Tag Archives: 2012

Best Memories & Meals in 2012

It’s kind of hard to wrap my mind that it’s almost the end of 2012. Time and life never takes a break but sometimes serendipitous things happen. (In relatively random order.) First thing in mind would be my graduation gift from the luxe chocolate and pastry brand, La Maison du Chocolat… A large Andalouise cake from La Maison du Chocolat My Andalouise cake from La Maison du Chocolat is something I never anticipated them gifting me and sending well wishes for my graduation from graduate school. This seasonal cake is intensely flavored of lemon pastry cream and chocolate mousse, chocolate..


Belated Birthday Dinner at Eleven Madison Park (2012)

Exterior and interiors of Eleven Madison Park and my (belated) birthday card I’ve been trying to keep with tradition to celebrate my birthday at Eleven Madison Park (as I have last year and in 2010; I’ll shorten Eleven Madison Park as EMP), albeit a bit late since November was fully booked by the time I’ve tried making a reservation but it’s a first for me to have dinner there and eating a winter tasting menu. (I ended up having a closer to my birth date dinner at Humm and Guidara’s other restaurant The NoMad.) This 3* Michelin restaurant has been..


Hot Doug’s in Chicago – Encased Meats Heaven

Hot Doug’s and the line…before opening For the past few years, I heard so many great things about Hot Doug’s. Besides my meal at Alinea, this was my other highly anticipated stop. I know that this place was popular and has a cult following but I didn’t expect a line that goes inside that restaurant and wrap outside about a third way down the block – and that was just opening time of 10:30 AM. Menus & Interior By the time my friend and I made it through the doors, this place was decorated in hot dog kitsch. Mainly in..


Alinea, Chicago – A Meal with A Touch of Mystery

My copy of Alinea’s cookbook (without its slipcover) A friend of mine gave me a copy of Alinea‘s cookbook and it was part of my inspiration to head to Chicago earlier this month. The gorgeous, colorful photos and the food presentations looked very unique (though I can’t fathom of cooking from this book). Also hearing and reading many good things about this restaurant, I simply have to eat here. Booking a table for this restaurant is, to say the least, a relatively nerve raking telephone game, especially for those who want dine there in less than 2 months in advance..


Chinese New Year Eve 2012 with Pat LaFrieda’s Whole Pig, Roasted

Chinese New Year tray of togetherness, chocolates, tangerines; Pistachios from Wonderful Pistachios; Oolong tea and pistachios on the side Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! 恭喜發財! In Cantonese, Gong Hay Fat Choy! I wish you all much prosperity and happiness in the new year of the Dragon! One of the most important days of this holiday is New Year’s Eve. If you were in my family’s kitchen, you’d be stuck in there the day before preparing, rehydrating, chopping, and marinating a whole bunch of ingredients preparing for dishes to cook for this holiday. While in between, we snack on pistachios from..


La Colombe Torrefaction in Chicago

La Colombe Torrefaction, Chicago: Exterior, Interior, delicate flowers by the window, baked goods display As probably most of you might know, I am a die-hard coffee nerd/addict. I do admit that I’m pretty spoiled by the coffee culture as I’m coming from New York City, I have access to a lot of very good to excellent coffee shops here. When I was planning my trip to Chicago, I was mildly freaking out thinking there might be a lack of my essential need in the morning. I don’t want my travel companion to face the ugly side of me when I..


Visiting Vosges Haut Chocolat in Chicago

Exterior, Interiors of Vosges Haut Chocolat in Lincoln Park, Chicago When I visited Chicago, I had to visit Vosges Haut Chocolat mostly because this company is started and based there. I came with a friend to their Lincoln Park, which is considered Vosges’ flagship. It is much larger shop than the one and looks more of a glamorous romantic than the darker, bohemian chic than New York’s SoHo boutique. I find it quite interesting that each store has its own personality rather than having a “cookie cutter” template of how each store should look like.


Floriole Cafe & Bakery, Chicago – A Great Rustic, Elegant American Bakery

Exterior of Floriole; Interior; Galette des Rois; Chalkboard listing local, organic sources used; Owner and Head Baker of Floriole Sandra Holl One of my other pastry stops in Chicago was Floriole on a bright weekend morning. The minute I walked up to this bakery with my friend, I had a feeling this was special. The large, welcoming, warm wooden space feels like a second home to me. Local residents lined up the counter waiting to order their cup of coffee or tea and a couple of beautiful golden brown pastries for themselves or family. The gentle scents of butter and..


Lunch at Blackbird, Chicago

Blackbird (exterior), At the dining room, Floral centerpiece at the hostess stand When I was planning for my trip to Chicago, I had was under the presumption that this city’s fine dining lunch is like New York – you have a lot of restaurants who would serve prix fixe menus. Except when I did my research, there’s barely any at all but the little glimmer of hope was Blackbird, a 1* Michelin restaurant and their Executive Chef Paul Kahan was nominated for the James Beard Award (2011). For that kind of esteem, I booked a reservation.