Telegraph – Logan Square

While at dinner with friends someone mentioned that they never order chicken when they go out to eat. We all chimed in with similar reasoning about how it is boring, you can make it at home, why spend the money, etc. I agreed but the exception popped into my mind, Telegraph. While there last October I had a taste of their Grilled Amish Half Chicken dish. This dish made me want to break the “no ordering chicken in a restaurant” rule.

Before we get to that, Telegraph is a wine bar by the people behind Webster’s Wine bar. The chef is most recently from  avec and the food reflects this.  I can see why it is described as rustic with its vintage lighting and natural reclaimed wood. But I think it has more of the dark and romantic vibe. Perfect for a large communal meal (as you’ll see in the pictures below) but also perfect for a date tucked in a corner with some wine and snacks.

The wine descriptions are pretty entertaining, “a life-affirming, citrus & sea-spray driven, lightly sparkling dry white that makes the soul smile.”  It was a warm night and I love all things Spanish so I went with the 2000 Lopes de Heredia ‘Tondonia’ Rioja Alta and yes it did taste, “very alive & fine.”

The menu changes frequently so these may not be available currently but worth ordering if on the menu. First courses:

Roasted beets, baby romaine, bella rosa, honey vinaigrette, earl grey smoked bacon, evalon cheese

Caramelized seasonal mushrooms, pearl barley, vegetable demi, and poached egg. This was unexpectedly rich in flavor, hearty and could rival any meat dish. Poached egg was perfectly cooked as well.

Second courses:

Grilled hanger steak, potatoes o’brien, crawfish demi. A very solid dish that will not disappoint on flavor.

Braised rabbit pappardelle pasta, lavender, seasonal nut bolognaise, celery root puree. The flavor combination was entirely unique, I haven’t had lavender, nut bolognaise and celery root together before and I am here to tell you, it works. The rabbit was cooked well and had a nice flavor, not too gamey. I didn’t ask but I wouldn’t be surprised if the pasta was house made. I took my leftovers home. I would order this again.

On to the pièce de résistance, grilled Amish half chicken, delicata squash stuffing, tamarind, annatto seed, and cilantro. The chicken was grilled to perfection, juicy and flavorful. It beat the hanger steak in flavor. The annatto seed and cilantro give it a hint of Latin American flavor and the squash gives a rich dimension. The croutons are a thing of beauty; huge and soft with a nice mix of herbs and deliciously buttery. If this is on the menu during my next visit I will order it. You should too.

After all that food we were actually talked into dessert:

Vanilla Panna Cotta. Okay, I admit, it didn’t take that much convincing when presented with the chance to eat cream, sugar and milk. However, it was the perfect light end to a heavy meal.

Telegraph tends to be busy on the weekend so a make a reservation or be prepared to wait. Anyone looking for a good date place should come here.

Telegraph 2601 N Milwaukee Ave At Logan Blvd

It’s Mardi Gras, Let’s Go Back to New Orleans – Yuki Izakaya

This weekend, a friend of mine  was boarding next to a flight to New Orleans and she sent me a text reminiscing about our trip to Mardi Gras back in the day. It got me thinking of my most recent trip to New Orleans and a place I fell in love with, Yuki Izakaya. Happy Fat Tuesday,  Laissez le Bon temp rouler!

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Chocolate Meringue Tart from Floriole Cafe – Even Martha Stewart Loves It

My first trip to Floriole was for lunch, which you can read here.  I wanted to come back to try their sweets and I am glad I did. Perusing the many options the Chocolate Meringue Tart was a new item they are featuring and was told that it would be featured on the Martha Stewart show this week. My friend and I joked, well if it’s good enough for Martha it must be good.

This dessert is as good as it is cute. Don’t let the size fool you, it should be shared. The chocolate ganache inside is very rich (in the best way possible) and the meringue  was light, airy and crisp (yes, all three!). Pretty much a bite of heaven.

This is the perfect treat for anytime but is also a nice idea for Valentine’s Day. Pick up one up and bring it home to share. This is way better than a cliché box of chocolates. Trust.

Cheap(er) Eats For Those on A College Student’s Budget in Chicago

I’m pleased to introduce Nicole Adams. She currently works with Westwood College and enjoys designing, writing and of course eating.  She is Alicia Tastes Life first guest blogger! 

Cheap(er) Eats For Those on A College Student’s Budget

–on behalf of Nicole Adams of Westwood College

Chicago is a big city with a diverse population. As immigrants from all over the world have arrived at the Windy City, they’ve brought their various culinary traditions with them. Chicago college students and residents, therefore, have a lot of opportunities when it comes to affordable ethnic dining.  It’s nice to actually take advantage of the idea of “a little goes a long way”.  Perhaps, you can spend your remaining budget on a special night out at Blackbird, or a nice slow food establishment.  In the meantime, the question remains, where can I find the best food in town for the best price?  I have chosen an array of cuisines and neighborhoods.  Here are just a few spots you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking for a hip, cost efficient place to dine.

Image via city-data.com

If your palette longs for red pasta sauce or grilled calamari, consider Lucia’s on North Avenue. Lucia and Dominick, the friendly owners of this long-established Italian Restaurant, have managed to keep this gem a neighborhood go-to. The options are endless.  When it comes to take out, they are very fast and efficient.  This Italian eatery has it’s own deli; so don’t hesitate to order a fresh made sandwich or custom salad (most under $10).  If you do decide to cozy up and eat in the dining room, be sure to note the BYOB option and no corking fee.  I would recommend pairing your own wine from home with the Artichoke Ravioli.

Image via farm4.staticflickr.com

Sultan’s Market is another idea of a generously priced, yet tasty, place to throw down some George Washington’s.  For only $2, you can order the Baked Spinach Pie or Grandma Zarifa’s Lentil Soup.  Of course, Hummus and Curry Basmati Rice are also great items on this Mediterranean inspired menu, but one of the biggest perks is having small and large portion options.  The ingredients are flavorful and taste is authentic.  Sultan’s Market has been in Wicker Park for years, and they have recently added a new location in Lincoln Park.

Image via city-data.com

Saving the “latest for last”, it’s not easy to fight the craving for fast late night tacos. Wicker Park’s standing tradition of a 2AM Flash Taco had to make it to this post.  As the previous statement implies, it’s obvious that this is where you would most likely spend the latter part of your evening.  Flash Taco originated when two Mexican immigrants began selling delicious tacos in Humboldt Park from an ice chest.  Flash built on this idea and tradition that his ambitious parents started and Flash Taco has become the perfect place to get filling, satisfying food.  Most items are under $6, and the Steak Burrito or Chili Relleno tacos are the way to go.  Don’t forget to order a horchata to sip on while you wait.

Hopefully these suggestions will meet any time crunch and budget on your next cheap eat outing. Another suggestion, that I’ve recently found useful for finding deals on good food, is the Scout Mob app.  You can download to any Smartphone and is available and free to Chicago subscribers.  The site most recently featured 50% off Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant in Edgewater.  If you need your olive tapenade fix, there’s a 50% off deal for Atomix Coffee in the Ukrainian Village.  The deals change, but the app is nice to have as a reference when trying to meet the right match, on any occasion, for your taste buds.