Thursday, December 23, 2010

Do you like sweet potatoes?

There is this place on the south side of Chicago where everything is made from sweet potatoes. Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Pies. They don't have a web site but here is the yelp link.
 I don't like sweet potatoes but my husband does. When you go in there they give you a sample of Sweet Potato Ice Cream. It was great!
Sometimes they also give you tastes of the Honey Cream Cheese Frosting that they put on the pies. That frosting is outrageous! They also make a Banana Rum Cream Cheese Frosting, you can pick which kind you would like on your pie. We have not tried the banana yet, the honey one is just so awesome!

The frosting is put on pretty thick too! I liked the pie, and I must say the crust was very good. Even the bottom, it was flaky and crisp not soggy at all!
They also have a Chocolate Honey Cream Cheese Frosting. They put it on their cupcakes.

They also offer some entrees like a "Loaded Sweet Potato" and Chicken and Waffles. We have yet to try any of these but are looking forward to trying the Chicken and Waffles. I really think the sweet potato waffle will be really good!
 Harold and me.

Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Pies is a great Bakery with very friendly people. We even ordered a Honey Cream Cheese Sweet Potato Pie for Thanksgiving this year! They have lots of other great looking things, you should go check them out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Checking out some Street Food in Madison, Wi

My husband and I took a weekend trip to Madison, WI for food and hockey! We had a fun time wondering around downtown Madison window shopping and looking for interesting things and food.
There were some street carts, like mini campers around selling food. This place looked good so we thought we'd try some curry!
So we tried the Squash Curry.
Squash Curry
It was very, very good! A couple of pieces of the squash were cold or even frozen in the middle, but the flavor was FANTASTIC! The vegetables were good and the curry sauce was fantastic!

Don't be afraid to try new things, even if it's on the street. Use your common sense, what's the worst that could happen?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yassa an African experience

This was a first for us, we had never had African food before. It was just the two of us, none of the Food Train members could make it.
This is a Check Please Restaurant. 

We started with a shrimp appetizer. It was a special and not on the menu- Shrimp Lajawab.

It is fried shrimp with strips of egg roll wrappers for breading. Served with a very good tomato based sauce that is a little spicy.

I had the House Tiebu Djeun- a whole fried Tilapia with cabbage, carrot and yucca served over Djolof rice.
This was very good, the fish was so tender and flaky. It was so much food.

My husband had Yassa Lamb- lamb marinated in lemon and "secret spices" cooked in an onion and  mustard sauce served with white rice. The flavor was great, the spices were fantastic, and the lamb was extremely tender.
We also ordered a chicken dish (we wanted to try it as long as we were there). Thiou Curry Chicken- marinated chicken with a mixture of spices, onion and curry, served with white rice. The chicken was very tender and the curry flavor was great! The two pieces of chicken had different flavors. One was baked and very tender, the other one was grilled and had an extremely good grilled flavor.
It came with curry sauce with some vegetables to put over it. The sauce was a good curry sauce.
 We also tried the beverages prepared by the Chef- Ginger and Bissap. Nether of us cared for these though. The ginger one was very gingery and the bissap reminded me of massage oil.
If you have never had African food you should definitely try here. The owners and staff were very nice and helpful we had great food and a fun experience.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Indian food for the Food Train!

Last Saturday we took the advice of a Food Train member and went to Hema's Kitchen on Devon Ave. in Chicago.  This is a Check Please restaurant that we did not ever remember seeing., 

This turned out to be a fantastic place for Indian food. Very comfortable, relaxing and excellent food! It is a BYOB place with no corkage fee!

We started out with Tandoori Chicken, I was very skeptic because the only time we had Tandoori Chicken before it was very very dry. Well I am glad I didn't say anything out loud because this chicken was very good. It had a great flavor and was extremely juicy!
We also had Vegetable Samosa : A flaky homemade pastry shell stuffed with a delicate combination of potatoes, green peas and coriander leaves. And Kheema Samosa: Pastry shell stuffed with minced lamb, onions, green peas and cilantro leaves.  These are deep fried and fantastic.

We tried the Spinach Pakoras: Onion, bell peppers, spinach and green pepper dipped in a chickpea flour and deep fried. These were awesome! The flavor was just outrageous, and I don't like green bell peppers (not sure if that's what kind they are) but you don't get that over overwhelmingly taste of green bell pepper. It is spinach, spices and delicious.

