Salero Paella Tuesdays
Last month, Salero, the Spanish hot spot in the West Loop, began "Paella Tuesdays." The weekly special offers two unique paellas each week, one variety with meat, and another with seafood. They also offer red sangria pitcher specials. I personally taste tested the paellas and they were fantastic. The seafood version pictured below included chunks of fresh lobster, Manila clams, calamari, head-on shrimp, piquillo peppers, and saffron rice! Ain't she a beauty?! The meat paella featured duck! Definitely not your traditional paella, but it was delicious!
Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC
A couple of weekends ago, I ventured out to Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina for a getaway with some of my sorority sisters from college. We realized we have been friends for a decade! We spent the weekend exploring the food and craft beer scene in Asheville, and I also had some time to check out downtown Greenville which was super cute! There are more than 100 restaurants on Greenville's Main Street, so it's definitely worthy of a foodie visit. While I was waiting for the rest of the girls to arrive, I walked around Falls Park, and enjoyed lunch at The Lazy Goat, a Mediterranean spot with delicious and affordable eats.
|Piquillo Pepper, Spinach and Feta Dip at The Lazy Goat|
|Lamb "Burguesa" at The Lazy Goat|
I also checked out local coffee shop, Methodical Coffee, which provided the perfect chill setting for me to get some blogging done. Not to mention, they made me the best almond milk latte I've ever had!
|Almond Milk Latte at Methodical Coffee|
We rented a cabin in the mountains, about a 20 minute drive from downtown Asheville. We had the best of both words, the serenity of the mountains, and the activities of Asheville. Waking up each morning to see the sun rise above the mountains was amazing. I could really get used to that!
|Sunrise Over the Mountains|
We took a half day visit to the Biltmore House and Estate in Asheville, which was truly incredible. Biltmore is the largest home in America and was built by George Vanderbilt and completed in 1895. I couldn't take photos inside, but I'd highly recommend a visit if you're in town.
The four of us checked out a few craft breweries in Asheville including the first, Green Man Brewery, as well as Asheville Brewing Co., and Burial Beer Co. There are so many craft breweries in Asheville, you really can't go wrong!
|Green Man Brewing|
|Asheville Brewing Co. Beer Flight|
|Asheville Brewing Co. Cheesy Sticks|
|Asheville Brewing Co. Pizza|
|Burial Beer Co. Beer Flight|
|Skillet Donut Stout at Burial Beer Co.|
|The Girls at Burial Beer Co.|
We also made a pit stop at Vortex Doughnuts after a recommendation from a local. These were some of the worst doughnuts I've ever had! They were stale and it made me sad because I've never met a doughnut I didn't like :(
Two restaurant highlights of the trip were Curate, and Biscuit Head. The first is a Spanish tapas restaurant where we enjoyed sangria made with cava, and a variety of meat and vegetarian tapas!
|Sauteed Spinach, Apples, Raisins, and Toasted Pine Nuts|
|Lamb Skewers Marinated in Moorish Spices, and Homemade Pickles|
|Sauteed Shrimp and Sliced Garlic|
Biscuit Head was an extremely hearty brunch spot, and our last stop before the airport. They have an awesome menu of biscuits and gravies, and biscuit sandwiches that are sure to cure what ails ya. Not to mention they have a bar filled with homemade hot sauces, jams, and butters, for slathering onto those dense and buttery biscuits. Some of the highlights were the mimosa fried chicken biscuit with a poached egg, the sweet potato coconut gravy, and the biscuit doughnuts served with lemon curd. Definitely head here...there's always a line but it's absolutely worth the wait!
|Biscuit Head Hot Sauces & Jams|
|Biscuit Head Hot Sauces & Jams|
|Biscuit Head Hot Sauces & Jams|
|Biscuits and Gravy Flight|
|Biscuit and Fried Eggs|
|Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit|
|Fried Green Tomato Biscuit|
Beef & Barley in Lakeview recently launched their seasonal weekend brunch menu and I had the chance to check it out for you! First of all, they offer punch bowls and a mimosa bar if you're really looking to start your weekend right. They also have Bloody Mary's with bottomless bacon. Yes, all-you-can-eat bacon.
|Punch & Mimosas|
Chef Cecilio Rodriguez's menu features hearty dishes including corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy, and breakfast sandwiches, lighter options including a lox plates, and sweet treats including a Dutch baby pancake, and PB&J bread pudding French toast which is INSANELY delicious. You need to stop by Beef & Barley for that dish alone!
