Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Chicago Trip: Little Goat and the Girl

Girl and the Goat and Little Goat are among my favorite restaurants in Chicago. GATG is fancier while LG is more diner-style, but both have presented some amazing dishes. I stopped by both restaurants for dinner and dessert as a final indulgence on my last night before heading back to Columbus.

First stop: Little Goat

Goat chili cheese fries. So good! It's gamey so it may not be for everyone, but I really like gamey dishes actually.

Fat Elvis waffles with banana, peanut butter-butter, and bacon maple syrup.  It's good, if you can't tell by the half-eaten pic. We dug in as soon as it landed on the table, and I forgot to take the pic at first because I was too busy fighting for a bite. I really dig the peanut butter-butter, which is pretty much peanut-infused butter. Really unique.

Springy shrimp and pork belly, with pea shoots, white asparagus, and springy noodles. The flavors in this weren't unique, but I really liked all the fresh ingredients. The pork belly pieces were succulent and the shrimp were so plump.

Moving on to Girl and the Goat...

Forest Gump bread with pea butter and carrot butter. I wasn't a huge fan but that might've been because I was too full at this point to enjoy bread. Also it tasted very... rustic is how I would describe it.

Miso-butterscotch budino with bacon toffee, glazed pineapples, and candied cashews. I ordered this dessert during my last visit too... ya it's that good.

820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3455

809 W. Randolph St.
Chicago IL, 60607
(312) 492-6262

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Chicago Trip: GT Fish & Oyster

I hinted in my previous post that I visited Chicago recently and had exciting food pics to share. I went to meet up with some close college friends, but also my god the food. When I'm in Columbus and eat out, the food is generally decent. But when I'm in Chicago, it's a whole different playing field. I go crazy and eat all the things because everything is amazing, so that by the time I'm back, it's hard to enjoy Columbus places for awhile :( One of my standout meals during this trip was GT Fish & Oyster, and this is what we had:

Green tea soba noodles with shrimp, tofu, bok choy, and thai chili soy vinaigrette. This dish was really great -- the shrimp were perfect and the vinaigrette had the best kick. It was a great light course to start the meal.

House-made clam chowder. I believe this is one of their most popular. Something about it was different and I can't put my finger on it (maybe it had a touch of alcohol?), but this is the best clam chowder that I've had.

Oyster Po' Boy Sliders with kimchi and peanuts. The bread was so pillowy, the oysters were wonderfully crisp, and the kimchi paired surprisingly well with everything. This was my favorite thing of the night, and we considered getting a second batch but decided to refrain for dessert instead.

Lemon panna cotta with strawberries, madeleines, and some kind of sorbet (rhubarb?). This is the most interesting presentation of panna cotta that I've tried, and I pretty much like most desserts that are creamy yet refreshing/fruity so I had to like this.

I was sho excites for my clam chowder. Even the crackers were above par...

531 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 929-3501

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June Updates/ Recent Eats

I'm doing this June one a bit early because although the month hasn't ended yet, I'm currently doing a meat-and-veg only stint. I figured that there won't be many other appetizing photos to add for the rest of the month, ergo this post.

Chorizo hash - so good. I followed this Serious Eats article for the best potato hash ever, and the key tricks are: 1) parcook potatoes in vinegar water and then fry for a long time, and 2) spray eggs with oil before baking so that they don't dry out. The difference is in the details, and the effect is very noticeable.

Vietnamese lemongrass wings. Khoi made some at one point and they were amazing, so I tried following the same recipe here. They look fine but didn't taste nearly as good :(

Korean spicy BBQ pork belly. It's so good, crazy fatty but so gooood.

Steak! A friend is doing keto and had a bunch of us over for steak >:D The cauliflower mash with bacon on top was the best part, I'm gonna make a whole bowl of it soon and eat it all.

More Pistacia Vera -- strawberry pistachio dacquoise and matcha yuzu macaron! I look for any excuse to stop by here...

Tea sandwiches, fruit salad, and broccoli cheese soup from Biddy's Coach House. A friend suggested it because her grandma used to take her out to tea here, so a group of us stopped by. We were the youngest people there by at least 30 years but it was super cute ^^

Lamb burger and smoked portabella poutine at Till Dynamic Fare. This burger was voted best in the city, and I definitely concur. 

Tilapia patacon at El Arepazo Latin Grill. I've been meaning to come here for the longest time but have been unable to make it out due to the hours (11am - 3pm on most days...weird). It was totally worth it to finally come here for food. This dish is a ripe whole fried plantain, covered with a big filet of tilapia and dressed with fresh veggies and cheese, and paired with their incredible cilantro sauce.

Rhubarb strawberry cocktail, with edamame hummus and caprese salad (among numerous other tapas) at Sidebar 122. They have one of the best happy hours in the city.

Veal cheeks ravioli at La Tavola. I wish I had a better picture, since this one doesn't do it justice. I also wish the dish came with more than only eight ravioli :(

Spicy miso ramen at Wasabi in Chicago. This was among the best that I've had -- much better than Slurping Turtle and quite comparable to Takashi when they still served ramen. I visited Chicago recently and have a few pending posts regarding the food there, so stay tuned.

