Fun on Wheels

Meals On Wheels Chicago’s Celebrity Chef Ball celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year – and it was such a night to remember.  Meals on Wheels Chicago provides funding to programs that support home-bound senior citizens and people with disabilities, allowing them to continue to live independently in their own homes, with dignity and self-respect.

We totally lucked out at the dinner and were assigned a rock star team at our table including Chef Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse, Chef Aaron Browning of Tavernita, Chef Jeffrey Mauro of JAM, Pastry Chef Dana Cree of Blackbird, Revae Schneider of Femme du Coupe and our hostess with the mostess Liz Grossman with Plate Magazine.  They all made our dinner special – and we had the chance to chit chat and watch them as they prepared the meal.

We started out with Artichoke-Ricotta Raviolis with Olives, Piquillo Peppers and Saffron from Chef Aaron Browning.

A signature dish from Chef Gresh at David Burke’s Primehouse – Surf & Turf dumplings: Lobster with Charred Lemon Chutney and Beef Shortrib with Spicy Mustard.  He was even kind enough to pass around seconds of this crowd pleaser.

One of my all time favorite dishes, the 55-day Dry Aged Rib Eye from David Burke’s Primehouse, cooked to perfection.

And of course there were great photos and PIC (partners in crime) Kiki Luthrighausen and Lorin Adolph. Not to mention #billytisthebest scored us a great food trip to San Francisco from the silent auction, with an amazing dinner at SPQR and a signed book from Chef Matthew Accarino - we’ll be seeing you soon!

The event was also sponsored by William Grant & Sons, so the mixology team was really put to the test and created unique cocktails from the William Grant portfolio. Revae made this one in particular with Sailor Jerry. It was so good we had to have two.

Sarriette

1.75oz Sailor Jerry

.75oz Lemon Juice

.75oz Ginger Zest

.75oz Lustau Rio Viejo Oloroso

Glass wash Combier Kummel

2 Dashes Regan’s Orange

Full list of participating Chefs and Sponsors

The Scout Guide Chicago Blog: Life on The Farm

One of my favorite blogs and publications is The Scout Guide Chicago. I crave the creative content and love spending time with my friend and publisher, the ever-stylish Meredith Wood-Prince.

She asked me to guest blog about my recent trip to Blackberry Farm, which was the trip of a lifetime, in every way imaginable.  My boyfriend and I road-tripped to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and may have had the best travel experience ever.  We loved everything about Blackberry Farm – from the service to the wine selections to the Saison made on premise.  And I couldn’t eat enough Benton’s Country Ham or Bacon.

TheFoodarazzi guest post from The Scout Guide Chicago:

#FOODLOVE at Blackberry Farm

Guest blogger Amanda Puck of TheFoodarazzi.com gives Scout Guide the inside scoop on Blackberry Farm.

This past summer I was the luckiest girl in the world and had the best vacation in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee at Blackberry Farm. The farm is situated on an abundant 9,200 acres of spectacular scenery and offers some of the world’s finest wines and cuisine. Blackberry Farm was named “The Best Food Lover’s Hotel in America” by Bon Appetit and rated “#1 Resort” by Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. After reading about it in Bon Appetit, my boyfriend and I were determined to make it there.  The article had us hooked with the mention of their fried chicken to-go that could eat on the way back home when your vacation was sadly over!

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The breathtaking views had me whipping out my phone to snap the scenery nearly every step we took. The sustainable farm produces their own vegetables, wild flower honey, farm-fresh eggs and artisan cheeses from East Friesian sheep.  You can even fly-fish on the grounds.  As a truffle fanatic, I immediately fell in love with the “Truffle Dogs” who were being trained to hunt for truffles they are planning to grow at a nearby orchard.

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Blackberry Farm’s renowned “Foothills Cuisine” features both haute cuisine and foods indigenous to its Smoky Mountain heritage. Executive Chef of The Barn Joseph Lenn and his team were so inviting, which made for amazing and relaxing meals. The Barn was an exquisite space, truly magical, well designed, open and elegant.  A few of my favorite dishes included a creamy chicken liver pate with farm fresh blueberries, their famous fried chicken and of course, every morning was no complete without Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham with poached egg and heirloom tomato. As much as I love food, I certainly love wine. Blackberry Farm’s impressive wine list and gorgeous wine cellar did not disappoint. So whether you’re a food lover or a wine connoisseur, Blackberry Farm is the perfect haven.

Thanks to Ashley Boll and Nicole Donnelly for the graphics and help with the piece!

My Staten Island Roots

It is something that can’t be helped if you are an Italian from Staten Island. Pizza is in your DNA. You are passionate about it, would profess it to be your last meal, and always crave just even one slice.  On the Island, my favorite is Joe and Pats. Thankfully, my best friend lives just a few blocks away, so when I visit we get it delivered, pop-in for dinner, or may just run in for a snack.

When I found out the owner of Joe and Pats son, AJ Pappalardo, opened Rubirosa several years ago, it has been on my list to try it.  Tucked away in Nolita, Rubirosa is charming, friendly and most of all, a delicious find.  On a recent work trip, a colleague and I sat outside for 20 minutes, just to be sure we would get a table right at 11:30.

Our server suggested we do a half Supreme (tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, mini meatball and roasted garlic) and half Vodka sauce with fresh mozzarella.  We devoured it, but saved room for cannolis.  My Nonna would have been proud.  See you next time Rubirosa!