Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Amigos 2.0

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Drinks, Events, Food

Last Monday “Amigos de Pinxto” with Sean Brock really embodied what the whole event is all about; getting cool peeps together to hang out, enjoy cocktails and bites of food with friends.


Our guest chef did not let us down- the guy showed up with a 2 year aged Ossabaw country ham for Christ sakes!!!

He also brought; BBQ pork ribs from his restaurant Husk and fried pickled green tomatoes.


Not only was the food great but the conversation was non-stop laughs the whole night- everyone was pumped to have Sean there and to taste his food.



I met Sean a few times with Mike Sheerin from Trencherman and we all totally hit it off in a “bromantic” sort of way. I really respected his cooking and his approach to food and I asked if he’d be open to coming up and doing an Amigos with us. He said yes, but I figured it was the liquor talking…but sure enough- he came thru and hosted what turned out to be a standing room only night.



Having a guy like Sean in, has created the kind of buzz we need to bring more and more talented chefs from around the country together to introduce their food to Chicago.

Stay tuned…



Boston Little Market

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Travel

With less than a month until Little Market opens, the little hamster is running faster than usual in my head.  I have so many ideas and finishing touches to add to the already successful dishes that Chris and I have worked on.

I see Little Market as a neighborhood spot where people can stop in after a long day of running errands or work and feel right at home.  Most of the menu will be classic dishes that everyone has tried, so it’s very important to me that our food exceeds expectation.

One of the menu items is a classic lobster roll, and while we’ve tried several in Chicago…we also felt a quick trip to Boston was necessary.

Alfredo and I went and packed in as many local favorites  as we possibly could in a day and a half.





Little Market Brasserie

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Restaurant Reviews

The beauty of social media is that it can make you look really cool. In fact, it can create just about any illusion you’d like it to.

I’m a perfect example. The past few months I’ve posted status updates and photos from Austin, NYC, New Orleans and Miami… and while it looked like I was vacationing like a champion- in reality I’ve been traveling with my business partners researching concepts for Little Market.

We’ve been tweaking the concept well before it opened as PT Pop Up, and I’ve been dying to talk about how excited I am to get back to working with American classic dishes. But one of the good things about getting older is I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and wait to present ideas until the concept comes to life.

Well my friends, the *shit* as they say, is together. I’ve been testing and tweaking dishes for months and I’m really excited to share them.

If you were one of my loyal regulars at Butter or Perennial, then I think you’ll appreciate the dishes you’ll find at Little Market.  But I like to think of the Little Market’s concept as;  a super hot girl dressed down with no makeup on, in sweat pants. The girl’s the same- she’s just not as daunting to approach.

I hope you’ll all swing thru when we open in early winter…until then I’ll be in the test kitchen making sure every bite is delicious.

Originally Posted in August 2012

El Quim de la Boqueria (market)

Boqueria Market:

Get the cuttlefish with the fried egg. It’s a little place so you have to stand and wait for a table, but it goes fast worth it!

Also in the Boqueria Market check out Pinotxo Bar and Kiosko Universal

Bar Canete

Carrer de la Unio 17 #930 029 425

This is a fun spot for tapas off Las Rambles.

Tapac C24

Diputacio, 269 #934-880-977


Everything is amazing, but I really loved the MC foie burger and potatoes with egg and chorizo.

Lolita Taperia

Tamarit, 104 # 924315231

This used to be Albert Adria’s tapas bar- and it’s still very good but it’s always packed.


Avenida del Paralel’ in Barceona where the 41º22’34” parallel north line passes through.

Very difficult to get a reservation, but a must see if your traveling to BCN!

It is the latest restaurant from Albert Adria, so you know its going to be something special.

Three People and Music

Corsega 231-233 #677887565

This is my friend Mateo’s restaurant- we cooked together in Spain. His patatas bravas put anyone else’s to shame and his tuna tartar is off the charts. Total hidden gem.

Moo Restaurant in the Hotel Omm

Rosselló 265 # 93 445 40 00

This is an extension of the Roca Brothers, whom I worked for at their 3 star restaurant in Girnoa.It’s really awesome food and gives a insight into their creativity.


