Warm Up With a Whiskey – Koval Distillery Tour in Chicago

Koval Distillery Whiskey Barrels

Koval Distillery Whiskey Barrels

Escape the cold with a Koval Distillery tour! Koval is Chicago’s first craft distillery since the mid-1800s and the tour takes you through the distillation process while educating you on the history and current whiskey trends. You’ll also get to sample over 10 whiskeys and some of their liqueurs that come in flavors like chrysanthemum & honey and coffee.

Check out my Tastemade video for some tour highlights:

Grab your whiskey enthusiast friends and get out of the cold for some drinks. Leave with not only a slight buzz but some serious whiskey knowledge! You can also pat yourself on the back for drinking all organic. Koval also produces gin, vodka and brandy.

Koval Distillery Chicago Whiskey

Koval Distillery Chicago Whiskey

It’s Gumbo and Paczki Time! Fat Tuesday in Chicago

Big Jones serves gumbo ya-ya, “It all begins with the roux, made in the traditional Cajun style, with our andouille sausage, chicken, pork, and aromatic Arkansas rice.” See the gumbo in my Tastemade video.

Shaw’s Crab House has seafood gumbo full of fish, okra and fresh vegetables.

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You Should Check Out Blackbird for Chicago Restaurant Week – #CRW

Blackbird Chicago Dining Room

Blackbird Chicago Dining Room

Minimalist in design with a nice play between steel, wood and glass in this intimate restaurant. Having a Michelin star and winning many a James Beard Foundation awards does not make a cheap meal this is why I suggest the prix fixe lunch menu and this week the Restaurant Week menu for $22.

Excellent service with immediate seating, jackets taken off our hands, hook for my purse and amuse bouche delivered to the table. The celery root soup has a wonderful heartiness complements of the charred endive, a velvety crème fraîche and a dash of sweetness from the grapes and hint of tart from the sprinkling of sumac. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Ideas – What to Give, Do, Drink and Eat

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GIFTS:

Funny Valentine cards from Etsy

His and Hers highball set. Cheers!

Via Kate Spade - His and Hers Hiball Set

Via Kate Spade – His and Hers Hiball Set

Valentine’s Day macarons, who doesn’t like to receive sweets? RM Champagne Salon will send the Chef’s favorite macaron flavors to that lucky someone. Delivered by RM or you can pick-up.

EAT:

Forgot to make dinner reservations? Check out what is still available in Chicago. You can also go a little rogue and see if your favorite restaurants have openings on Friday or Sunday instead. You might get to skip the obligatory Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu if you opt for a different day.

So you want to steer clear restaurants here are some ideas for cooking at home. A decadent menu and a casual menu.

Image via Bon Appeit

Image via Bon Appeit

DO:

The Tinkerlab has a nice round-up of 30 Valentine Activities for Kids.

DRINK:

Drink some beer at the Brew of Hearts. The Chop Shop will host several brewers such as Soma Ale Works, Goose Island Beer Company, Transient and more.

The 9th Annual Hideout Makeout Party. Drink, laugh and maybe…makeout.