April 13th, 2013
One of the best ways to warm up in the very cold and Windy City of Chicago is with a spot of tea. The most beloved tea spots in the city:
Russian Tea Time
A seventeen year old Chicago landmark restaurant that never fails to impress locals and international tourists alike. Located in the heart of Chicago’s artistic district, Russian Tea Time reinvented nostalgic cuisine of the former Soviet Union. Its extensive, elaborate and very descriptive menu features excellent vegetarian fare, along with wild game, poultry and specialty meat dishes. A mix of “hearty” and “comfort” Russian, Slavic and Jewish classics is well complemented by upscale dishes of Imperial Russian Courts.
Tea time: 2:30pm-4:30pm daily.
77 E. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60603
The Seasons Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
Sit by a fireplace in the elegant Four Seasons overlooking North Michigan Avenue and munch on finger sandwiches, home style cakes, French pastries and preserves with your choice of brewed tea. Book the Astor or Bellevue Room for a private event.
Tea time: 3:00pm-5:00pm daily.
120 E. Delaware Place
Chicago, IL 60611
Nada Tea House
Nada Tea & Coffee House was named after the Nada district of City of Kobe, Japan, famous for sake-brewing using pure spring water from Mt. Rokko (called Miyamizu, water of shrine). Here you can enjoy exceptional beverages, foods, and service in a sleek and comfortable zen-like setting.
1552 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
The first TeaGschwender shop opened in the late seventies in Trier, Germany. From those humble beginnings, the company has grown to become a global leader in specialty teas and has more than 130 shops in seven countries on four continents. Sharing the world’s finest teas with customers in locations such as Frankfurt, Vienna, Sao Paulo, Riyadh and Chicago, Illinois.
1160 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co.
Ten Ren, founded in Taiwan in 1953, has been open in Chicago’s Chinatown for nearly 40 years and has shops around the world. Ten Ren Tea Co. Ltd. is dedicated to the fine art of enjoying Chinese tea and the distribution of the finest teas available worldwide. Along with tea, ginseng has been consumed in Asia for thousands of years for its health and medicinal benefits. Considered the “king of the herbs,” ginseng is a popular nutritional supplement.
2247 S. Wentworth Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
Teavana began with an idea that people would enjoy fresh, high-quality tea in a place that was part Tea Bar, part Tea Emporium. The dream was to introduce people to the aromas, textures, and beneficial qualities of loose leaf teas while enlightening them with the history and variety of teas available.
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
The Palm Court at the Drake Hotel
Award-winning Executive Chef Baasim Zafar and team serve homemade scones, delectable pastries and tea sweets prepared in house daily, reflecting locally sourced ingredients to ensure an authentically memorable experience. From the original blend of “Palm Court” tea created specifically for The Drake Hotel to the china and sterling silver service with the enchanting ambiance of the live harpist in the background, afternoon tea is truly a memorable experience for all.
Tea time: 1:00pm-5:00pm daily
140 E. Walton Place
Chicago, IL 60611
The Lobby, Peninsula Hotel
Here’s another high class, high afternoon tea. Enjoy dining in a room with 20-foot windows overlooking Chicago. You can fancy yourself with peppermint chocolate tarts, scones, gingerbread macaroons, and sandwiches. If you want to go one step fancier, you can have the champagne afternoon tea, which is the traditional afternoon tea, but with a glass of champagne.
Tea time: 3:00pm-5:30pm
108 E. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611
© 2013, World on a Fork. All rights reserved.
February 27th, 2012
Butch T Pepper
I was recently asked to review five different smoked and non-smoked paprikas, made in Washington State. Beg pardon? There’s more than one paprika? Smoked and non-smoked? Shouldn’t that have been “made in Hungary”, instead of Washington? And, what’s to review? Just sprinkle some on deviled eggs or baked chicken for a bit of color … right? Blissful ignorance gave me a sly wink as I stood squarely at the intersection of Who Knew? and How Interesting!
My experience with paprika, prior to this project, was two-fold. There is a 4-ounce bottle of the stuff in the spice rack received as a wedding gift when Kennedy was president, and an accent wall in my office is painted in a rich red shade called paprika. That’s about it – not much to go on. Oh – I remember my mother sprinkled it on mashed potatoes once when company was coming. She says she really doesn’t know why – it had no taste, it just looked good.
