Umami Burger Wicker Park is now open!

This past Monday night, I was lucky to preview the highly anticipated Umami Burger for dinner, and I loved it! It is located in Wicker Park, and I anticipate that it will KILL IT as there is no substitution (this is their motto).  Umami Burger, with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and now Chicago, has a devoted cult following.  Each location is designed to the represent the vibe and history of its neighborhood and inhabitants.  The signature "Wicker Park" burger blew my Chicago taste buds away.  It is packed with many classic Windy City flavors like Calabrese sausage patty, truffle cheese fondue and a Chicago-style gardiniera. Umami's menu is burger-centric, but also offers many options for non-carnivores.  At the preview dinner, everything was extremely tastey, and I had nothing to scoff about.  Umami opens today to the public, and lines will be out the door as Chicagoans seek the Umami craze. 

My friend, Kyle, editor of Chicago Food Magazine tagged along with me. We begin in the Umani ride with a signature cocktails the Nomad.

Nomad: old forester signature, benedictine, ancho reyes chili, pent e mes, xocolatl mole bitteres

Truffled Beet Salad 

Truffled ricotta, smoked almonds, wild baby arugula and truffle dressing. 

Buckle your seat belts and umamify your fries. We opted to truffle 'em. The thin fries were topped with truffle cheese fondue and truffle salt.

The dipping sauce line up comprises of jalapeño ranch, diablo sauce, garlic aioli and Umani ketchup.

 Can you keep a secret???  Umami has "off the menu" tater tots. You MUST order them!

The fried pickles are made from artisan-crafted pickles, breaded with panko and served with jalapeño ranch and shaved parmesan.

Let's bring on the burgers! Kyle and I split the original, the manly burger and the exclusive Calabrese burger.

The Original
Parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and Umami house ketchup.

The Manly
beer-cheddar, bacon padrones, smoked salt onion strings, umami house ketchup, mustard spread

Calabrese Burger

Calabrese sausage parry, truffled aioli, house truffle cheese, Chicago style giardiniera

Oh, Henry  and  South of North 

Coolhaus Ice Cream for dessert

1480 North Milwaukee Ave
Umami Burger on Urbanspoon


Braised Red Cabbage

Cabbage doesn't get enough respect or attention. It's a hardy, leafy vegetable filled with LOTS of vitamins. It is my comfort food and I hope this post will influence my readers to incorporate cabbage in their diet. In this recipe, I use a locally grown red cabbage from the farmers market and serve it as a hearty vegetarian salad or it pairs well with meat like chicken, beef, venison or duck.

Braised Red Cabbage 


1 head of red cabbage
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 cup of dry red wine
3/4 cup chicken stock 
a pinch or two of ground clove
salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: fresh parsley, chopped


Core the cabbage and chop roughly. In a dutch oven, heat the tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, place the chopped cabbage in dutch oven and cook until softened. Make sure not to let the cabbage brown. Add the wine, chicken stock, and cloves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. The cabbage should be tender. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately. 


50% off your entire bill today only @Chicken Shop in Soho House Chicago

Chicago Shop is home of delicious rotisserie-cooked, free-range birds sourced from Pine Manor Farm in Indiana. It is located in the Fulton Market District at Soho House Chicago! In honor of Chicken Shop's debut in Chicago and National Chicken Month, I have a chirpy deal for you! Just show your server this post or my tweets or Instagram and receive 50% off your entire bill. 
To make a reservation, click here… Winner Winner Chicken Dinner 
Feel free to tag me or email your photos as I would love to see them! 

We devoured the following: 

Dirty Burger
What makes it dirty
Bone marrow is mixed in with the ground beef and it was just added to the menu! 

Quarter free-range chicken off the spit

Mac N Cheese
Crinkle Cut Fries
Corn On The Cob
Butter Lettuce & Avocado Salad (pictured below) 


WARM chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Soho House Chicago 
113-125 North Green Street 
Reserve your table on Open Table 

Chicken Shop on Urbanspoon


Food & Wine (FWx): Jimmy Banno Jr.'s Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Chile-Yogurt Sauce

A couple nights ago, I attended the launch party for FOOD & WINE's  FWx brand.  It is for foodie and drink obsessed 25-35 year olds who want to stay informed and connected to the latest trends, places and talents. FWx even helps prepare you for a hangover. Unfortunately, we ALL get those sometimes....

