Author Archives: Kate

Are the Stars Aligned… Er… Michelin Stars I mean…

Tell us what you really think of the Michelin starred restaurants on the forum! Do they deserve the star?

***Three Stars***

**Two Stars**
42 Grams

*One Star*
Band of Bohemia
EL Ideas
Longman & Eagle


The Weight of the Nation: Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic

Yes, you are what you eat.  Lately, I am a whole lot of lettuce, salmon and brown rice. But what are you? HBO in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Health have produced the four-part documentary series about the severity of the obesity crisis. THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION films are part of an unprecedented public health campaign to raise awareness of this epidemic.

Catch the premiere TONIGHT Monday May 14th (Parts 1 and 2) and Tuesday May 15th (Parts 3 and 4) at 8 pm (PT and ET/ 7pm CENTRAL)

They will also be online for free streaming at

THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION FOR KIDS series will also debut its first episode, THE GREAT CAFETERIA TAKEOVER, on Wednesday May 16th at 7 pm (PT and ET).


Foodie Event: UNICEF Taste of Tap

Who: The Unicef Tap Project is joining forces with Chicago Chefs, Dale Levitski of Sprout, Brandon Baltzley of Crux, Ryan Hutmacher of Centered Chef and the NYC-based culinary performer, Micheal Cirino of A Razor, a Shiny Knife.

What: Cooking demonstrations highlighting the use of water, cocktails, small plates and a silent auction. $50 in advance, $75 at the door.  All donations go to UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Cameroon, Mauritanea, Togo, and Vietnam.

Where: Centered Chef Studio | 177 N Ada Suite 101, | Chicago, IL 60607 |
312-226-2433 | Purchase tickets here

When: Friday March 23rd, 7-10pm

Why:  Because you want to help the 783 billion people without access to safe drinking water, you want to save the lives of children, or just because you remember the cryptosporidium outbreak of 1993. If you can’t make it Friday, make sure to donate $1 for your water at one of the participating restaurants in the city, March 19th-25th.


A Quick Bite Review: Pizzeria Bianco

For some reason I imagined Arizona as a scene out of a John Wayne movie, complete with cowboy hats, tumbleweeds and watering holes.  Isn’t Arizona considered a part of the Wild West?  Aren’t there deadly scorpions lingering in your shoes and gun slingers like Doc Holiday sitting at your neighborhood bar? Apparently, things have changed a little.  Today there are new modern concerns such as illegal immigration, and judging by the number of billboards… methamphetamine, oh and don’t forget, potentially poisoned drinking water.

Despite the new urban perils of the wild west, we enjoyed our trip to Arizona. The Grand Canyon, the drive down through Sedona, and all the amazing micro-brews kept us continually amazed. But, hey. Let’s get back to the important stuff.  One of the best wood-oven pizza places in America just happens to be in Phoenix.

Magherita Pizza

The Atmosphere:  

The restaurant is located right off 7th street in Heritage Square in Phoenix, Arizona. A parking lot flanks the rustic spot and a cat sauntered through the arid outdoor seating area on our way in.  The restaurant is small but inviting in an Italian-Cowboyesque kind of way.  The wood burning oven is located on the left and surrounded by a bar. It’s here I would imagine cowboys in their boots and spurs relaxing with a pizza after a hard day’s work… Wooden tables for parties of 4 or less are scattered neatly around the restaurants. They don’t deliver, there is no option for take out and they only take reservations for parties of 6-10.  On a busy day you may have to wait 3 hours, but, for your convenience, you can wait right next door at Bar Bianco.  Luckily there was no wait when we arrived for a post-flight lunch at 2pm.

Caprese Salad – Pizzeria Bianco

The Food:

This is a wood-oven pizza place, with the menu consisting of 2 small plates, 3 salad options, and 6 different pizzas.  This menu has the classic “tell” of a good restaurant it’s one page, no back.  We opted for the classic homemade Mozzarella Salad and Margherita Pizza with a homemade fennel sausage addition from Schreiner’s Fine Sausage.  The “Sonny Boy” also looked tasty, consisting of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami, and gaeta olives.  Honestly… everything on the menu looked good to us.  We paired our pizza with some local Arizona brews, our favorite being the Nimbus A-1 Pilsner.

Our Thoughts:

It was probably one of the best executed wood-oven pizza we have ever had.  The bottom was crispy all the way through and the dough was pretty fantastic.  We loved the fennel sausage addition to our Margherita and would definitely come back the next time we are in town…  Well as long as we don’t have to wait 3 hours that is…

Grand Canyon- Hopi Point

Pizzeria Bianco on Urbanspoon


Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand 2012

Here are the 2012 Bib Gourmand selections for consistently tasty cuisine at a great value.  These restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.  Below you’ll find the 56 restaurants that earned the award…  and on November 15th we’ll find out which restaurants and chefs were awarded 1, 2 or 3 of the coveted Michelin Stars.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Michelin  Guide check out our brief post on its history and our interview with the director.

