Easy, Healthy & Delicious – Turmeric Salmon with Coconut Crisp

New Year, New Blog Posts! It’s a new year and I decided to jump back into my blog! I took a little break but I’m going to continue using my blog as a creative outlet. You’ll see me experimenting with some different posts and content. I’m going to keep it simple and share my love of food with you!  My first post of the year features this DELICIOUS recipe.

I made this Turmeric Salmon with Coconut Crisp recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine and it was SO delicious and full of bold flavors. Ginger, turmeric- which is good for you, and I used rainbow chard which I cooked for the first time – tasty. I got the coconut flakes from the bulk section at Whole Foods, and Trader Joes also sells small bags of coconut flakes. I took this picture just before putting it in the oven. Gorgeous!

I HIGHLY recommend it- easy to make and it tastes like something you would eat out at a restaurant. I’m adding this to the rotation.

Here’s the link – If you make this, let me know what you think!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/turmeric-salmon-with-coconut-crisp

Turmeric Salmon with Coconut Crisp Recipe

My Hosting Gig for Chef Judson Todd Allen’s Chef Blend Weekend

I had the incredible opportunity to host celebrity chef Judson Allen’s first annual Chef Blend Weekend in January. This event was all about eradicating childhood obesity and celebrating local restaurants.

Below is the footage from the event. I had a ball interviewing Alderman Bob Fioretti, and cutting the rug with him on the red carpet.

Check it out, and be sure to put this event on your calendar for next year!

Turkey Chop Coupon – That’s “What’s Good!”

“What’s Good”, everyone?

As a special treat to Taste Bud Diaries blog followers, Turkey Chop is offering a coupon for 25% off your ENTIRE ORDER!

That’s right, folks. 25% Off! The food is great, and a coupon is EVEN BETTER!

Below is the image of the coupon. Print it out & present it when you get to the restaurant. (Or present on your phone).

Be sure to visit the website at http://www.turkeychop.com for the menu of all of the delicious options. Will you have a juicy and succulent turkey burger? The comforting and delicious turkey spaghetti?  Or my personal favorite, the smoky and flavorful turkey tips?

Don’t forget to try the sides – the sautéed spinach (gotta get your veggies) macaroni and cheese, and sweet potatoes are all great choices. Don’t forget to get your peach cobbler for dessert!

Bring a friend, and tell them Taste Bud Diaries sent you!

**If you didn’t see my write-up and video review on Turkey Chop, check it out here:

http://tastebuddiaries.com/2013/10/05/whats-good-turkey-chop-restaurant-review/

Turkey Chop

3506 W. Chicago Ave.

Chicago, IL

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“What’s Good?” Turkey Chop Restaurant Review

Today’s “What’s Good” is about a new-ish restaurant called Turkey Chop. Turkey Chop is located in West Humboldt Park (3506 W. Chicago Ave.)  and they cater to those looking for beef and pork alternatives. I was invited as a food blogger, and I had a chance to try a number of dishes, including the Turkey Chops, the Turkey Tips, Sautéed Spinach (which was prepared like greens), Sweet Potatoes, Dirty Rice, and Peach Cobbler for Dessert. (I’m surprised that I didn’t instantly fall asleep after eating all of this food!)

They really go all out with the Turkey Chops (like smothered pork chops) and the Turkey Tips, which were my absolute favorite. If you like rib tips, then you will love the turkey tips – they are grilled and they have an amazing smoky flavor, they are very well seasoned and are served with a tangy and delicious bbq sauce.

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Turkey Chop also caters, so I can definitely see the turkey tips showing up on one of my party menus in the future. The prices are also very good – the turkey burgers were only $5 and they looked like they would definitely fill you up. The other thing that I loved is that they had cornbread, but it was prepared like a pancake. I’ve never had cornbread this way, and I really enjoyed it – vey innovative!

Check out my video review of Turkey Chop below:

…and that’s “What’s Good”!

“What’s Good?” – Honey Butter Fried Chicken

This week’s “What’s Good Wednesday” is featuring Honey Butter Fried Chicken. (No video today).  I visited this new restaurant in Avondale just because of the name. “Honey Butter” and “Fried Chicken” are two phrases that you don’t hear together very often. They have also been getting a lot of press, so I figured that I would try it out. I must say that I haven’t tasted chicken quite like this. The skin is nice and crispy, but the secret ingredient is the smoked paprika salt – it really does give it a very unique flavor. Very good. They also serve a honey butter, which you are supposed to put onto the chicken & it’s good, especially on the corn bread which is shaped like little honey combs. The cornbread is good but it is entirely too small – just order extra cornbread if you like cornbread.

