Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Victory's Banner: Good & Healthy in Chicago

Victory's Banner

2100 W Roscoe St., Chicago, IL 60618 (773)665-0227
(Corner of Roscoe & Hoyne Sts.)

Dined late June 2014

Victory's Banner...Go. You will eat healthy foods, organic foods, and whole foods full of flavor. I was in the area for 5 days and ate here 3 times and got food to go. Yes, I am a fan. I wish it was here in DC area.

The staff is kind and attentive. The restaurant is smallish but they accommodated my party of 10 no problem. Victory Banner always has plenty of patrons seated inside and outside, each of the 3 times I visited I was seated quickly.

The Food

Lemon lentil soup - divine, aromatic, delicious. So good I go it to go on another visit.

Pancakes with yogurt and fresh raspberry and tasty homemade granola - perfect pancakes--light, tasty...good, hearty breakfast.

Omelet: I made my own with spinach and mushrooms. Good omelet. Fabulous breakfast potatoes! Hearty bread served as side was good, it also came with the lentil soup.

What I tasted and looooved:

Breakfast Burrito: A tortilla stuffed with 2 scrambled eggs, mushroom, red onion, red peppers, gouda, black beans and sour cream. Organic salsa & brown rice on the side.

I needed more days in Chicago because on my next visit I was going to order my very own Breakfast Burrito. I had tasted it on one occasion, then shared about 1/3 of one on another visit. They are big and delicious...not salty, you can taste the individual ingredients.

Victory's Banner was recently voted in top 18 of Chicago's best brunch spots, but it often makes #1 on Chicago's best breakfast/brunch lists. The praise and acknowledgements are well deserved, plus Victory's Banner is a great lunch spot, too.

Good eatin'

food chick

Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Victory's Banner on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vietnamese sandwich shop: Banh Mi & Co.

Banh Mi & Co

2057 W. Roscoe St. Chicago, IL 60618 • (773)360-7266

Banh Mi & Co. features Vietnamese sandwiches and soups. According to wikipedia Bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread.The Roscoe Village location is tiny with two wood tables, each with two chairs, and a walk up counter for ordering. The food is made to order, so you can be seated and your food will be brought to your table. There is also outdoor seating-- sidewalk cafe style. The two ladies working in the shop were happy, friendly, and helpful with answering questions.

The Food

Black Mushroom Vegetarian Soup
Vegetarian stock served with black mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, white and green onion topped with crispy fried onions. Your choice of rice noodles or white rice.

I liked my soup well enough. If there were a Banh Mi & Co. near me I would get this again.

My dining companion had the Pork Rolls Sandwich.
Pork rolls and pate. Served with cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, soy sauce, black pepper and mayo on a fresh baked baguette.

He gives it a 4 out 5 stars, and would order again but not before he tried something else on the menu.

I had a pleasant dining experience at Banh Mi. None of the popular sandwiches appeal to me because they are all meat, mainly pork and a beef and a chicken option. If I had the opportunity I would dine here again to try the spring rolls or some of Bahn Mi's vegan options.

food chick

Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Banh Mi & Co on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gingered Kale for Breakfast

Breakfast was tasty-licious! 
Gingered Lacinato Kale, Hannah sweet potato, fresh strawberries, multi-grain french toast, applewood-smoked bacon.

  • Veggies and fruit from Mom's Organic Market, all organic.
  • Arnold's multi-grain bread (Wegman's)
  • Wegman's organic uncured applewood-smoked bacon. (Wegman's)
  • The Ginger People organic crystallized ginger. (Mom's Organic Market)

How to prepare the Lacinato Kale

Wash greens. Either cut out thick part of stem, then chop greens or tear leafy greens from the stem. I cooked a bunch of Lacinato Kale, I'm guessing it was about 3 cups chopped.

Chop 6-7 pieces of crystallized ginger.

Pour a little olive oil in a saucepan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Consider the amount of greens you have; this is a light saute, you don't want oily greens. Add greens.

Heat saucepan with greens on medium-low heat.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Balsamic Fig Vinegar (Sapore Artisanal Oils and Vinegars).

Add not quite a 1/4 of water.

Sprinkle with two (2) teaspoons of ground ginger and one (1) teaspoon of garlic powder.

Toss to combine, and stir as greens cook down.

Toss/stir in crystallized ginger.

Continue to saute until liquid is gone, greens are limp but not mushy.

food chick

Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hooray, It's Veggie Day!

I am loving my organic vegetables received each week from Homestead Farms--a community supported family farm, in Millington, Maryland.

