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Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

10 February 2014

Review: Kinmont Restaurant

If you are looking for some great seafood and a delish drink, look no further than Kinmont in River North. I attended their opening in late January, Kinmont opened to the public on February 1st, and enjoyed the atmosphere and tastings.

First, the restaurant is beautiful. It has the look of a lodge, but with a modern feel. Dark wood, stone and large mirrors. 

In the bar area I found servers with trays of different drinks and I chose the Bridgetown Milano. Over the past few years I have discovered that I am allergic to wine, yes even whites, so I have been trying my hand at bourbon drinks. The Bridgetown Milano is made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, cinzano sweet vermouth, falernum and fernet branca. Strong and delish. 

As for food samplings, servers walked around with a lot of different options. There was also a buffet of shrimp, oysters, and lobster (just like on their reservations page!). I tasted a good number of things, but the one thing that made me really think, "I have to come back for this!" was the salmon tartare . 
Those who know me may find that funny, as I rarely even want to try anything close to a tartare. But it was soooo good! All I knew when I took the taste was that it was salmon with something on a chip (see photo at left).

And yes, eating salmon has been quite a quandary for me considering the state of our world ocean and the animals that live in it. I no longer buy salmon to eat at home and rarely order it when out. Kinmont claims to be the first entirely sustainable fish & seafood restaurant in Chicago, so that takes a smidgen of the guilt out of enjoying one of my favorite fishes.

So if you are looking for a new place to grab dinner & drinks, consider Kinmont. I need to head back to try their chicken and fish & chips.

Kinmont is located at 419 West Superior Street in Chicago.

19 December 2013

Dining ethically is more than just a good tip

Anyone who has ever eaten out knows that you should tip your server. But most of us most likely do not know WHY we need to leave a fair tip. For the record, I usually tip around 20%. The closest I have been to being a restaurant server was my summer at Santa's Village putting french fries and pizza puffs on people's trays. I did not wait tables to make my way through college. Why? Cause I knew I would totally and utterly suck at it. Thus, I tip as generously as I can, especially when very much earned, because I admire anyone who can remember my order, check on me and all that jazz that makes a meal out a happy event.

I was shocked to learn, a few years ago, that because servers work for tips, their minimum wage is $2.13. What the WHAT?! And that hasn't changed in 22 years. I did know that most of them do not have access to paid sick days. Which of course means people who serve you lunch have to decide to go to work sick (possibly making you sick) or staying home and losing money. What would you choose? But how can we make any difference in this situation? Well, I have a tip for you!

ROC United has released their 2014 Diners Guide [pdf] and in it I learned that there is an alternative restaurant association being built. Sadly only two Chicago restaurants are members: Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique and Uncommon Ground [pg 9-10 of the guide].
ROC United asked restaurants about their practices with regard to:
a) wages for tipped workers and non-tipped workers,
b) paid sick leave policy,
c) advancement opportunities for workers to move up the ladder.
Restaurants could earn up to 5 points or stars. In the guide itself theses Chicago restaurants earned at least a two-star rating:

DIMO’S PIZZA - 2 stars
FIG CATERING - 3 stars
HOULIHAN’S - 3 stars

They also ranked national chains including:
OLIVE GARDEN - Not only zero stars, but a sad face! In fact all Darden restaurants get the sad face because "in 2011, workers filed several federal lawsuits and legal charges against Darden for workplace violations such as discrimination and wage theft." Page 9 of the guide 

But since we all can't only eat at the restaurants who are doing a decent job in relation to their workers, ROC United includes a few business-card-sized notes you can leave with restaurants to let them know that you care about their workers. There is also a page that lists all restaurants by state, so no need to try to figure that out yourself.

18 December 2013

Book Review: The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

Making dinner is a chore for me. I hate having to figure out what to make every...single...day. Ugh! But baking? Oh, that is where I shine. Cupcakes, cookies, brownies...oh, my! And of course when I was asked if I wanted to review "The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie: Recipes, Techniques, and Wisdom from the Hoosier Mama Pie Company" by Paula Haney and Allison Scott, I said "YES!!!!"

First of all, the book is beautiful and sturdy. You won't have to worry about it being on your counter as you bake up a storm.

But while I was excited to get the book, once I opened it and started to read through the recipes, I started to feel overwhelmed. The only time I've tried to bake a pie I have used store bought crusts. And well, the results were so bad that I haven't tried making a pie in ages. But I'm committed to bringing you, my dear readers, reviews based on my experience! And then something happened...Ella took over.

Yes, my sweet 10-year-old daughter took over the pie making as we prepped for Thanksgiving.

We visited the Evanston Hoosier Mama Pie Company store at the beginning of November. She had the banana cream pie and I had the pumpkin pie. Both were DELISH. But she chose the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. OK. We got all the ingredients together and decided to make the crust on Tuesday night and the pie filling on Wednesday night.

Usually she's my helper, but she quickly reversed our roles. So I am here to tell you that my 10-year-old daughter made the whole pumpkin pie, with my assistance. See the pics up there? That's her pie. AND IT WAS SOOOO GOOD!

Obviously some of the recipes are more complicated than pumpkin, especially given that the pumpkin pie recipe uses canned pumpkin (there's a whole page devoted to WHY!). And we had some issues with "pulsing" the butter for the crust, but it still turned out. So there you go, you don't have to be perfect to get a yummy pie crust.

Bottom line...If you have a pie lover in your life or want to encourage someone to take the pie leap, get them this book. Hoping to bring you more pie adventures in 2014!

Support Viva la Feminista by purchasing your book of pie through Powells or Indiebound.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from a publicist, but I went to the pie shop on my own!


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