A kissin’ cousin to chili powder, paprika is generally 100% ground chile peppers, with nothing added. Chili powder is a blend of ground peppers and other spices, including cumin, oregano, garlic, salt, and sometimes cayenne. To aficionados, the word “paprika” refers to the preservation process of chiles, regardless of what kind of chile it is. When you dry and grind them, the chiles become paprika. Interesting note about the spelling of chile/chili: when referring to a single pepper, use the e; when referring to a blend of peppers and other spices, or the prepared food you eat with corn chips, use the i.
Paprika has a noble history, dating to the very early 1500′s. Christopher Columbus reputedly brought chiles, native to Mexico, back to Europe, following his discoveries in the New World. Initially, the plants were appreciated for their ornamental beauty at the aristocracy’s residences, but eventually were recognized for their culinary value. The legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier is credited with introducing the spice to western European cuisine. Today, Hungary is the country most associated with paprika, with the epicenters of its celebration being the regions of Szeged and Kalocsa. There is a paprika museum and annual festival in Kalocsa, and in Budapest, one can purchase pálinka, a paprika brandy. It is fitting that a Hungarian scientist, Dr. Szent-Györgyi, working at Szeged University, won a Nobel Prize in 1937 for his work with paprika peppers and Vitamin C research. Paprika peppers have seven times as much Vitamin C as oranges!
Paprika is produced by grinding dried pods of the pepper plant known as Capsicum annuum. The chemical compound called capsaicin is what gives paprikas and chiles their fiery kick. In fact, it is this heat factor that makes over-the-counter capsaicin creams effective in reducing pain and stiffness in joints and sore muscles. The amount of heat provided by various peppers is measured on the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) Scale. Simply put, this scale rates the amount of heat (capsaicin) present in various peppers. Sweet bell peppers start the scale at zero (no significant heat); jalapeno pepper and Tabasco sauce is rated at 3500 – 8000; Cayenne pepper at 30,000 – 50,000; Habanero chili at 100,000 – 350,000; law enforcement grade pepper spray at 500,000 – 2 million; and pure capsaicin at around 15 million Scoville units. According to Guinness World Records, the world’s hottest pepper is the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, grown in Australia. It carries a SHU rating 1,463,700. The quest for this red-hot title is heating up, with another (unofficial) pepper reputedly flirting with the two million SHU mark.
Smoking chile peppers after grinding into paprika is sometimes done to enhance natural flavors, aid in the drying process, and to ensure the dried product will store well. Americans’ most familiar smoked paprikas include mesquite smoked Mexican chipotle and oak smoked Spanish paprika.
And, what about that review of Washington State paprika that started my research? In Port Townsend, Washington, Charlie Bodony smokes his artisanal paprika over alder wood, producing a sweeter taste than other woods. Charlie’s company is called Some Like it Hott (SLIH), specializing in small-batch, artisanal paprikas. Five of his varieties are smoked; three are not. How many peppers can Charlie Bodony pick? Seven, more or less, depending on time of year, including green jalapenos, poblanos, a jalapeno/habanero hybrid, red jalapenos, serranos, fatalii, and piment d’Espelete. Hotter paprikas like Charlie’s, packing more heat than an on-duty sheriff, are exactly what many cooks are looking for to zip up their creations. Even the color palette of SLIH paprikas – tan, dusty green, dark reds, rusty browns, and pink, differs from the traditional monochromatic deep red. Visit Charlie’s website at: http://www.aldersmoked.com.
A new day for the often forgotten and misunderstood paprika seems to be dawning. Recipes for short ribs, braised lamb stew, root vegetables, pork, sausage casserole, and lots more, seasoned with smoked and hot paprika are popping up on TV shows and websites, along with increased frequency in newspaper food sections. A few popcorn sites suggest using sweet paprika for a different flavoring. The culinary kick in paprika even made it to Broadway in 1940 in Cole Porter’s lyrics in I’m Throwing a Ball Tonight for the musical Panama Hattie:
I feel like a million dollars.
I feel simply out of sight.
So, come on down, come on down,
I’m throwing a ball tonight.
I’m full of the old paprika –
I’m loaded with dynamite.
