Help Me Win The Moleskine Passed Down Contest!

>> Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dear Foodies, 

I recently submitted my Sweet Potato Soup recipe inspired by my mother's love for soups, and my love for sweet potatoes, to the Moleskine Passed Down Recipe contest. If you like this recipe, it would be GREAT if you could go here and write a nice comment for yours truly. The announce a winner soon so the more comments, ratings the better. 

 Much love,
The Frugal Foodies 


Happy St. Patrick's Day

>> Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ah, St. Patrick's day. For some it means the celebration of St. Patrick, for other it means debauchery, and for my Mother it means her favorite day has arrived. She has been sending me email updates about this day since March 18th, 2009. 

In honor of my dear mother Auddie, here are some great traditional Irish recipes taken from

Potato Soup - The basis of a good soup - especially a simple soup such as this - is a good stock.
Apple Jelly - This well-flavoured jelly is very easy to make and will keep -if given a chance.
Beef in Guinness - The Guinness in this recipe has the same function as the wine in Coq Au Vin.
Boxty - Boxty is a traditional potato dish, celebrated in the rhyme. 

Whether it's with Guiness or a potato I am wishing everyone a very safe and happy St. Patrick's day. 

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.


Moleskin Recipe Journal

>> Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I can honestly say I haven't been this excited in a long time; Moleskin has introduced their new "recipe journal" and it looks beautiful. Granted I can't really find more information than what is shown in the video, but it looks like there are conversion charts, different sections for different recipes, not to mention the cover features different cooking utensils. I currently use a moleskin to house all my recipes, but it's a mess and I really looking forward to organizing this! 

Thanks to Megan and the heads up about this amazing find. I intend to purchase one soon, if not today :)

UPDATE: I found a template of the notebook pages, and now I am even MORE excited!

The basics are: Recipe, Ingredients, Preparation. On the side the notebook features: difficulty, serving size, cooking and prep times, wine parings, notes and overall rating.

I seriously can not handle the excitement. I may have to run to boarders during lunch to pick one of these bad boys up. WINE PAIRING?! They really thought of everything! 


Hansen's Natural Blueberry and Pomegranate Soda

>> Thursday, March 11, 2010

When I ate at the Meatloaf Bakery I just so happen to stumble in on Tuesday and therefore received a free soda. I hesitated and debated for a moment whether or not I wanted to indulge in a little sweetness. Luckily I followed my instincts and moved forward with the Hansen's Natural Blueberry Pomegranate soda.

Walking back I studied the back of the can (yes, after purchase) and was very pleased to see that Hansen's uses cane sugar. Granted everything else is likely artificial, but at least it has real sugar.

If you see Hansen's I would definitely try it. I mixed it with a little vodka for a night cap and it was a great success! 


The Bristol - Chicago

>> Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Every now and again I eat a meal that reminds me of why I love food and The Bristol in Chicago's Wicker Park was one of those experiences. A self-proclaimed "neighborhood eatery and bar" The Bristol offers local, Mediterranean inspired cuisine at reasonable prices. With a menu that changes daily (they print the date on each menu and I know this because I stole one to accurately write this post) there is something for everyone.

Jef and I met up with my Dad and headed to Wicker Park. Upon walking in I already knew that this was going to be a great experience; a large chalkboard displays the menu and daily specials, a long bar lined with liquor and a friendly hostess that immediately greets us. We are seated quickly (quite a feat, normally they are packed!), ordered a cocktail (the sparkling batida if you must know), and based on recommendations from my friend Kori the monkey bread with dill dipping sauce and the duck fat fries with house ketchup and aioli.  Kori is good. Really good. Dear foodies you may not know this but I have a problem when it comes to the following:

