Beautiful Mochi at Itto Sushi in Chicago!

I have enjoyed Itto Sushi for years.

And after a few years living outside of Chicago, I was happy to see that one of my favorite spots for great food was still around.

Located in Lincoln Park, Itto is favored by locals.

It’s not at all scene-y or flashy but far enough off the beaten path to not be bothered by hype or tourists!

All of the food is fantastic, authentic with a few twists and turns.

Check out these deep fried sushi rolls.

And one of my favorites, unagi.

But today it was all about the mochi!

Green tee, mango, strawberry and vanilla.

Not just delicious; look at how pretty these are!

I simply worked my way to dessert and enjoyed every sweet spoonful!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes for Brunch at Prairie Fire in Chicago!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

These pancakes were the star of the show.

Fragrant Lemon; light and fluffy, golden and warm with just a hint of sweetness!

Lemon Ricotta pancakes were heaven.

We shared these like dessert.

Smoked Salmon Benedict Two Poached Eggs, Smoked Salmon and English Muffin with Herb and Lemon Hollandaise

Brunch with wonderful friends in Chicago found us at Prarie Fire in the Loop.

A comfy and cozy atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon was a perfect backdrop for delicious food and yummy morning cocktails!

This is a comfort food hangout with a sophisticated twist.

Signature PGC Benedict Two Poached Eggs over Sautéed Spinach, Crumbled Bacon and English Muffin Roasted Tomato Hollandaise

Greek Omlette Feta, Tomato, Spinach and Onion

Look at how fluffy and moist this omlette is!

Fresh Raspberry Preserves and Whole Wheat Toast

The raspberry flavor was so fresh and…..raspberry-y!

This is a great brunch spot.

A must see when in Chicago!

Lunch at Fred’s at the top of Barney’s in Chicago!

What a gorgeous sunny day in Chicago!

What better to do than lunch and shop on a crispy cool Spring day?!

Where better to go for both than Barney’s and Fred’s?!

A seat next to the window with a glorious view of the Gold Coast was the perfect way to enjoy this beet and goat cheese salad!

Fred’s is a cool upscale spot which features organic and local food as much as possible.

The atmosphere is pure Gold Coast; Comfortable luxury!

The salmon was wild caught, tender and juicy.

The spinach was perfectly cooked and flavorful.

This is a great combination.

I can eat salmon and spinach everyday!

The avocado and tomato salsa made this the absolutely perfect meal for me!

All my favorites on one plate with green onion, too!

Very fresh. Delicious!

My honey had the linguine with clams in a very light tomato sauce.

This dish was garlicky and spicy.

Absolutely fantastic!

We were both jockying between the two plates trying to decide which was better.

It was a tie.

We were so full!

But that did not stop us from completely cleaning our plates!

Of course, we walked around Michigan Avenue for a while.

I shopped, he tried to stop me from shopping, and so it went until we stumbled on Tavern on Rush……..

The Biggest Piece of Chocolate Cake, Ever! at Tavern on Rush in Chicago!

The waiter warned me and I just assumed he was a wimp. A supermodel in waiter clothing.

How could he think for a moment that I could not finish a piece of cake?!

It was just lovely! and HUGE indeed!

There was no finishing this cake but it was spectacular!

Not too sweet, moist and a chocolate buttercream landscape of heaven!

It was a brisk and windy Chicago day and we spent it on the patio of Tavern on Rush, sipping coffee and nibbling on this cake!

There was people watching and the luxury of a carefree afternoon with my loved one.

A small pool of creme Anglais, fresh strawberrries and a delicate chocolate sauce created the perfect balance of flavor and texture!

Look at this! From every angle a monument to yumminess!

I can’t wait to go back and do it all over again!

Spacca Napoli in Chicago for Authentic Neapolitan Pizza and Beautiful Cheeses!

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Spacca Napoli on West Sunnyside in Chicago is the home of beautiful fresh ingredients, bufala mozzarella and huge wood burning pizza ovens.

