Lisle, IL (Chicago): Veggie Fest

Veggiefest

Veggie Fest, one of the largest vegetarian food festivals in North America, will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this summer with another incredible weekend of family fun on August 15 & 16, 2015. The two-day festival, which drew record-breaking crowds of over 30,000 people from around the world last year, will be held in a new location this summer: Benedictine University, 5700 College Rd., Lisle, IL 60532.

“We’re really excited for the new venue this year,” said event organizer Jonathan Kruger, “It’ll give us even more room to make our 10th Annual Veggie Fest bigger and better than ever.”

For more info visit: http://www.veggiefestchicago.com/

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

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You can also come see celebrity authors like Candice Bergen, Octavia Spencer, Billy Idol, Jon Cryer, LeVar Burton, Pauley
Perrette, Jason Segel and many more; enjoy cooking demonstrations from world-class chefs like Ludo Lefebvre, Aarti Sequeira and Hans Röckenwagner; live music and poetry; hundreds of exhibitors – including Alaska Airlines, Incredible India, LA World Airports and Literary Heritage Tours.  MCCN  will make our first visit to this event.  We looking forward to covering it and seeing you there.

Admission to the Festival of Books is free. It’s possible to reserve tickets for the indoor sessions; the tickets are free but there’s a $1 service fee. Otherwise, all sessions on the outdoor stages are completely free and it’s possible to attend the indoor sessions without a ticket, as long as they’re not full.  There is a new event happening during the festival, the Ideas Exchange (with Malcolm Gladwell on Sunday) which has tickets available at various costs.

Where: USC’s beautiful University Park Campus

When: April 18th (Sat) and 19 (Sun)

·         Complete schedule: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/tickets-and-schedule/schedule/

·         Map & directions: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/the-festival/maps/

Effie’s Chicken & Lemon Potatoes

LemonGarlicChicken3

Almost every American child has had meatloaf for dinner…it’s common to us and an easy meal… well in Greece what would be considered their meatloaf is this fabulous chicken dish…I went to Greece when I was 19 years old with my mom and my cousin Danielle. To this day, it’s one of those trips that I think was one of, if not the BEST vacation of my life! The sites, the beaches, the people and mostly THE FOOD! Some of the best meals I’ve ever had were on that tiny island in Santorini!

One of them was Greek Chicken and Lemon Potatoes. I’m not a huge chicken lover and I find it to be bland sometimes, but this chicken… I can’t even begin to tell you! It was so moist and packed so much flavor and the potatoes were crispy and rich! For years after, I tried a hundred times to make it just like they did in Greece and it just wasn’t the same… that was until my cousin Danielle, who was with me on that amazing trip to Greece so many years ago, married a fantastic Greek man, who’s mom Effie knew exactly what I was talking about when I said I had eaten this potato and chicken dish while there… so she shared this recipe with me.

Thanks Effie! It really is true, you really can relive an entire memory through a dish. In this case, I’m back on that Greek Island having the time of my life!  -Michelle Karam

Ingredients

Potatoes:

6 Medium Yellow Potatoes Quartered

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 teaspoon oregano

½ cup lemon juice

Chicken:

1 whole chicken quartered

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

¾ garlic salt

2 tabespoons. butter melted

1/4 cup lemon juice

Peel & quarter the potatoes. Place in bowl and combine with all ingredients. Let marinate, mixing it every so often so chicken and potatoesthatpotatoes do not discolor or turn brown.

Combine all of your dry seasonings together in a bowl and rub all over both sides of your chicken pieces.

Place chicken, skin side up, in roasting pan and drizzle butter and lemon juice over the top. Add potatoes all around the sides of the chicken, juices included. Roast,uncovered, in preheated,395 degree oven for 45 min to 1 hour.

Baltimore: Review of Shoo-Fly Diner

shoo fly

Let me begin with saying almost perfection was Sunday brunch time a Shoo-Fly Diner.  A friend of mine and I attended college together in Tanya orderingBaltimore but have since move to other state but on this Sunday afternoon get-together we drove past a familiar sight called the Belvedere Market.  Twenty years ago there nothing much happening in the space but it looked like it screamed potential.  Now the potential has grown into fruit with the Shoo-Fly diner nestled at this ideal location.    The aesthetic of Shoo-Fly is eclectic and chic for a diner.  They also fancy themselves as pub at night bar open some nights until 1AM.   The restaurant has an upstairs, downstairs, patio and bar.   In the downstairs area, you can view the chefs preparing the cuisine.

