Delicious DIRT. Aspen Food & Wine Recap

Aspen Food & Wine Festival (#FWASPEN) celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend. Sadly the DIRT team did not make it to our home away from home this year. We #crave Aspen in the summer –> not a lot better. Perfectly sunny, warm and with NO humidity ->> Great. Hair. Days.  

Courtesy of Food & Wine Aspen, CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE - You will smile

#FWASPEN fest has been publicized as one of the prizes for each season’s Top Chef.  This year, food nerds and cuisine celebrities alike gathered in Aspen + indulged on tons of tasty tidbits and luscious libations.  Chicago’s own Stephanie Izard won top dish honors at the Best New Chef party with her goat sausage, which we down regularly at FAVE we CRAVE – Girl & the Goat. Another Chicago chef, Ryan Poli got his preview on as he showed what greatness Tavernita plans to bust out this summer.

Courtesy of Food & Wine Aspen

Get your swine on! The festival also hosted the finals for the Cochon 555 where chefs craft a menu utilizing an entire heritage pig. This year’s winners were Chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart of ZaZu in Santa Rosa, California for their pork bun incorporating bits of tasty pork neck, head and heart.

Chef Ryan Poli @ #FWAspen, Courtesy of Tavernita

Courtesy of #FWAspen

Summer in Aspen, Courtesy of #FWAspen, CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE - You will smile

Winter Aspen = Gorgeous, Photo by MBK, CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE - A MUST

Aspen Comedy Fest -> WE MISS YOU. BRING IT BACK. Photo by MBK

Check out Stephanie Izard's People's Choice winning dish at the Food & Wine Best New Chef dinner in Aspen. Goat sausage in an XO broth. Photo by Girl + Goat. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

For more #deliciousDIRT on the Festival including pics from inside the Grand Tasting tent and a recap of the Cochon finals check out the links below:

Best of #FWAspen in Aspen Skollie Magazine

Inside the Aspen Tasting Tents with Yum Sugar

Aspen recap with GrubStreet

Dishes from the Grand Cochon

An intense day in the life of Food & Wine magazine’s restaurant editor Kate Krader

Delicious DIRT. Girl + The Goat = Fave We CRAVE. LOVE

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re familiar with the Goat.  Just in case you missed this scrumptious post, we thought you might want to get your palate WET (originally appeared on DD in January 2011). Thank you to friends Kevin, Rob + Gary for such fab nights as always.

Sneak Preview of our Elevate Your Presence #deliciousDIRTy dinner at Girl & the Goat below. These oysters simply left us ordering more and more and more! Have you tried them yet? A MUST!


Photo by MBK

Fried Tauton Bay Oysters @ Girl & The Goat with egg salad and a divine sauce with capers! YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM does not even describe it.

What a beautiful dish! We love the chickpea fritters at Girl & the Goat. Have you tried em? You MUST!

Photo by MBK

Chickpea Fritters at Girl & The Goat with romesco, hazelnut hummus, sesame, goat feta. AMAZE and a definite FAVORITE

Simply divine! Craving more of Girl & the Goat‘s stellar squash ravioli right now! Elevate Your Presence thanks Kevin Boehm, the entire Boka Grp, & Stephanie Izard for such a wonderful #deliciousDIRT dinner.  Can not wait for more…

Girl & The Goat’s AMAZING kambocha squash ravioli with mushroom raisin ragout, brussel leaves and shroom creme fraiche. Could eat this every single night.

