Out and About: NoMI Kitchen

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I’ve really been lucking out on finding other people to feed me so that I don’t have to cook, and the food Monday night at Nomi Kitchen was so good that it was worth telling you about it, just in cases you ever make your way to Chicago.

Side note: You know at the end of Love, Actually when Aurelia said she learned English “just in cases”? I can’t help myself from wanting to say the same thing every time I say “just in case” because it’s just so darn cute. Some of my peeps get it, but everyone else just thinks I have really bad English.  Anyway…

I don’t do restaurant recaps other than when I travel and I realized recently that it was a bit of a shame given that I live in one of the great food cities in the world (I don’t exaggerate; we were home to the James Beard Awards, 2015).  Chicago’s restaurant scene is booming, and if I’m going to spend words telling you about the crab shack by the sea in Olympia, I should give some love to the places I frequent back home. Don’t worry; neither my wallet or my waistline affords this luxury often, so I’ll still be heavy on the home cooking, but every once is a while, it’s nice to get Out and About.

So, in the inaugural post for the new Out and About series, let’s talk about last Monday night and the most wonderful sushi dinner I had at the NoMI Kitchen’s rooftop garden at the Park Hyatt off Michigan Avenue thanks to the Windy City Blogger Collective.

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According to Robin, who is lovely by the way, the sushi menu has actually been available at NoMI since its inception, but hasn’t gotten an overhaul until now. I can’t say that I’d ever had it before, but I can say that I will most definitely be back again. Here’s the rundown:

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Creole Mussels

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So here I am, plugging away in the Caribbean…and don’t I just have the biggest hankering for French food?

Why the cravings? Well, because French food delicious.  Duh. The problem?  It’s also laden with cream, butter and all those things that we love to eat all winter that makes our pants tight. Not so much summer food, so my desire to make French Onion Soup seems a little…misplaced (Tomato and Lettuce have both noted at my weird categorization of food as seasonal, but whatever…).

I know just the reason(s), too, for my strong desire for all things French. First, two weeks ago at work we had the most blown out Bastille Day party.  Quiches, galettes, fondue, croissants, bread, cheese, cheese, cheese, wine and crepes- all so outstandingly good.  So there’s that.  Second, I mentioned that I’m part of a culinary book club, and this month’s book is My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.  Flipping through page after page of French gloriousness has made me want to chuck the plan and just make French food forever. After some research, I found a happy compromise.

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Martinique.  Martinique is an island in the Lesser Antilles part of the Caribbean, and an overseas region of France and as such, its cuisine blends a little of France with a little Creole with a little islands.

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Sunday Somethings

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Hello, Sunday.

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine has been good, full of enough to do, but not too much that I felt like a headless chicken. Lots of catching up with old friends and new, and a farewell brunch to wish Fava well on her new adventures as she moves to Denver.

It was pretty hot out, and while so many relish this kind of weather after months of unrelenting cold, I’ve been more than happy to stay inside for most of it.  Judge me if you will, but the worst…WORST…feeling, is having sweat dripping…anywhere. GROSS.  I took the opportunity to start planning some Iceland fun.  Lettuce and I leave in a little more than a month, and I’m getting pretty pumped about it.

Until then, back to speaking of gross, I found  lot of funny/interesting/gross things for you this week, so let’s get to it.

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Pineapple Coconut Bread

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Another baked loaf thing for you. I know I just made the tahini pound cake loaf, but that was a cake. This one is a bread. It’s not as sweet, not as rich and therefore, as a bread, it’s acceptable to eat before 11 am any day of the week. I feel like cake only gets to claim that privilege on birthdays and holidays, but thanks to Starbucks and its pumpkin loaf, sweet breads are totally acceptable breakfast foods.

Amiright? Adult logic.

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Anyway, it was a bit difficult for me to find a breakfast that was Caribbean inspired that was not just a coffee and roll, because what’s fun about that? Not much.

