I have really been putting off this blog, it kind of breaks my heart! For two years, Gavin and I have been wanting to go to one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants in Chicago. When we found out that we would be there this month, we got really excited to finally try one of his restaurants. Instead of trying Frontera grill, as we had originally planned, we decided to try XOCO, a restaurant inspired by Mexican street food. This restaurant has been highlighted and praised all over the place…and after being in Thailand, we have a new obsession with street food…so we went.
When we walked in the door, I was so excited…the atmosphere was so fun. Very noisy, beautifully colored, expertly designed, open kitchen…and lining the walls was info about where each ingredient that the restaurant uses came from. It made me fall in love.
Gavin ordered the daily special, a Pork Belly Torta: Dark salsa negra glaze, bacon, arugula and queso anejo. I ordered the Carnitas Caldos: Slow-cooked pork carnitas, potato-masa dumplings, chayote, roasted serrano chile, greens, arugula and avocado. They sound amazing, right?
WRONG! I seriously couldn’t even finish my soup. The pork flavor was ALL that I could taste. It was bland and boring and had absolutely no depth of flavor. It was so disappointing! Gavin’s torta was o.k, but just o.k. The bread was almost stale, the small sliver of pork belly was barely enough the flavor anything, and all in all, it was super dry and bland.
The fresh and spicy salsa was about the only redeeming quality, but at $3 for a TINY little cup, totally not worth it! We had planned to stay for dessert, but since the meal was such a bomb, we headed to Trader Joes, which happened to be right down the street, bought a chocolate lava cake and ice cream and thoroughly enjoyed dessert!
The next morning, we decided that we had to have at least one good meal in Chicago (we had deep dish pizza for lunch the day before and decided that we are DEFINITELY New York pizza people) we headed to Tweet, a super cute, funky little restaurant in Uptown. It did not disappoint! My egg white caprese omelet was full of fresh basil and tomatoes, the side salad and home made dressing were delicious and the fruit cup was perfectly ripe and fresh. Gavin’s burrito was stuffed full of fluffy eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese and topped with perfect smoky salsa and lovely creme freche. The coffee was bold and strong, and the service was excellent. So, we ended our trip to the Windy (and freezing cold) city on a high note!
Gavin and I both share a mutual love for anything involving carrot cake. I love the combo of fresh carrots, sweet raisins, cinnamon and that lovely creamy icing…so one morning in South Africa, I decided to make some carrot cake pancakes…with a twist. I recently set out on a mission to make really yummy breakfast foods that are essentially one serving of oatmeal. I use oat flour as the base, and try to keep it light an healthy with egg whites and greek yogurt as my moisture. These pancakes were one of my first projects (since then, I have made bread and waffles that I will post soon).
If you are hoping for super light and fluffy pancakes, these aren’t for you. But, if you are craving a big piece of nutty, tasty carrot cake with a little less guilt…I have your solution! These pancakes are super easy to make so they are a great little treat any day of the week.
Sorry these pictures are kind of ugly!
Carrot Cake Pancakes
3 Cups Oat flour
1 t baking powder
1 T baking soda
1 t salt
3 t cinnamon
1/2 C 0% Greek yogurt
1/3 C honey or agave nectar
2 egg whites
1 1/2 C water
3 C shredded carrots
1/2 C raisins
Makes 12 pancakes. Each pancake has 110 calories!
Cream Cheese Glaze
1/2 C 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 T milk
1/4 C agave nectar
1/4 t salt
Combine oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix well. In a measuring cup, combine greek yogurt and agave or honey and mix. Add mixture to dry ingredients. Add two egg whites and mix well.
Heat a medium skillet and spray with cooking spray. Spoon 4 to 5 tablespoons into the center of the pan and let cook until bubbles form.
To make the glaze, mix the softened cream cheese, salt, agave and milk until well combined and smooth.April 22, 2011 by LindsayTarquinio · 0 comments Read More
So, this has nothing to do with food…sorry for the lack of updates and recipes…We flew home from South Africa and basically unpacked and repacked to head to Normal, IL, for a LUO Collide Event at Illinois State, and then to Chicago to see our friends at Soul City church and explore the windy (and currently VERY COLD) city! Gavin is super excited to get his first taste of real Chicago deep dish and I am thrilled because I FINALLY get to eat at Rick Bayless’ famous Frontera Grill. I have heard about this chef for years and I watched him slice and dice his way to victory on Top Chef Masters a few years ago…so as soon as I heard we were going to Chicago, I planned a date night! (Hopefully I’ll remember to take pictures).
So, since I have no access to a kitchen for the next few days, I decided to share one of my favorite moments from our trip to South Africa with you. This little dude is awesome…take a look!
April 19, 2011 by LindsayTarquinio · 0 comments Read More
There are so many things about InFood that we love, a lot of them have nothing to do with the food. It is the overall atmosphere-the organic feel of the decor, the beautiful garden out back, all of the friends that make us feel like family when we walk in…the most amazing coffee I have ever had…and the adorable little biscotti that comes with every cup. Don’t get me wrong, the biscotti tastes great. But, its about so much more than the taste…its about nastolgia. InFoods simply would not be InFood without the signature biscotti sitting beside the perfectly bold and creamy coffee.
So, when Jobson asked us if we wanted to come in and learn how to make biscotti, we set our alarms and tied our apron strings.
Making biscotti really isn’t very difficult. It is a few simple ingredients, mixed together, rolled and shaped and then cut and dried. The basic dough starts with flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
Next, eggs get mixed in.
Once a nice ball of dough forms…chocolate chips are added.
Then, the large dough ball is divided into smaller dough balls.
Next, each dough ball is shaped and rolled into a long, thin tube.
Once the dough is shaped, it is placed on a baking sheet and baked for about 12 minutes…until it turns golden brown.
After it bakes, it is cooled and then cut into little biscotti sized pieces…the key is to place the pieces back on a baking sheet and put them in a cool oven the dry over night.
I forgot to take a picture of the final product- but here is a picture of the chief baker, Jobson, with Gavin and I. We had such a fun morning learning how to make the InFood biscotti and we are so thankful for the chance to learn!April 14, 2011 by LindsayTarquinio · 0 comments Read More