Turquoise – Turkish Café

Turquoise Café in Roscoe Village is a great place for a relaxed sidewalk lunch. Despite the outdoor seating on the street any traffic noise was minimal making you feel like you were in your own backyard. My neighbor who is Turkish recommended this place so I knew it had to be good. It was.

The meal started with the LahmacunSeasoned ground beef and seasoned vegetables, homemade fresh dough, parsley leaves and lemon wedges. This dish definitely set the tone for the rest of the meal. Perfectly seasoned with herbs and very thin crust, think a Turkish-style pizza but not heavy at all. You should get this.

Next up the Turkish Feta Salad: Romaine, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, Feta cheese, black olives and vinaigrette dressing. Refreshing and flavorful salad and again great balance of ingredients, seasoning and amount of vinaigrette.  This is good to share with the table.

For entrees:

Sesame Crusted Tuna: Arugula, lettuce, finger link potatoes, walnuts, hard-boiled egg, red onion, raspberry balsamic reduction. The portions were good and overall good flavor but if you are picky about your tuna this might not be the most memorable. I’m talking people who are used to high-grade quality tuna cooked rare.

Kofte Kebap Sandwich: Grounded lamb, seasoned and grilled wrapped in flatbread, pickle yogurt sauce and crispy potatoes. Besides the Lahmacun, this was my favorite of the meal. Perfect spicy but not too spicy seasoning. The flatbread was fantastic. Not too thick and a bit spongy but in a good texture way. So good I brought home the leftovers. The yogurt sauce was an added bonus to an already great sandwich. Served with a few perfectly crispy potatoes and pickles that provided almost a palate cleanser to the lamb.

Last but not least the House Lamb Wrap Sandwich: Low fat lamb skewered, in flatbread with lettuce, touch of onion and Feta cheese; w/roasted potatoes. Another flavorful sandwich with generous portions to take home.

There is a large wine/champagne, cocktail and beer list. Also Turkish red and white wines that look fun to try. I recommend for lunch and would like to come back for dinner. The inside is cozy so seems like a great place for a nice fall dinner…yes summer is ending soon.

Turquoise Café: 2147 W.Roscoe, Chicago, IL 60618
 

Cajun Country – LAST No Reservations Episode

Image Via The Travel Channel

The season finale of No Reservations is tonight on the Travel Channel. They will be in Louisiana and the cast and crew of Treme will be joining in when they are in New Orleans. Get your No Reservations fix while you can.

Cajun Country – Travel Channel.

Say Adiós to Ice Cream? | Nice Cream Chicago

Image Via Nice Cream Facebook Page

I first tried Nice Cream at Logan Square Kitchen and it immediately stood out from other trendy ice creams for its sheer freshness and flavor. You can taste every ingredient and they all taste real. I had heard they do custom flavors so I contacted the owner, Kris Swanberg, about creating a flavor to two for a birthday gift. I didn’t end up getting the ice cream but Kris was great to work with.

When I found out that Nice Cream was in trouble and might have to cease operations I felt bad for Kris and other local ice cream makers and wondered if this meant the end of local handmade ice cream for a while. On their Kickstarter page Swanberg states, “We have recently learned Nice Cream, together with all other small-batch artisans, may be subject to strict state regulations which appear to be intended for large-scale manufacturers…The regulations that would change the kind of ice cream we make and could potentially end artisan ice cream in Illinois.”

Revolution Brewing Company will be holding a fundraiser for Nice Cream this Sunday, August 28th at 5pm. There will be plenty of beer, food and Nice Cream along with a silent auction.  Go eat and drink in the name of Nice Cream!

Revolution Brewing – 2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

nice cream chicago

Image via Chicago Metromix


Shut Up And Bake

Bleeding Heart Bakery is not for the faint of heart. Sorry for the kinda-pun but it’s true. Exhibit A: Deep-fried doughnut breakfast sandwich. Yep, a donut that is tempura battered and deep-fried with a fried egg and choice of meat and cheese.