Goat @ The Goat by MBK

Sauteed Green Beans with a fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews- Girl & The Goat- YUMMMMMMMMM. Photo by MBK

Sauteed Skate with a yellowfin-salsify salad, blood orange, spiced hazelnuts at Girl & The Goat. SIMPLE PERFECTION. Photo by MBK

Hiramasa Crudo @Girl & The Goat with crisp pork belly with aji aioli and caperberries as well. DIVINE, Photo by MBK

Sauteed Green Beans with a fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews- Girl & The Goat- YUMMMMMMMMM. Photo by MBK

Goat Pork and Veal SUGO at Girl & The Goat with pappardelle, rosemary, and cape goose berries. Sauteed Green Beans with a fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews - both are FAVORITES- Heavenly. Photo by MBK

Delicious DIRT. Exclusive FEED. Food Mafia

Dion Antic, Photo by Jeff Schear

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Delicious DIRT. Food Mafia FEED

Inside: Girl & the Goat, Tempo, Silver Cloud, Feast, 33 Club, Alinea, Bob San, D’Agostino’s, mk, Gibson’s, Toast, Bella Note, Wells Street Popcorn, Fifty/50, Il Molino, Topo Gigio, Hub 51, Boss Bar.

Originally posted 11/10 in Food Mafia’s Feed.

This is my first official Delicious DIRT post for Food Mafia’s Feed and I could not be more thrilled.  EYP client, Food Mafia, is the sexiest concept online for food nerds like myself. Created by genius entrepreneur, Food Mafia CEO + ultimate Godfather Stacy Johnson, Food Mafia is literally a one of a kind restaurant review community.  In case you’ve been living in a cave and still don’t know all the sweet juice about Food Mafia, the bottom of this post has all the essential Delicious DIRT.  Check it and check out my Food Mafia profile here.

To give you a little background on me, I grew up in the city of Chicago and I literally eat my way through the city to this day. Eating is one of my top four favorite things in the universe. I am down for the fanciest joints such as Alinea, as well as biggest dives, Boss Bar. I love local hot spots, Girl & The Goat, as well as good old standby favorites, mk and best omelet and grilled cheese around the clock at Tempo.  CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Omelets As Big As Your Face @ Tempo

Just so you know, I’m not one of those girls who won’t eat either. I literally eat everything and anything I want from Mac and cheese at 33 Club (sadly now closed) to extra crispy cheese pizza at D’Agostino’s (best sauce ever) to the heavenly enormous strawberry shortcake at Gibsons.

Gibson's Strawberry Shortcake = #DeliciousDIRT

It’s scary actually.  I mean, I should be three hundred pounds based on how much I actually eat.  But, my philosophy on food (and life), is carpe diem.  Life is too too precious and short not to eat isn’t it?   So I love to devour my  favorites regularly.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of my go-to Chitown favorites.  Because I’m such a huge BRINNER fan, I’ll begin with a few of my brunch loves.  My MUST EATS.  Let me give you some sunshine and start with the perfect Eggs Benedict (no exaggeration here). I am so lucky because I found this heaven at three Chicago spots each so diverse in their atmosphere, yet so similar in their perfect eggs Benedict- Toast, Gibsons, 33 Club (please reopen).  All use just the right amount of butter on their English muffins and toast them to perfection so they’re crispy and stay crispy throughout the entire meal. Did I mention the eggs are cooked perfectly and are runny to the exact right degree?? This is a hard science to master and to find a place that’s consistently cooking their egg yolks perfectly runny enough, yet the whites are cooked through, that’s a real find and a definite rarity I cherish! And to find not one, not two, but three spots in Chicago that you can regularly depend on this perfection is simply awesome. I have to mention the meat at 33 Club as well. I am not generally a ham fan, but 33 has some ham! After not having bacon or ham of any kind for eleven years, 33 Club’s was so special and delicious from its smell alone that I had to dive in! And I did not regret it. The hollandaise sauce each restaurant uses is not too heavy either. Toast’s is light and creamy enough, Gibson’s is the exact right consistency that I could literally down a gallon, while 33′s, you might even need to ask for more! DELIGHTFUL.

Breakfast Burrito @ Silver Cloud = True #DeliciousDIRT

Next let me delve into one of my other breakfast favorites, breakfast burritos! Two of my favorite local spots, Silver Cloud and Feast are my absolute go-to’s. Feast’s breakfast burrito is filled with some of my all time favorite guacamole, sour cream, the right amount of smooth and yet not too rich re-fried beans, some of the best gooiest pepper jack cheese, perfect egg whites (you have to specify that part – which they do charge extra for- but it’s worth it) and a great pico de gallo. On the side of the Feast breakfast burrito comes perfectly crispy potatoes with the exact right amount of salt. YUM! If you want to skip the potatoes, you can get a side salad and the dressing is a to die for balsamic that blends so well with the burrito if you like to mix it up like I do.