So come on down, come on down,
I’m throwing a ball tonight.
For your next dinner party, or ball, some of today’s zippier, more flavorful paprikas might well ignite some high temperature praise for your culinary skills.
By Ray Pearson for CityRoom.com and Bliss.com
January 10th, 2012
Laurent André - Executive Chef of Le Royal Monceau
By Maralyn D. Hill
“A Treasure within a Treasure”
Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris provided a series of unexpected surprises and delights, from the moment we stepped through the entrance, to the discovery of our exquisite rooms and all of their treasures.
Our hotel guide, Anne Sophie Bonnisseau, highlighted the various styles of art showcased throughout… a LAG acoustic guitar in every guest room! She explained that the goal of the hotel’s recent renovation and re-creation was to offer the “History and vibes of Paris… infused with encounters and emotions, immersed with a French spirit, imbued with culture and fully devoted to a genuine elegance.” Success.
Experiencing the creations of Le Royal Monceau’s Executive Chef, Laurent André, was as exciting as the hotel itself. Sitting in the lobby lounge, enjoying a cocktail with journalist friends Michelle and Kurt Winner, gave us the opportunity to ask Chef Laurent a myriad of questions.
The chef’s impressive background included tutelage under his first mentor, Alain Chapel, followed by training by Alain Ducasse. These relationships exposed André to working in a kitchen that had just received its third Michelin Star. After rising through the ranks, his next adventure would be teaming with Jean-Louis Nomicos.
Chef Laurent is drawn to fine cuisine minus the drama, where the focus is on quality of ingredients and inspired by the world. He was a stakeholder in the opening of the original Spoon in 1998, resulting in subsequent openings in London, then Hong Kong.
During 2009, after close to ten years apart from his time in France, Chef Laurent longed for an extraordinary opportunity to return home to. When he met Sylvain Ercoli, General Manager of Le Royal Monceau, they immediately clicked. Because of the goal of the hotel’s renaissance to be one the most luxurious properties in Paris, they felt its cuisine needed to be distinctive and different from other prestigious Parisian establishments. They conceived of a specialized approach, demanding only the highest quality.
This has been a wild success, but as all budding ventures, is a continuous work in progress. Chef Laurent focuses as much attention as possible on seasonal and local ingredients. There are slight menu changes daily… and what a masterpiece it is.
Chef Laurent was relaxed and a delight to interview. “A few weeks into the new menus, bored, I am thinking toward the next fresh ingredients that will be available,” he said. As the interview wrapped up, Chef had to return to the kitchen, so we finished our cocktails and went to La Cuisine to enjoy dinner. This started off with 1999 Duval LeRoy Champagne, the most delicious any of us had experienced—ever—lingering on the palate for at least fifteen minutes.
Chef Laurent returned to share an idea for a spring or summer recipe with us, as after all, he always is thinking ahead — and we want to share it with you:
Dublin Bay Prawns and Hearts of Palm with Citrus Fruit Segments
Dublin Bay prawns from Scotland, hearts of palm, mixed citrus wedges from Mr BachÇs
- Dublin Bay Prawns
- Broth (white wine, fennel, garlic)
- Salt/Pepper/Olive oil
- Lemon Juice
- Citrus fruits (mixture of different kinds)
- Green salad
1. Dublin Bay prawns preparation
Take out the Dublin Bay prawns (still alive), and remove heads from bodies. Make a short broth (water, white wine, fennel, white pepper, garlic, thyme, coarse salt), then poach the tails in it for a few seconds. Cool them, peel them gently for not breaking the tails, and keep at cool. When dressing, the Dublin Bay prawns will be seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice.
2. Citrus fruits preparation
Select a whole variety of different citrus fruits (yellow and green lemon, oranges, blood oranges, white, pink, red ant Thai grapefruit, lemon caviar, Clementine, kumquat). Peel sharply all citrus fruits, raise segments, and keep juice at cool.
3. Side dishes preparation
The list of other side dishes is not purely established. You can let free your imagination and creativity, knowing that the point of this recipe is to reach a balance of flavors and freshness. Follow one of the basic cooking rules: Focus on the main part, as it is not because you will be using 50 different ingredients that the dish will be more successful.
