E3 Chophouse in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

E3 Chophouse is a from range to restaurant, the all-natural beef served that comes straight from the family-owned E3 Ranch, located in Fort Scott, Kansas. The ranch is owned by the LaRoche family (professional baseball brother-owners Jeff, Adam, and Andy LaRoche – Jason Aldean, Willie Robertson, and award-winning country singer Luke Bryan), they pride themselves on raising hormone, steroid and antibiotic-free E3 Black Angus cattle and is excited to bring its healthy beef to the locals and visitors of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 


I was eager to check out E3 Chophouse, opened in January, after  hearing so many great things about it from my local friends. Located along the Yampa River, E3 is hands down the best outdoor restaurant space on the Yampa, in Steamboat. E3's has a great space, with garage door style windows that open up to a beautiful  river and mountain view. The dining room is flooded with natural light and therefore the space connects beautifully with the rocky mountains. 

And in case you are curious about the origin of the E3 name, you are in good company. Adam, a major league first baseman for the past ten years, developed the logo in homage to his baseball history. In baseball, positions are numbered, with the first base designated the “3,” and even though he has won a gold glove for his great defensive skills, he humbly added the “E” (meaning “Error”) to the ranch name.

A "cityslicker" enjoying a glass of rosé or a girl and her rosé.....

  My lovely parents: Jack & Elizabeth. 

E3 Smoked Beef Carpaccio
 Grapefruit, Charred Jalapeno, Cilantro

                                              Wedge salad
               crisp iceberg, tomato, bacon, blue cheese crumble,crispy onion, & blue cheese dressing 


      14oz Ribeye served with farmers' market vegetables 

      Free Range Colorado Rack of Lamb 
         mint chimichurri, market vegetables


Sautéed mushrooms 
They were not your typical "button mushrooms"! 

roasted garlic mashed potatoes

up close and personal


Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee 

Madagascar vanilla bean & fresh berries 

Chocolate Mousse
Dark Chocolate, cocoa nib, rum, coconut whipped cream 

701 Yampa Street
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

E3 Chophouse on Urbanspoon


Tubing on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

I'm lucky to call Steamboat Springs, Colorado, my second home, as my parents have a home there. I enjoy spending both the winter and summer in the 'boat as it's filled with so many adventures and activities. One of my favorite activities is tubing the Yampa River. 

This summer the river is flowing with so many great little rapids making it a perfect ride.  In recent previous years the river flow was low and tubing was not an option.  When good conditions exist, tubing on the Yampa is a local favorite, and must-do activity.  

With my girls Isabella & Alessandra 

Temperatures have been in the high 80s and it's a perfect way to cool off. Float for as long or as short as you’d like, and there’s plenty of riverside stops like parks, restaurants and bars along the way.

I highly recommend heading to Backdoor Sports to get your tubing on! 

steamboat today

boat ride transportaion.com

Cost: $18 per person

Hours of Operation: Tubing daily from 10:30am until 4:00pm Please note that we are required to be very strict about these times.
Best times to go tubing:
Your experience will always be better if you can depart before noon, there are less crowds, less chance of afternoon thunder storms while on the river, and there is less chance of us being sold out. Backdoor Sports (and all tubing outfitters in Steamboat Springs) have a set number of tubes allocated for each particular day of the week. When we reach that quota we can no longer provide tubing service.
  • Required for groups over 25 people
  • No reservations after 1pm
  • Must have all waivers signed and presented at reservation time
  • Payment in one form (cash, check, or credit card) for entire group
Backdoor Sports tubing may be closed due to a variety of reasons:
  1. Water level too low, water temp too high, amount of dissolved oxygen too low. These are all conditions detrimental to the aquatic life and Backdoor Sports may be closed temporarily per our agreement with the City of Steamboat Springs and Colorado Department of Wildlife.

  2. Water level too high – Backdoor Sports has determined that water levels above 700 cubic feet per second are not safe for commercial tubing.

