Monday, July 30, 2007

Chicago Hotspots!

Some of the highlights of my Chicago trip were the food, the entertainment and the company. I had delicious guacamole at the Adobo Grill. It was made right in front of me and to my taste. The lady asked if I wanted it spicy or mild- I chose spicy of course!

Chicago is a beautiful city with an interesting history. There was a fire in 1871 so when they rebuilt the city it became a hub for architectural innovation. Behind me in the pic below is the famous Sears tower which is the tallest building in the US!

Chicago is also famous for the blues. I went to Kingston Mines which is a famous blues club. I saw Duke Tumatoe (who kinda looks like Santa) and Lindsey Alexander perform. They were both good. Lindsey gets very involved with the audience and incorporates them into his performance which is fun to watch!

Another great place I saw was the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Centre. It had an amazing view of the city. We went with some of Shankar's friends from class and Susmita who is a friend of mine and Kanch. We had the Three Cheese Pimiento Dip with tomato herb focaccia and the Artisan cheese platter. The dip was awesome:)

I had a great time in Chicago! I think shopping on the magnificent mile was my favourite part:) I'll have to go back to explore the city some more!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vong's Thai Kitchen- Chicago

During my wonderful weekend in Chicago, Kanchana, Shankar and I went to Vong's Thai Kitchen for lunch. It was recommended to us by Shankar's cousin Sriram who is an expert on Chicago hotspots.

Our appetizer was vegetable crepe rolls. They looked beautiful and tasted amazing! It was so good we forgot to stop and take a picture:(

For our main course, we tried a red curry and a yellow curry. They were both great! The red one had apple and pineapple in it which contrasted with the spicy heat and cooled your mouth down a bit! It is a great place and they will accommodate vegetarians.

If you are ever in Chicago you should check it out!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chocolat Chaud

I had the most unbelievable hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots, a cafe literaire in Paris in the Saint Germain des Pres area (where all the artists live). It tastes sinfully rich like pure melted chocolate!
Best hot chocolate ever. Seriously.
We also had the "Tarte Tatin chaude avec glace"- Hot apple pie with sour cream or ice cream. It is a signature French dessert and we found out why. It was fantastique!

The history of the cafe is outlined on the website:

"The café started life in 1813 as a drapery, selling silk and other luxury items. It took its name 'Les Deux Magots' from a successful play of that time: 'The Two Magots of China'....In 1914, the potential of the location was realized and the café "Les Deux Magots" emerged, and rapidly became the place to "see and be seen."

It was frequented by many philosophers and writers..."Every morning, Jean Paul Sartre with Simone de Beauvoir would take his seat at "Les Deux Magots" and write for hours, often without pause, but sometimes stopping to talk to Ernest Hemingway, another regular customer."

Now it seems more of a tourist hotspot where you can take a seat on the patio and people watch. Chic Parisians going by is certainly an entertaining sight!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gummi Venus de Milo

In celebration of the Simpsons movie coming out at the end of the month, I am posting the Venus de Milo statue I saw in Paris at the Louvre. Simpsons fans will recall the episode where Homer is accused of harassing the babysitter when he was simply drooling over the gummi Venus de Milo candy he stole from the candy expo.

"That is the rarest gummi of them all: the gummi Venus de Milo. Carved by gummi artisans who work exclusivly in the medium of gummi."

It was carved by several master gummi artisans working together over more than a year to produce this masterpiece of candy. The Gummi Venus de Milo was intended to be an everlasting tribute to these brave confectioners who brought gummi to the United States in the early 1980's. Instead the gummi statue was stolen from its owners of the Candy Industry Trade Show and eaten without compunction by Springfield resident Homer J. Simpson.

Its Composition:
90 percent gummi, 5 percent ascorbic acid, 5 percent flavor

What it's Been Called:
The chewiest piece of beauty this side of "The Taffy Creation of Man".

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ravenous for Rosti

As you probably know, I am an experimenter when it comes to food. I don't usually follow a recipe. I think it is because I hate having to get all the ingredients together. I'd rather use whatever I have on hand. It seems to work out fine. Case in point, the rosti I concocted! It is very easy and super tasty. You can make so many variations based on what flavours you like (or what you have on hand!).

Here is the basic idea: Peel and grate a big potato (yes, raw). Grate a handful your favourite cheese (I used mozzarella). It will be your binding agent. Don't add salt or your potato will release its water. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a non-stick pan (or cleaning will be a pain because the cheese will stick to it). Splutter some jeera, add chilli powder and turmeric (a pinch). Add a handful of the potato cheese mixture and a pinch of salt to taste. Mix it with the spices and let it brown. I had sautéed some mushrooms which I also added to the pan when mixing up the potato and spices. Cook on both sides, top with some grilled veggies and tomato (or a salsa would be good too)! You could serve it with some sour cream or yogurt for a contrasting taste. I think adding green chilies would taste good too.

If you leave your potato out too long it will turn brown. You can rinse it in cold water and it will turn white again. But my mom would say you are washing away the nutrients.

Enjoy experimenting!
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