Silver Cloud’s burrito is quite different, yet just as delish!

Silver Cloud Breakfast Burrito

Their burrito is ENORMOUS!  It’s filled with  luscious cheddar cheese, a ton of plain and cooked to perfection black beans, sour cream, guacamole, eggs (white for me again) and topped with tons of shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and heavenly potatoes.  The way Silver Cloud includes the cheese in the burrito itself is simply divine. They roll the cheese inside the shell so in every bite you get just the right amount of cheese.  This is heaven for a giant cheese freak like me!  I get this burrito, and just about everything I eat, well done.  YUM!

Next posts will include my favorite Chicago Mac and cheeses, the lightest, most succulent salmon jalapeño sashimi appetizer from Bob San, pulled organic chicken nachos from Hub 51, amaze donuts, Australian lobster tail from Gibsons, cheese popcorn from Wells Street Popcorn, two delicious devilish rigatonis in Chicago: a la vodka at Bella Note and “the pasta al Topo Gigio” at Topo Gigio (my favorite since I was sixteen), and more galore.

Organic Chicken Nachos @ Hub = AMAZE #DeliciousDIRT

Go surf Food Mafia and let me know your thoughts and recommendations. What do you love about Chicago restaurants? What are your go to brunch spots? Your favorite dishes? I encourage you to comment here, on our EYP Facebook page and on Food Mafia’s Facebook page on some of your delights! Can not wait to see what conversations transpire. I’m looking forward to meeting you all and seeing you get Elevated on Food Mafia!!

Delicious DIRT. Food Mafia

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Delicious DIRT. JUICE

INSIDE: Mercadito, Tavernita, Eatocracy for Girl & The Goat’s Stephanie Izard, Sushi Samba Rio’s Carnaval, Food and Wine, Eatocracy, James Beard Dinner, and more.

To Open: Mercadito Sister Spot in the Chi- Tavernita

It’s general consensus that we all love Mercadito—that New York import that took Chicago by storm with its delicious Mexican food. Now we have even more reason to love it. It’s getting a sibling of sorts this summer.

Though we loved the baked goat cheese at Martini Park, it wasn’t enough to keep the patrons rolling in, so the owners of Mercadito decided to purchase the space and transform it into Tavernita. “It’s not Mexican. It’s somewhat of an eclectic mix of Latin, Spanish, American concept…” said Larry Silver, Managing Partner Mercadito Hospitality. Sounds incredibly appetizing. But close your mouths for a minute. It’s not scheduled to open until this summer. But until then, Mercadito is still hot and is even participating in restaurant week. Get your Mexican food fix from Feb. 17-28 during the course of Chicago Restaurant Week.

In Girl & The Goat News: Saveur, Food & Wine’s ‘People’s Best’, James Beard Dinner…

The highly respected food monthly Saveur, has just announced that they will include long form essay-type restaurant reviews in every issue beginning with the March 2011 issue, and Girl & the Goat and Stephanie Izard are lucky number one. Kudos continues to roll in for the restaurant. Executive Editor Dana Bowen wrote the review, and she seems to be enamored with the place. “Stephanie Izard’s pizza doesn’t taste like any pizza I’ve had before…it’s crisp in all the right places and piping hot with gooey cheddar, Gouda, and tomme-style cheeses…”

The Mediterranean goat-heavy fare has won fans the world over, and has even received a nod from the James Beard Foundation. Stephanie and The Goat were selected to host a James Beard house dinner at the restaurant, which quickly sold out. But the recognition doesn’t stop there. Vaunted publication Food & Wine introduces us to their Best New Chefs every year, and this year, they’ve implemented a People’s Best New Chef award that includes Stephanie Izard as a nominee for the Great Lakes region. If you’re interested to see who will come out as top toque, why don’t you take part of this democratic process and vote in the eatocracy here?