  3. Life jackets are ALWAYS recommended and at higher levels they are required.

  4. Age restrictions may be implicated dependent on flows.

  5. Backdoor Sports reserves the right to decline service to persons we deem physically or otherwise impaired.

  6. Shoes (not flip flops) are required. River shoes are available at Backdoor Sports for $3.
  1. Where do we start tubing and where do we finish?
  2. Tubing starts from the Backdoor Sports shop location at 841 Yampa Street, tubers will float approximately 2 miles down river to just past the James Brown Soul Center Of The Universe bridge where there is a large sign directing tubers to exit the river and a takeout. Tubers are then shuttled back to Backdoor Sports.
  3. How long does this take?
  4. The time of the tube ride varies dependent on the flow of the river, generally in peak tubing season the trip is just over an hour.
  5. How do we get back?Backdoor Sports is continuously running shuttles between the takeout and the shop.
  6. How far do we tube?The tube ride is approximately 2 miles down the Yampa River.
  7. Can I wear flip-flops?
  8. Sorry, no flip-flops allowed, shoes/sandals with a heel strap or closed heel are required. Backdoor sports rents river shoes for 3$ should you need them.
  9. What didn’t I think of?
  10. If you are a wearer of sunglasses or prescription eyewear a safety strap is highly recommended for your glasses so as to prevent them from falling off the head and becoming lost in the river. Backdoor Sports does retail Croakies brand safety straps which are available at the tubing desk. Sunscreen is also generally a very good idea to wear, Backdoor Sports does retail sunscreen should you need to pick some up before departure.


Grillling Pizza 101: Margherita Pizza

As summer is finally here in Chicago, if you haven't already, its time to start cooking outdoors!  Friends and family are always drawn to the "heat" my husband and I bring to the grill, whether its a juicy steak or a grilled pizza. Today I am featuring a grilled pizza, guaranteed to be served with a crispy charred bubbly crust and a plethora of mouth watering toppings, vibrant sauces, and fresh garnishes.  The combinations and flavors you can create are limitless.  Carnivores and herbivores alike can create their own flavor rainbow with color and texture.  Today I will guide you on grilling a basic Margherita pizza.

How to master grilling pizza:

Choose your dough
There's no shame in buying fresh store bought pizza dough; I can't always make my own yeast-risen dough so I turn to the dough masters at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or a local pizzeria. However, making your own dough is easier than it sounds and I include my recipe below.

Basic Grilled Pizza Dough


note: makes two 12 inch pizzas

3/4 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoons cornmeal
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus  1/4 teaspoon for the bowl


Pour warm water into a small bowl. Add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast dissolves, it must be smooth and beige in color. Let it rest and stand for about 5 minutes to make sure the yeasted water is active, as a thin layer of foam should form on top. Set aside.
Next, add the flours, salt, and cornmeal to a standing mixer. Using your dough attachment, set on the lowest speed, combine and mix all the dry ingredients. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the mixer and mix on the slowest speed allowing the dry and wet ingredients to combine together slowly. I recommend scraping down the sides of the mixture with a spatula. Set the mixer to medium high speed and let the mixer knead the dough for about 2 minutes, forming into a ball. If the dough is too wet or sticky, add some more flour to help prevent from sticking as it should come off the sides cleanly and form a ball. Put the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl and place your dough ball in the bowl. Turn the ball over several times to coat it with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm and draft free place for 2 hours until it rises to almost double in appearance. Chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight or for about 1 hour to firm it up before grilling to make it easier to handle. Before working with the dough, let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Rolling out/shaping the dough

Place dough ball on a clean work surface that is lightly floured. Punch down the dough gently to remove gas. Flatten the dough with your hands to about 1 inch thickness and cut in half. Put one piece of dough in the center of the floured surface and sprinkle flour over the top of the dough. Using the rolling pin, begin rolling out the dough starting from the center out to the edges about 1/4 inch thickness. I don't like perfect round pizzas, I prefer the charactertisc of rustic and unrefined look. Sprinkle the crust with a generous layer of flour so it makes it easier to transfer the dough without sticking. Position a rimless baking sheet or pizza peel and transfer the dough onto it. 