But despite my aversion to turning on the oven these hot hot hot summer days, I bit the bullet, just for you, to give you something exciting to make for breakfast tomorrow morning.

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Tahini Orange Pound Cake

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While the internet can make many an enemy, it can also make some friends. As such, today’s musings are part of a guest post I wrote for Justine over at Just Haves. I’d like to thank her for the opportunity, and hope that you’ll head over and check out today’s recipe after I get through my own stream of consciousness in a little diversion from all things Caribbean.

As hard as I try to channel the easy, breezy, lazy days of the summer of my youth, I’m bad at it. Horrible, really. When the temps rise and the city busts to life, it’s hard for me to not book every single waking moment of the week. Over the fall I’m better about giving myself a “NO!” day, but this summer so far I get a big fat F+. It’s because I’m not a NO girl, I’m a YES girl, and before I know it volleyball, dinners with friends, multiple book clubs, blogger events, and random comings and goings have left these last few weeks with nary a day for rest. All my own fault, but I think summer should be easy!

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Dessert surely can be. While most love a good summer fruit pie (except me and Allison…we’re anti-pie…), that can be a lot of work. Crusts involve pulsing, rolling, cutting…patience. Cakes are admittedly always nice, but often times, at least in my world, involve lots of steps…baking, cooling, whipping, frosting…So when I was trying to settle on the perfect dessert recipe for Justine’s post, and for every summer picnic table, after talking to my culinary consultant team, I settled on pound cake.

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Get your Mojo On: Cuban Style Mojo Ribs with Black Beans and Rice

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Despite the unfortunate circumstances that took me home last week, one good thing came out of it. MOM FOOD.

My mom’s food. Ask anyone who’s had it and they’ll tell you it’s worth a five hour drive.

Whatever the occasion, whenever I mentioned the thought of maybe coming home maybe, mom immediately asks what I want to eat.  I’m usually pretty indifferent about it, but once in a while I’ll make a request.  Last year when Tomato came home for Thanksgiving she made like, five requests…and therefore you all got cabbage rolls.

This time she just “happened to have some pork ribs laying around in the freezer,” and seizing the day, I suggested she make Mojo Pork Ribs with Cuban-style black beans and rice.  

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She thought it was an odd request, and it was a little, but since I’m  currently into Caribbean foods, I figured it was my one and only chance to have someone else do the cooking for a change. Plus, mojo ribs are sort of awesome and maybe the best way that she makes ribs.  And while a Cuban dish does fast forward me a bit, I am taking a note from the breezy attitude of island life, and am rolling with it. After all, I run this ship.

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Sunday Somethings

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Hello, Sunday.

What a week, what a week.

Mine was unexpectedly hectic; my grandma passed away Monday morning at the ripe age of 92. It wasn’t a surprise, but that fact doesn’t really make it any easier, does it? Still, I think when the road of life is long and well-traveled, there’s only one course to chart when it ends- the celebratory one, to celebrate a life truly lived.  So goes the last of the grandparents. 

It was nice to be home, surrounded by family and friends of our family that I had no idea we even had.  It kept me disconnected from the realities of work for a few days, which was welcome and rejuvenating, despite the circumstances.

On the flip side of this week’s coin, last night my two very dear friends, Raisin and Raisinette got hitched!  Despite the horrid heat and humidity, the party went on in an explosive fashion, mixing American and Arabic traditions in a way that I’d never before experienced and, I have to say, it was a total blast.  I feel like others’ cultures out-party us Americans tenfold.  Perhaps a level of partying to which we should all aspire.  

Lack of computer face time this week means not so much reading material for you. Sorry about that, but I did manage to squirrel away a few nuggets, so let’s get into it.

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Feelin’ Just Dandy: Dandy Shandy

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Whew. The heat is on.

For today, Thirsty Thursday, if you will, another cocktail.

I know! Two in one week! Who am I?