The only thing is that they need to work on their side items.  The macaroni and cheese was dry – it was like eating cheesy-flavored noodles – very little sauce. Stay away from the Chinese Broccoli – I was trying to be healthy and eat my vegetables, but I couldn’t even eat half of this dish. They put tomato sauce in there, and I didn’t enjoy the flavor at all. Too bitter and acidic for my taste buds. The creamed corn, however was very tasty.  I do plan to go back and visit, and the next time, I plan to get the fried chicken sandwich.

The decor was cute – very simple restaurant, and kind of small with a nice patio in the back. It had a nice, neighborhood feel, and there were a couple of people there with their kids. (Although I thought that it was probably past their bedtime). Definitely worth a visit!

That’s “What’s Good!”

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“What’s Good Wednesday” featuring Plum Market and Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter

Today’s “What’s Good Wednesday” features Plum Market and Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter.

Plum Market is a new store to the Chicago area featuring on local and organic foods. It’s very much like Whole Foods but with a heavy local spin. You can find your favorite local foods and products at this store, which is what makes them unique. Check out the video to learn more.

Also featured is Trader Joe’s delicious Peanut Butter. It tastes so fresh, like someone just ground up some peanuts, added some salt and put it in the jar. I’m obviously very enthusiastic about this Peanut Butter when you watch the video.

Enjoy!

 

New Weekly Web Series “What’s Good Wednesdays”

Hi Everyone!

Today I am announcing the launch of my new weekly web series called “What’s Good?” where I will talk about my favorite foods from restaurants, grocery stores and the like. I’ll be posting the episode on Wednesdays.

In this episode, I’m featuring the following:

  • The Hummus at Bin 36 – I had the hummus at Bin 36 and was floored at how fresh and delicious it tasted. It tasted better than many Mediterranean restaurants that I have tried. I was at a party and had to force myself to stop eating it because I literally had plates of it (small plates, but plates). If I had a picnic or event, I would order the hummus specifically and take it to-go. It was served with pita bread, and I loved it. Very unexpected find at a wine-focused restaurant.

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  • Good Vines Wine – I had the pleasure of trying Good Vines Wine at this same event, and was delighted to learn that they give 5% of their proceeds back to a charity (in this case it’s Common Threads, which is my favorite charity), and they also have a lovely Marzemino sparkling red wine. I said Sparkling. Red. Wine. Who knew? It’s very well-balanced (with hints of berries and violets) and not too sweet, so it can pair with a variety of foods. The wine has half the carbonation of Champagne, and it’s quite refreshing. Definitely the kind of wine that I would take to a dinner party or an outdoor picnic. (Can you tell that I like picnics?). The wine is currently sold in the Chicago area at Mariano’s grocery stores, so be sure to pick up a bottle the next time you go shopping. They also have a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Tai-Pinot Grigio as well. Check out their website at http://www.goodvineswine.com

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  • Trader Joe’s Macaroni and Cheese – If you don’t have time to cook and you have a craving for some serious Mac & Cheese, Trader Joe’s has a frozen, gourmet Mac and Cheese that you won’t believe came from a frozen box at the grocery store. It’s very creamy and has 4 cheeses. They also have a light version, but I was told to go for the regular version for the best flavor. This item is great for those days where you just don’t feel like cooking a side item, but you want to eat something delicious. Try a box and let me know what you think.

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That’s “What’s Good” for this week!

If you have any suggestions on foods that I should feature on “What’s Good Wednesdays”, leave me a comment or email me at erica@tastebudenterprises.com. If I decide to feature your suggestion, I’ll give you a shout-out in the video!

See you next Wednesday!

Official Invitation to the Common Threads Cook-Off

Hot off the press – this is the official invitation for the Common Threads Cook-Off. Isn’t it beautiful? And don’t you want to come? Look at all of these amazing restaurants!

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You Are Invited to Common Threads Cook-Off 2013!!

I’m happy to announce that tickets to the third annual Common Threads Cook-Off are now on sale! It is a fantastic event targeting Chicago’s young professional foodie elite, a fundraising competition of sorts showcasing the city’s finest food and mixology. Chefs create and serve their favorite cookout-themed dish either in a glass, on a bun, in a shell, or on a stick, and guests have the opportunity to try it all, vote on their favorites, and take part in the silent and live auctions.