Herb oil for grilling pizza

1/2 cup of olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped

Place all the ingrediesnt in a bowl and mix well. The herb oil will keep in refrigerator for about a week. Leftovers can we used for marinades for meats, fish or veggies. 

Grilling the pizza

Preheat your grill to high heat.  We use our gas Weber grill and turn it to medium high setting, closing the lid for about 10 minutes before placing the dough on grates. I recommend putting olive oil on a paper towel to grease the grates as it will prevent the dough from sticking to the grill.
When your grill is ready, slide it off the rimless baking sheet allowing the dough to slide flat onto the grill.

The dough should cook for about 3 minutes and will begin to bubble and it will begin to set and firm up.

 Watch as magic happens.

Gently lift edge and peak underneath with thongs and ideally you want the underside of the dough to become charred, but not burnt (as pictured above).  Once it is ready, remove the pizza from the grill and flip it over so the charred side is face up on the baking sheet and the uncooked side is face down.  You will then brush the cooked side with the her oil, add your sauce, cheese, and toppings (ingredients listed below), before returning the pizza to the grill for a few minutes to cook the bottom.  After a few minutes, your pizza will be done.  We like to then take the pizza off the grill and place it under our broil for a few minutes to add a little color and crispness.  Top with fresh basil leaves, slice, and serve! Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza 

1 grilled pizza crust, as pictured above
1 1/2 Tablespoon herb oil
1/2 ball of Mozerella di bufala
2-3  tablespoons of tomato sauce/pizza sauce 
(I made slow-roasted tomato sauce)
3-4 fresh basil leaves


Weekend Wrap Up: Whisk Chicago, Belly Shack, Big Star, Hash Chicago & Hubbard Inn


Steve got back from his business trip in China late Thursday night, and took the day off Friday. We headed for lunch at a new spot in our neighborhood, Whisk Chicago, which took over the space of our once favorite Middle-Eastern, Chickpea. Whisk Chicago offers Brunch daily from 7am-3pm and burgers at night. We shared the chilaquiles and the Whisk house burger 
{8oz burger, chihuahua cheese, chipotle mayo, guacamole & tortilla chips. I can't wait to head back to try the sweet items off the menu!

Whisk on Urbanspoon

Friday evening rolled around, and I had an early bird dinner with my girlfriend, Julia, of Julia Franzosa Photography, at Belly Shack

photo credit: Andrew Nawrocki 

We decided on Belly Shack as its half way between our neighborhoods of Logan Square and Wicker Park, and a perfection location to meet at.  We both decided to walk, and were very hungry upon arrival. I ordered the Korean BBQ Beef {kimchi, ssam paste & scallions served with flatbread} and Julia ordered Tofu Organic Brown Rice Bowl {topped with bok choy, bean sprouts, mushrooms, & kimchi} which is not pictured. 

Belly Shack on Urbanspoon

Afterwards, Stanley "Pup" and I headed to Big Star Chicago to meet my friend Maris of In Good Taste Magazine, and her brother who was visiting from New York. Big Star Chicago is always fun and it's dog friendly! 


Steve and I walked over to have brunch at Hash Chicago. It's BYOB and one of our favorite brunch spots steps away from our home.  With Popular Pays, I was able to exchange my social media currency for a one egg hash. I decided to order The Breakfast Club 
           {grilled chicken, grilled romaine, tomatoes, homemade ranch} 

and Steve ordered the Texas Tacos {scrambled eggs, potatoes, chihuahua cheese, pico de gallo on a corn tortilla}, which is not pictured. Hash also had the new flavor, green pepper, of Cholula! If you haven't tried it yet, get your hands on some as you will love this hot sauce! 

