Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Five Guys Burgers and, oh yes, Fries

I love burgers and fries. Seriously. I love taking a bite of a delicious burger, covered in my favorite toppings, with a perfectly toasted bun with a side of hot, salty fries. HOT DAMN! How can you not love that!?! If you don't love burgers and fries something is wrong with you. There I said it. (Vegetarians and Vegans are not included in that last statement. Although, you are missing out. I'm just sayin')

With that I give you Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
Probably one of the better fast food burger joints around.

Now I know what you're thinking "Sterling! What about Kumas or whatever other burger joint people love?" Yes I love places like that, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I am talking about a quick burger place that satisfies your cravings without having to wait 45 minutes to get a table. Five Guys does just that.

My sister used to talk about Five Guys and she would always ask if Chicago had one yet. I would sigh, say no and continue to eat my Burger King in utter disappointment. That is until about a year and a half ago when Five Guys opened a few locations in this glorious city of ours.

What I like about Five Guys is that their menu is small and they cook it when you order it. No microwave patties here just deliciousness. If you are a West Coast native craving In-n-Out I think you will like Five Guys. No there are no Bible verses on the cups but the burgers will more than likely satisfy that unfulfilled craving for a double-double.

So basically all I am saying here is that you should go. It's good eatin'.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mr. President's favorite restaurant

On Sunday morning I woke up and was really excited that one, there was no alarm buzzing in my ear and two, it was bright and sunny. I turned to the husband and said "We should go get brunch" "I'm down with that" he replied. That's usually where the excitement ends because ever since we've been together we have gotten super pumped about brunch and then we always get stuck eating at a shitty diner where I order flavorless french toast and he get's some chorizo and eggs concoction. But that didn't happen this time. It was like God was smiling down on us and said "Hey, you deserve a delicious brunch for once" So with that I say thank GOD for the Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop.

We drove up California/Dodge all the way to Evanston, had a fifteen minute wait, and got out food in less than ten minutes! Usually I am a little wary of places that deliver food with such speed, but this was pretty damn good. The husband ordered the Cajun Biscuits and Gravy, I had the Fried Catfish with Cheesy Grits and for an appetizer, the Beignets: deep fried dough doused in powdered sugar.

While eating I thought about how excited I was to bring my parents and in-laws here. Specifically my mom. Growing up and visiting family in Florida Grits and Catfish were kind of a staple and I've never been able to find a place outside of my aunt and uncles house that could do it right. But now, I think I have.

So all in all I'm really happy I finally found a go-to brunch place and I am also pretty pumped that Obama has such awesome taste in restaurants. AND if you want to go next Sunday I'm down. For real.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh that dinner party

So I like to cook. Obviously. I never claim to actually be a good cook, I just can cook. I can read a recipe and make whatever it is prepping me to make. I can start cooking something and when it starts to fail I can turn it into something else without panicking. I can come home, look in the fridge, toss a few things together and voila dinner. And it's actually pretty good.
I just thought I would share that. Mainly because this was one of the many topics we had during a dinner party last Saturday

A few friends got together and had a very fancy dinner party. We had wine pairings, a cocktail hour and different courses. It was AWESOME! My friend Adrian made this amazing bbq pork and excellent wheat bread that was made with a little extra yeast and a whole lotta love (bahaha sorry).
My friend Maureen made a white bean soup, and a crepe cake that was made up of layers of wheat crepes, mascarpone cheese with a little whiskey and orange zest. YUM!
I made mushroom mac-n-cheese which was only so so in my opinion, scalloped tomatoes which were pretty damn good and a key lime curd tart with dark chocolate ganache and a graham cracker. It seemed like a people enjoyed it, and not just Karl.
We had Manhattans and Sazerac's made by Chaz which were super tasty! Chocolate Martini's by Chad, many toasts done by Celia, and great conversations with Kate.

All in all a great dinner party!

Now for some recipes
(FYI the pictures are not my own but they will be up soon!)

Scalloped Tomatoes
The Barefoot Contessa came up with this delicious recipe. I really enjoyed it
Half of a baguette chopped
2lbs of Roma Tomatoes chopped
1/2 C. of Parmesan cheese grated
Two cloves of garlic
FRESH basil (must be fresh! for reals)
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
So heat up the olive oil in a pan, add the bread. Toast it up
Add the tomatoes and saute for a few minutes
Add garlic
Add Basil and take off the heat.
Pour into a dish a sprinkle the cheese on top
Bake for 35 minutes
The smell is outstanding and it tastes so fresh. It's so simple, but really delicious
Next up
Key Lime Tart with Graham Cracker Crust and Dark Chocolate Ganache
Basically I took three separate recipes and mashed them together. Oh and after making this I discovered a better way cook the chocolate

Key Lime Curd
I used the recipe from Bon Appetit for the curd. BTW, I made the curd 5 hours in advance and it turned out really well. There was very little need to have it chill overnight. Also, the curd was good, but it didn't cover the tart pan so next time I might double it just to get a bit more and use the left overs in the morning for my yogurt, or to add on top of chocolate chip pancakes.

Graham Cracker Crust
I used a recipe I've had for awhile, but here is one for you. Remember this is for a tart NOT for a pie so maybe you should half the crust recipe. Also, I like my crust a little more crumbly so I don't pound the graham crackers into a dust and then press, I just crunch them up, add the sugar, add the butter and mix and press.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
Basically get about 10 oz of good dark chocolate and make sure it's 65% cocoa. Melt it in a double broiler with a little bit of cream and a bit of sugar. Add it to the top of the tart and let it set a bit in the fridge before serving.

If you chill the tart, make sure you have it out on the counter for like 30 minutes before serving. That way the chocolate can melt a bit and it's easier to dig into.Again this is NOT my photo (no meringue on top for me!)