Let me just say the basil in this week's stash smells sooooo GOOD! I can't quit sniffing it :)

This is not the first time I have bought shares of vegetables from a farm but it is the best experience due to flexibility from the farm, ease of pickup, communication from the farm (email, newsletter), and use of technology to change my membership--size of share, pickup location, cancel if out of town, etc.

I love vegetables and often eat whole vegetarian meals, which makes the veggie CSA program perfect for me. The one bad thing about getting veggies from the CSA is I cook a lot more instead of eating out. After all, I'm food chick... the one who eats out a lot and shares commentary on her dining experience. Truly though, eating out less is a good thing because I save money and trust me I eat a lot healthier and tastier meals when cooking at home.

Being a shareholder in the CSA and receiving my weekly dividend of fresh, intense flavored, organic vegetables feels like I'm getting a wonderful present every week. 

Sunday, my veggie supply is low and I'm itching to know what I'm getting for the new week. I'm excited for Veggie Day!

The week of June 17, 2014 bought me:

Clockwise from the left:
Beet Greens, Fennel, Dandelion Greens, Patty Pan Squash, Romaine Lettuce, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Kale (it is so pretty), uber-fragrant Basil, and Garlic Scapes.

CSA = community supported agriculture

food chick

Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Stressful Dining: Republic


6939 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912 • 301-270-3000

Dined here for brunch on May 18, 2014

I should have turned around at the door when I realized I was walking into a children's playground. Waiting to be seated, in front of me were 3 adults with 4 kids all under the age of five. Behind me in line was a couple with a baby in arms and a boy of about 4 years of age. Already seated about the restaurant were four parties (two of them large parties) with lots of kids. The restaurant was not full but it was noisy with kids chirping, babies crying and one screaming parent at the only table that gave a damn about teaching its kids proper restaurant behavior.

No matter where we were seated, in the restaurant, we were going to be a near a party with children unless we sat at the bar or took up one table that seated 4 people. We were seated next to a table with 6 adults and 4 bad-as-hell kids, and a couple with a quiet little boy (3 or 4 years) who never left his chair.

Atmosphere aside the service was good. The menu choices at brunch are few but decent enough I guess. You couldn't dine here often for brunch or you'd get bored.

The quality of our meal was all over the place...very disjointed.

Ancient Grain Salad: Mmm, mmm good! Quinoa, wild rice, pistachios, a hint of mint, tossed in pomegranate vinaigrette (truly it tasted like raspberry vinaigrette), topped with crispy shallots.

Oyster Po' Boy: Oyster sandwich with Lettuce, Pickles, Tartar Sauce and Lemon. My dining companion said the oysters were not great but the stuff put on the sandwich tasted good and therefore made this an okay sandwich.

Roasted potatoes: Good, tasty, nice seasoning; a little oily.

BBQ-Butter Shrimp: read below. Egg with Barbeque Butter-Poached Gulf Shrimp, served with greens on top of herb toast.

The food is where things got very bad for me. My egg was cooked opposite of the way I ordered it, it was barely past being liquid yolk. Disgusting! Especially since the waitress said she could control how the egg was cooked if I explained how I liked it. I said over hard, bust the yolk and cook it solid, make the egg crispy and I'd like it. I could not eat that wet, runny yolk so I gave it to my dining companion.

My meal--the BBQ-Butter Shrimp-- wasn't served hot, it was barely warm. I had a few bites and said, "This might be good if it was hot." Then I tasted a few pieces of shrimp and exclaimed: the shrimp is is chemically tasting. I began pushing it aside. That's when I realized most of it was not fully cooked, several pieces were primarily translucent. I had not noticed that initially because the shrimp was buried under the sauce and greens. I ate what I could of this entree leaving the shrimp on my plate.

I did show and tell the waitress about the under-cooked shrimp. I told her "I don't want you to do anything about it except tell the cook so that this doesn't happen again, cooked shrimp should not be translucent." The waitress took that plate and said she would tell the chef. Several minutes later she came back, apologized and stated: We can't do anything about this now but we are giving you a serving of the Ancient Grains to go. [Readers: Remember I said I did not expect anything to be done, nothing to be corrected, my request was to tell the cook who she called chef].

I did get the Ancient Grains to go. I enjoyed it immensely later in the day with avocado.

FYI: The brunch items are reasonably priced but the coffee and iced tea are over-priced at $4.25 and $3.25 respectively.

Would I recommend Republic? No
Would I ever go back to Republic? No

Between the so-so food and the rude pre-occuppied with their smart phones parents and their ill-behaved children hanging out in the aisles, tapping my chair, stopping and staring at us while we ate, Republic was a stressful and unpleasant experience.

food chick

Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)