035spacca napoli

“Spaccanapoli” is the old quarter and heart of Naples, Italy.
Naples is famed as the birthplace of pizza.

039spacca napoli

Mesculin greens with a light balsamic dressing.

041spacca napoli

The special today; mozzarella bufala with olive oil and sea salt.

048spacca napoli

This didn’t last very long and it worth the trip for the cheese alone!

050spacca napoli

Pizza is wood fired and thin crust.

054spacca napoli

Fresh ingrediants and light sauce create a heavenly balance of flavors.

056spacca napoli

Sushi on the Go!

021 yue sun chicago

Literally moving sushi!

023sushi on the go

On a conveyor belt…..

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“I Love Lucy” style!

028 yue sun shshi on the go

Yue-Sun Japanese Steak House and Susi in Wood Dale Ill was the scene of this glorious contraption!

The food was excellent and the entertainment value priceless!

029yue sun sushi

An Afternoon at the Four Seasons! Espresso, Biscotti and Apple Tarte Tatin with Caramel Ice Cream!

022apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago is a very special place for me.

The lounge is cozy and relaxing and I have spent plenty of time with a cup of coffee; alone or with friends, enjoying the atmosphere and the desserts!

an afternoon at the Four Seasons Chicago

This afternoon was no different.

005an afternoon at the Four Seasons Chicago

It was a warm and sunny Autumn day in the Windy City and we sat by a window enjoying the view and the sun streaming in.

021apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

This apple tarte tatin was warm, caramel and puff pastry perfection.

023apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

I personally, took the world tour of coffees! I had 2 espressos, a cappuccino and a cafe latte!

It was a long afternoon and I couldn’t resist the excellent brew!

012espresso and biscotti ar the Four Seasons Chicago

And, of course, the photos.

With the warm sunlight soaking everything on our table in a golden glow, every shot was glorious.

024apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

047apple tarte tatin Four Seasons Chicago TS

051apple tarte tatin Four Seasons Chicago

This is not the recipe for the Four Seasons Apple Tarte Tatin, however, this looks amazing Courtesy of Curtis Stone.

CLASSIC APPLE TARTE TATIN WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM
Serves 4

Ingredients

7 oz / 200 g butter
7 0z / 200 g caster sugar
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into halves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
2 x 7 in / 18 cm pastry disks, rolled to a thickness of 0.1 in / 3 mm
2 vanilla bean ice-cream balls
For the caramel sauce
7 oz / 200 g castor sugar
3 fl oz / 100 ml double cream

Espresso an afternoon at the Four Seasons chicago

Method

1.Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C.

2.In two 6 in / 15 cm high-sided copper pans, push 100 g of the butter into each pan and sprinkle 100 g sugar over the butter in each pan.

3.Place four apple halves, core-side facing up, onto butter and sugar in pan.

4.Place cinnamon stick and vanilla pod in between the apple halves to resemble a cross.

5.Stretch pastry over the apples pushing pastry down between the apples and the sides of the pan.

6.Prick pastry 4-5 times using a fork.

7.Place tarts in fridge and allow pastry to rest for 1 hour.

8.Over a medium to high even heat, on preferably an electric stove or BBQ, begin to caramelize sugar and butter (NB. you won’t be able to
see the full extent of the sugar colouring but if you gently swirl the pan, you will get glimpses down the side of the pastry of the colour the sugar is turning – this should take around 4-5 minutes).

9.Transfer tarte tatin to preheated oven and cook until the pastry is golden brown, approximately 18-22 minutes.

10.Once the tarts come out of oven, it is best to allow them to sit for around 1 hour to allow all flavours to amalgamate.

To make the caramel sauce

1.Place the sugar in a saucepan over a medium to high heat and allow sugar to dissolve.

2.Once sugar has turned to liquid and begins to change colour, keep a careful eye on it as sugar will change colour and burn quickly.

3.You need sugar to turn golden brown before adding cream.

4.Once cream is incorporated, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

To Serve the Tartin

1.Place pans with tarts over a high heat until the caramel in the bottom begins to bubble.

