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mhadam

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    Crystal Lake, IL

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  1. For those local residents (Wendy), the Creperie is having a Beaujolais Nouveau celebration party on the 21st. There are two seatings: 500pm and 7pm. I will be attending the 500pm.
  2. Very odd, I went to edit a post to add pictures of the delis and it wouldn't let me. Oh well.... This is Shop N Save -- a polish deli/supermarket in Niles, Illinois The deli counter, all of these sausages are made there The central cooler that has already packaged meats and sausages, for those not wanting to wait in line We sure do like bottled water don't we? These all are from Poland. Mom and I usually buy a case or two of the large bottles. These are small aisles and the shelves are filled from top to bottom with goodies. Majority of the products are from Europe with a few from Asia. A picture from the main aisle: The center cooler has frozen meats and fish, while fresh meat flanks from the right and dry products on the left Yummy pastries: And the checkout (for some reason, neon colors are popular with the Polish my dad calls them "fashion colors" The Russian farmer's market, also located in Niles: They sell almost every piece of meat you can imagine or want Extensive produce:
  3. We have returned from Crystal Lake's own Creperie. Before I begin the description, I'd like to apologize for the lack of sweet and sour pork and food homage to John's grandfather. This week's best intentions have succumbed, like most things in our lives, to the whims of others and family. Should I have the opportunity to blog again, I promise to cover more ground. But I do hope that you have enjoyed what I have shared and showed you. With that my final meal for you to enjoy: the Creperie. Chef Pierre is from France and quite a noted chef. He has worked throughout France and the US (primarly in Phoenix and Illinois). His little Creperie is the perfect place for a light and warming dinner. He is open Tuesday - Saturday from 11am - 830pm. He only accepts cash or check. He has a very good wine list and makes everything himself. (no pictures as the camera is dead and I can't find the charger) We ordered the 4 course meal: soup, entree crepe with salad, dessert crepe and coffee. Tonight's soup was Italian Wedding soup -- I love those mini meatballs John had the beef bourginon crepe (home cooked beef stew with carrots, celery, onion, wine and herbage), and for dessert nutella with bananas. I had the special crepe: prosciutto/goat cheese and tomato, and for dessert apricot jam and almonds. I love nutella but after the too-fudgy chocolate cake I can't stand even the thought of chocolate. The salad is always baby field greens with Pierre's homemade vinaigrette (olive oil, mustard, vinegar). The dressing coats the greens perfectly. The dessert crepe is served with french vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a pretty powdered sugar design. I passed on the ice cream, but John of course did not. We also had a bottle of wine: Georges De Bouef: Cab. Thank you again for letting me blog, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I.
  4. No matter how I try, I can't get a nice shot of the menu from Tru without washing it out in light. So my description must suffice. In addition, there are no pictures from the restaurant as it didn't seem appropriate -- especially after we saw someone take a picture and be stared down by the wait staff until the camera was put away. I must preface this write-up by saying dinner was like a religious experience. The rituals and patterns and attention to detail are what set Tru aside from a regular restaurant, beyond the fact that their wine list is 2 inches thick and everything is custom made. When I made the reservations in July, I stated that this would be an anniversary celebration. Boy did they remember. Not only did the menus wish us a Happy Anniversary, the entire staff knew -- even at the end of the meal, a beautiful gold tray was brought out with a chocolate heart cake with 2 candles and our names written in chocolate as well as Happy Anniversary. It was perfect, even the mistakes (I'll get to that). We both ordered Rick Tramonto’s Collection and the sommelier’s wine recommendations for each meal. So we began the meal with an amuse: Acorn Squash Panna Cotta, with toasted Pumpkin seed brittle. This was served a silver spoon. It was cold, sweet/savory at the same time and the crisp brittle broke the creaminess