Eatocracy Courtesy of CNN

Sushi Samba Rio’s Carnaval March 5th:

Brazilian Carnaval is upon us, and we love that the sexiness that it exudes, although we don’t celebrate it in the States. However, SushiSamba Rio is having its own Carnaval version here in the city. On March 5, the restaurant will transform into the streets of Rio with samba dancers, drummers, and costumes inspired by Carnaval performers. There will even be a Brazilian inspired menu and drinks to really get you in a sexy Brazilian mood. Call 312 595 2300 to make a reservation, and check out for info about the restaurant.

Snowed In?

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Delicious DIRT. Blizzard got you down?  Check out what some restos are doing to keep you from going hungry.

  1. @Piecechicago IS delivering tonight
  2. Boka, Perrenial and Landmark are giving you 25% off Tuesday and Wednesday says owner @Kevinboehmboka

    Kevin & Rob, Boka Group Owners

  3. @Stephandthegoat says seats are opening up at Girl & The Goat
  4. Smoke Daddy has 1/2 price Wings, Burgers, and Nachos $2 Rumps, $3 Jameson, $3 Mint Hot Chocolate
  5. @blokesbirds: all you can eat fish & chips tonight $14. Come warm up with a pint of 3 Floyd’s Golden Leader! 3343 N Clark
  6. @6degreesbar: is open and rockin during the blizzard! Come in for great beer specials and half off appetizers!
  7. @rick_bayless: Frontera, Topolo and Xoco are all open to warm you up with chile and the appropriate libations.
  8. Kuma’s Corner: “Several empty tables right now.”
  9. Schuba’s and Lincoln Hall staying open, iO and Second City closed

Photo by Smoke Daddy

    Are You A Member?  Food Mafia wants you!

    Calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon.  To receive an exclusive invitation, email us @ Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

    Heard on @ElevatePresence

    CHITOWN #BLIZZARD activity: What would you name your roll? Win a Spot on Union Sushi’s Launch Menu! Free @SouthwestAir Flight  via @EaterChicago @AriBendersky @mikeandchaochow

    1st round voting starts TODAY — Hottest Chef Round 1: Desai, @ryanpoli , @curtisduffy, @brycecaron, Thapthimkuna &@BrandonBaltzley via @EaterChicago

    Lets be serious – The #bodega is out of milk, yet the storm has not fully hit yet… ARE YOU READY? via @chicagotribune

    Metromix’s article has some closings you might want to read here.


    Delicious DIRT’s Super Bowl Round-Up

    • Order up Dough Boys massive three-yard long pizza pie (40 + slices) perf for the party on Sunday! $29 for the pie plus $5 per ingredient.  Dough Boys, as you know, is Jimmy Bannos’ (Heaven on Seven, Purple Pig) and Scott Harris’ (Francesca’s Family or Restaurants)) collaboration in Little Italy. LOVE.

      The Dough Boys & Their Pizza by Dough Boys

    • There’s nothing like the FIRST TIME! One of our faves, Girl & The Goat, will be open for BRUNCH on Super Bowl Sunday from 10am-3pm!  Love Super Bowl highlights?  They’ll feature oldies and in its entirety, the BEARS 1985 Super Bowl.  Special menu from Chef Stephanie Izard will include Goat’s staple Pig’s Face (pic below), duck eggs, goat sausage gravy and biscuits, fried oyster po’ boy with sunny side egg and rouille, and so much more.  BRING IT. Bonus drink specials include house bloody mary with PBR back.  Craving it all already.  Seriously, bring it.  Food Mafia will be on the scene too so stay tuned. More via Eater.  Oh, we seriously doubt you can still get a reservation, but walk-ins are welcome.