Hash on Urbanspoon

Later on that evening, we met up with a group of friends for what was supposed to be a night out on a boat. Unfortunately, we faced a little storm that delayed our departure our of the 31st street pier, but we made the best of it hanging out in the cabin having fun while the boat was docked.  When we finally got out, we were able to anchor up and catch the concert sounds from Northerly Island and the fireworks at Navy Pier. Good friends, good food and lots of good fun! 


Every Sunday, we head to the Wicker Park Farmers' Market, and this Sunday was no different.  I filled my basket with arugula, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, english peas, and french breakfast radishes to make a delicious salad for Sunday supper.  Afterward, we headed to Hubbard Inn to preview their brunch menu with a live jazz band. Brunch started off with a seafood tower, 

and a fresh assortment of baked muffins, seasonal berries and bagels and lox...  and of course I enjoyed a solid bloody mary to start off my Sunday funday

As for my entree, I ordered the crab cake benedict and Steve ordered the peaches n' cream French toast, not pictured. We left very content and our bellies full! 

Hubbard Inn on Urbanspoon

We finished up our Sunday with supper consisting of a delicious farmers market fresh salad 
    { arugula, roasted potatoes, red onion, radish, & cherry tomatoes with a       grilled flank steak} 

recipe coming soon!!! 

What did you do this past weekend?


Slow-Roasted Tomatoes from Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles

A traditional and delicious Italian meal is one of the most comforting meals everyone will enjoy so when I was gifted The Mozza Cookbook, filled with recipes from Los Angeles's hottest restaurant and pizzeria, I was ecstatic. It's one of my favorite LA eateries and Chef Nancy Silverton makes the BEST Caprese salad with slow-roasted tomatoes. It's To.Die.For! Chef Nancy won the 2014 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef of the year, so I must say she knows what she is doing. Unfortunately, I was criticized by a fellow blogger on my slow-roasted tomatoes picture on Instagram advising me to remove the stems when I roast tomatoes as leaving the stems on impart a bitter flavor.... rubbish. So it's A-okay to leave the stems on. The Mozza cookbook is a freaking awesome cookbook for any home cook as it gives you Italian food knowledge which helps you become an accomplished Italian cuisine cook. It makes me want to roll up my sleeves and make every single recipe in the cookbook. To purchase cookbook, click here.


Photo by: Kelly Campbell From: Food & Wine 

adapted from The Mozza Cookbook


2  9-ounce packages of Sunsweet tomatoes on stems, or 1 pound sweet small  tomatoes from your local farmers market 
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Gently remove the tomatoes from container or from your farmers' market bag, making sure to keep the tomatoes attached to the stems. Brush the tomatoes with the olive oil and season with the salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Roast the tomatoes until their skin is shriveled but the tomatoes are still plump, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool.  Once at room temperature, I like to use these for a caprese salad or puree them to make a delicious pizza or pasta sauce. Better yet, top on a bruschetta or fett'unta!   Enjoy! 

Thank you so much Mozza and Lindsay for the cookbook! 


Tuesday Travel: Beaver Creek Lake Trail #2109

Happy #TuesdayTravel! Hiking is one of my favorite summer activities, especially in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Several summers ago, we attended Courtney and Andrew's wedding in Beaver Creek, Colorado. The morning of the wedding, my girlfriends and I decided to hike to Beaver Creek Lake. The Beaver Lake Trail begins at the base of the Beaver Creek Ski Area and continues past Beaver Creek Lake to Turquoise Lakes. The trail is beginner/immediate and it will take you 3 hours through aspens, thimble berry and coniferous forests. I highly recommend checking out this trail while in the Beaver Creek area. Be aware of bears and make sure to bring plenty of water and SPF. Morning hikes are ideal in the mountains as thunderstorms tend to roll in the afternoon.