wonderfully. At this point, John’s scotch (neat Glenmorangie 10 year) arrived as did my straight up Hendrick’s gimlet with two limes. Next was the grande amuse-bouche. First was a creamy apple soup, then the cumin/almond/golden raisin cous cous, then the black lentil/beet salad with micro-watercress and a line of truffle vinaigrette. My plate didn't have the vinaigrette that the "explaining waiter" (waiter who explained what we will be eating) didn't notice. I quietly called over one of the "hoverers" (the wonderful wait staff that hover waiting to assist in any manner) and pointed out the lack of vinaigrette. He profusely apologized and in a few minutes came back with a delicate bowl filled with the stuff. He tried, as best he could, to make a beautiful mark with the demitasse spoon but failed miserably it ended up to be a tasty blob of vinaigrette that if allowed I would have licked clean away. Anyway … the final amuse was a ginger and pear shooter. Cold, refreshing and perfectly biting on the tongue. Next was the Golden Osetra Caviar Staircase. Need I say more? There was a small fight over the last of the wasabi-infused flying fish roe. John won! To drink we had the Alan McCorkindale Pinot Gris Waipara Valley, 2004. Now the change-up beings. First bite was our own plate; second bite was for the other. If there were two items on the plate that required tasting, we’d do that with three and four. I had the deconstructed waygu (same explaining waiter said Kobe) beef tartar with a garlic foam (to die for – this is what John would lick up if he could. It was like eating fluffy garlic butter), marinated caper pods, white anchovy, over-easy quail egg and a consommé gelee. Yummers. I love tartar, I love garlic. I was in heaven. The History of Food explains that those who eat raw meat are bloodthirsty, and those who eat garlic and moral degenerates – I say bring it on! To drink I had the Naia Verdejo Rueda, 2004. John had the salmon, hamachi and ahi tuna tartar with avocado and seaweed salad and a potato gaufrrette. Again a wonderful dish, perfect for John and his love of fish. John had the Dewasakura Green Ridge Dawasansan Junmai Ginjo Sake. The sake was so herbal, I can’t even describe it. Next was foie. I had the Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Bricohe French Toast, Banana Chutney, a caramelized banana, and finished tableside with chocolate sauce. Very interesting and I never thought that foie and chocolate go together. The banana’s really tied the dish together. John preferred this dish to his (and I his to mine). The wine was Barbeito New York Malmsey Special Reserve Madeira. John had the Hudson Valley Foie Gras with autumn berries (ligonberries and raspberries) and braised red cabbage. The fruit was sweet and the cabbage was so tart you could pucker. I loved the combo of sweet, sour with the delicate liver. Truly outstanding – the wine: Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos Chateau Pajzos 1999. Soup time – done in the style of a cappuccino with milk foam on top I had the Potato-Leek Soup with crispy apple wood bacon – the bacon was laid across the top of the cup. Very nice, very smooth, very creamy. I ate the bacon too soon and wanted something crunchy towards the end of my tongue licking out the cup (discreetly of course) John had the Porcini Mushroom with a parmesan tuile. It’s porcini mushrooms – this couldn’t be bad. We had the same wine: K Vintners Viognier Columbia Valley, 2004. Fish course: I had the steamed Nova Scotia Halibut with snowcap and enoki mushrooms, and finished tableside with a tomato lemongrass nage. Once my delicious flaky fish was finished, I used my spoon and ate the nage. I couldn’t resist. It was so fresh, so powerful so great on my now getting sore again throat. The wine was (yeah – I love Riesling) Rudesheim Estate Riesling Georg Breuer Rheingau, 2003. John being the lover of old-world things had the roasted Columbia Rover Sturgeon with braised oxtail and a spiced carrot puree (that was completely eaten from his plate). He had a nice full bodied, Lucia Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands, 2003. The principal course: I had the beef Rossini (on the nicely rare side) with wild mushrooms, summer truffle, and foie gras-beef jus on a garlicky toasted brioche. I ate my fillet first and left the brioche for last. I actually enjoyed the brioche more as it was so soaked with jus and was so powerfully garlicky that John could smell it. As I said – moral degenerate. I had a (too strong for me) Barbera d’Asti Superiore Fava Garetto, 2000. John