BHB’s new West Town cafe is a beautiful and spacious diner with great artwork, murals and vintage touches.  I cannot wait for the rooftop next year. Cassie, our waitress/new BFF, broke down the large menu in terms of what we should get for first-timers. I also have to say, for Day 2 this place had it together. Everything ran smoothly and everyone that worked there seemed like they had been doing it for years. You might recognize the owners Michelle and Vinny Garcia from various Food Network competitions and their Roscoe Village and Oak Park bakery locations.

Cassie recommended swapping out one of the chai’s on order for The Dim…a banana split mocha…behold:

Next up, Housemade Biscuits & Gravy. I don’t usually get B&G so I wanted to try something different. These were good; some cayenne on top so there is a little kick to the thick and rich gravy. You could tell the biscuits were made from scratch, hearty but flaky. Had the eggs over easy.

My favorite dish of the meal, Veruca Salt Waffle: salted caramel mouse and vanilla anglaise. This was one of the best savory and sweet dishes I have tasted. The warm gooey caramel melting into the sea salt = complete gratification. The waffles were a perfect slight crisp on the outside and light and fluffy inside.

Last up, since it was “healthy”, the Caramelized Grapefruit. Basically crème brulée grapefruit. Sugar combined with tart thirst-quenching juice was the perfect way to end the meal.

Great relaxed vibe with a slight edge. Good for brunch anytime of the day and if you don’t have much time, order sweets/donuts/cakes and coffee from the to go counter. Vegan, vegetarian options and local and organic farm ingredients used. Also open 57 hours straight from Friday until Sunday so if you get some food craving late-night, head there. The A/C was cranked so if you get cold easily might want to bring an extra layer.

Cute bathrooms too:

Will I be back? Yes. Should you go? Definitely.

Join the Punk Rock Brunch at Bleeding Heart Bakery and Café – West Town, 1916 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

PETER BJORN AND JOHN & JONAS | LONGMAN & EAGLE

Image via LongmanandEagle.wordpress.com

Longman and Eagle will be hosting an art exhibition starting tomorrow August 23rd and running through September 19th. The artwork will feature Peter Bjorn and John‘s latest record “Gimme Some” created by Jonas Torvestig. For those of you that have been to the Logan Square restaurant you know the wait is worth the farm-to-table food. If you happen to like whisky there are currently 148 selections.

L&E  was also just featured in the Bon Appétit restaurant issue for their Sweet Potato-Pork Belly Hash. Yum.

The band will be hosting an opening preview event tomorrow Tuesday, August 23rd, at 10 pm at L&E. Go and eat some great food, hear some live music and enjoy some art!

PETER BJORN AND JOHN & JONAS | LONGMAN & EAGLE.

Bon Bini! Welcome To Aruba

There are plenty of restaurants in Aruba but none as laid-back and romantic as Passions on the Beach. Tables are set up 25 feet from the ocean literally on the beach so you can enjoy the sunset with your feet in the sand. Another plus, it is located away from the high-rise madness so no crowds to deal with. I was in a trance from the waves and the breeze and said “sure” when offered the “signature” cocktail, it was out of the 80s but made me laugh and just added to the fun.

Requisite Beach Cocktail

I’d like to say the meal was amazing but there was only one really great standout which turned out to be a very simple dish. The Watermelon Salad. The sweetness of the watermelon mixed with the saltines of the feta is always a beautiful thing but the addition of the chili dressing made this dish memorable. It’s also really easy to recreate which I have multiple times since returning from the One Happy Island.

Almost everyone that was dining on the beach was celebrating a birthday or anniversary or seemed to be on their honeymoon or with someone they loved so it didn’t matter that the food wasn’t the main attraction. Just being there was the point…oh and the view…

Here is a recipe I found that is a good reference to make your own beach watermelon salad creation courtesy of Miri Leigh. You should really make it while we still have summer.  Ban come! Let’s eat! 