Industria, 79 #93 207 61 15

I used to work here with Chef Jordi. This is a pricey 1 Michelin Star spot- but it’s well worth it. Make a reso.

Dining in Madrid

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Travel

Originally posted in July 2012

Everyone always asks me to recommend restaurants in Spain for their trips. I finally decided to put a list of my favorites and some cant miss spots! Here is Madrid, Enjoy!



C/ Pelayo, Madrid 915 226 413
good tapas nothing fancy or crazy

Good for a quick lunch or a beer and some bites

Le Cabrera 

C/ Bárbara de Braganza, 2 Madrid 913 199 457
awesome cocktail bar with great tapas,

cool scene make a reservation

Estado Puro 

Plaza de Canovas del Castillo, 4, Madrid913 302 400

(its in the NH Hotel in the Paseo del Prado)

Chef Paco Roncero’s new tapas restaurant. sit out side if you can, he is a El Bulli guy so some
tapas are creative and some traditional.

try the patatas bravas here! and cod fritters. make a reservation

Orio Restaurant

C/ Fuencarral, 49 Madrid902 520 522
good place for lunch, tapas are ready on the bar,

help your self, ask server for plates

Fuencarral Street

great for shopping, cool stores, funky boutiques! The street then spills
on to Gran Via and then over to Sol (the center of Madrid) in Sol watch for pick pockets
i have never had a problem but just be aware

La Latina Neighborhood 
The Best Of Madrid
The whole idea in this neighborhood is to bounce around
go from place to place, have a few bites and on to the next one
here are some cant miss spots!

Casa Lucio

C/ CAVA BAJA, 35 Madrid, Spain 913 653 252
One of the most famous restaurants in Madrid. MUST MAKE A RESO!!
try the potatoes with the fried egg, everything is good here

Casa Lucas

C/ Cava Baja 30, 28005Madrid, 91365 0804
Tapas bar, good wines great food
Best Foie Gras mousse i have ever had, also try the chicken with corn mousse tapas

San Miguel Market

Plaza San Miguel 1 Madrid, 915 427 364
Huge market, great stalls to eat at, just walk around and eat
opens at 530am and closes at 8pm

Fine Dining Restaurants

Sergi Arola Gastro

C/ Zurbano, 3 Madrid,913 102 169
$$$$ but very good, I worked for Sergi for a year when he was at La Broche.
May be a lunch spot , check out the web site must make a reso

La Broche

C/ MIGUEL ÁNGEL, 29-31Madrid,913 993 437
Tasting menu restaurant, $$$$ I used to work here! the chef is a great guy
he lived in the states and speaks english.

Barcelona & San Sebastian coming soon!

Chicago Via Aspen

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Lifestyle, Personal, Travel

Originally posted in June 2012

The Mercadito Hospitality team hopped a plane to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic Alfredo Sandoval, Natalie Kalb, Tad Carducci and I all decided to enjoy ourselves at the festival instead of working like we did last year.




I highlighted my top 10 favorites from last year here
but it seemed like this year was more about spending time with culinary comrades from Chicago.




The first night kicked off with an AMEX party at Matsuhisa where we ran into ABC 7’s “Hungry Hound” Steve Dolinsky and his wife Amy. We talked about plans for the week, and about the seminars Steve was moderating; they are such nice people!

I then met up with my boy Mike Sherrin and Carrie Leung; they are so much fun. They were our partners in crime most of the weekend.



I also saw Danny Grant and crew hanging out at the Casa Dragones Tequila Party. Danny won Best New Chef this year, we were all so excited for him.

On to the food. Some of the best food we had was at the Greek House (Diamond Imports) with Sarah Gruenberg from Spiaggia. She had and array of Italian food from salt-crusted fish to handmade pastas, Colorado lamb loin, and shrimp skewers. The food was so good we canceled out reservations for that night and stayed to eat more with Sarah.







I caught a few minutes of Grant Achatz’s panel about “Small Changes, Big Results.” He touched on the ticketing system at Next and how it came about. It was very interesting to hear.

I got meet to meet Jason Vincent from Nightwood and was stoked to find out we both share the same obsession, Phish! That was awesome, but even more so was being there when he won Cochon 555.