had (originally was told veal but it could not be so an additional explanation was requested) assiette of pork: loin with bread stuffing and (I could eat this very day) belly with great northern beans. The belly required no chewing; it LITERALLY melted in the mouth. I tried to trade meals, stupid John wouldn’t. He drank a Pauillac Reserve de la Comtesse, 2000. Next was cheese. Now we know a thing or two about cheese so this was fun. If I remember correctly, there are 12-14 cheeses offered: cow, goat, and sheep’s’ milk. We were allowed three and choose: the Humboldt fog (this is a favorite of ours especially after being in Napa), the Robiola, and a Spanish blue that John let me have a taste of before devouring happily. To accompany we had a few glazed nuts, two water crackers, pear chutney for the blue, and some dried fruit bread. We shared a glass of Churchill’s 10-year Porto. Dessert time: Amuse: honeydew-lime-mint shooter. Very nice and refreshing after all that heavy food. It was very tart so it was the perfect foil to dessert. I had the way-too-fudgy chocolate cake that I forced myself to finish. It was too dense for me after the above meal. The cake came with thyme ice cream that I loved and will try at home. No particles of thyme in the ice cream so it was all infused flavor. A freeform pulled sugar decoration had the thyme leaves. I also had a pannacotta with macerated strawberries. Very nice, very delicate and it was eaten last. To drink I had an espresso. John had a grilled Madeline with sour cream ice cream and quince. Very nice! And a chocolate and mocha mousse. Again very little and delicate. To drink – John finished his scotch. Next were the mignardises and lollipops. Aforementioned explaining water didn’t explain any of the lollipops so we passed on those. My selection of 3: blackberry pate de fruit, Gale’s own candy corn (one kernel) and lavender shortbread that smelled oh so lavendery I loved it. John also had the shortbread, and chose the pistachio brittle, the chocolate mint meringue. Out of the chocolate tray, I had the white chocolate and pumpkin while John had a spicy (cardamom) dark chocolate nugget of goodness. Oh, I forgot to mention – we were presented with bread: we both choose the pumpernickel but really didn’t eat much of it. That was the wonderful, memorable meal. I also drank about a bottle of water Thank you for letting me share these meals with you, I apologize for the recent delays due to illness and family matters. It’s 610 now and we are off to the Creperie for dinner.
  5. We are finally home after a long day out. Breakfast consisted of the Drake's Room Service: John add steak and eggs: A medium-rare sirloin with two overhard eggs and hashbrowns. Note the picture shows the over-easy eggs that were quickly remedy with a fresh plate. The garnish was a broiled tomato, a strawberry half and slice of orange. I had the Eggs Benedict with fried potatoes: We shared a plate of bacon, some english muffins and a carafe of coffee. We also had freshly squeezed OJ.
  6. Dinner was at Tru and the most exquiste meal I ever had. I don't have pictures, but do have a detailed menu that I will share later. It's almost time for breakfast so I will post on that later as well.
  7. Thank you all for your concerns. It's so not like me to flake out, but it hit me hard and I wanted to recover for tonight.
  8. I think I'm all caught up -- I mentioned this mornings breakfast: coffee and a chocolate donut. John had the plain donut. Before we left we split a greek pizza from TJ's. The camera was packed, so no pics. Their greek pizza is a regular crust topped with a spicy tomato sauce, feta, kalamata olives and some moz. I heated it in the delonghi for 10 minutes at 450. For lunch -- after shopping at Bloomingdale's (I so love the city ) we went to Water Tower place and ordered at Wow Bao. These are delicious steamed buns. John ordered a box of 6 and a hot/sour chicken soup combo for me - as my throat was getting raspy again. The combo is two buns plus the soup. These are the cutest little buns ever: They have 6 flavors: - kung pao cashew chicken - thai green curry - green vegetable - bbq pork - spicy beef - chicken teriyaki We had 3 buns (my two plus one from the box) where the cashew chicken, thai curry and bbq pork. We went halvsies on all 3. The bun is very soft, and slightly sweet. All three fillings were great. Very spicy. I'm having a tonic now to soothe my tummy. Oh -- every floor by the elevators has a fruit bowl -- courtsey of the fruit bowl: The room as a minibar: And in case you wonder what I look like -- I'm all splotchy from coughing and sneezing. Stupid cold