  • Bread, in any sort of capacity so long as it's freshly baked (we're not talking about white sandwich bread - don't insult me)
  • Duck fat - if you haven't had it, then you don't know, and if you have had it, then you know why I have a problem controlling myself in it's presence
The soft monkey bread pulled apart so easily and the dill dipping sauce was the perfect complement to the sea salt that was lightly sprinkled on top. I am not embarrassed to admit that I ate 75% of this appetizer. Then the fries. Much like the meatloaf from the Meatloaf Bakery, I looked up 5 minutes later and was confused about what just happened. I know there were fries on the plate, but now they are all gone...weird. We also got scotch olives with pork sausage and lemon (pictured above), but I am not a huge olive fan so I can't really say. They seemed tasty to me and Jef and my Dad liked them enough to eat them all, so take that for what it's worth. 

After the first round of appetizers, or bar snacks as they call them, we decided that we just aren't ready for the main courses and would like to sample a couple more things. That's right appetizers round two. This time we decided to go with the pretzel crusted smelt with mustard hollandaise and the raviolo with ricotta, egg yolk and brown butter. I have never had smelt before and when the server informed us that you are suppose to eat this tiny fish whole, even I was a little nervous. One bite in and all anxiety was gone. It was the most bizarre and delicious combination I have had in a while. Obviously pretzels and mustard go together, but this little fish really took everything up a notch. It's a really interesting pairing and if you have never had smelt, I would suggest it. The ravilo with egg yolk, was good, not great, but definitely good. The pasta was a little too thick for me and overall it was a little rich after everything we had just eaten. I know that my heart rate officially slowed with every bite. 

Moderately full and ready for the next round, our entrees of chicken with mustard spatzle and crunchy salad (pictured top) and head on prawns a la plancha, anchovy butter and tarragon appeared just in time. I ordered the chicken which is unusual for me, but I just thought that everything had been so good, I imagine the chicken would be no different and I was correct. The chicken was perfectly moist, the spatzle was so different I found myself eating that more than the chicken. Spatzle is a type of egg noodle that is commonly found in German cuisine (thanks wikipedia...) and offered a unique texture and flavor to the dish. Jef ordered the chicken as well and actually thought that the whole roaster that I make was better (aw), but I am awesome so this is no surprise. My dad ordered the pawns and inhaled them before I could try so I can't say with certainty that they were good, but he really left me not evidence that they shouldn't be.

For dessert we ordered the cookie plate and it was delightful. Going again, I would probably be more adventurous but honestly we were so full we each just wanted a little something to nibble on. 

The Bistol is up there with one of my favorite eats in the city. A small, well crafted menu, with a knowledge staff and a chef that obviously cares about the quality and integrity of every dish that he serves. My Dad was so impressed that he said he would gladly take clients there over other restaurants in Chicago. I mean people, it was good. 

You can follow The Bristol on twitter here for daily specials and updates.  

Thanks to Kori for a great recommendation and The Bristol for a fabulous meal. I will be back!

2152 N. Damon
Chicago, IL 60647


Meatloaf Bakery

>> Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Photo Credits:

I know you are reading the title of this post and thinking that I've officially lost my mind and may need to hire an editor. No, dear foodies, that is not a typo. In my delightful neighborhood of Lincoln Park there is a bakery that is taking meatloaf to the next level by creating "cupcakes" or "meatcakes" as I like to call them. The Meatloaf Bakery (MLB) is located at the end of my street and has been gaining attention since it opened. Coupled with the idea that meatloaf is delicious and definitely does not have to be in loaf form, owner and founder Cynthia created these delectable treats to resemble something we all love - dessert!

