Friday, March 30, 2012

Via Carducci: Rigatoni Siciliana [eggplant!]

Oh Via Carducci... You are one of those combo fortunate/unfortunate situations where, on my very first visit, I found a dish so amazing that I can't try any other dishes.

The yummiest eggplant dish my taste-buds have ever experienced: Rigatoni Siciliana.  
In my experience, Italian restaurants usually only have eggplant in a breaded format - not so with this fine dish.  It has pasta, red sauce, delicious eggplant chunks, and SERIOUS mozzarella chunks... it is just so good.  I recently brought two dear friends there, made them try my dish, and they adored it.

So.  Get on over there and get happy :)

Assaggio: Gemelli all' Amatriciana

Now before you get too excited, this item lives in Boston, Massachusetts - and I realize most of my readers are Chicagoans.  The good news is that my next entry will be a similar category of food that IS in Chicago.  (Cannot always promise to do this, though - as I'm travelin' gal, and will undoubtedly have to share faraway dishes with you).

Really only stumbled in Assaggio because it was one of the few places open for dinner on the North End at 11pm on a Saturday... Had a pretty funny conversation with the waitress when ordering.  I asked her what she recommended (typical Holly/server interaction) - and she listed a few, and said something like, "It won't change your life but... then again, I don't know what food would change your life."  I laughed and immediately replied, "Actually, I have a whole blog dedicated to foods that have changed my life."  She laughed too and then said, "Well, if you're going that route, this dish is probably what you ought to do" - and she pointed to Gemelli all'Amatriciana, which was a pasta with red sauce, smoked mozzarella and pancetta.  I then had a pretty big struggle because in general I don't like ham, and pancetta is technically of the same family.  I explained my hesitance to her, but mentioned that I do like proscuitto.  She got another female employee involved who claims she does not like ham, but very much likes this dish.  Okay, sold.

And it WAS delicious!  Well done, server-gal.  (Plus, any server who puts up the with five million questions I usually ask is a rockstar).

I shared my dish with my dining companions, and all enjoyed.  SO.  If you find yourself in Boston... hit it up.

Greek Yogurt

My whole life I was never a yogurt fan... until a few years ago when I discovered Greek Yogurt.  I'll admit, I made myself like it - but it didn't take long at all, and now I consider it a food of the gods.  High protein, low fat - and so good with fruit.  ADDICTED.  I like Oikos brand the best - but it's probably just because my grocery store has always carried it and had it available.  I've enjoyed others brands I've tried, too.

There are many ways to eat it - my favorite it with pomegranate seeds :)  Painstaking prep, but very worth it.  If you want to buy it pre-flavored, I think strawberry, honey, and super fruit are the best.  Chocolate is a HORRIBLE idea - do not eat it.  But strangely, caramel works.

Honestly the protein is what impresses me the most, look at the protein percentage of your daily intake!

One serving - 1 cup! - is 46% percent of your daily protein needs.  That and it's yummy TOTALLY justifies the fact that Greek yogurt is pricier than normal yogurt.  In.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Longman & Eagle: Pork Belly Risotto

Okay, well - it's happened.  I've just had a meal SO good that I had to go straight home and tell you about it, before doing another thing.  Made my way over to Longman & Eagle tonight.  This Logan Square gastropub has been on my to-visit list for a long time now, and I finally made it over there tonight.  After much menu deliberating, it became clear to me that I had to order the Pork Belly Risotto... BOY WAS THIS A GOOD DECISION.  Every now and then I'll eat something and will literally out loud tell any dining companion that will listen: "THIS is the best decision I've made all day."  Tonight was one such night.

I am, admittedly, a sucker for pork belly and for risotto - but that's not to say that every dish with those ingredients changes my life.  (There are PLENTY of pork belly dishes and risotto dishes that have not made the cut onto my blog.)  From the picture, you'll see it was a good size portion of pork belly - not one of those dishes with little tiny pork belly chunks in it, thank you very much.  The squash and apples were a really nice, subtle touch to the dish... and the risotto?  Rockin.  $22.00 - and worth every penny.

Also, foodie quiz: What is confit?  Confit means it was cooked in its own fat.  

Hahaha.  Sorry kiddos - "healthy" is not the theme of my blog.  Foods that change my life, rarely are :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Black Dog: Goat Cheese Caramel Cashew Gelato

I sincerely hope you only need to read the title to be down for this one.  But just in case that sounds like a wee bit more flavors than you're used to rolling into one gelato cup, I'll continue on.
A1) Gelato is ALWAYS a good idea.  Let's just clear that up right now.  You don't need to have traveled to Italy to know that, but of course - that helps.  
B2) There's some great gelato in this here fine city of Chicago.  (I'm typically a two scoop girl - one scoop pistachio, one scoop chocolate hazelnut. )  
C3) Gelato fills my soul in a way that ice cream just plain never could.
D4) Black Dog Gelato is BOSS.

They have many fine flavors - which is good, because the flavor I'm going to recommend is SO good that it's often sold out.  Mostly I just want you to know that if you order something else, odds are - you'll be just dandy.  But the flavor that absolutely changed my life - that makes me deviate from my standard default gelato order of pistachio/chocolate hazelnut combo - that makes my heart sad when it's out of stock - and that makes my heart sing when I do get to eat it - is Goat Cheese Caramel Cashew.  Just plain phenomenal.  
I don't know their pricing off-hand.  Gotta say it doesn't even matter to me.  I think they might be cash only?  Anyway, the almost-summer-like weather we got on this March day had me thinking I might need to start up my frequent evening strolls over there sometime soon.

San Soo Gab San: Seafood Pancake

This entry is only for the daring... Cuz I am WELL aware that "seafood pancake" doesn't sound like the yummiest thing ever.  But kids, it IS.

San Soo Gab San is a Korean restaurant in Lincoln Square.  I was brought there by a group of friends - for the purpose of enjoying the grill-your-own-meat-at-your-table feature... which PS, was indeed both delicious and fun (- warning: service is so-so)... But actually the thing I felt I had to write home about was not the meat, but the seafood pancake.  Yelp tipped me off that this was worth my time - and it SURE was!

Korean dish name: Hae Moul Pajun.  Price point: $11.95  Analysis: DELICIOUS.