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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vista Ramen

Vista sign over the kitchen
We have a goal to hit up all the ramen places around town so we had been planning on hitting up Vista Ramen as soon as we heard it had open. We were slowed down by some unforeseen obstacles, but we made it down to Cherokee Street around 8pm.

I was hoping that we had missed the dinner rush, but I was surprised to find out they still had a 30-45 minute wait, which turned in to an hour. Vista Ramen is a very small place and the heat from the kitchen easily filled the room, especially when it was full of customers.

Open kitchen
Luckily, we had quite a few choices as far as how to kill that time and we walked down to the Fortune Teller Bar for drinks and a small snack. By the time we got back to Vista, we were ready for some ramen!

We started with a special appetizer, a steamed bun with tofu.

Tofu Bun
I was surprised to see so many small plates options on the menu, but we really just wanted ramen.

Patience ordered the classic Vista, with pork, egg, ginger, scallion, nori, and sesame.

Vista Ramen
I ordered the Pozole, the chicken ramen with hominy, egg, chili paste, scallion, and cilantro.

Pozole Ramen
Turns out the 4 Hands Lemon Gose goes perfectly with ramen!

4 Hands Lemon Gose
With the heat, it was hard to make a dent in the huge bowls of ramen so we took home leftovers. I really do prefer ramen on a chilly day.

Leftovers
This meant we had room for dessert! Apricot filled jelly donuts!

Donuts
A unique place to check out but be sure to use the NoWait app.

Resources:

Vista Ramen = http://www.vistaramen.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Randolfi's Part 2

Now I have never done this before, but we were going to see a movie at the Tivoli, and it just made sense to go dinner in the Loop. And since we were dying to go back to Randolfi's, we went back and brought some friends!

Since we got completely new dishes, I just had to share. Another amazing meal.

We started with Beef Tartare, not something we usually order so we wanted to try something different. Love the presentation too.

Beef Tartare
I kept my promise and tried the highly recommended Pappardelle, a white bolognese with thick, luscious noodles!

Pappardelle
Another winner was the Risotto, perfect for spring with asparagus, parmesan, and lemon!

Risotto
Finally, we got to try the pizza. (You know I picked off the prosciutto.) Light and fluffly crust!

Pizza
Patience loved the #37 3/4 so she ordered it again, and this time you can see the smoke!

#37 3/4
Tony got his own gelato with expresso on top!

Gelato
Definitely a great date night destination and be sure to make a reservation.

Resources:

Randolfi's = http://www.randolfis.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Randolfi's

I have been dying to go to this restaurant since it opened and shame on me for not demanding we go sooner. And yes, it's really that good. Although I'm not sure you can go too wrong with traditional Italian cooking.

We sat at the bar, where we saw plenty of Italian wine...

Italian wine
...and Italian liquor, and more!

Plenty to drink!
Spacious kitchen in the back with a large pizza oven!

Bar, kitchen, and blue pizza oven!
Since we live so close, we arrived right around 5pm and at the start of happy hour!

Happy Hour Menu

Off this menu, Patience ordered the Negroni and we split the D.O.P. Gorgonzola Arancini!

Negroni
D.O.P. Gorgonzola Arancini
Cheesy goodness in the middle of those and we dipped them in a marinara sauce!

I always pick the "Big O" drink. This is the #37 3/4 (Spring), which is Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Big O Ginger Liqueur, Sibona Camomilla, Rhubarb (tea) liqueur, house-made BBQ bitters, chervil tincture applewood smoked.

#37 3/4 (SPRING)
Patience used to drink out of glasses just like these tall water glasses.

Classic water glasses
We had a really hard time choosing our entrees for the evening, so we decided to narrow it down to the Primi section of the menu even though there were scallops calling our name.

Still too many choices, we played it safe by getting our favorites.

I ordered the Gnocchi, which included braised chicken thigh, lemon, capers, olives and tomatoes.

Gnocchi
Patience's Meatball Con Spaghetti Alla Chitara included pork and lamb, garlic, chili, and chive. Check out the size of the meatball! Homemade pasta underneath...

Meatball Con Spaghetti Alla Chitara
Don't worry, this definitely means we'll be back to try...hopefully, EVERYTHING else!