2.In a swift movement, turn tarte tatin over onto a clean plate, discarding vanilla and cinnamon stick.

3.If the plate is a little messy, it may be easier to transfer tarte tatin to a clean plate to serve.

4.Drizzle caramel sauce around tarte tatin and serve with vanilla ice-cream.

5.One tarte tatin will serve two people.

014espresso at the Four Seasons Chicago

Artisan Goat Cheese and Lavender Honey with Fresh Baked Flatbread at Tavern On Rush in Chicago!

036flatbread with honey and lavender

The Tavern on Rush in Chicago’s Gold Coast is where Chef John Gatsos creates this simple but outstanding flatbread and cheese appetizer.

TAVERN FLATBREAD: Chef’s daily selection of artisan cheese served with freshly baked flatbread and a side of lavender honey.

032Tavern on Rush flatbread

Lavender honey with seasoned goat cheese is perfect.

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Warm and fluffy, doughy and lightly seasoned with fresh parsley, this flatbread melts in your mouth.

034tavern on rush flatbread with honey and lavender

A picture is worth a thousand words and on this gorgeous sunny day one photo just wasn’t enough!

035tavern on rush flatbread with honey and lavender

Indulge my prediliction for photos of beautiful food!

037tavern on rush honey and lavender flatbread

038tavern on rush lavender and honey flatbread

040tavern on rush flatbread with honey and lavender

041tavern on rush flatbread with lavender and honey goatcheese

042goat cheese at tavern on rush with lavender and honey

043goatcheese with lavender and honey at tavern on rush

044tavern on rush goatcheese with lavender and honey

045goatcheese at tavern on rush

046 goat cheese at tavern on rush

047goat cheese with lavender and honey at tavern on rush

048tavern on rush goat cheese and flatbread with lavender and honey

Tuna Tartare, Passion Fruit Martinis and a Magical Night at Le Colonial, Chicago!

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Le Colonial, Chicago is a treat for the senses.

The exotically luxurious atmosphere is the first hint that you are in for something special.

041drinks at Le Colonial

These Passion Fruit Martinis were incredibly fresh and delicious! Floral and fruity yet light and refreshing on a warm summer night.

049tuna tartare at Le Colonial

Tuna Tartare with wonton crisps was light and satisfying and tasted fantastic with our cocktails….round 2!

044Le Colonial

Romance was in the air so sharing an entree of vermicelli and seafood in coconut curry seemed like the right thing to do!

038drinks at Le Colonial

What put this dish over the top for me were the copious amounts of fresh basil and cilantro; a garnish, I know, but for me a side dish or side salad!

The aroma of fresh herbs and the delicacy of the spicy coconut broth made my tastebuds tingle!

053vermicelli with fresh cilantro and basil

The music, the martinis, the warm summer breeze…

069vermicelli with coconut seafood

Pink Girlie Cocktails and Hot Smoked Salmon Spread!

097salmon spread

Hot smoked salmon is the key ingredient to this light, savory dish that is tasty and sooo girlie!

We topped whole wheat crackers with the delicate creamy and sublte flavors of the salmon spread.

096salmon spread

My dear, BFF shared her favorite recipe with me and I will share it with you.

Ingredients
6-8oz hot smoked salmon finely chopped
1 Tbspn fresh dill finely chopped
1 Tbspn fresh parsley finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
1/4- 1/2 cup of Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove crushed
A sqeeze of fresh lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

The real secret to the success of this recipe is to mix the mayo, garlic and lemon together very well before adding to the salmon.

Mix well and serve chilled!

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Pink and girlie all around when friends just want to have fun!

090girlie cocktails are delish

This delicious pink cocktail was inspired by a magical elixir we had at Le Colonial.

We tried to approximate the light tropical flavors of the passion fruit martinis we ordered and serve them “family style”!

We mixed a high quality, low sugar coconut pineapple juice with a light berry juice mix, and added vodka and fresh lime.

The result was sublime!

093salmon spread

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