Friday, April 1

Recent Foodie Finds

Happy Friday everyone! I'm back with another round of Foodie Finds. This time I'm featuring two seafood spots, plus I'm recapping a cheesy (in a good way) event I attended at Fulton Market Kitchen!

Dive Bar

There's a fun seafood spot, Dive Bar, located in the heart of Lakeview and Boystown! The seafood-centric restaurant has a pretty extensive menu including appetizers like grilled oysters and tuna nachos, seafood boils, po'boys, and large platters like steak and grilled lobster tail, and fish 'n chips.

The nautical-themed restaurant also features a huge selection of rums along the wall behind the bar (they even have a ladder to get all the way to the top), for making tropical drinks and blended beverages.

Lakeview
Dive Bar
My friend Sam and I were excited to try the tropical drinks, and try them we did! I sipped the Guava Basil Cooler with tequila, St. Germain, guava nectar, grapefruit, lime, simple syrup, and basil. I don't normally like tequila, but I loved this drink! It was light and refreshing and a little too easy to drink, if you know what I mean. Sam ordered the summer solstice with Belvedere pink grapefruit vodka, aperol, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Her's was very refreshing as well, but didn't come in a fun glass (womp). Our second round of drinks did though! One was the Blue Marlin with Hendrick's gin, limoncello, pineapple juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda. The other was the Whale-n Whillie with Bacardi, Licor 43, Demerara simple syrup, guava nectar, orange juice, and pineapple juice. This round was definitely sweet...a little too sweet for our taste, but there are less sweet drink options to be found on the menu, as well as beers and wines.

Lakeview
Summer Solstice & Guava Basil Cooler
Lakeview
Whale'n Whillie & Blue Marlin
Browsing the menu was difficult because we wanted everything! I received a recommendation to try the boom boom shrimp, and man, was I glad we ordered it. Essentially it's shrimp battered and tossed in a creamy and spicy sauce (AKA mayo and sriracha). Boom. Delicious. How bad can that be?

Lakeview
Boom Boom Shrimp
Sam had never tried fish 'n chips before (what?!) so we had to order them. The outside was lightly battered and not greasy, and the fish inside was super flaky and moist. We loved the unique shape of the sea salt fries on the side. They were curly fries, but much thicker and wider. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty everything was.

Lakeview
Fish 'n Chips
Lastly, we had to try one of the seafood boils. Dive Bar's version is a bit different than what you might find at other boil-in-a-bag seafood spots, like The Angry Crab. You can select from several options including clams, mussels, shrimp, and snow crab or king crab. We opted for the king crab which came with two large crab legs, a potato, and corn. I know king crab is expensive, but it wasn't a ton of food. We polished those crab legs off in no time, especially since the meat was so easy to get out. Dive Bar steams their seafood resulting in super tender meat that slides right out of the shell, and then tosses it in your choice of sauce. We tried the lemon pepper sauce, and ordered a side of rajun cajun for dipping. We couldn't really taste the lemon pepper, but the meat was simply tasty without it.

Lakeview
King Crab Boil
Most of the menu is very affordable, especially if you compare it with other seafood spots around the city. The drinks are affordable too; signature drinks are only $9! They also have great weekly specials like 20% off on Monday's for Lakeview residents, $1 oysters on Tuesdays, and all you can eat battered fish for $8.99 on Thursdays. Dive Bar also has a backyard patio, so when the weather warms up, head over for some boom boom shrimp and a tropical drink!

Cold Storage

Another spot I recently tried is Cold Storage, the chef-driven seafood restaurant located inside Swift & Sons. I met up with some fellow foodies, Erin of @312Food, Liz of @CheekyEats, and Hannah of @EverythingButOlives for a Friday happy hour. Cold Storage's happy hour deal is pretty sweet. Every Monday-Friday from 3-6 PM, they offer $1 oysters and $3 draft beers.

We shared a couple dozen oysters, but I could have easily eaten one dozen all by myself. I was quite impressed with the quality of the oysters too. They were large, fresh, and clean. Cold Storage is not a huge space, and it does get crowded, especially after 5 PM, so get there early if you can!

Happy Hour
Happy Hour Beer & House Salt & Vinegar Chips
Happy Hour
Happy Hour Oysters
After slurping some oysters, we decided to stick around for a few seafood plates from chef Chris Pandel's menu. Cold Storage's menu is fairly simple with seafood towers, cold and warm plates, and sandwiches, but they also feature a few daily specials which are written on mirrors throughout the space. One of the specials we tried was the salmon collar which was insanely tender. It pulled right off the bone and had a mild charred flavor.

Happy Hour
Salmon Collar
We also tried the crispy clam roll with tzatziki sauce that was jam packed with clams. The little guys were pretty salty, but this was a tasty sandwich overall.

Happy Hour
Clam Roll
Happy Hour
Clam Roll 
The menu is constantly changing with the addition of fresh fish specials, so you're bound to see something new each time you visit. Cold Storage has made its way into my happy hour rotation, and is a fabulous spot for enjoying oysters, fresh fish, sandwiches, and a glass or two of beer or bubbly to wash it all down.

I'm giving Cold Storage 4 ghosts out of 5!



The Art of Cheese

Cheese
The Art of Cheese
Photo Credit: Emmi Roth
If you know me, you know I'm a cheese lover. Not only do I love to eat it, it's also a topic I write about for my day job as a food industry analyst. That's why I jumped at the opportunity to attend a fun event at Fulton Market Kitchen presented by Emmi Roth USA. Emmi Roth's "The Art of Cheese" event celebrated cheese through culinary innovation. The event brought together chef Zoe Schor, formerly of Ada Street, chef Chris Curren, Fulton Market Kitchen’s new chef, and chef Claire Menck, corporate chef at Emmi Roth. The chefs came together for a delicious evening showcasing Roth cheeses in their dishes. There was also a "cheese artist" hand painting wheels of cheese! I couldn't do it...I'd probably eat my canvas.

Cheese
Chef Claire Menck, Chef Chris Curren, Chef Zoe Schor 
Photo Credit: Emmi Roth

The three award-winning chefs crafted a variety of dishes showcasing various Roth cheeses. Some of my favorites included a loaded baked potato pierogi with Roth's Prairie Sunset cheese, and a Philly cheesesteak sliders with Roth Grand Cru, and Prairie Sunset cheese whiz! Chef Zoe Schorr also made a delicious risotto with Grand Cru cheese.

Cheese
Loaded Baked Potato Pierogi
Photo Credit: Emmi Roth
Cheese
Philly Cheesesteak Slider
Photo Credit: Emmi Roth
There was also a gorgeous fondue spread complete with several fondue cheeses, and an assortment of foods for dipping. This immediately made me want to host a fondue party. We dipped pretzel bites, dried mango, vegetables, chips, and potatoes, all made even more delicious with a blanket of gooey cheese. They also brought in their Grand Cru Surchoix which just became the World Champion at the 2016 World Cheese Awards. Yes, that's a thing. We didn't get to try it (sad face), but it was on display, rightly so! The cow's milk cheese has a deep flavor with hints of caramel and mushroom, and is aged 9 or more months. I hope to try it someday!

Cheese
Grand Cru Surchoix and Fondue Table
Photo Credit: Emmi Roth
That's it for this week's foodie finds! Have a great weekend my fellow food-lovers!

Note: My meal at Dive Bar and my attendance at The Art of Cheese were complimentary; however, all opinions are my own.

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