Those of you who know me know that I’d rather consume my calories in the form of iced cream, but sometimes a girl needs a drink. 

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The kind that is not too heavy, not too fruity, not too sweet, but not bitter. Something with a little fizz. Something like this libation.

It’s my own version of a Shandy Dandy. Dandy Shandy? I can’t remember.

No…I haven’t had that much to drink, but neither iteration of the name seems to make much sense since to me it sounds like stringing adjectives.  Anyway, a Dandy Shandy, aside from being a sort of ball game played by children in Jamaica, is also a beer cocktail. Internet searches suggest this is some sort of English stout concoction, but I pull my inspiration from The Spice Necklace, a book filled with recipes of Caribbean delights borrowed from Lettuce.  And to make it more summery, I opted for a light Corona rather than a heavy Guinness. Maybe that’ll be the name of the game in two months, but for now light beverages only.

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Breakfast at Wimbledon

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Yesterday it was so hot here it made me hate my life.  It reminded me why I don’t live south, or east, and it made me wonder how on Earth I survived summers on a tennis court growing up in Florida.  While I live to tell tales, I’m pretty sure it shaved a few years off of my life.

Speaking of tennis, a menu for next year’s Breakfast at Wimbledon.

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What? You know I’m not a timely recipe poster. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Being the major Anglophile that I am, and an ex-avid tennis player, Wimbledon is my favorite sporting event (ok…besides the Super Bowl…). There’s something about the ceremony and tradition of it that I simply love and while I’m admittedly out of the loop for most of the season, Breakfast at Wimbledon is not to be missed.

Ten (ten…eek!) years ago when I was studying abroad for the summer, I had the chance to actually go to Wimbledon. It was such a dream, and the magic and excitement of being on the grounds was enough to turn my friend hockey-loving friend Tripe into a lifelong fan.

Before breakfast, a little history. The Championships at Wimbledon have been around since 1877, and are hosted at the All England Club, located in the outskirts of London.  One of the four tennis grand slams, it’s the only slam played on grass, and timing wise, it’s sandwiched between the French and U.S. Opens and rolls out sometime around July 4th.

Summertime, summertime.

Breakfast at Wimbledon is actually an American tradition since, being 5 hours behind England, NBC’s coverage began early in the morning and we always watched the men’s final over bagels or palacinta.

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So, what’s to eat?

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Sunday Somethings

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Hello, Sunday.

What a busy week.  And weekend, with not a spare moment to take a deep breath.  Only shallow ones.  However, I finally am now sitting with my feet up in my bubble of glorious air conditioning.  I survived it all, five high to me!

Yesterday, Apple Crisp and I went hang gliding, and can I tell you it ranks in the top 5 coolest things I’ve done ever? And I’ve done some cool things. I will say that I was only scared for about 5 seconds when we were taking off. Other than that, I was literally high as a kite. Higher, even.

I thought gliding would provide the sensation of being Peter Pan, but instead, it almost felt like we were stalling in the air, and the only real roller coaster thrills were with any dips and turns. Our instructor dude even let us take the controls…and I wasn’t mad about it. Anyway, good times. If you have the resources and even the slightest inclination…do it! Do it now!

Last night Grape’s little bro Sausage turned the ole dirty thirty, so libations were consumed, followed by Breakfast at Wimbledon this morning (more on that later this week) and finally some BBQ and sweatiness at the Windy City Smokeout courtesy of the Windy City Blogger Collective

Whew.  

As for cooking, that’s been pretty meh, as you can probably tell. I was lamenting this fact to Apple yesterday, and she reminded me that I get this way every summer, so ’tis the season. She’s totally right. Remember two years ago when all I wanted to eat was ice cream, and last year how I didn’t want to eat anything? Such is my summer self. However, I’ll do my best to keep you entertained through my summer lull.

The news this week…I admit that I’m playing catch up a bit. Too many things to do, too little time to find entertaining internet tidbits. Anyway, let’s get to it.

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