwiches, and other delicious treats. The picnic baskets are available for pre-order no later than July 18th through, and will be available for pick up at the event.


Ashore Thing, 10:30 AM–1:30 PM

East end of Navy Pier
Event attendance is open to the public
Picnic lunches and cocktails are available for purchase
To pre-order a picnic basket, please visit

Mafia Mondays – Taiyo One on!

This review is by  Ms. FoodMafia herself!  Stacy Johnson.  I have been eyeing Sushi Taiyo for months, since I am usually spotted at David Burke’s Primehouse and The James. What I did not know – was that it was owned by the same group as Rise up on Southport and Shine.  The creative sushi at Rise is crave worthy – and so are the dishes at Sushi Taiyo, as Stacy and we experienced before going to see Magic Mike. ;)

“I have always liked Rise sushi, especially their scallop tempura roll, so it is great to have a downtown option by the owners of both Rise and Shine.

The salmon sashimi was great and I have always enjoyed the tuna tartar. The tuna tartar reminds me of a tuna poke dish with a creamy sesame sauce. This was the first time I tried the ginzo roll and the great thing about it is that for a specialty roll, it is very light, and it is made with steamed lobster!!”

“They also do delivery!” (TheFoodarazzi is really interested in that!)

Mouth Watering Salmon Sashimi

Tuna Tartar - fresh ahi tuna tossed with a light sesame cream dressing served with rice crisps.

Ginza Roll – steamed lobster, spicy mayo, cucumber, jalapeno topped with tobiko and wasabi tobiko.

“Executive Chef Ming San, brings his extraordinary knowledge of Asian cuisine to Sushi Taiyo, with his expertly crafted dishes that have paired simple yet complex flavors, to provide its guests with classic while innovative Asian cuisine. Sushi Taiyo is owned by long-time Chicago restaurateurs, Jeff Zhang and Sandy Yu, who also brought Rise Sushi & Sake Lounge and Shine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar to Chicago.”

Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.