Last, but definitely not least, two amazing desserts!

You know I picked the Chocolate Tarta! And since Patience was feeling full, she settled for a unique gelato flavor of cherry chocolate chip.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Gelato and Chocolate Torta
Turns out they were even better together!

Dessert together!
Be sure to put this restaurant on your list to visit soon.

Resources:

Randolfi's = http://www.randolfis.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Whiskey and Chocolate Pairing June 2016

Extending the Beer and Chocolate pairings, Larder & Cupboard next offered a Whiskey pairing with Chocolate and I just knew I had to take Patience!

We started with a lighter whiskey, Rieger's Kansas City Whiskey paired with Chai Tea Truffles. I can't get enough of those truffles!

Chai Tea Truffle with Rieger's Kansas City Whiskey

Next we tried three whiskeys from Chicago, a Koval Rye Whiskey, Koval Four Grain Whiskey, and a Koval Bourbon. The Rye was paired with a Peanut Butter Bon Bon (amazing!)...

Peanut Butter Bon Bon with Koval Four Grain Whiskey
 ...while the Extra Dark Bark was paired with the Four Grain. I preferred the Rye as it seemed a lot smoother than the bolder Four Grain.

Extra Dark Bark with Koval Four Grain Whiskey
Another favorite from a previous class, Cherry Pates de Fruits in Chocolate (pronounced Pot de Fwee), which was paired with the bourbon.

Cherry Pates de Fruits in Chocolate with Koval Bourbon
Kakao's most popular chocolate, the Sea Salt Caramel, was paired with the Pinckney Bend Rested Whiskey. This whiskey won double gold and the rested refers to the time spent in a barrel aging.

Sea Salt Caramel with Pinckney Bend Rested Whiskey
Last was the creamy goodness of the American Spoon Fudge Sauce with a (not really local) Glenfiddich 12-Year Scotch. Lots of floral notes on the nose.

American Spoon Fudge Sauce with Glenfiddich 12-Year Scotch
I'm sure you can tell that I'm biased towards the chocolate and I can't wait for more of these (chocolate) classes!

Resources:

Larder & Cupboard = http://www.larderandcupboard.com/

Kakao Chocolate = http://www.kakaochocolate.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Beer and Chocolate Pairing June 2016

You knew I would attend more Beer and Chocolate Pairing classes at Larder & Cupboard didn't you?!

Now that Patience is home, I also wanted to give her a chance to attend in person as well since she is a bigger beer lover than I am.

I was thrilled to get to taste more of the Lavender Truffle since that was one of my favorites from last time! Patience loved the Old Bakery Porter as she prefers the heavier beer styles.

Lavender Truffle and Kickstart Granola with Old Bakery Porter
Or was the Marshmallow Pie my favorite? It's still so amazing. Paired with the very smooth Charleville Karate Kick. I stole this photo from Cindy since I ate mine so fast!

Marshmallow Pie with Charleville Karate Kick
The Mango Habenero Truffle was new to me left a slight tingle on my lips, although other people said they barely could taste any heat. Good thing it was paired with the 4 Hands Divided Sky Rye IPA to cool things off just in case. Also featured is the melt-in-your-mouth Seed Geeks Chocolate Creamed Honey.

Seed Geeks Chocolate Creamed Honey and Mango Habanero Truffle with 4 Hands Divided Sky Rye IPA
The Dipped Strawberry Rhubarb was super delicious with a fruity, gummy treat in the middle of the chocolate! The sweeter dessert needed something sweet to go with it - Boulevard Hibiscus Gose. This sour beer was just tart enough that I could probably couldn't do much more than a tasting of it.

Dipped Strawberry Rhubarb
As for Kakao's best seller, the Pecan Caramel paired well with the Piney River Black Walnut Wheat.

Pecan Caramel
Then we got to have a bonus round! Here is a homemade marshmallow and a new beer that Larder & Cupboard just got in, Hobby Farm from Piney River.

Homemade Marshmallow
Hobby Farm Beer
Can't wait for more chocolate and beer pairings!

Resources:

Larder & Cupboard = http://www.larderandcupboard.com/

Kakao Chocolate = http://www.kakaochocolate.com/