Mafia Mondays – Seeing Red Violet

FoodMafia CEO and Founder Stacy Johnson is a lover of good eats. Being a Godfather of all things tasty, when she says consulting Chef Gene Kato’s newly launched menu at Red Violet is excellent, you know she is speaking the truth.

This was an excellent dinner. The food, the service, the setting, and the company!

To start we tried the ginger mojito and lychee mimosa. Both were good. We were given raw garden vegetables with chinese miso dip. A nice lite and healthy way to start. We tried the hamachi carpaccio with ginger, chive, chinese vinegar and crispy shallots. My favorite were the tuna tacos, tuna tartar in a taro shell topped with avocado and pea sprout salad. I love this, they did not skimp on the tuna!

Our next course was the diver scallop salad with poached scallop, zucchini, and sichuan pepper dressing. By the look of it I wasn’t sure how much I would like it but the dish was excellent, especially the scallops. We also had the Tea Smoked Duck Breat served with black garlic soy and hot mustard. The duck was good.

Next we had the Calamari which was a huge hit at the table. Made out of cuttlefish, it isn’t your typical calamari. The wok fried pork dumpling served with xo sauce was good. Maybe a little salty for my taste but good. The steamed bun was great with the soy briased pork belly, pickled daikon and hoisin sauce.

We then had the Wonton Soup. The presentation for the soup was great. It had a shanton broth with duck dumpling, black tip mushrooms, and fried ginger.

We then had the fish course, flash fried bass served with pepper sauce, mushrooms, and pea sprouts. The fish was cooked well with a fun presentation.

Then we moved to the gift wrap salt steamed chicken with shitake mushroom and ginger scallion. It is served in a plstic bag that you unwrap to expose the food. The ginger scallion was my favorite but the black bean sauce was also good.

For the Filet Mignon, it was wok seared with pistachio, spring onion, spicy soy glaze served over a potato baked bread basket


The Chocolate Symphony had an amazing presenation and you tasted different flavors and textures each time you had a bit. The almond Panna Cotta was good. Not sure I would order it again comepared to the other two but I did really like the almond cookie itself. The Tea & Doughnuts were AMAZING. White chocolate-lychee filled doughnuts, served with black tea semifreddo. The presentation and the food were great!

Some of the drinks were on the sweeter side but I always like a Lychee Martini (without the pineapple juice), it takes me back to drinking them in China!

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

Babes Love Bubbles

For most of my friends in Chicago Le Colonial is a home away from home, where Nikki knows your name, and we all go to have a great time in their cozy second floor lounge.  Each year we have our girlfriend holiday lunch, (and this was most likely the 6th, but who is counting) of bubbles and fun with Moët & Chandon Imperial.


Icy cold Moët & Chandon.  (Photo credit Tasya Menaker)

Of all the dishes at Le Colonial – this is my favorite – chicken fried rice with a side of Sriracha.

Need I say more …

This was a three course luncheon – with many classic dishes as well as some newer ones Director of Operations Jen Hansen wanted us all to try.  The classic Bo Bia – soft salad rolls. (Photo Credit Tasya Menaker)

Cheers to the Babes Jen Hansen and Kimberly Burt!

And special thanks to Peggy Lanigan for the bubbles!

And here’s to a great holiday season!

Prost! at Pierrot Gourmet

The Schnitzel Mission continues – and perfect timing with Oktoberfest.  Chef Kai Lerman’s Oktoberfest Menu at Pierrot Gourmet at The Peninsula in Chicago celebrates in authentic splendor, with the entire room recreated into a German/Austrian Brau Haus.  And this menu runs through the end of the month, so steins can be raised at least EINZ more time!

A Spaten and a Hacker-Pschorr in LARGE glass steins.


Wiener Schnitzel - veal schnitzel, potato salad, lingon berries and mustard.


Braumeister Teller – Swiss brat, sauerkraut, potato salad and mustard.  This sausage was oozing with chessy goodness.


And to end the meal, we got to sample the macarons the hotel is known for, as we decided to forego the Black Forest cake – until next time!


Heaven On Earth

After sampling almost the entire cocktail menu at NoMI Garden in Chicago over the weekend, Chef Ryan La Roche sent us one of the best delicacies in the entire world.  Jamon Iberico de Bellota.  Glistening with delicious fat, reminiscent of all my trips to Spain, but specifically a trip to The Basque region, where you really just can’t get enough.

This ham is acorn fed (bellota) with a creamy nutty flavor, as these pigs are fed nothing but acorns. Served with a traditional pan com tomate (tomato bread) which you really didn’t need because the ham was pig perfect.

Speaking of, for a great “foodie novel” about the quest for the perfect ham, I recommend Pig Perfect, by Peter Kaminsky, it’s a meaty read.  He ends up with Jamon Iberico as his prize, and so did we in the glorious outdoors of the NoMI Garden.

Thanks Ryan!


*Guest Razzi – Jimmy Wetzel is a SMASH!

Jimmy’s pic of this shrimp and seafood from Maude’s Plateaux brings sexy back …

Maude’s Liquor Bar is a favorite spot for all my foodie friends, they craft the coldest and tastiest seafood tower.  Jimmy is also a fan of the SMASH cocktails on the menu, he will often twitter about them, as well as his other favorite watering hole, Big Star.

Perhaps we will be there tonight?  Right, @jimmywetzel (on twitter)?

*Guest Razzi – Debi Lilly in Paris

Oh so jealous Debi Lilly is in Paris for five weeks with her family, and taking cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu.  When visiting the City of Lights, we both share a favorite restaurant – Chez Georges on Rue de Mail.  It’s homey in feel, yet very authentic and traditional in technique and sauces.

Coeur de filet de bouef, avec frites et Bernaise.  Best spent 29 euros possible citywide.  Is that a rose spotted as well?

For more on Debi’s adventures, especially while she is in Paris –