We also had Papadam: Crispy lentil crackers (fried or roasted). The red sauce was sweet with a touch of spice. The green sauce is a cilantro sauce and it was very good even though I don't like cilantro.
For entrees we had several and shared, this is the best way to go. Fun because you get to try lots of different things. Lamb Vindaloo: "Seasoned lamb cooked in a rich gravy with potatoes, coconut and curry leaves. Very spicy".The menu says very spicy but it was not very spicy, even after asking them to make it extremely spicy. Don't think they believed us when we said we like it fire breathing.

We also had the Shrimp Vindaloo: "Seasoned shrimp cooked in a rich gravy with potatoes, coconut and curry leaves. Very spicy". It was even less spicy than the lamb, but very good.

Chicken Korma: Tender pieces of chicken cooked in cashew curry sauce (Mild Dish). This dish was good but didn't pack a big flavor.

My favorite dish was the Chana Masala: Chick peas cooked with potatoes, sliced onions and green pepper in light spices and special sauce.This dish was so flavorful, the curry and other spices just blended together so well. It was fantastic!

Sag Paneer: Fresh spinach and homemade cheese simmered in spices and gravy. Good flavor and even better when you get a bite with the cheese.
The breads we had were-Poori: Hand rolled homemade wheat bread deep fried.
Garlic Naan: Naan bread with crushed garlic with a hint of garlic oil.
Aloo Paratha: Whole wheat bread stuffed with spiced potatoes and peas.
Garlic Naan
Aloo Paratha
My favorite was the Poori, but probably because it was fried, almost anything fried is great. But it was really really good with the Chana Masala on it. The Garlic Naan was very good with everything on it also!

We all had a great time and would recommend Hema's Kitchen for those of you who want to try your first Indian food experience or those who love Indian food already. This restaurant is the perfect place for both. Go with a group or order a lot so you can try many different things.

with Hemma.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bulldogs Retro Diner in Wauconda

Our Food Train went up north again this weekend to Bulldogs a retro diner "in steadfast pursuit of the perfect burger" in Wauconda.
Each 1/2 lb burger is hand packed and cooked to order. They currently have 34 burgers on the menu. You can also have a Turkey burger, Black bean burger or Chicken breast.

They have wings with lots of different sauces. They have ones called "Asylum" that they do a challenge with, but we had the "Garlicky Parmesan", and they were awesome!
They also do hand cut fries with several different kinds of toppings or sauces. We had the "Killer Garlic Fries": fries tossed with fresh garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan. They were "killer", really very good.
My husband had the Highway to Hell Burger: fresh chilies, grilled onions, pepper jack cheese and "Hellacious habanero sauce".
 I had the Area 51 burger: green chilies, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and guacamole.
It was very good! The turkey burger wasn't the best I've ever had but with the chilies and the other stuff on it, it was a very good turkey burger. The flavors were great together!

One of our friends had the Slap Yo' Momma: bacon, grilled onions, apple bbq sauce and cheddar cheese.
Her husband had the Chilihead Burger: chili, cheddar and grilled onion.

Our other friends shared the Corey burger: a burger topped with pulled pork, Carolina mustard bbq sauce and vinegar slaw.
So being a retro 50's diner they have a ice cream counter. I there fore had to have a chocolate shake with my burger! It was made with dark chocolate ice cream and was very rich, creamy and delicious! It was fantastic!

  We had a really fun time!  We would recommend Bulldogs, they have a lot of interesting burgers and I would  be intrested in trying a couple of others. 
Thanks to the Food Trainers who made it, you made it a great night. Hopefuly even more of you can make it next time!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Surprise Dinner at Home

One Friday evening I came home from work to find a lovely dinner prepared by my loving husband! It was great, and not just the having dinner ready when I got home part.

Starting dinner with a sweet appetizer? Why not! 

These are pecan pinwheels: butter and brown sugar with chopped pecans rolled in puff pastry, sliced into pinwheels and baked till golden brown.

The main course was my husbands version of a Chicken Pot Pie. I love Chicken Pot Pie, is it a real comfort food for me!

He made a chicken stew with potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and carrots. He used this new chicken broth he found that is seasoned and has some wine in it. It added a lot of depth to the flavor. He then put the stew into individual serving dishes. They are broiler safe and great for French Onion Soup also.

Le Creuset ® French onion soup bowl-

Then he covered them with puff pastry and decorated the top with a pastry heart, and baked in the oven. Put them on the highest rack you can and bake at 350 degrees till golden brown.

Then for dessert- Rhubarb Sorbet: my husband made a rhubarb sauce by cooking down chopped rhubarb and sugar. Then cool the sauce and put it into the ice cream maker. It's that simple!

Our ice cream maker is Krups but I don't think this particular one is available anymore. There are lots of good ones out there though and very easy to use.

This dinner was fantastic and a very nice surprise, Thank you babe, your the best!