San Francisco with Kids: Where to Eat

where to eat in san francisco with kids

San Francisco may be home to twenty-something tech millionaires and celebrities who are known for being off-beat (think the Robin Williams and Sean Penn), but it is also a surprisingly family-friendly destination — especially if your family likes to eat. My family recently spent a few days in the Bay Area as part of a California spring break ...

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Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Nightwood

chicago restaurant week

My third and final 2015 Restaurant Week meal was lunch at Nightwood,  the Pilsen restaurant owned and operated by the Lula Cafe team. Located on an out-of-the-way corner -- hey, at least there's street parking -- Nightwood is a pleasant spot with exposed brick walls, a windowed front wall and deeply 70's leather chairs. I gather the outdoor patio ...

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Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: GT Fish & Oyster

gt fish and oyster

Another day, another Restaurant Week meal. This time, my $22, pre-fixe lunch came courtesy of GT Fish & Oyster. This was my third visit to this nationally recognized, East Coast style seafood restaurant and once again, I was reminded why I love it. GT Fish & Oyster is one of the restaurants that does not condescend to its Restaurant ...

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Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Blackbird

chicago restaurant week

Did you know that Chicago Restaurant Week is happening right now? From January 30-February 12, over two hundred and fifty restaurants in the city and suburbs — including some three and four-star restaurants — are offering special pre-fixe menus of three and four courses for $22 a person at lunch and $33 or $44 a person at dinner. (Tax, tip and ...

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Cooking Demo with Rick Bayless 10/20

mace's culinary council event with rick bay less

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Chicago is a city rich in celebrity chefs, but perhaps none is as well known as Rick Bayless. Restauranteur, author, television star, Rick Bayless has been educating American audiences ...

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Wine Tasting in Paradise

how to taste wine

My family is on vacation in Costa Rica this week with my mother and my brother and his family. I have traveled to some of the great cities of Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean and I can safely say that Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been. And the Costa Rican people that we have met have been, to a person, ...

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Coppervine Restaurant Review

scallops at Coppervine Chicago

Milk and cookies. Coffee and doughnuts. Foie gras and Sauternes. Some food and drink pairings are foregone conclusions. But beyond those classic combinations, most of us don't give food and drink pairings much thought. Do you know what wine to drink with tuna tartare? Or what beer to drink with a rare burger? Or what cocktail would pair perfectly ...

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A10 Restaurant Review

where to eat in hyde park

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago these days is Yusho, a small plates restaurant in the hot neighborhood of Logan Square featuring cuisine inspired by Japanese street food. So when I read that the chef/owner of Yusho, former Charlie Trotter's executive chef Matthias Merges, opened a new restaurant in Hyde Park, I read the review with ...

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A Weekend in Ann Arbor

Where to eat in Ann Arbor

It had been just over twenty-four hours since we arrived in Ann Arbor and I simply could not eat or drink another thing. Clearly, I had failed as a professional eater. Bon Appétit has a feature called The Big Fat Weekend where one of the editors spends a weekend eating and drinking his or her way through a city and then writes an article filled ...

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Restaurant Review: Sepia

sepia review

Today, May 26, is my twelfth wedding anniversary. My husband and I got married on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. I wrote more about my wedding, and how we served corn pudding at dinner, in this post. For today, I only bring up the fact that it is my anniversary because I am reviewing the restaurant we went to ...

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Healthy Menu Options at Corner Bakery (and a Giveaway)

corner bakery event

For office workers everywhere, lunch is a perennial problem. Go out or brown bag it? Eat light at the risk of being hungry later? Or tuck into a big meal and spend the next two hours half-asleep? There are all kinds of funny norms about lunch. My husband has a theory that everyone always hates the lunch place that is actually in their office ...

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Chicago Restaurant Week: Naha and Blackbird

almond financier at Naha

Chicago Restaurant Week ended yesterday, although I hear that many of the restaurants extend their special menus for an extra few days. I took advantage of the special $22, three-course Restaurant Week lunch menus to return to two of my favorite restaurants in the city: Naha and Blackbird. Naha is one of the most reliably excellent restaurants ...

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Chicago Restaurant Week: Embeya

embeya chicago

Did you know that Chicago Restaurant Week is happening right now? From January 24-February 6, two hundred and eighty restaurants in the city and suburbs -- including some three and four-star restaurants -- are offering special pre-fixe menus  of three and four course for $22 a person at lunch and $33 or $44 a person at dinner. (Tax, tip and ...

