In Good Taste

Foodie Event Archives

Dietzler Farms and one sixtyblue Bring the Farm to Your Table

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Ever wonder where your food comes from? Well, if you're not ready to be scared into vegetarian-ism for life, skip Food Inc. and look local. The first place to look if you're interested in eating a local, sustainable diet is your local farmers market. Markets are often convenient and accessible and in Chicago, available in most neighborhoods during summer months.

If for some reason, you can't make it to your market, your next best option is to head to your neighborhing farms for a visit. But take my advice, wait until you're invited.

On Saturday, August 7, one sixtyblue will team up with Dietzler Farms in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. to offer a five-course, all-inclusive dinner. Using both fresh ingredients from the one sixtyblue urban garden and meats from Dietzler farms, the two will join forces to create a natural and unique dining experience.

The event will begin at one sixtyblue at 2 p.m. and include a bus ride to Elkhorn that will feature beer pairings and appetizers fresh from the one sixtyblue garden. Upon arrival at the farm, guests can expect a tour followed by a five-course meal with beer and wine pairings.

And as for the most important part? The meal will open with an heirloom tomato red onion panzanella salad with ingredients from the one sixtyblue garden, followed by summer vegetables and rushing waters smoked trout. The third course is a pulled pork ravioli that will be followed by short ribs and ribeye straight from Dietzler farms.

To top off the meal, a sweet and savory peach cobbler will be served. There will also be post-dinner fun with a bonfire, s'mores, beer and wine where attendees will get a chance to mix and mingle with the Dietzler Farm team, and one sixtyblue Chefs. The bus will depart back to one sixtyblue at 9 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.onesixtyblue.com.

Photo Credit: Dietzler Farms.

A Surprising Pairing at Blackbird: Wine & Tequila

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Photos: David Ditzler Photography

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a wine and tequila pairing dinner at Blackbird hosted by Michael Mondavi of Mondavi Family Wines and Gary Shansby of Partida Tequila.

I knew as soon as I received the invitation that it was an event I couldn't miss. To clarify what I mean by "couldn't miss," I mean that if Satan himself had invited me to dinner, I probably would have accepted. Wine? Tequila? Dinner at Blackbird? Really, who would say no?

I better shut up now or I'll never be invited anywhere again.

At first, when I heard that tequila and wine were being served together, I thought I must have mistakenly received an invitation to a college party. Then, I thought, I'd better take the next day off work. Well, neither of those turned out to be true but I did learn quite a bit about food pairings.  While fine wine has long since been acknowledged as an integral part of any fine dining experience, tequila is treated as a recreational drink or an accompaniment to a Mexican-inspired meal.

The evening began with introductions from Gary and Michael, while we drank delicious agave margaritas  (How delicious? I chatted with another attendee by the bar and I think he drank four while we were standing there. They were just that good). The dinner explored the surprising relationship between tequila and wine.

With dinner, our hosts served a flight of tequila that included Partida's Blanco, Reposado and Anejo varieties to sip throughout the meal and pair with the various courses as desired. As each course was presented, dutiful servers filled our glasses a carefully selected varietal from the Mondavi Family Winery.

The only real way to tell you about this menu is to let it speak for itself.

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

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The 18th Annual Great Chefs Tasting Party: In Photos (Mostly)

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

Where do you go in Chicago if, once a year, you want to taste some of the finest offerings from town's most elite chefs? You go to The Great Chef's Tasting Party, thrown each to benefit United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago.

This year, one of the host committee members was kind enough to give me a ticket so that I could meet some of the Windy City's latest and greatest masterminds from swanky downtown hotels to barbecue joints in the 'burbs. Each chef toted their signature dish and I, being the diligent journalist that I like to pretend I am, left no menu unturned.

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Chicago Food Planet Food Tours: Wicker Park/Bucktown

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Tour guide Gina, leading the way. 

I've talked before about how much I've come to love this city in all it's new-to-me glory. I love that the lakefront is just steps away from my front door. I love that I have a friend around the corner who can just stop by with her pup for dinner on a whim to rehash a wild weekend. I love that the El that I ride to work is relatively clean and I love that the restaurant scene leaves very little to be desired.

I also love that I recently I received an email from Chicago Food Planet inviting me to participate in one of their Chicago Food Planet Food Tours. They offer tours of two of Chicago's iconic neighborhoods: Near North and Wicker Park/Bucktown. I work in Near North so I opted to attend the latter.

I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of, if not the best, days I've had in Chicago.

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The 18th Annual Great Chefs Tasting Party is Coming to Chicago

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Did you ever wonder what it would be like to have the chefs from Carnivale, The Purple Pig, Lockwood, The Bristol, Piccolo Sogno, Pastoral Artisan and MORE Cupcakes all in one room?

You know what? Until recently, neither had I.

That is, until I heard about the 18th Annual Great Chef's Tasting Party benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago (UCP). On June 3, some of Chicago's finest chefs and specialty food purveyors will gather at the
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers for a cocktail reception and dinner.

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PlayingTourist in Chicago: What to see, do and eat?

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Photo: VisitChicago.com

Next week my mom is coming to visit me in Chicago. Not only is it her first visit to the city since I've lived here, it's her first time to Chi-town, ever. I'm looking forward to seeing her and to showing her my little corner of the city over here but I'm a bit at a loss for what to actually do with her.

