Lincolnshire Marriott Resort & Three Embers

 

Porte Cochere_ Lincolnshire_Photo Credit Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort
Photo Credit: Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

Let me preface this by reminding you I love my family. I love our busy schedules, I love going on adventures with them, and I equally love staying at home and having the girls put on various talent shows for me. Sometimes, however, I need something for myself. Beyond the networking events, beyond work, beyond brunch dates, sometimes I need some “me time”.

Outdoor Dining on the Lakeside Plaza_Photo Credit Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

Photo Credit: Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

And a mini staycation at the Marriott Resort in Lincolnshire could not have come at a more perfect time.

 

Continue reading “Lincolnshire Marriott Resort & Three Embers”

Memorial Day 2018

I know that we try to keep our blog light-hearted, but I wanted to mention some organizations that assist the military and their families during their time of need.

Disclosure: The person that I am writing about is a close family member that is, in general, a very private person. Though they have social media accounts, they did not announce the news on that platform that I am about to state here. They decided to let the family and friends know individually and through word-of-mouth. Due to this, I am going to omit pieces of information that may disclose their identity. Though I will be discussing their health, I will only be giving snapshots of the complete picture of their experience.

I made sure that I was granted permission by this person with what I can and cannot share before posting this blog as well.

I know that we try to keep our blog light-hearted, but I wanted to take this opportunity to present a few things. I wanted to mention some wonderful organizations that help our military families in order to bring awareness for them. I once worked for a company that matched charitable donations, give perks like wearing jeans for a month if you donate to their featured charity and, if you volunteered 30+ hours in a calendar year, they give you $500 to donate to the charity of your choice. So, I was always looking to donate my time and money somewhere. Whether it is through programs with your job, or if it is the end of the year and you want to get a tax break through charitable donations, I hope that this article can inspire you to help these organizations out also. Plus, with Memorial Day coming up, I thought that the subject would be apropos.
If you already do something similar, such as sending care packages to the deployed troops overseas, or you volunteer your time and skills with veterans transitioning back to civilian life, then that is great! Keep doing your good deeds! (However, if you happen to fit in any of these other organizations in the future, then I will be happy too!) I was aiming to bring these organizations to light to those who were like me – unaware that they exist — and present the good that they do to support the military and their families.

So, as far as my story goes, it begins a little like this…

Continue reading “Memorial Day 2018”

First Bites Bash 2018

Every year to kick of the coveted Chicago Restaurant Week, Choose Chicago hosts a little event called First Bites Bash. With over 60 restaurants, it’s a means of getting a glimpse of the 14 days that follow.

This year, it took place inside the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, and it was a perfect venue.

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As you walk in on the lower level, you are obligated to not just look around you but ABOVE you, towards the grand ceiling.

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You were also able to enter on the second floor and from the wrap-around balcony, getting an aerial view of the hustle and bustle below.

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Hubbard Inn Winter Menu Preview

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This time of year is always a time full of family, magic, and holiday cheer, but it is also always a time of frantic planning, shopping, hosting, and altogether chaos. Some nights, I just need a short break. A few hours where I am able to relax, dine, and drink with adults. I replace the Doc McStuffins theme song with jazzy lounge music. I replace the yoga pants and slippers with fitted pants and some boots. Continue reading “Hubbard Inn Winter Menu Preview”

Chicago Culinary Fight Club

On Monday, October 17th, I had the pleasure of attending this month’s Culinary Fight Club, hosted by the amazing non-profit organization, Fight2Feed.
I have to admit that before discovering this event, I had not heard of F2F. So I had to do some research. I’m one of those people who is weary of who I donate to because I know sometimes my contributions don’t go to the hands that truly deserve it (CEOs & advertising vs actual needy people). So when I found out that F2F actually delivers food
DIRECTLY to the homeless bystanders of Chicago, I was more than eager to give my share of a donation! When I have time to give, I’m definitely going to be volunteering with them as well.

So the event at hand is one of the most fun events I’ve ever attended. Chefs, both by profession or by passion, compete in a monthly contest similar to timed ones seen on TV. They are given 60 minutes on the clock, secret ingredients, a limited pantry, and a theme. I consider myself, as a guest, EXTREMELY lucky in that the theme for this month was none other than Chicago Street Food. While many indulge in the high end, fine dining opportunities around the city & suburbs (and there are definitely plenty to chose from), my biggest pleasures are found in local hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop shops. So this seemed like something I would love from the very beginning.

There were 3 judges, plus a “Chef-eree”, who would choose the top 3 winners. Guests would then be asked to taste and nominate the “People’s Choice Award”. Now on TV, the most I’ve seen is 3 contestants. This showdown had twice as many! With 6 dishes to try, the judges, the audience and myself all had a difficult competition to assess!

When I watch Chopped or similar shows, I have always argued that an hour was such a long time for one dish. Then I went to CFC. OMG that time flew soo fast! And the chefs all did so well with time management that I seriously doubted any and all confidence of the notion that “PSSHH… I could so do that!”

Again, the theme of the month was Chicago Street Food.  Most of them had used plantains, and all but 1 chef used tortillas or pita bread as a “carrier” carb. The one unique chef (fireman James Bernstein & his ‘sous chef’ daughter) put together one of my all time favorite “street foods” – jibaritos!

My other favorite was Chef Nicholas Saponaro.

Let’s pretend I look absolutely adorable in this picture, instead of hair ruined by the wind and face melted by the hot spotlights inside.  His dish was out of this world to me – Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich with jicama slaw and crisp plantains, served on a pita – and clearly others thought so as well.


He ended up winning not just 3rd place by the judges, but Tasters Choice as well!

The top two actually ended up tying for first, but after using the Chef-eree as a tie-breaker, Chef Millie Ayala ultimately won with her rendition of a Chicago Hot Dog, beating out Devon Seafood Grill’s Chef David Rolon and his vegetarian spring rolls.

I can’t wait until the next event. And to be able to volunteer with Fight2Feed. For more information on their organization, visit their website here.  And make sure to visit Culinary Fight Club to keep tabs on future events!