Category Archives: Reviews and Giveaways

Chicago Restaurant Review Round-up

G.T Fish and Oyster

Friends, drop your forks, and run to G.T Fish and Oyster. If you are in search of good seafood in the city, look no further. I met my friend and local natural foods chef and wellness consultant Amanda Skrip here to celebrate her appearance on NBC 5. I was a little weary of the menu so I left the ordering up to the pro Amanda. The waiter was very helpful and knowledgeable (which is a breathe of fresh air these days….) The menu is split by cold and hot dishes with an extra section for oysters, if you’re into that kind of thing. Here is the rundown of our meal….

Tuna Poke with mango, cucumber and black sesame (cold)

BBQ EEL wasabi, potato and octopus salad (cold)

Oyster sliders with kimchi and peanuts (hot)

Fish Tacos with chipotle aioli, chicharrón, and garlic (hot)

I was impressed with every single dish. It can get a bit of a pricey but you will not be dissatisfied with the food, service or ambiance, that is for sure. This is a great place to try new things so take the servers suggestions and go for something outside of your box.

Big Star

Garage turned bar mixed with a Mexican fiesta – this place does not lack character. It’s a great joint in the summer with all of the added outdoor seating but this place attracts its patrons because they serve damn good tacos. Expect loud music, beer out of the bottle, tattooed wait staff and a taco feast! Be warned, if you don’t tolerate spice well, even the salsa was eye-watering. They offer $3 whiskey shots, a different kind everyday of the week (if you’re into that sort of thing) and everything else is priced right as well. Here is a peek at what Corey and I ordered….

Corey had the Tacos De Panza crispy - braised pork belly, tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro

I had one Tostada De Calabaza, which is roasted squash, fresh apples, red onion, cilantro, lime, and crema.

I had one Tacos De Pescado which is beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayo, cabbage, cilantro, and lime

And I had one Tostada De Pollo wood grilled chicken thigh, pipián rojo, onion rings, pumpkin seed, and crema.

Karyn’s on Green

I have been here three times…..in a month. I have only eaten out four times this month and the fourth was a fluke, so I guess you could say that I LOOOOOVE this place! It’s the first all vegan/vegetarian restaurant I’ve been to in Chicago and I’m afraid it set the bar to high now for future vegan restaurant adventures. Even if you are not vegan, the food has so much flavor, you wouldn’t even know it was vegan if I hadn’t just told you. The service can be a bit spotty at times but it’s generally not an issue. They offer a great drink list with fancy specialty cocktails that are sweetened with agave nectar rather than sugar and organic beer. It’s nestled in the near west loop and is typically pretty easy to find a parking spot. I have ordered nearly the whole menu by now but only remembered my camera once. So the first time I went my girlfriend Tory and I ordered….

Tory had the portobello burger (brunch menu)

I had the buffalo "chicken" wrap

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Chicago Blogger Meet-up with Amanda Skrip

Last night was the much anticipated (for me at least) Health food Chicago Blogger Meet-up at Whole Foods (Halsted and Waveland location) with natural foods chef Amanda Skrip. It was so fun to get to meet local bloggers, some of which I have followed since before I was blogging (I’m talking about you Chelsey!) and some newbie bloggers, Katie, Cait and Tracy! Amanda also had help from an equally as talented assistant Alia! Due to crazy Chicago traffic some bloggers weren’t able to come but I hope to do it again sometime so if you are a local blogger and you weren’t able to come this time around, let me know and I will add you to the list for the next meet-up 🙂

So we started out the evening with snacks and a much needed glass of wine…

After introductions and bloggy gossip (which truthfully could have gone on all night!) we sat down to watch Amanda whip up some unbelievable grub! All of the recipes were gluten free and vegan – love it! We started out with some Sweet Potato Ginger Soup which was awesome and sooooo easy to make. Amanda explained how this is a great way to use up left over cooked sweet potatoes from a previous meal, which, as many of you know, I HATE wasting food, so this is a perfect recipe to have handy (not to mention I always have sweet pots on hand for those nights that I am out of creative ideas).

While we sipped on the soup Amanda was busy making a Brown Rice ‘risotto’ style dish with white beans, kale and maitake mushrooms. I couldn’t believe how creamy it was and yet there was no cream in it! Amanda described it as the perfect comfort food and I couldn’t agree more. Comfort food without all the ‘baggage’!

One of the reasons I love going to Amanda’s classes is because she is so knowledgeable about food, the health benefits, how to make healthy substitutes and so much more. If I wasn’t eating, drinking wine or asking her a million questions (yeah, I was that girl…) I was watching her cook so effortlessly and trying to soak in all of her knowledge. While I could go on and on about how talented she is, I’ll spare you and just share with you the next dish 🙂 Spaghetti squash salad with arugula, olives and almonds – perfect for fall!

And for dessert we were treated to Baked Pears in a Pecan Crumble, perfect fall dessert recipe! Amanda suggested that this recipe works great for other fruit too like apples, peaches, etc.

Just when you think it can’t get any better, Amanda pulls the Sesame brittle out of the oven. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about this one, it looked like a bland pile of seeds but when I tasted it I think Chelsey and I almost simultaneously fell off our chairs! This was hands down the group favorite and Amanda says her clients request it all the time. This makes a great snack or treat with the perfect mixture of salty and sweet.

And I certainly can’t rave about it without giving you the recipe, so here you have it! If you do make it please be sure to link back to Amanda’s website and give her some kudos for a fantastic dish (www.amandaskrip.com). She also mentioned this makes a great gift for the holidays, which is something I definitely plan on doing.

Sesame Brittle

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup of sunflower seeds, raw
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
  • 2 sheets of nori
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
 
2. Heat a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, and stir frequently with a wooden spoon until toasted, about 3-5 minutes.

3. Transfer content to a large bowl. Using scissors or kitchen shears, cut the nori into small, thin pieces and add to the seeds. Pour maple syrup into bowl, and stir to coat evenly.

4. Pour seeds onto baking sheet, and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Transfer to oven for 10-12 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and let cool 30-40 minutes. Break the now hardened brittle into medium size pieces. And enjoy!