As a Common Threads Associate Board member, my hope is that you’re inspired by Common Threads’ mission to educate underprivileged children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. It has been such an important part my life and I would welcome the opportunity for you to see a little bit more of what we do.

The value for this event is amazing; the crowd is ideal, the cocktails are bottomless, and you’ll eat ’til your heart’s content courtesy of the most noteworthy restaurants in Chicago.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at
http://events.commonthreads.org/eventDetails.aspx?eventId=117

Below is a video invite of what to expect:

Let me know if you plan on purchasing a ticket – I would love to have you!Image

Below is the link to my recap from last year’s event – Don’t miss it!

http://tastebuddiaries.com/2012/09/29/rave-review-for-the-common-threads-cook-off-event/

The Food and Fashion Rocked at “Fashion Rocks!”

I went to a fabulous foodie event Sunday night called Fashion Rocks, held at BellyQ. Over 20 of the best Chicago restaurants were under one roof with “fashion installations” by Haberdash, which is a local men’s clothing store in Chicago. What is a fashion installation you ask? Well, it’s a bunch of beautiful men who stand and pose in different scenes and outfits during the night. When I first arrived, they were holding guitars, and I asked “Are you going to play those, or are you models” and they said “We are models” – so of course I had to take a picture. They always looked away from the camera. Fierce!

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The proceeds of this event went to Common Threads (my favorite charity), and the West Loop Community Organization. Some of the Common Threads kids were helping the chefs out and they were SO CUTE with their full-sized Haberdash ties. The event was very well attended, and included some of Chicago’s best chefs and food bloggers.

Now on to the food. My top 4 favorites are below:

 Pleasant House Bakery with their meat pies – definitely a place that I need to visit in the future. I tried the Steak and Ale pie, the Chicken Balti (which was like a curry chicken, and my favorite), and the Mushroom and Kale pie.  These items are also on their menu at the restaurant. The pie dough was so flaky and delicious, and the owners were incredibly nice and down to earth – like the people next door.

http://pleasanthousebakery.com/

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Pecking Order served up a Caramelized Chicken and Garlic Rice dish. Very flavorful and comforting. It was like a hug in a bowl. I talked to chef Subido, who said that this item is on their brunch menu, but without the egg. I’ve been there for Sunday brunch and it is a nice alternative to a traditional brunch – very flavorful with different kinds of dishes that you won’t find anywhere else.  Turns out that Pecking Order is now offering brunch on Saturdays, and they have updated their brunch menu, so I’m due for another visit.  See for yourself: http://www.peckingorderchicago.com/

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Antique Taco – This is my second time trying Antique Taco at an event (Also tried them at the Common Threads World Festival), and it’s official. I need to go there. ASAP. They served a Crispy Duck Flauta that was very well seasoned and had some flavorful surprises. Plus, I like their logo.

Antique taco food Antique Taco sign

http://antiquetaco.com/

Frontier – Frontier is known for serving different kinds of gamey meat like Rabbit, Alligator, Antelope, and Kangaroo (yes, Kangaroo).  I chatted with Executive Chef Brian Jupiter who is from New Orleans, where he first started cooking different kinds of meats. Most of the meats served at Frontier are local (i.e. the rabbit was from IL) and they cook all of these different kinds of meats in an approachable way, so that they don’t scare people away.  If these items are a bit much for you, the menu also includes a nice mix of foods that you are used to eating.

I tried the Rabbit Etouffee at the event, which was really delicious – the flavors were well-balanced and I would have never known that I was eating rabbit. I could have easily been fooled into thinking that it was chicken.

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Frontier also has brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so they are definitely on my “must visit” list. since brunch is my favorite meal of the day.  One item on the brunch menu that has caught my eye is the fried rabbit and cornmeal waffle dish with spiced pear butter and habanero maple syrup. I also have my eye on the bananas foster French toast and the Praline Pancakes – I know that they will be good since chef Jupiter is from New Orleans.

Check out the eclectic menu here: http://www.thefrontierchicago.com/food/

*I also learned that Frontier has a large enclosed patio, which will be great spot for the spring and summer.

I really enjoy going to these events because I can have a little taste of different restaurants and then visit the restaurant later if I like what I taste.  Great event for an amazing cause. Bon Appetit!