I got to have some wine with my friends Maggie & Michael Murzanski who I never get to see or hang out with. It was a perfect ending to a long adult summer camp.

I’m glad to be back, but even more glad I to hang with friends from Chicago outside Chicago.

My Next Post

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Personal, Restaurant Reviews

Originally posted in May 2012

I went to dinner with my brother Matthew at Next Sunday night. You can imagine my excitement for the ElBulli menu as I have lived and worked in spain for a few years. I was anxious to see what dishes Chef Dave Beran and Chef Grant chose for the menu and why, but I think my brother was more anxious to get his first taste of Spanish molecular gastronomy.
As soon as we were seated our server, John Schafer, made us feel relaxed and comfortable. Not only was he and the entire staff extremely knowledgeable, but he also brought an element of comedy to the table. It was refreshing and made the experience that much more enjoyable. He had us laughing the whole night kind of fucked with us at points, but in a good way. Seeing the chefs run food to the tables and explain the dish also heightened the level of our experience. It was good to see Chef Renee so excited about the plates he was serving and telling the stories behind the dishes.
With twenty-nine courses and a pairing for nearly each course, we cruised through the meal in just under 4 hours. My favorites were: spherical olives, very fun to eat; suquet of prawns, very clean traditional flavors;



potato tortilla foam, so light; chicken liquid croquettes, explode on the palate; chocolate in textures dessert, another famous dish I would see all the time when I was a young cook. We even got a little taste of the Sicily menu from Chef Dave at the end.

We had a such a good time, it was worth every penny.


From the last course “Goodbye Hands with passionfruit marshmallows”)





playing with my food


Posted: October 30, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Personal




Originally posted in Jan 2012

When Barcito opened last week I seized the opportunity to work the Pintxo station, which is behind the bar.


For me it was a chance to set up the system of how we were going to cook in such a small place, plus it allows me to interact with the guests and get their feedback as they’re eating.


While I’ve cooked in every kind of kitchen environment imaginable, I’ve never worked behind a bar. Unless you count jumping behind the table with the Tippling Bros in Aspen and shaking up a cocktail or two for fun- and I don’t count that!


So being behind the bar is an entirely new experience for me, especially since I’m sharing the space with the two bartenders; James and Jennifer. We make the best of it, and always end up having a blast.


But the past few nights, I’ve noticed a recurring theme- people ordering drinks from me. Yesterday I poured; 4 waters, 2 club sodas, and a shot of tequila.


Maybe people don’t see the white coat or the fact I am cooking food, but I thought it was pretty funny. I guess I can take the Chefologist to the next level.


Grey Goose Meets Polo

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Drinks, Food, Lifestyle

Yesterday I teamed up with Grey Goose vodka to welcome the Chicago Polo tournament to town with a luncheon.

My task was to pair courses with the different vodka flavors and demo the dishes along with some pro polo players for the crowd.

The star of the afternoon was the crudo of:

Le citron cured hamachi with ginger, tomato and lemon vinaigrette.

I loved the creative challenge of curing the hamachi in the vodka- and I’m sure i’ll incorporate this into future dishes at fun dinner parties.

Originally posted in Sept 2011

Originally posted in June 2011

1. Rolling 5000- yes Five THOUSAND croquettes alongside my Tavernita family. Everyone pitched in and while it seemed impossible at one point- you can see the below finished product.


2. Meeting Bizarre Foods chef Andrew Zimmern who was awesome enough to tweet out a compliment about my day #3 dish of mushrooms with a sous vide egg.

Here was his tweet and photo:  @andrewzimmern Sous vide 63 degree eggs for 2000 ppl



3. Getting behind the bar with the Tippling Brothers at the pool party on Sunday after all of our work had been completed. That’s Tippler Tad in the headdress!


4. Attending Jose Andres opening event which was outside and showcased the beauty of Aspen.

I ran into Gail Simmons who told me she was excited for Tavernita- which was a huge compliment for me and a fun story to tell my mom, who is a fan of Top Chef!

Here’s a sample of the Iberico we feasted on.


5. Shaking the hand of Jacques Pepin. Some people got to meet Sinatra- I got to meet the chef!

(Wish I had a photo of this moment!!)