I've already taken the architectural boat tour that everyone raves about and a visit to the sky deck on the Sears/Willis Tower probably wouldn't do much to help her fear of heights. Sadly, we'd probably find ourselves quietly napping through the Joffrey Ballet and as much as I'd be happy to waste a day (or two) shopping on Michigan Avenue, Mom's not a lover of department stores.

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Ice Cream on the Cheap: 31 Cent Scoop Night at Baskin Robbins

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Everyone has a vice. Some people are hooked on coffee, some on substances more powerful. It's true that I can't start my day without something Starbucks, but my real kryptonite is ice cream.

Some might call it an indulgence or guilty pleasure, but there is no reason why a person can't enjoy it regularly, in moderation (of course...in moderation...always). Astonishingly, it isn't a staple in my freezer, because that would take all the fun out of indulging in one of my childhood pasttimes: going out for ice cream.


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National Food Blogger Bake Sale: Saturday, April 17, 2010

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

Mark your calendars for April 17th 2010! This is the big day! We are kicking off the Share Our Strength fundraising season with the first annual National Food Bloggers Bake Sale!!

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Love to bake? Love to eat? Then, you might want to read on. Earlier this year, my friend Gaby Dalkin contacted me about helping plan the Chicago leg of the first annual National Food Bloggers Bake Sale, part of the Great American Bake Sale.

Who: Some of Chicago's finest food blogs and bakeries will be there, including Kudos Kookies & Foiled Cupcakes.

What: Remember your childhood bake sales? This one will be even better! Food bloggers and baking aficionados are teaming up to give readers the opportunity to sample some of their favorite baked goods and treats. Proceeds from the sale benefit Share Our Strength. 

When: Saturday, April 17 from 12pm - 3pm (CST)

Where: Smash Cake Bakery, 2961 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago IL 60657 (at Wellington) Get a sneak peek at its BRAND NEW location!

Why: Food bloggers from across the country will unite to support the Share Our Strength's efforts to end childhood hunger in America by holding bake sales in their states. Proceeds from the sale will support the 17 million children (almost one in four) who face hunger in America. More information on SOS can be found at www.strength.org.

I'm leading up efforts here in Chicago and if you are interested in baking, volunteering your time on site at the event or helping to promote the event to your friends, readers, fans or followers, please send me an email at maris.callahan@gmail.com.

(This is a cross post from In Good Taste. I rarely duplicate content but this is an important event for a great cause and I want to spread the word wherever possible!

Beefeater 24: 7 Things You Never Knew About Gin

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Photo: Allie Osmar, aveiphoto.com

Last week I attended the launch party for Beefeater 24. Before I talk about the interesting people (like Dan Warner and Desmond Payne, pictured above), the spirits and cocktails and delicious food, I'm going to make a quick confession: gin was the first alcoholic beverage I ever tried. Needless to say, I did not like it.

Between my first gin experience and the fact that it's often served with tonic water, which I highly dislike, I never thought much of the juniper-infused spirit. When I drink cocktails, I often for look for those that feature vodka as the headline ingredient, with the occasional margarita thrown in there during hot summer day happy hours.

I'm sure you all know where this is going. Yes, I tried gin again at the launch party and was impressed at how versatile it was. Surprisingly refreshing, Beefeater 24 is unlike other gin in that it is made with exotic botanicals, like rare Japanese Sencha tea and aromatic Chinese green tea that lend unique flavor.
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Food Fight for Scleroderma

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Scleroderma is probably the last thing you probably expected to read about on a food blog but today, I'm going to make you think outside the box. The condition, according to the Scleroderma Foundation, is an autoimmune disease where person's body attacks its own tissue. Scleroderma, which means "hard skin," can cause thickening and tightening of the skin. It can also cause serious damage to internal organs such as heart, lungs and kidneys.

It's cause is unknown and its treatment is uncertain - there is no direct cure for scleroderma. Unlike cancer and heart disease, illnesses that make headlines every day I had never heard of scleroderma until I read about it on my friend Lisa's blog.

Anyway, there is a food-related reason why I'm talking about autoimmune disease.

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STIR IT 28: Bloggers Align to Raise Funds for Haiti

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Most of us know that several weeks ago, a tragic earthquake rocked Haiti. Despite an initial outpouring of support from the US and other neighboring countries, Haiti is still wracked with disaster and still needs your help.

This Sunday, Stir It 28: Food Bloggers Align for Haiti Relief is hitting Chicago, with a fun, food-filled afternoon at the Three Peas Art Lounge. The event is the culmination of a month-long blogger-based fundraising effort to bring money to Haiti.

 

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Carnival!

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Photo: Rio-Carnival.net

I like to celebrate. I like to celebrate birthdays (my own or others'), I like to celebrate holidays and I like to make special occasions out of ordinary days that don't necessarily require celebrations.

As we're gearing up for Valentine's Day and President's Day (cherry pie, anyone?), people in other parts of the world are looking forward to indigenous celebrations of their own. This weekend Brazil kicks off its annual Carnival in Rio de Janiero: four days of parades, concerts, masquerades and celebration.
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Spread the love at Southport Grocery Store: Cupcake Truffles

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

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Photo: TruffleTruffle.com

In some of my previous posts on this blog and my personal recipe blog I've talked a lot lately about healthy eating and exercise. What I haven't mentioned as explicitly is that part of the reason I like to eat  healthy and exercise is so that I can afford myself the occasional indulgence.

When I eat dessert, I want to really eat dessert. I'm not interested in low-fat cookies or sugar-free ice cream. When I indugle, I like to go for one-of-a-kind sweets..  

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