The event featured eats from The Purple Pig and Do-Rite Donuts, and Mixologist Charles Joy of The Aviary  was offering up incredible cocktails all night long sans the hangover! I walked out, full and happy, with the September issue of Food & Wine in hand.  Later that evening, I treated myself to some peace and quiet and read the magazine cover to cover like I do the September issue of Vogue!  To my delight, the September issue featured quick and easy recipes by non other than The Purple Pig's Jimmy Bannos, Jr .  One recipe that jumped out at me (featured below), was the grilled chicken thigh kebabs with chile-yogurt sauce.  The recipe serves for 4, but to be honest, I inhaled more than half the thighs myself.  It's Friday and the weekends are filled with parties and tail-gates; I highly recommend serving up this sure to be crowd pleaser

Chorizo stuffed fried olive with garlic yogurt by Jimmy Bannos Jr.of the Purple Pig 

Pistachio Meyer Lemon Do-Rite Donut 

I walked out, full and happy, with the September issue of Food & Wine in hand. Later that evening, I read the magazine cover-to-cover as I treat all my food magazines like the September issue of Vogue. In this September issue, F&W featured quick and easy recipes by, one of Chicago's favorite, Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. of The Purple Pig and his grilled chicken thigh kebabs with chile-yogurt sauce jumped out at me. The recipe serves for 4, but to be honest, I inhaled more than half the thighs myself.  As it's Friday and the weekends are  filled with parties and tail-gates, I highly recommend Chef Jimmy's recipe as it will be crowd pleaser

Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Chile-Lime Yogurt Sauce

adapted from Food & Wine Magazine September 2014 


1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
2 Tablespoon sweet paprika
8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and each thigh cut into 3 pieces (I bought my chicken from a local butcher shop) 
1 cup plain Greek yogurt  
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving


In a large bowl, which 1/2 cup of olive soil with the paprika. Add the chicken and toss to coat; let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes

Meanwhile,  in a small mixing bowl, mix the yogurt, fresh lemon juice, cayenne, crushed red pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with slat and black pepper and mix well. Note: the chile-yogurt sauce can we made ahead

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Season the chicken with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and thread the pieces onto each skewers. I like to soak my wooden skewers before I use them, do you? Oil the grill grate and grill the chicken over medium heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown or for abut 10 minutes. I rotated the skewers every few minutes to get an even char. 

Transfer the skewers to a serving platter and serve with the chile-yogurt sauce and fresh lemon wedges. Enjoy! 


A Girl and her Juice: Watermelon & Lime Juice {Cleansing & Detoxing}

As watermelon is in season, I picked some up at my local farmers' market, Green City Market, to make a detoxifying juice. Watermelon is 92% water by weight and it helps the body flush out toxins, especially in the liver and kidneys.  Due to my daily environmental toxin intake and dining out at new restaurants accompanied with wine pairing, my liver and kidney work extra hard for me. I have to take extra steps to cleanse, restore and balance my body whenever I can.  When I am not attending tastings, I am always eating and cooking with local and seasonal ingredients.  Juicing has became a daily activity in my household which helps me to stay healthy as a food blogger/food socialite. 


2 cups of 1" slices of watermelon 
1 juice of a lime, peeled 


Using my Breville juicer, I put the watermelon and lime through! Easy as 1-2-3! 


A bagel shop, BroBagel, opens in Wicker Park

Wicker Park/Bucktown was in desperate need for a bagel shop until one of the Jacobs brothers, Bill (owner of Piece Chicago), brought back some of the original roots of Jacobs Bros. Bagels. 
BroBagel is located next to Piece with a carryout counter only. The bagel and spread selection will keep you (and me) coming in for all the endless bagel-schmear pairings. The it doesn't stop there as the breakfast and lunch sandwich options ALL sounded delicious. This girl will be a regular at brobagels and I look forward to trying the whole menu including a beer bagel! 

everything bagel with sriracha spread 

poppy seed bagel with scallion spread 

1931 West North Ave

BroBagel on Urbanspoon