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.


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


Sometimes I really luck out.  One of my friends was in town for the day, and asked me to join him at a dinner.  I said I would – but only if it was somewhere good.  And it was GREAT!

Industry fave Steelite International hosted an amazing private dinner at Publican Quality Meats. The service was astounding – cocktails were being mixed such as the South Side, and great wines were being poured. We missed taking a picture of the Fluke Crudo with Clemetines and Pine Nuts because we all devoured it. We also were entertained by and got to chat with Foodie-lebrity Farmer Lee Jones.


The rest of the amazing menu:

Little Gem Salad with Crispy Pig Ears, Radishes and Buttermilk Vinaigrette.  The pig ears were so crispy, spicy and addicting. Note: I also ate the pig ears off the plate of the guy sitting next to me.  He didn’t want to finish them, and I just couldn’t handle that.

Whole roasted Red Grouper with Melted Leeks Vinaigrette.  This dish was a show stopper.

Farm Chicken with Summer Sausage and Fries.  The best dish at Publican – and reminds me of Paris.

Grilled Country Ribs with Mojo Verde, Swiss chard and Fried Shallots.  No angst, just Mojo.

Special thanks to John from Steelite for including me in the fun!


You know you’re having a great afternoon when it starts off with a roadie.  A roadie of Hennessy V.S. muddled into a perfect concotion – and portable to board a first class party bus to tour the best street art in Chicago.  The occasion was the collaboration of Hennessy enlisiting revolutionary street artist Futura to design a limited edition bottle, a collaboration they do often with artists.


Roadie in a pink solo cup.

There’s Always Thyme 
1.5 oz Hennessy VS 
1 oz thyme apricot honey syrup
.75 oz fresh lemon juice 
Dash of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters 
Splash of Amaretto 
Garnish with rehydrated apricot and fresh thyme sprig 
Method: Add all liquids to a shaker tin with ice.  Shake until well chilled.  Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a rehydrated apricot from the syrup, and a fresh sprig of thyme. 


After our street art tour (more on that on FB if you are interested), we headed to The Storefront Company for bites and a chance to meet Futura.  The food blew us way.  They presented an elaborate cheese board, with my personal favorite as the centerpiece – epoisse.  All the cheeses were served at the perfect temperature with a whisper shaving of bread, so you could really enjoy the creamy flavor.


Beet cured Salmon and other house made sausages and meats.


A grown up slider with pork belly and a quail egg.


Pate de fruits.


Futura’s limited edition bottle – with fun graffiti stickers from Pawn Works.

The Smash – Hennessy V.S. with Blueberries, Fresh Lemon, Elderflower and Mint.

The Beautiful – Hennessy V.S. and Grand Marnier.  Simple.


And just for fun – my favorite shot from the tour.

A cool video on Futura.

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!

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

Prosciutto of Happiness

We celebrated our Ham Independence with Chef Tony Mantuano at Bar Toma along with Herb Eckhouse visiting from La Quercia.  Herb has been making award winning hams and prosciutto in Iowa since 2005.  It’s the kind of thing when I see La Quercia products on a menu – let’s just say I get kind of excited!


Pig Banners.


Herb himself showing off the the acorn edition ham.  The pigs were fed acorns, resulting in a richer and nuttier flavor similar to Spanish ham.


Lucky for us Cathy Mantuano picked all the wines for the pairings, inlcuduing this Scarpetta Rose Spumante.


The best pizza on the menu – the DOTTORE with La Quercia prosciutto, arugula and mozzarella.


“Acorns have been associated with superior dry cured meat for centuries, and we are proud to be the first to bring this tradition to the United States.  For the last three months of their lives, the fortunate Acorn Edition pigs eat a diet of 60% acorns. We generally buy the whole pigs, so in late fall, we begin the traditional country cycle of curing as many cuts of meat as possible. The aging rooms fill with guanciale, coppa, lonza, lardo, pancetta, prosciutto, spallacia, and even a few sausages. Throughout the next twenty four months, each item is meticulously cured and released to our customers, culminating in the crown jewel of cured pork: acorn-fed prosciutto!” – La Quercia


Hamming it up – it was such a great night and fun to meet Herb from La Quercia.

Urban Brunch Series

Gilt City Chicago sure knows how to throw a great party.  The Urban Brunch Series was created in conjunction with Gilt City and Barista Prima Coffeehouse - an exclusive collection of the world’s finest Arabica coffees roasted in the tradition of Europe’s most celebrated coffee houses for the Keurig and Keurig Vue single cup brewing systems.   Superstar Chef Mindy Segal from Hot Chocolate was on hand to pair a fabulous brunch with the brews for 70 guests.  They arrived in Ubers, had photos taken with Postagram and sipped coffee and Fantinel Prosecco bubbles!  We all felt like we were on vacation with the live tunes, courtesy of the People’s Music School.  

Designed for the passionate coffee lover, Barista Prima was brewing coffee all morning long.

Everyone was going crazy for Chef Mindy’s Strawberry-Rhubarb bellinis.

Croissant Wrapped House-Made Breakfast Sausages with Maple Syrup.

Quiche is WAY cool – with English Peas, Gunthorp Farm’s Ham and Roth Kase Gruyere.

Petite Brioche French Toast, Lemon Curd, and Preserved Klug Farm Bluleberries.

Hamming it UP!

And compliments of Barista Prima – we all get our own brewers at home.  I cannot wait to brew more Barista Prima Coffeehouse coffee at home using my new brewer!

All photos courtesy of Francis Son.

The brunch kicked off the Gilt City Chicago Insider Sale.

Bacon Wishes & Pork Belly Dreams

Baconfest was baconly. Over 50 tastes of crispy pork heaven were served during the bustling dinner portion of the event. Generous beer samples from Greenbush and PBR. Here are some highlights …


Paulina Market’s Cream of Smoked Bacon Soup served in a mini baguette.


Sweet Baby Rays Mississippi Bacon Teasers. Sweet and salty. Their Porchetta Cubano was also great.


694 Wine & Spirits. Their Kick Ass BLT. And it did just that.


Kudos to Mark Steuer from The Bedford for these Bacon Beignets with Bacon Sugar.


Trevor Hoyte from IPO always makes his tastings look great. Sous Vide Pork Belly with Popcorn Pudding, Pickled Ramps and Spicy Chicharrone.


I hate to pick a fave. But this Vanilla Bacon Bourbon Milkshake was delicious from Three Aces. My boyfriend had 3, coincidentally.




Toni Roberts from The Wit and her brilliant arena for foraging bacon truffles in a terroir of cookie crumbles.


Sixteen‘s sophisticated Milk Chocolate and Smoked Brown Sugar Tarts from the always gorgeous Sarah Kosikowski. We made room for those.


Jason Paskewitz from Gemini Bistro crisped the competition with Bacon x 3. Hand rolled porchetta ravioli with crispy pancetta chip and warm bacon vinaigrette.


And finally Black Dog Gelato’s Whiskey Bacon Pops.

On the exit we still smelled of bacon, lucky for us.