After passing by the store front many times, I finally committed to giving the MLB a try. Upon walking in I am greeted by two members of the charming staff who were heating up samples - talk about timing! They are patient with me as I ask a million questions about each individual meatloaf, and help to guide me towards the loaf that was right for me. Currently they offer 8 varieties:

  • The Mother Loaf - beef, pork and veal mixed with herbs and seasonings then topped with their Yukon Smashers and served with demi-glaze on the side
  • Herb Turkey Loaf - lean ground turkey mixed with spices, garlic, red pepper and herbs, sprinkled with parmesan and topped with herbed bread dressing and cranberry sauce on the side
  • A Wing and A Prayer Loaf - ground chicken mixed with hot sauce, bleu cheese and celery make this a one stop wing shop. Topped with bleu cheese and served with ranch dressing
  • Loaf-A-Roma - beef and Italian sausage combined with mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomatoes, basil and splash of red wine topped with angel hair pasta 
  • Omega-3 Loaf - Alaskan salmon mixed with lemon, dill and parsley topped with wasabi mashed potatoes and served with lemon-dill yogurt. 
  • No Buns About It Burger Loaf - beef, bacon, cheddar, onions, mustard, ketchup, pickles, topped with cheesy taters and served with special sauce 
  • El Loafo Del Fuego - ground pork mixed with chorizo, green olives, almonds, garlic and a touch of sherry, topped with garlic spuds and served with a sherry mushroom sauce 
  • Yentil Lentil Loaf - lentils with brown rice, with veggies and cheese. Topped with bell peppers and served with cous cous. 
While all of them looked delicious, I had to focus and order just one. I opted for the Herb Turkey loaf, because, yeah, I like Thanksgiving and I like it more than once a year. The kind staff packed up my purchase and I even got a free drink (free drinks on Tuesdays!) and I raced home to re-heat my "meatcake."

The MLB provides reheating instructions with two different routes - the microwave or the oven. Ah, yes, the classic struggle between patience and hunger. I was so hungry, but I knew that the oven would offer a more delicious treat. So I decided to ride it out and let my meatloaf warm in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

When the buzzer finally went off, I removed my beautiful meatcake from it's tray, set the table and then tried to figure out where I would start. I didn't want to dive right in because I would knock the dressing off the top, but I was hungry and this was war, patience was losing. So yes, I took my fork cut through the dressing straight through the meat, then assembled a fork full, dipped in cranberry sauce and then sighed. Ah, sweet, sweet, Thanksgiving. I have missed you.

This meatloaf was not only juicy (and were talking ground turkey here!), but the dressing was the perfect blend of herbs and had a nice crust on the top from the oven. The sauce was sweet but not overbearing.

I have no idea what came over me next, but let me put it this way - I'm glad I live alone. Before I knew it my fork was on a rampage shoveling this masterpiece into my mouth and I didn't try to stop it. Ten minutes later I looked at my clean plate and was proud of what I accomplished (maybe a little ashamed too, I mean, you would think I had never seen food before).

Either way, this is my new favorite local shop. Friendly staff, innovative entrees, and most importantly fabulous food. This is a great place for a quick meal or to take people in from out of town to show a different side of Chicago.

Vote for the MLB on Time Out Chicago's Eat Out Awards! They definitely deserve to win Best Specialty Shop. Click here to vote!

The Meatloaf Bakery 
2464 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614


200th Post

>> Monday, March 1, 2010

Well Foodies, I can't believe it but today is my 200th post. It's hard to believe that I started this blog in May 2008 as a way to chronicle my grazing through New York City and 199 posts later here we are... 

I am not the type of person that really sticks to things that I am ambivalent about so I am happy to say that if I get nothing else out of this experience at least I have found something that I am truly passionate about: food.

I know for some people food is the last thing on their mind and they simply eat to survive. Well friends, I am the exact opposite of that. I love food more than a lot of things. I love the idea of creating something that is good for the mind, body and soul. Nothing else can bring people together like a great meal. Some of the best times I have had in my life have been with good friends over dinner. 

So moving forward I promise to keep writing posts about my culinary adventures and new great finds from all over so long as you keep reading. Well, even if you don't I will likely keep writing as this blog serves as a great cookbook (just tonight I looked up one of my favorite recipes: white bean stew

In honor of the 200th post, I've created a slide show of my favorite pictures :)    



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