10 sprigs thyme
1 serrano chili
1 small shallot
juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 oz fresh baby spinach, rinsed and dried
3 lbs seedless watermelon
4 oz crumbled feta

Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs by gripping each sprig with your thumb and forefinger near one end and, with your other hand, pulling the sprig away from you so that your thumb and finger run along the stem opposite to the direction that the leaves grow.  Set aside half of the leaves to use as garnish.  Place the remaining leaves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade along with the serrano chili (remove some or all of the seeds for less heat), shallot, lime juice and zest, olive oil, canola oil, vinegar, and salt.  Pulse a few times until the chili and shallot are chopped, then process until the dressing is smooth and emulsified.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the dressing until it is fully coated, reserving 1/4 cup of the dressing for the last step.  Arrange the dressed spinach in equal quantities among four plates.  Slice the watermelon as thinly as possible and arrange over the spinach.  Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the watermelon and garnish with the remaining thyme leaves.  Drizzle the remaining dressing over the feta, about 1 tablespoon per plate.  Serve immediately.

Pilsen Community Farmers Market – Sundays 9am – 3pm

Flights come as close as 18 inches

Image via Wikipedia

 

If you need to take a break from the Chicago Air & Water Show noise, head west this weekend and stop by the Pilsen Community Market. Get  some fresh and delicious food and support your local farmers.

Pleasant Farms  is a regular vendor at the market and also offers gardening classes. The next class will teach you how to get your garden ready for fall.

 

Pilsen Community Market. Located on 18th and Halsted streets behind the Chicago Community Bank. 
 

Image via pilsencommunitymarket.org/index.php/archives/222

Do You Like the Taste of Delicious?

I discovered this great sangria at the grocery store and have been enjoying it all summer long. The white sangria is sweet (but not too sweet) and fresh. The red sangria is bolder, the way a Merlot is, and rich. Both are seriously delicious. Do yourself a flavor and get some.

Found this at Whole Food and is on sale this week – Savida Sangría

Pop Up Dinner for La Sardine Moved to Bucktown

If you are in the mood for French and want to head to BucktownLa Sardine is moving their pop up dinner to Le Bouchon this weekend.

Date and location:

Le Bouchon
1958 N. Damen
Sunday August, 21
 

Reservations will be taken at:

6:00 & 6:30

8:30 & 9:00

Call La Sardine for reservations: 312.421.2800

Bon appétit!

Image Via youonlyliveonce.com.au/chicago-james-curd/

Lunchtime at GT Fish and Oyster

UPDATE: I came back for the Chicago Restaurant Week special at GT Fish and Oyster solely for the lobster roll and it was worth it. Check it out —-> https://www.tastemade.com/v/zEhBW87vRMO7QvdSpPqhTg

*************************************************************************************************

Open for about four months, GT Fish and Oyster took over the space that used to house Tizi Melloul and changed it into a  bright and open restaurant. Sunshine was streaming through the windows and the vibe was relaxed. The music lent to the ambiance, Neil Young‘s Harvest Moon, Mumford & Sons and Ray LaMontagne. From what I have heard, this is opposite of the feel at nighttime, crowded, loud and more like a scene.

Here’s the lunch breakdown:

Tuna Poke: mango, cucumber, black sesame. Fresh and good flavors. The mango keeps this dish from tasting like the standard poke.

Tuna Poke

Oysters served with Ponzu Mignonette and GT Cocktail Sauce: 3 Pebble Beach (West, Washington) and 3 Kusshi (West, British Columbia). I’m not an oyster expert but I did like the Pebble Beach oyster, tasted like the sea. I did not try the Kusshi but my friend really liked both and he knows his oysters.

Fish Taco: Rockfish, chipotle aioli, chicharron, garlic, pea shoots. Perfect size and great flavor combination. Pea shoots added a nice dimension and balanced the aioli.

Tuna BLT: seared tuna, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, aioli. Served with Fried Pickles. This was my favorite dish of the meal. The tuna was seared perfectly, sourdough bread was fresh, avocado/bacon/aoili and tomato together, delicious.

The best fried pickles I’ve had north of the Mason Dixon Line and no dipping sauce needed.

I would recommend GT Fish and Oyster for a nice lunch with a friend/date or a business lunch. It also sounds like it could be fun for a night out if you are up for it. High quality ingredients and excellent service, however, this is also reflected in the price.

GT Fish and Oyster is on 531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654.