|Baked Eggs with Creamed Spinach and Toast|
|Biscuits and Gravy with Fried Chicken Thigh and Homemade Sausage Gravy|
|Dutch Baby Pancake with Apples, Ginger Koval Oat Whiskey, Oats|
|Corned Beef Hash with Caramelized Onions, Fried Potatoes, Horseradish Cream and Poached Eggs|
|Mortadella Sandwich with Pickle and Pistachio Spread, and Worcestershire Cream on Texas Toast|
|Steak and Eggs Sandwich with Scrambled Eggs and Creamy Chimichurri on Ciabatta|
|PB&J Bread Pudding French Toast with Strawberry Jam, Crunchy PB, Toasted Marshmallow, Orange Marmalade, and Whipped Cream|
Since I spend most of my time exploring the Chicago food scene, I thought it was time to pay the suburbs a visit. My friends and I ventured out to Naperville to dine at the new Fogo De Chao that recently opened. If you're not familiar with Fogo's Brazilian steakhouse experience, essentially you start at the Market Table which features a variety of salads, cheeses, vegetables and soups, then you're served a variety of meats which are cut for you tableside by gauchos. Each person receives a card with red on one side and green on the other. When you want more meat, you flip to green, and when you've had enough, you flip to red.
|More Meat Please|
|Bacon Wrapped Chicken|
Hearth Restaurant, located inside The Homestead Hotel in Evanston, recently launched Sunday brunch service. The Evanston eatery features pastries, breakfast fare, and entrees served in a cozy atmosphere with a wood burning fireplace. You almost feel like you're in a hidden cabin in the mountains--it literally looks like a cozy lodge.
|The Homestead Hotel|
|Hearth Restaurant Dining Room|
Photo Credit: Hearth Restaurant
|Apple and Lemon Muffin|
The brunch menu includes breakfast plates, sandwiches, egg dishes, and other heartier dishes including mahi mahi and gnocchi. We tried the croissant sandwich with scrambled eggs, and Hook's cheddar (it usually comes with ham but my friend is a vegetarian). If you're a fan of Hook's cheddar, you will love this sandwich. If you've never tried Hook's cheddar, you need to get on that ASAP! I tried the Hook's 15 year cheddar, aged for yes, 15 years, when I was in Madison last year, and it was a religious experience. They also have a 20 year cheddar that sold out this year. Anyway, back to the sandwiches...all are served with your choice of home fried potatoes or fruit. My one regret was not trying the potatoes since we both ordered fruit.
I chose the omelet based on its combination of pancetta and blue cheese, a match made in heaven if you ask me. The fried parsley on top added a nice and crispy touch.
|Omelet with Pancetta, Blue Cheese, and Fried Parsley|
While simplicity is the word at Hearth, I did enjoy the ambiance and the off-the-beaten path location. I've heard great things about their dinner menu and hope to check that out soon!
If you haven't heard, Buck's recently took over the space that was formerly home to (pun intended) Carriage House in Wicker Park. Buck's calls itself a Southern funk-inspired hangout and features a menu full of Southern classics including biscuit sandwiches and crispy fried chicken.
They've recently launched an "On the Run" takeout menu for Chicagoans to enjoy their hearty food at home. I recently checked out the takeout menu and was super impressed. They package their fried chicken in Buck's-branded boxes and buckets, and you can order an entire bird to go. It's like KFC, but SO much better.
The BF and I picked up fried chicken, biscuits with whipped butter and apple butter, broccoli cheddar slaw, mac and cheese, and collard greens. It was certainly a FEAST but it was so delicious. The fried chicken was some of the best I've had in Chicago, as were the biscuits. I was especially impressed that the food was still hot and crispy by the time I arrived home. Consider picking up a bucket the next time you want to stay in with friends or even for date night! Buck's also offers delivery via GrubHub.
|Buck's Fried Chicken|
Photo Credit: Buck's
|Buck's Fried Chicken|
|Broccoli Cheddar Slaw, Mac and Cheese, and Collard Greens|
|Biscuits, Whipped Butter and Apple Butter|
Note: my meals at Salero, Beef & Barley, Fogo De Chao, Hearth, and Buck's were complimentary; however, all opinions are my own.