Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Panozzo's Italian Market

It is very clear to me that living two blocks from an awesome little Italian Market/Deli is going to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because they have the most amazing sandwiches and a mouthwatering selection of real Italian pastas, meats, cheeses, and more. A curse because that selection makes me want to cook three huge meals a day just to be able to try all of this stuff. (Ok, let's be honest, that would never happen... but still...)

Yesterday we popped over to grab some sandwiches for lunch and do a little food shopping. My friend Lauryn recently turned me on to the website and that paired with my usual How Sweet It Is obsession led me to a page long list of recipes and inspired dishes I HAVE to make in the very near future. The first of these will be coming up tomorrow.


From Top to Bottom:
Homemade Roast Beef- House Roasted Round of Beef, with provolone cheese, romaine lettuce, tomato, horseradish mayo and onion marmalade

Roasted Potato Salad

Prosciutto & Fresh Mozzarella
- Prosciutto Crudo, Fresh Mozzarella
, with tomato and pesto

I think at first glance these sandwiches can look a little small (we went for the 6" instead of full sized, though full sized sandwiches are only $1 more) but they were REALLY filling and the perfect combination of flavors and textures. I will definitely be going back!


Fresh sliced Pancetta, Asiago Mezzano, Gorgonzola, and Tuscan Conchiglie

And now our cheese drawer looks something like this:

Now I just can't wait to go back and get my hands on one of those hand pulled balls of fresh mozzarella. Yum!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Restaurant Review: Burger Bar

I've been hearing of all sorts of burger-specializing restaurants here in Chicago, and this week we decided to try out Burger Bar in Lincoln Park. We went on a Monday around 7pm and were seated immediately on the outside patio.

The menu is not overwhelmingly large (I consider this a good thing) but they have a good variety of specialty burgers and a "make your own burger" option. Burgers are all served with your choice of fresh cut fries, home made potato chips, sweet potato fries, or a side salad. One of the real highlights, however, was the $1 upgrade to truffle fries. We're big olive-oil enthusiasts in this family, and my dad always says "there's nothing that can be made with olive oil that isn't even better with truffle oil"... true story. These fries were AWESOME, and you get an enormous mound of them on your plate.

I went with the "Burger Bar" option (Starting at just $9) and did the 1/2 pound burger with provolone and avocado added on (each totally worth the $1 upgrade... the avocado was fresh and plentiful!) and topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo... all served on a perfectly toasted bun. The burger was huge and I ended up bringing half of it home, but it was REALLY good. Pictured here with truffle fries.

My dad went for the "High Hog" stacker ($12) which was a barbeque pork burger with bacon, ham, white cheddar, and apple-cabbage slaw on top. It was recommended by our waiter and proved to be a good choice. Pictured here with the homemade chips.

We both got a Goose Island beer, on special on Mondays for $3, and split a Chocolate Peanut Butter milk shake. The shake was decent, but for $6 was not the best or the biggest shake. I would probably skip this next time. Aside from that, the meal was absolutely delicious and totally filling. (Oh, and note the 20+ page booklet you get at your table describing each of the many beers they carry!)

You can check out the Burger Bar website, hours, and menu HERE.

Address: 1578 N. CLYBOURN
Price: Average meal around $10
Great beer specials Sunday- Thursday

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tonight's Dinner

Fresh Baked Cookies and Vanilla Bean Gelato.

It's ok though, I made Spinach Taco Salad loaded with vegetables (and extra avocado) for dessert.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spinach Caprese Omelettes

I might be mildly obsessed with fresh mozzarella. Maybe it started when I read somewhere that it was one of the best cheeses for you. Maybe when I had that Caprese Chicken Sandwich at Red Robin like two months ago. I don't really know... but what I do know is that the other day, seemingly out of nowhere, I got a craving for a Caprese Omelette. I didn't even know if this was a real thing or not, though I figured someone somewhere had done it before.

We meant to buy Basil at Whole Foods to make it legitimate, but we forgot. I'm not complaining, I'm obsessed with Spinach and was more than happy to use that as a substitute!

Eggs (2 or 3 per omelette, your choice)
Fresh Mozzarella
(You can buy it at the store as seen above, in the cute little balls.)
Tomatoes of your choice
Spinach or Basil
Olive Oil

Seasonings of your choice- I used an Italian blend with Oregano, Basil, and some others, and then salt and pepper.


Start by prepping all of your ingredients so you're ready to go when the egg goes in. I just gave the spinach a basic chopping so it wasn't so big, diced the tomatoes, and cut the mozzarella balls in half.

Take your eggs and add a splash of milk and a few dashes each of the seasonings you are using. Amounts here really don't need to be specific... if in doubt just use a little and you can always add more salt/pepper to taste after it's cooked. Whisk egg, milk, and seasoning together.

In a small skillet (remember your omelette will be half the size of the skillet, and the thickness will depend on how far the egg spreads out) drizzle just enough olive oil to cover the pan and let it cook down for a few minutes or until it starts to bubble on medium low heat.

Pour in the egg mixture and let it sit until it starts to become opaque around the edges. When this starts to happen (pictured below) and you can get your spatula under the egg, lift up as much of the cooked part as possible and tip the pan so the runny egg on top can get under the cooked part. Continue to do this until very little uncooked egg is left on top. At this point it's much easier to flip to let it cook just a little bit on the other side.

Add your ingredients to one half of the omelette. (I recommend using a good amount of tomato to keep it a little juicy.) I put the ingredients on the thinnest half if there is a difference and put the cheese down first so it has more of an opportunity to melt. At this point flip the other half of the omelette over onto the ingredients, and hold down with the spatula for a minute. You can use your judgement to take it off when the cheese seems to have started to melt and the spinach or basil is starting to wilt.

Turn the heat off and slide the omelette onto your plate and you're good to go!