Little Goat, Big Plate – West Loop

Little Goat Cappucino

As a fan of Girl and the Goat (I wrote about my last trip here) I had wanted to try out Little Goat  since it opened in late December. We arrived at just before 2pm on a cold March Friday and it was packed. Luckily there were two seats at the diner bar waiting just for me and a friend. A woman in a purple old-timey diner waitress uniform greeted us as soon as we sat down. I thought they were cute but I could understand if one would prefer to look at them versus wear. This was confirmed when a server said, “…yeah, we looooove them.” Despite being busy the service was great with no less than 2 people checking in on us throughout our stay. Continue reading

Chocolate and Peppermint Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches

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This is my first time making ice cream sandwiches and I’m happy to report this is an easy and delicious recipe that is perfect for the winter/holidays. Don’t let “homemade” scare you off, there are only four ingredients:

1 pint premium vanilla ice cream, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1 cup finely crushed peppermint hard candies, and chocolate wafers.

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches Ingredients

Mix the first three ingredients together by crushing the peppermint candies and mixing 1/2 cup of them with softened ice cream and extract. Make sure you do not use more than 1/4 teaspoon per pint.

Peppermint Extract

Initially I tried to crush the candies by putting them in a ziplock bag and using the end of a rolling-pin. This will work but it will take a lot of time.

Crushing Peppermint Candies

Then I wised up and just threw them all in the blender and it took less than a 3 seconds.

Peppermints In Blender

See…crushed perfectly. Although it looks better to have bigger chunks of the peppermint candy it does make it hard to eat as the chunks can get chewy.

Crushed Peppermint Candies

Make sure the ice cream is slightly softened to make the mixing easier. I let mine get a bit too soft.

Mixing Ice Cream Peppermint Candies

Then scoop it back into the pint container and let it harden for about an hour or so in the freezer.

Peppermint Pint

The recipe says to work quickly when scooping the ice cream on each wafer, topping with another wafer and then wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing until firm.  I do not work quickly in the kitchen and given my relationship with plastic wrap I thought it would be a good idea to rip off the wrap for each cookie ahead of time.

Plastic Wrap

The recipe calls for using 1/4-cup ice cream scoop. However, I found this way too big for the wafer size and used a large spoon instead. This way you can also get a lot more sandwiches.

Open Face Peppermint Sandwich

Peppermint Sandwich

To help keep it cold I put the pint of ice cream back into the freezer every time I wrapped up each cookie. Then would take out the pint as I was putting in the wrapped sandwich.

Choco Peppermint Ice Cream Freezer

The sandwiches should stay in the freezer for about an hour. Then take them out, unwrap and roll in the crushed candy. Of note, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of crushed candy for rolling but I did not even come close to using this amount. I definitely used 1/2 cup to mix in the ice cream.

Choco Peppermint Rolling Edges

Wrap them back up and put in the freezer at least an hour or until ready to serve. Voilà, you have just created deliciousness to share with lucky friends and family.

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches Final

I will say that if you let the ice cream get too soft it will be a messy experience. When I make these again I will not let the ice cream get as soft and I will wrap the individual sandwiches very tightly so none of the ice cream seeps out of the sides and under the wrap. But even if you make a mess, it really doesn’t matter because these are so good no one will notice.

Original recipe is from Epicurious and can be found, here.

Bite Cafe – Ukrainian Village: A Sundae to Get You To Sunday

I will get to the food at Bite Cafe in Ukrainian Village in a second but I must tell you every Wednesday they feature an ice cream sundae.  My friends and I were celebrating a belated birthday and really went for it ordering main courses. There was no possible way to eat the sundae special I had been eyeing but the waitress said she was bringing it to us, we “had” to try it. It was the best sundae I’ve at a restaurant in Chicago.

Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do it justice but just imagine how great fresh homemade toasted marshmallow ice cream, pumpkin butterscotch, candied walnuts and cinnamon whipped cream tastes. It’s worth it to just go for the dessert. Go. Now.

This was my first trip to Bite after they remodeled. It’s very cozy with exposed brick, white, blue and brown colors throughout and local art on the walls. I would be here at least once a week if I still lived in the neighborhood. It’s also BYOB with no corkage fee.

Image via bitecafechicago.com

Dinner:
-Grilled Tofu- Curried Pumpkin Quinoa, Peas, Scallion, Pumpkin Vinaigrette
-Mussels and Fries- Shallots, Garlic, Leeks, Bacon, Smoked Paprika Butter, White Wine
-Roasted Portabella Sandwich- Roasted Red Peppers, Arugula, Fresh Mozzarella, Balsamic Glaze
-Parisian Gnocchi, Seasonal Vegetables, Herb Brown Butter, Parmesan
-Beet Salad- Arugula, Frisee, Goat Cheese Croquette, Orange, Kalamata Olive, Pistachio Vinaigrette
-Salmon with red wine mushroom risotto and vegetables (special that night)
Told you we ordered a lot…every single dish was flavorful, cooked perfectly and made with very fresh ingredients. My favorite of the night was the Parisian Gnocchi.  The sage cooked in herb brown butter coupled with pillow-like gnocchi = perfection. There are several more items from the dinner menu I would like to try. Also looking for an excuse to go to brunch.  I will definitely be going back on a Wednesday…who’s in with me?

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