 

 

Downstairs dining

Downstairs dining

 

My friend order waffles with fresh strawberries and then a side order of a biscuit.  The biscuit is worth talking about.  The look of the biscuit not standard.  It is very dense yet somehow light in taste.  We loved them.

Biscuit

 

My order came complete with fried chicken, biscuit, homefries and a poached egg.  The batter of chicken proved to give a great texture an flavor.  I added a little fish sauce which a signature sauce at the establishment.  It tastes somewhat like a milder scotch bonnet sauce.  The only thing which failed my plate was the poached egg.  It was cold.  When management find out about my poached egg then the gave me a free serving of ice cream to share with my dining partner.  I love great customer service.  I strongly believe if they is a problem with the food which is not subjective then management or server should figure out a way to make you happy.  And thus, Shoo- Fly Diner did manage to make us happy with our dining experience.   -Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

fried chicken from shoo fly

 

 

Where:  510 E. Belvedere Ave Baltimore, MD

Telephone: (410) 464-9222

 

MCCN’s Best of LA Street Food Festival Picks 2014

It was a blazing hot Saturday when LA’ s Street Food Festival took place on June 28, 2014, resulting in quite a few beverages and cold treats garnering MCCN attention.   We admit staffers got full early from tasting grilled cheese, sushi and more.  Honestly, whether you try to pace yourself or not you will get full fast from the little bites.  Our best suggestion is pay the price for VIP.  You get two full hours to consume with out as many long lines.   The vendors are also great about letting you pick up two or three sample plate so that you and your companions can pick up more food by waiting in different lines.  This year surprisingly it was not the food that was really astounding buzz aside from desserts.  However, we did try a fabulous fish taco that had  everyone within earshot was talking about it.  It did not fail.  The sauce had a great kick.  The line for the Ceviche Project was too long.  I have had them before and I would recommend them.  Also the Grilled Cheese Truck has become a classic and the food does not disappoint even the vegan mac & cheese.  Many skeptics walked past the vegan offering but it really was as tasty as real cheese.

There is definitely a multicultural presence but some might hope for some soul food or America Southern cuisine offering but you get a taste of Japan, Mexico, Thailand and more.   However, I am really shocking myself with deciding to report mainly on beverages.  They are truly what impressed me this year.

Our Stand-out cold treat picks

Pop’d Up – See our Review of Pop’d Up

Salt & Straw’s Homemade

 

The Drink Favorites

Joia sodas 2

Joia Sodas

  • Joia Sodas features innovate flavorful fusions such as Lime Hibiscus and clove/Pineapple Coconut Nutmeg/Blackberry Pomegranate Ginger/ Grapefruit, Chamomile Cardamom
  • Angel City Brewery’s Angelino IPA
  • Crabbies – Crabbies is an alcoholic ginger beer, at 4.8 ABV. It is made from a unique recipe that has four natural ingredients, including real ginger, that is steeped in for 8 weeks.

Crabbies

Los Angeles Times The Taste 2013 Review.

If the Los Angeles Times Taste event is not on your radar then please tune in.  It is a great holiday weekend to do list event featuring the finest restaurants in So Cal.  There are also many wineries represented, beers and lots of cocktails flowing.  Folks battled the heat to enjoy the event but what is great about the The Taste is the offering of evening events at 7:30PM.

Every year, certain restaurants find themselves the talk of the town based on the samples provided.  Ramen Jinya offered soup in the blazing heat but it was so good and spicy people wanted to go back for more.   Fred 62 is another restaurant which created a buzz with their brisket packed in Frito bag.  The brisket was amazingly power punched with flavor atop a bed of fritos. STK Steakhouse provided amazing burger sliders.  I had to go back for a second.    Mayura Indian Restaurant  also had incredibly impressive Indian cuisine.

Food from Mayura. Photo by multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

Veev Vita Frute Cocktails was probably among the more popular choices for cocktails with their offerings of margaritas, lemonade and cosmos.  Cake Mamas impressed again for the second year in a row with a smorgasboard of flavors including the PB& J cupcake and the blueberry pancake cupcake topped with bacon.

If you missed it this event then put it on your list of thing to do next year.

See MCCN Interviews with Lyfe Kitchen, Got Kosher and Loteria Grill.

Visit our Facebook photo album from the The Taste