Ann Sather
Belly Shack
The Bristol
Ceres’ Table
De Cero
Frontera Grill
Gemini Bistro
Gilt Bar
Girl & The Goat
Green Zebra
GT Fish & Oyster
Han 202
Jin Thai
Kabul House
La Creperie
La Petite Folie
Lao Sze Chuan
Los Nopales
Lula Café
M. Henry
Maude’s Liquor Bar
Mixteco Grill
Mundial Cocina Mestiza
Opart Thai House
Owen & Engine
Paramount Room
Perennial Virant
The Publican
The Purple Pig
Raj Darbar
Riccardo Trattoria
Smoque BBQ
Sol de Mexico
Spacca Napoli
Taste of Peru
Thai Village
Twin Anchors
Urban Belly
West Town Tavern
Xni-Pec de Yucatan



Cook County Food Policy Survey

I just wanted to share the information below from the Cook County Food System Survey.  I took the survey(and you should too) because I am personally interested in gardening, composting and how personal gardens may help those families less fortunate put healthy food on their table while also preventing disease.

The Cook County Department of Public Health is proposing the creation of a food policy council for Cook County. The food policy council would be an official committee that explores cross-agency and cross-jurisdictional food issues and makes recommendations to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

As part of this effort, we are asking people who live or work in Cook County to share their opinions on how government laws, rules, ordinances, regulations and programs affect the way we eat, grow, transport, store, process, distribute, sell, or handle food or food waste.

Who should complete this survey?
If you live or work in Cook County and eat, grow, transport, store, process, distribute, sell, or handle food or food waste, we want to hear from you. The survey will be open until September 29, 2011.

How will the results be used?
The survey results will be used to create recommendations on what issues a proposed Cook County food policy council will focus its efforts.

How can I complete the survey?
You can complete the survey online, or to answer this survey in Spanish, please call 708-633-8314; or email Para contester esta encuesta en espanol, favor de llamar a 708-633-8314; o escriba a

So if you have an interest or suggestion, please take the survey!  Better yet….  Attend the meeting to review the survey results and develop recommendations for what the proposed food policy council will do:

Date: October 6, 2011
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Guest speaker: Mark Winne of the Community Food Security Coalition and author of Closing the Food Gap,Food RebelsGuerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas.

Space is limited. Registration is required; due to building security, walk-ins cannot be accommodated. Lunch will be provided.

If you have additional questions, please contact Lara Jaskiewicz at 312-805-8468 or


Nana Organic: A Mac & Cheese Obsession

I contend that Nana has the best Mac and Cheese in Chicago.  I think the term love or obsessed could also describe my feelings toward this truffled mac and cheese.  Well… at least for now.  I should remind you that I am quite fickle and therefore reserve the right to change my mind at any point opting out of any previously spoken words of love.  However, more than once I have woken up dreaming about Nana’s Mac & Cheese or for that matter, their sweet potato beignets or homemade chorizo…  And somehow it has become perfectly reasonable to order said mac n cheese at oh… say… 9:30 AM.  Despite the fact that I think the waiters have dubbed me as the weird girl that orders mac n cheese for breakfast, I will continue to do so until they say no, give me a stern look and send me on my way.  But regardless of whether you prefer mac and cheese for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can find many other dishes or drinks to satisfy your cravings at this inviting organic restaurant.

Tuffle Mac & Cheese

The Atmosphere:

Nana is a family run establishment located on the corner of Halsted and 33rd Street in the Bridgeport neighborhood with ample metered street parking and a bike valet the last Sunday of the month for those choosing a more eco-friendly ride to brunch. You can choose to sit outdoors under umbrellas admist an array of herbs being pruned for your meal or venture indoors to relax in the comfortable modern interior and admire the local artwork on the walls, while keeping an eye on the chef in the open kitchen.

The Food:

It’s local, sustainable organic American comfort food with a Latin flare that tastes good.  Real good.  Other than my favorite breakfast staple, the mac and cheese,  we’ve tried nearly every dish on the menu and have been completely content with our selections.  A few of our favorites are the perfectly fried chicken and waffles, the huevos rancheros with a fantastic poblano crema, or even the basic chicken sandwich.  We are especially fond of their housemade pork chorizo, which always seems so fresh, perfectly seasoned and just a little bit spicy.  The only disclaimer I will provide is that if you are interested in their biscuits and gravy, let me remind you that the gravy is made from duck fat. DUCK! If it is a traditional biscuits and SAUSAGE gravy taste you are looking for, you may find the flavors unexpected as my grandma, who accompanied us on our first trip to Nana, will tell you.  We’ve tried many specials and have always been pleasantly surprised, especially with their fantastic beignets.  We never pass on their beignets.