      Pig Face - Girl & The Goat, Photo by Sian Mei Yeoh

    • LOVE Chili?  Nalyah’s Soup Cafe (Bucktown’s drive-through) for anything soup-a-licious (feat. Super Bowl Chili for the team waiting for you at home). Chef Curtis McGhee’s making roughly 150 pounds of chili in 5 tasty versions: white bean-chicken, beef, turkey, bison or elk as well as a vegan option for those non-meat eating manly football men. Thanks Metromix.
    • Get sauced at Six Corners Sports Bar — Loads of spicy wings & sliders…oh my! And to top it all off they have 20+ sauces to dip whatever you order in = SPORTS HEAVEN.  Mention Delicious Dirt and see what happens!
    • Rockit Bar and Grill (Wrigley) Super Bowl Food and Drink Special Package $60 – unlimited 5 hour buffet of game time munchies featuring mouth watering Truffle & sweet potato french fries and Captain, Kettle, wine, and beers. Dig in and (GO…mmm Steelers?).  More info click here.
    • O’Donovan’s (2100 W. Irving Park Rd) is offering American #comfortfood on special for the big game! Featuring a $5 White Trash Mimosas (we love…yet don’t have a clue what’s in it) and $13 22-oz. cocktails and other ‘Big-Gulp’ sized drinks.

    • Dear @kapeiffer – we love you for posting! Simone’s in Pilsen is hosting the No Boys Allowed Party, a non-super bowl bash featuring every girl’s fave – Sex and the City.  As NBC’s Around Town reports, while the rest of the world crushes beer cans and yells at the tv, you can revel in #SATC.  Dressing to impress even scores you a free #SATC cosmopolitan. 
Via NBC Chicago’s Around Town.
    • Hub 51, one of our faves in River North, is offering to-go nacho kits for what Metromix calls, their “nacho cult following”.  They really are one of our favorites in the world. Nacho package includes organic chicken, guac, salsa, chips and cheese and detailed instructions on how to recreate the masterpiece at home- all for 20$.
    • Haymarket Pub & Brewery, the West Loop’s most recent brewpub offers 7 varieties of house-brewed beers (to-go) ranging from $ 15-21 for a 64-ounce growler (plus $5 for the growler).
    • Snoop’s got the scoop for your ultimate #superbowl #recipes! Via The Feast Chi here
    • Stay tuned all week for more…

    Delicious DIRT. Boston Event Alert

    • Love a good fight?  We at Elevate Your Presence dig a sold throw-down.  This one is gonna be one for the books: foul-mouthed uber food nerd Anthony Bourdain vs. proper, French chef and seafood king, Eric Ripert. The Good vs. Evil event takes place in Boston on Mar. 4. The two wax poetic about food, the cooking process, and their lives as chefs. You can purchase tix here.


    Looking for an Elevate Your Presence recommendation for a cozy and guaranteed DELICIOUS meal tonight? Check out always phenomenal Maude’s Liquor Bar. Every bite of every dish tasted better than the next. Let us know what you tried. Sneak peek here….

    Cassoulet by Maude’s Liquor Bar

    Have you tried goat at the Girl & the Goat yet?? A favorite!!!

    Bourbon Poached Lobster and Crab with goat belly, fennel, vanilla bourbon butter at Girl & The Goat. Quite good eating goat at the Goat!

    Elevate Your Presence ♥’s Gilt Bar

    Tartar by Gilt Bar

    Have you tried goat at the Girl & the Goat yet? What about these divine green beans? The SUGO? Our mouths are watering over here…. Simply fantastic! Elevate Your Presence recommends you get to this Boka Grp staple and try all Stephanie Izard‘s creations…. and pronto.

    Goat Pork and Veal SUGO at Girl & The Goat with pappardelle, rosemary, and cape goose berries. Sau…teed Green Beans with a fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews – both are Delicious DIRT FAVORITES – Heavenly.

    Who does not LOVE a perfect flavorful breakfast burrito? Silver Cloud Chicago‘s breakfast burrito shines like the brightest star. We highly recommend you get there…..

    Amazing Breakfast Burrito -> DD FAVE at Silver Cloud

    We LOVE our vintage CC SKYE with our EJ ring. EPY ♥ CC SKYE & EJ

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