Meet Frogger. I had to end the post with a cat pic, yes. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

David Lebovitz's Caramel Pork Ribs and Garlicky Slaw

I love summer -- we had school responsibilities this past week but they were chill, and I have research coming up but it's so much less stressful than the school year. Instead of studying on weekends, I get to cook, pig out, and then nap all day. My first project this summer is this recipe by David Lebovitz, as I've been an avid fan of his blog for years. The guy can cook and has incredible ice cream recipes, and you gotta admire a person who makes a living enjoying life. He used to be the pastry chef at Chez Panisse, then gave up everything to move to Paris but still has a crazy fan following in the US. It looks like all he does each day is cook/blog, write for his book, and give food tours to the rich and wealthy. What a life.

I was reading a post on his blog about the making of his new book, My Paris Kitchen, and his photos of the caramel pork ribs made me realize that I needed to get my hands on that book so that I could attempt them myself asap. I finally gave it a shot, and wow. The flavors were Asian-inspired, which was surprising, but crazy delicious as expected.

Recipe from David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, light or dark
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 (1/2-inch/2cm) piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons harissa, Sriracha sauce, or another hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 pounds pork ribs, cut into 3- or 4-rib portions

We bought three racks of ribs at Costco and used one rack for this recipe, which we cut into 3-rib sections. Costco sells the freshest, highest quality ribs that I've found anywhere. I froze the other two racks and have big plans for them soon puahaha.

Preheat oven to 350F. Over the stove, add your regular sugar to your dutch oven and caramelize the sugar over medium heat. I added a bit of water to moisten the sugar, since I find it easier to caramelize sugar without burning it in this way while yielding the same results. Continue to heat the sugar until it becomes a deep copper colored liquid (be careful not to burn it!), then remove from heat and stir in your brown sugar.

Add the beer. This step is exciting since it reacts violently and the caramel will seize up, so be careful. 

Turn the stove to low heat. Add bourbon, cider vinegar, ketchup, ginger, soy sauce, Sriracha (or another hot sauce), dijon, and black pepper.

Add your ribs (don't worry if they're not completely submerged by the sauce), turn up the heat, and cook until the sauce heats up and bubbles, then transfer the pot to the oven. Let it roast with the lid on for 1.5-2 hours, flipping the ribs every 30 minutes or so, then remove the lid and let it roast for 30 more minutes at the end to thicken the juices.

While the ribs were roasting, we made the slaw...

Recipe also from David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups sliced and hand-shredded raw vegetables (any combination of cabbage (red or green), radicchio, endive, carrots, beets, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, fennel, kohlrabi, avocados, hard-cooked eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives (we used green onions instead) 

For the dressing, combine mayo, vinegar, minced garlic, Dijon, and black pepper (I garnished with a bit of parsley as well). I had planned to make this meal a couple days earlier, so I had the dressing premade already and it sat in the fridge for a couple days. I think that letting it sit in the fridge helped the garlic permeate throughout the dressing, and allowed the flavors to meld.

For the veg, I sliced up red cabbage, carrots, avocados, apples, and hard-boiled eggs, then added parsley and green onions.

When the ribs were almost done roasting in the oven, I tossed the slaw with the dressing.

Ribs, fresh out of the oven, oh my golly.

Plated (on my gorgeous new plates!). I devoured this and a second helping, followed by the most lovely food coma-induced cat nap. Hooray.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

May Updates/ Recent Eats

Sorry I've been MIA but I'm finally done with classes for my first year! I've been documenting some of the food that I've been nomming on whilst studying, so here goes:

Porchetta pizza! I had some leftover porchetta and salsa verde, so I loosely followed this recipe but used Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough and added caramelized onions. It turned out amazing since the pork belly pieces made it crazy juicy. I split this 12" pizza with my roomie and we each ate it for two meals because it's so fatty and filling, but incredible.

Khoi's pho! The broth was wonderful -- very flavorful, even without sriracha/ hoisin. Homemade pho done right is so much better than restaurant pho.

Dutch Apple Pie with Sour Cream Custard - recipe from The Hoosier Mama Cookbook. Hoosier Mama is a highly rated bakery in Chicago that recently published its own cookbook, so I had to see what all the fuss is about. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed since it was too sweet, even when I cut the streusal recipe in half.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, also from The Hooiser Mama Cookbook. It was also too sweet for me, but much better than the dutch apple pie. I served it a la mode at a friend's barbecue and it was quickly gone.

Calamari from Marcella's. I came here for happy hour, which featured half off of all apps/ pizzas/ drinks, and this was my favorite. Only $7 for a huge platter of perfectly crisp calamari, so yums. 

Happy hour at The Pearl: parmesan baked oysters, confit chicken wings, and corn jalapeno spoon bread. I'm convinced that they have the best happy hour in Columbus.

Hot and numbing wok fried shrimp and Szechuan hot pot with fish at Red Chili Asian Kitchen. It was a hot day and I was sweating profusely because of those dishes. I'm surprised at how authentic it tasted, and love the proximity of this restaurant to campus. 

Brambleberry crisp, salty caramel, and brown butter almond brittle from Jeni's, because ice cream season means Jeni's season. I can make a lot of their recipes from the cookbook, but it's not the same as polishing off a large sundae on a hot summer day outside of a Jeni's store. 

Coolass decor from an awesome shop I recently discovered on the Short North called Global Gallery. They're nonprofit, all their wares are fair trade, profits go towards a good cause, and they have the coolest trinkets. I wanted everything.

And saving the best for last -- my beautiful new frying pan! I actually didn't own a frying pan until recently, since I used our wok for stirfrying and my dutch oven to cook flat things. It's a beautiful anodized aluminum Cuisinart that I bought off of a graduate student who was moving, and it was almost brand new for only $10. Best purchase of the year :)

Hopefully I'll be able to cook and post even more this summer, cheers!