Nana Organic Fried Chicken Wings

Our Thoughts:

It’s my preferred brunch spot and the place I take all of our out of town guests. When my friend Leah visits Chicago, her one request is brunch at Nana.  I am a big fan of family run establishments that focus on quality organic ingredients that are affordable and accessible to the community in which they serve.   Nana continues to be one of my favorite spots to chillax over dinner, lunch or brunch with family and friends.

Nana on Urbanspoon


Green City Market Annual Chef’s BBQ Benefit

Whoa… this summer is movin fast and I can barely keep up.  Here’s a photo from our latest dining endeavor The Green City Market Chef’s BBQ Benefit in Lincoln Park.  If you missed it this year, make sure you keep it in mind for next year!

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio from Cafe Spiaggia



What We’ve Been Grilling… Kalamata, Caper and Dill Salmon

Every summer we take our recipes to the grill so we can sit out and enjoy the nice weather. Here is a salmon recipe that allowed us to use our fresh dill from the farm!

Kalamata, Caper and Dill Salmon (and meyer lemons)



Kalamata Olives


Fresh Dill

Olive Oil

Meyer Lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Place cleaned salmon on aluminum foil, leaving enough room to fully enclose the salmon.

2. Drizzle olive oil over salmon.

3. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper according to your taste.

4. Place a bed of fresh dill from your garden on top of salmon!

5. Next add a few meyer lemon slices, a handful of capers and sliced kalamata olives.

6.  Enclose salmon, dill, meyer lemons, olives and capers in your aluminum packet and place on grill at ~350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Remember time varies in regards to the thickness of your fish!

7.  Remove your awesome dish from the packet and enjoy!



A Quick Bite Review: Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen

Sometimes you find places by chance.  And on a random trip to the veterinarian a few months back, while two lovebirds shrieked in my ears, I spotted a large sign on Dempster that directed my attention to a retro brick building with large glass windows and a tiny parking lot.  Now a tiny lot is one of the tell-tale signs of a great joint.  If a patron is willing to maneuver their shiny new Mercedes into a precarious position next to a beat up chevy and my aging Honda Civic with nothing more than inches to spare, you know the stuff here has got to be good.

Kaufman’s Jewish Deli

The Atmosphere:

It’s a local spot right off Dempster, if you miss the entrance, you’ll have to circle around and make another go at it.  Upon entering you are greeted with day old bake goods at ridiculously low prices.  As you near the register you can eye-up their bagel selection and then check out the bakery display cases, that are  filled with everything from ruggalach to coffee cake.  And as if that wasn’t enough, head left into the deli where you grab a number and peruse the specialty items while you wait to be called by the friendly staff.  Kaufman’s serves a diverse population, some patrons are from the community and have been going to Kaufman’s since they were children.  Others like me randomly stopped by and now find themselves returning from the city to satisfy their hunger.  If you’re lucky you can grab one of the four seats overlooking the parking lot.  If not, be prepared to take your food to go.

Kaufman's Bagel Selection


The Food:

You know, I don’t even know where to begin. They have a variety of breads, bagels, cakes, cookies, sweets and rolls. There is such a variety of goods from the bakery, I like to try something new each time. A few of my favorites are the: cinnamon twist… sweet and doughy,  the cream cheese danish… rich and so fresh, and the Irish Soda Bread… its seasonal, and quite possibly the best I have ever had.  If you want their amazing chive cream cheese with your bagel, you’ll have to head to the deli.  If you’re not into sweets or bread, the deli has pretty much anything else you might need.  I nearly died when I found out I could have all the fat trimmed off my corned beef.  They have 4 different cuts of corned beef and you can request it hot or cold!  They have a variety of specialty sandwiches to choose from, but my favorite is a take on the reuben, super-trim corned beef, swiss cheese and fresh cabbage slaw on rye.  If you’re concerned that your heaping sandwich won’t be enough to conquer your hunger… add a knish,  Matzah Ball Soup, or some potato pancakes.

Kaufman's Deli, Skokie


Our Thoughts:

I may not be a New-Yorker, but I am a fan of this Chicago Jewish Deli and its incredible bakery.  It’s refreshing to see a responsible family run establishment from the 1950’s that still prides themselves on quality products and producing items in house.

Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen | 4905 W Dempster | Skokie IL 60077 | 847.677.6190 |

Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon