Friday, July 31

Just Love It


Tuesday, July 28

Afternoon Tea at the Palmer House

One of my trips to Chicago not long ago, I had a chance to enjoy a very nice afternoon tea at the beautiful lobby of the Palmer House Hilton. This Chicago's elegant hotel has its fame for the stunning lobby, and its historic nature. My friend, me, and our boys had a lovely 3-day-stay there, we will definitely go back.

The hotel is in a great location, within a walking distance to Grant/Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, Michigan Avenue, and other downtown attractions.

Afternoon Tea at the Palmer House is served 2pm-4pm daily. The reservations are required. Price: $35 per person ($25 for children under 12)

Selection of Tea: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling Champagne, White Tea, Chamomile Blossom, Green Tea, Armenian Mint, Moonlight Jasmine Blossom
Tea Sandwiches:
- Parma Ham, first-press olive oil, calamata tapenade, basil, grana padano, sea salt crystals, focaccia
- Catsmo Smoked Salmon, spring onion, brillat-savirin, toasted brioche
- European Cucumber, watercress, dill, organic yogurt, wholewheat
Selection of Scones: Traditional buttermilk, Cranberry, Orange, Fruit breads
(served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd, strawberry conserve)
Petite Fours


Palmer House Hilton Chicago:
17 East Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 917-3404




Monday, July 27

Hola! Las Limas

Las Limas is a traditional Mexican restaurant we stopped and ate on the way back to Michigan, after a weekend of the boys' soccer games in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The dinning area was also attached to a large bar area, with totally different atmosphere. It was a lot more relaxing and peaceful on the restaurant side where we dined.. let me put it that way.
Hola!

Colorful and fun decors that scream Mexican.

Items on the menu are reasonably priced.

Our food, it's all good. Everything was fresh and delicious.

Warm chips, fresh home-made salsa, and cheese sauce were very popular. We kept asking for more, and more..
Steak Tossed Salad: Seasoned grilled steak strips on a tossed salad
Combination: three tacos, Mexican rice, and refried beans
Chimichanga: Flour tortilla stuffed with chunks of beef, deep fried to a golden brown, topped with cheese sauce. Served with Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, Pico de Gallo, and guacamole

Dessert: Fried Ice Cream

Gone in Sixty Seconds


Las Limas Mexican Restaurant:
2201 N. Wayne St
Angola, IN 46706
(260) 624-2459

Friday, July 24

Lambrusco

Clear, Sweet, with Bubbles White Lambrusco
Lambrusco is from the regions around Modena and Parma in Central Italy. The wine is produced primarily from grapes of the same name and the best examples are described as frothy red and young. However, this particular bottle is a white version of the red -- processed without the skins. This wine is delicious. strong honey sweetness, fig, kiwi, tart apple and a solid kirsch component on the nose. The color is nice and clear, and the bubbles are very fine. To me, this fizzy wine made my list of easy-drinking summer wines.

My friend, Lynne, served this wine with her lovely dinner. Ravioli from Trader Joe's was very delicious, with peppery olive oil and the wonderful flavor of freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano - the king of Italian cheeses. Lively jazz music from her husband's collection made a great ambiance.

Monday, July 20

Coffee & Pastry

I am a little weak when it comes to coffee and pastry. They just amazingly go so well together! Here are some of my favorite pairs, from local coffee shops and restaurants. What about you, do you have your favorite??..


Caramel Marvel & Tiramisu @ Biggby Coffee
(the most delicious cafeinated beverage and the yummiest tiramisu ever!)

Latte & Blueberry Crumb Pie @ GT Pie Company


Latte & Lemon Pound Cake @ Starbuck


Latte & Raisin Pastry @ Chapelure


Latte & Lemon Bar @ GT Pie Company


Latte & Tiramisu @ Chapelure

Saturday, July 18

Summer Hobo Dinner

Hobo dinner is so fun, easy, and delicious! A buddy of my son came back from his three-week summer camp, and brought one of his favorite experience back to share with the gang. Each person makes their own individual meal according to their preference of flavors. We used ground beef, bite-size vegetables (potato, onion, carrot, bell pepper, tomato), BBQ sauce, olive oil, and some seasonings.

The recipe of hobo dinner can be modified in many ways, that there are a number of variation you can always find. Just make sure you use a heavy-duty foil wrap, and close the opening tightly -- then you won't be losing your dinner into the fire! And by putting in ground beef with the vegetables in the foil packets, the flavors of the dinner are blended nicely. Once cooked, open carefully (we then added some shredded cheese), and dig in!


The boys had so much fun making their own mix of ingredients!

Tuesday, July 14

Chicago Eat: Shor

Considered a true Chicago Grill, Shor is famous for steak and seafood, in an elegant casual ambiance. What a lovely lobby's decor of modern look, that has an earthy feel!

Shor offers a great breakfast buffet, in a contemporary setting. Food was delicious and service was outstanding. I would say the restaurant pretty much fulfills the Hyatt standard.

Breakfast at Shor


Shor Chicago Grill:
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
2233 South Martin L. King Drive
Chicago, IL, 60616
(312) 567 1234


After good breakfast, off we went to the Harry Potter Exhibit, at the Museum of Science and Industry !!

Monday, July 13

Can I Have S'More?

Don't you just love that amazing combination of its flavors?

Roasting the marshmallows over the open fire..
Just golden brown or burned - it's all delicious!!


Sticky and gooey, S'mores are tasty summer treats for young and old.
So, can I have S'more? Pleassssee......


Chicago Eat: Bella Bacino's

This authentic Italian bistro and pizzaria was recommend by a concierge staff at Hyatt Regency Chicago, when we were asking for a good Italian restaurant in a walking distance from the hotel. From the outside, with the tables along the Wacker drive, it looked like a lovely cafe in France or Italy. The weather was very nice, but we wanted to get in the inside ambiance after a long day of walking at the museum.

We love the place! Food was excellent, as was the staff. Their menu offers a variety of Italian dishes in addition to thin and stuffed pizza. The boys enjoyed their thin crust pizza, and I loved my salad. We didn't get any bread, as others mentioned in some of the reviews that I searched later. Not sure if they forgot or it wasn't supposed to come with the meal anymore.

Insalata:
Baciano's House a refreshing combination of baby mixed greens, tomato, and thin veggies in a balsamic vinaigrette
Asparagus & Prosciutto a mix of field greens, red onion, Prosciutto di Parma, topped with sweet Galbani Gorgonzola and dressed with rosemary emulsion
Napoletana Pizza:
Margherita Napoletana fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce, and basil
Salad dressed arugula with caramelized onions, mozzarella, and house-made pesto

Dolci:
Tiramisu home-made in their kitchen and unbelievably light
Bella Bacino's:
75 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 263-4965

Sunday, July 12

East Lansing Farmer's Market: Opening Day

East Lansing Farmer's Market is a new open-air outdoor market featuring fresh farm-grown Michigan produce and products. Today, the market has its Opening Day celebration, including a twine cutting, live music, and children's activities.

When: Sundays, July 12 - October 25, 2009, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Where: Downtown East Lansing @ Valley Court Park, 201 Hillside Court, East Lansing


Annuals, perennials, and garden plants, from Wilczewski Greenhouse (Howell, MI)
Gorgeous flowers and good-looking vegetables!


Home-grown fruits and vegetables, from Corrion Farms (Essexville, MI)
So beautiful and fresh!


Organic cyder slushies, from Salomon Gardens (Flushing, MI)
Featuring fresh-harvest produce grown using modern organic farming techniques.


Lovely and delicious cheesecakes, from Nibble (East Lansing, MI)
Kim Fritz, owner of Nibble, and her husband introducing their variety of cheesecakes at the market. I believe the crowd was mesmerized by the yummy samples!

Fabulous vegetables!


The Fresh Lake White Fish Company promised more variety of their fresh fish... Looking forward to Nibble's lovely cheesecakes... Can't wait to see more of Michigan-grown produce and products by all the friendly vendors... Please make a visit if you can! I know I am going back next Sunday. What a great market and wonderful people!!!

For more information, please go to http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/FarmersMarket/

Saturday, July 11

Chicago Eat: Big Bowl

I love Chicago, and always enjoy my trips there - to shop and eat fantastic food. It was another perfect weekend for me, L, and the boys to visit Chicago. Beautiful weather, great hotel deal, Harry Potter Exhibit, and Art Festival. Once we settled down at the hotel, awesome Hyatt Regency, we made a short walk to have dinner at the place requested by the boys: Big Bowl. The casual, pan-Asian restaurant holds their head up high to the concept of "Fresh Chinese and Thai".

Cocktails:
Classic Red Sangria
Thai Herb Mojito hendrick's gin, fresh lemon grass, mint, cilantro, with a pinch of thai chile
Appetizers:
Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps an Asian favorite, chicken, bibb lettuce, hoisin sauce
Thai Herb Calamari lightly fried, two fresh lemon dipping sauces, spicy and mild
Sichuan Green Beans wrinkled and sweet, fiery chili sauce
Crab Summer Roll greens, herbs, rice paper, peanut and fresh lemon dipping sauces
Kung Pao Chicken with Noodles: chicken, blackened chilies, roasted peanuts, spinach, with sweet spicy sauce
Thai Hot Pepper Shrimp with Basil and Peanuts: gulf shrimp, fresh chili peppers, chopped peanuts, red onions, hot sauce
Overall, it was another great dining experience. I've been eating at this Big Bowl a few time, and I think the food is pretty delicious, even though it is not quite authentic. Nice atmosphere and friendly service. I would definitely go back anytime.

Big Bowl:
60 East Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 951-1888
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