  9. Sunday breakfast -- This was intended to be a picnic style breakfast/brunch/lunch, and it turned out well. I was still off key so we started much later than expected. First the table: What was had: (clockwise) - roasted red pepper hummus (the bowl with the red peppers on top) from TJ's - tomato and olive bruschetta from TJ's - bulk olives from Whole Foods - horseradish hummus from TJ's - in the middle: giardinera (sp?) (left to right) - kabanosy (thin smoked sausages from the polish deli) - the white cheddar, from WF - a piece from the log of goat cheese (originally from TJ's, purchased a week ago) - above the goat cheese is some rosemary ham from TJ's - the piece of Brillat Savarin - next to BS is some munster cheese, again from the Polish deli - last bit of meat is some prosciutto from TJ's The bread plate has polish rye, the ciabatta, mini wheat pitas (TJ's), some swedish crackers, and some black pepper crackers from Sur la Table - quartered tomatoes, diced cucumbers, sprinkling of a few diced peppers (from John's quesadillas), green onion, salt and pepper - quartered honey crisp apple - a glazed and crumb coating donut from Entemmann's - a wedge of the Louisiana crunch cake Beverages: Earl Grey tea and an Asti Sparkling wine (from TJ's) were served. I had two cups of the earl grey and a cup of some anise tea. I had maybe half a glass of the asti. Then I went to bed. We didn't have dinner, I was to make sweet and sour pork, because I was quite nauseated and didn't want to think of food. The sweat and sour pork is now moved to Tuesday night. John ate a chocolate donut and had some aged white cheddar potato chips from TJ's.
  10. After the Farmer's Market, we went to Whole Foods. The place was packed and John was getting antsy so we didn't stay long. We purchased: -- a small piece of Brillat Savarin cheese -- some olives from the bulk bar The white blot is the peeled garlic. -- Ciabatta -- NY raw milk white sharp cheddar -- two Hillary's cookies -- oatmeal current -- chocolate almond These are so good and this is the only WF I can find them at. She's a Chicago-town girl trying to make a living selling awesome cookies. Afterwards, we went to my parents and my whole plan was thrown. My parents got a dog -- this would be great news if the circumstances were different. As a result of the dog, my parents forgot our anniversary, and my mother didn't want to go to the stores we planned since she didn't want to leave the doggy for too long. So I apologize for the lack of polish delis. We went to the Russian Farmer's Market and Shop N Save only. (I will post pics later) John and I, after leaving my parents, went to Entemmann's Bakery outlet -- no pictures. The cashier caught us and yelled. We purchased: -- Louisiana crunch cake: this is not the cake from my childhood. It is no longer crunchy and it's too sweet. It's a denser angel food cake with a sticky, icky glaze -- a variety pack of donuts as John had a hankering: the box contained plain, crumb coating, chocolate glazed and "regular" glaze. The crumbs are now big chunks of crumb I hate it when tasty things turn bad. We also went to Trader Joes. None of the store photos turned out well, sorry. For breakfast we had a cup of coffee (made in the press) and donuts. I had a chocolate glazed and John had the plain. I have to say the plain donuts are wonderful. Not too dry, not to sweet. Perfect! Today's plan -- emissions test, the Drake, dinner at Tru. Talk to you soon. Enjoy the day, Maggie
  11. We did and had a ball. Almost all the little ones were dressed up for Halloween, plus some of the vendors. It was cute. In the back, the man in the chef's jacket is making pizzas. He brings out a woodburning oven and makes pizzas. I asked him if I could take a picture and he said no, so that's the best I could do. the cooking demo: What we bought -- -- 1 small bunchs of white japenese turnips. They are so beautiful. -- 1 2lb purple and white turnip. I couldn't resist -- 2 Honey Crisp apples -- 2 apple ciders: one is a cinnamon apple cider, the other is a tart cherry apple cider -- 2lbs of potatoes: purple potatoes, german butterballs and french fingerlings -- 1 lebanese eggplant -- John want's another Maggie's eggplant next week