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Warm Up with Argo Tea

argo tea chai

Today’s post is sponsored by Argo Tea. Argo Tea has a special offer for West of the Loop readers to warm up this month: receive a free oatmeal with purchase of a signature drink at any Argo Tea cafe location. Argo Tea is also giving away a special gift to two West of the Loop readers: a tea gift set and a $50 gift certificate to its website. See ...

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Find the Familiar and the Exotic at Gur Sweets


Have you heard about the latest food fad, the cronut? Introduced in May by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, this cream-filled croissant-doughnut hybrid has become the dessert fad of 2013. People wait in line for hours hoping to get one of the only 300 cronuts that Dominique Ansel produces daily. Some media outlets are reporting that a ...

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Restaurant Review: GT Fish & Oyster

gt fish and oyster

A restaurant with the words "fish" and "oyster" in its name is not the kind of place that I would normally drag my non-seafood-eating husband. But when I am not the one choosing the restaurant, anything can happen. Last week, various members of my extended family came to Chicago to celebrate my first-cousin-once-removed graduation from ...

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Kids and Parents Can Find Something to Like at Noodles & Company

Noodles and Company's Garden Pesto Saute featuring fresh asparagus.

I"ve told you all about what a picky eater JR is, right? We like to joke that he eats five things. That may be underselling him, but not by much. Here are the things JR eats: macaroni & cheese, pizza, spaghetti & meatballs, buttered noodles, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and rice. Breakfast options include scrambled eggs, ...

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Opening the Doughnut Vault

The line for the Doughnut Vault's creations snakes down the street and around the corner.

The March issue of Saveur was dedicated to exploring all things doughnut. And why not? Deep-fried dough is a food that is common to almost all cultures. Cakes fried in oil is even mentioned in the Bible as worthy of a sacred offering. In earlier times, when oil was costly, fried foods were reserved for special occasions. Now, of course, there"s a ...

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Sunday Noodles at Yusho

Ramen with crispy pig's tail at Yusho.

I have figured out the secret to getting a table at the hottest restaurant in town without resorting to bribing the maître'd or pretending to a celebrity: go on Super Bowl Sunday. That's how I scored a seat at Yusho, the restaurant that Saveur magazine called awe-inspiring and original. After the Chicago Food Swap wrapped up last Sunday, I found ...

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Marion Street Cheese Market Lunch with Cabot

Three Cabot cheddars, Super Aged, Private Stock and Clothbound, with accompaniments

As a blogger, I get invited to a lot of events, some which are appealing and inspiring and some of which are less so. Last week, I got lucky. I received an invitation to a Chef"s Table lunch at one of my favorite local restaurants, Marion Street Cheese Market, featuring Cabot cheese. For me, an event doesn"t get much more exciting than this. Hello? ...

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My 2012 Culinary Highlights

Wild asparagus and spring produce at a Paris market

As 2012 comes to a close, I am already starting to look ahead to 2013 and make my culinary resolutions for the new year. But before I do that, I want to look back on the year that was: what special dishes I ate, what new foods I tried, and what unfamiliar techniques I mastered. The culinary highlight of the year was without a doubt the week-long ...

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Make Eataly Your New York Destination

The cheese and charcuterie counter at Eataly.

One of the highlights of my recent trip to New York was the chance to eat and shop at Eataly, Chef Mario Batali's 13,000 square foot shrine to Italian food. Located right off of Madison Square Park and easily accessible by several subways lines -- I took the 6 train downtown from my hotel at Lexington and 51rst and felt like quite the New Yorker ...

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Sampling the new Southern cuisine in Charlotte

This past weekend I attended the Type-A Parent blogging conference in Charlotte, NC. I was very honored to be there as a speaker: I provided a legal perspective on a panel about ethics in blogging. I was joined on the panel by my friend Laura Bleill, a journalist by training and co-founder of the excellent hyper-local site ChambanaMoms, and Caleb ...

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Inspired by Paris: Cold Pea Soup with Mint and Yogurt

My husband and I just returned from a magical week in Paris. We strolled the cobblestone streets hand-in-hand.  We marveled at the great works of art and we were awed by the magnificent churches.  We discussed politics and the differences between our respective countries with our French friends. But, most importantly, we ate amazing food. From the ...

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Autre Monde Cafe Review

I love my little west suburban corner of the greater Chicago metro area. I enjoy the diverse housing stock and the mature trees. I am grateful for the kind neighbors and the excellent schools. I relish being so close to downtown. But the Oak Park-River Forest-Forest Park restaurant scene leaves a little something to be desired. There are a few ...

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