  12. I apologize for the delay in responding. I was exhausted and caught a bit of a bug on Saturday. I needed to "fix myself" or else today wasn't going to be enjoyable. I do feek better but my throat is a bit sore and my head is still throbbing. Saturday's Breakfast: Individual Frittatas with hashbrowns. I topped each frittata with a dollop of sourcream and a quartered tomato. This pic is of one slightly cut up so you can see how moist it was. The set table: The after breakfast table -- John took the picture. He insisted I post it even though it's weird The preparation: On Friday night, I chopped the veg and left them waiting for me: 1 red pepper, diced 1 small onion, diced 1/2 a small leek, diced 2 green onions, chopped 1/4 of frozen green peas a pinch of rosemary, hand-crushed A close up I also prepped the press for coffee: You can see the bowl with the foil -- that's the veg on the counter waiting for tomorrow And took out the potatoes to defrost: I don't have pics of me frying the pototoes, I forgot to charge them camera -- so you will need to visulize this: on Saturday morning, I took half of the potatoes out and re-froze the rest in a ziploc bag. I preheated a large non-stick pan (the one I used to fry the gyoza) and added some olive oil and butter. I fried the potatoes turning every so often, on medium heat, for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, the frittatas were baking and I was taking a shower. I like to multi-task The frittatas -- In the morning, I decided I wanted some sun-dried tomatoes in this. So I added two forkfuls of TJ's julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. I added only a drop of two of oil. The rest of the ingredients: (I didn't take a pic of the Oberweiss milk) The preparation: I used four eggs, 1 tsb of white pepper (penzy's), a pinch of kosher salt and a shot of milk. I used about 2 inches of goat cheese, from the log, and roughly chopped it. After I added the eggs to the veg, I whisked the mixture until the cheese broke down and the tomato slices separated. Prepartion for baking: Two oven-proof ramekins That need to be buttered And filled: The delonghi was heating at 400 for about 5 minutes. In went the tray for 3 minutes at 400 and then I turned it down to 350. The frittatas baked for about 20 minutes. When I went to take my shower, I turned the oven to 300 so that they wouldn't burn or dry out. To drink, we had some coffee. Saturday Dinner -- Since I wasn't feeling so hot and was too tired to move, we had a scaled down version of what was planned. John did all of the cooking and let me rest in bed now that's an anniversary present. John made me his quesadillas -- he didn't take pics, so please visualize: Equipment: -- large flour tortilla -- shredded cheese: mont. jack/cheddar blend -- finely shredded -- red and green diced peppers -- 2 plates -- non-stick frying pan - microwave To prepare: - on one plate, lay the tortilla down and top with a line of diced peppers. Peppers should be placed along the short-end of the tortilla vertically, about 1/4 inch from the edge - top peppers with a good graspful of cheese - place plate in microwave for 33 seconds - remove plate and fold over the edge over the filling and then roll tightly. - lay the rolled tortilla in a hot (ungreased) nonstick pan - brown, flip over and brown the other side - once browned, remove from pan, cut in half -- diagonally for nicest presentation and serve. John also made me pan-fried shrimp: of this, we have pics Equipment: - non-stick frying pan - olive oil - shrimp (precooked, frozen shrimp - allowed to thaw) Preparation: - heat a non-stick frying pan with a splash of olive oil - lay in shrimp, once pan is hot Cook on high heat for a few minutes. That's it. No salt, no herbage, no sauce. Great shrimp prepared quickly need no adornation. The natural sweetness is enough. John likes to place the shrimp on a papertowel to wick away the oil. We had a bottle of Prosecco from Trader Joe's with it. I really only had a glass as my tummy was starting to get upset from eating. Note the lighthouse placemats. We honey-mooned in Cape Cod.
  13. We are home after a long day out. I will post a recap of breakfast and the day later. I need a good sit right now
  14. As no one responded to my breakfast question for tomorrow, I decided that I will make a frittata, hash browns, and a salad of some sort -- maybe fruit or tomato, not sure yet. The coffee press is prepped, the veg for the frittata are cut, the table is set and I just finished wrapping John's gift -- after much struggling with Cashew and the tissue paper. Mizducky -- thanks for the compliment on the photo. It is a beautiful plate isn't it? btw -- your cat story a few days ago was so cute and heart-warming. Thanks for sharing. Well good night all. Till tomorrow.
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