Thus, create the surprise with different flavors, using heart palm, watermelon, granny smith apple, salad curled, or white asparagus when it is the season.
4. Execution of the citrus fruit dressing
To realize the dressing, use the different juices previously put aside. Reduce it at high heat, taking care not to burn it, and keep cool. Add a line of pomegranate molasses, and whisk it with olive oil of very good quality. Rectify seasoning.
5. Cumin to garnish
Put all ingredients on the plate according to the photo, without forgetting the salad and arugula.
November 30th, 2011
Worldwide Delicacies pairs gourmet companies with culinary professionals—the result is a perfect blend of honest product evaluations for people dedicated to enhanced flavor enjoyment.
The launch of Worldwide Delicacies has many people in the culinary world buzzing with wonder and excitement… and will soon be inspiring readers to add a little razzle-dazzle to their culinary repertoire.
More than ever, consumers are relying heavily on making purchasing decisions based on recommendations from other product users. In this case, the “product” is outstanding foods from around the world, and the “other users” are experts in the culinary field. The result is a website containing straightforward reviews about the foods that really excite foodies, chefs, food writers and flavor aficionados.
WD for Website Users: Because our panel of experts doesn’t get paid for reviews, visitors to the website can be assured that they are reading honest and forthcoming evaluations about gourmet products. Our experienced panel has dedicated their life’s work to the culinary industry and is enthusiastic about sharing their opinions with WD readers.
WD for Gourmet Companies: We welcome the opportunity to post a full page evaluation—up to 25 reviews (soon up to 100)—of your gourmet product on WorldwideDelicacies.com. We will never post negative reviews. If feedback about your product doesn’t make the cut, we will forward valuable feedback to your product development department. Also note that your Product Page is exclusively for discussing you, your company, and your product. There are no banners, advertising, or links to any other products – except for the large “BUY” button that links to your store or favorite retailer. Licking your chops for a discount? Contact us right away for an introductory price of 25% off.
WD For Reviewers: To discuss opportunities, please contact Dennis Payne at email@example.com or Maralyn D. Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Visit Website: WorldwideDelicacies.com, a division of CityRoom.com.
November 10th, 2011
By Maralyn D. Hill, The Epicurean Explorer, CityRoom Contributor
Chef Corey Shoemaker of Mii amo Spa at Enchantment Resort, Sedona
Recently, Norm and I made a trip to Enchantment Resort and Spa in Sedona to present Chef Corey Shoemaker of Mii amo Café with the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association Culinary Excellence Award. We had not visited Enchantment before and we were in for a treat. At various spas I’ve frequented, some have great chefs, while others are not in the same category. Corey is certainly at the top of the list.
After receiving a degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, he discovered his love of cooking and performed due diligence in a local technical school and fine restaurants to hone his skills.
Corey suggests that aspiring chefs find a mentor or more than one to work under and absorb every ounce possible from each of them.
When asked about spa food, as opposed to restaurants and fine dining, Corey said that was a challenge. “When I came here, I had to rethink how to view food for the flavor to shine. I use a lot of lighter products, vinegar, and lime juice.”
We talked about recipes and here is what Corey said about his current favorite dish that he has created. “Here is the recipe we had talked about. It is the Mii amo garden gazpacho with charred pineapple pico de gallo…delish and coming straight out of my garden. Yummy! Best regards and Enjoy Cooking!
Corey’s favorites change with the season, as he has continual fresh seasonal products to use.
Chef Corey Shoemaker's Tomato Gazpacho
6-10 Tomatoes (stem & core removed)
1 Peeled English Cucumber
3 tbsp Red Onion
1 large Red Bell Pepper
1 Bunch Cilantro
12-15 Fresh Basil Leaves
1-2 sprigs Fresh Oregano
2-4 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2-4 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
Rough chop all ingredients.
Add to a blender.
Blend to desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.
Adjust seasoning with vinegar.
Makes about 2.5 quarts.
70 cal/ 2 gm fat/ 3 gm prot/ 17 gm carb
Recipe by: Chef Corey @ Mii amo
4 Ripe Avocados
3-4 tbsp Scallion, finely chopped
2 Limes for juicing
2 tbsp Cilantro, minced
1 tbsp Jalapeno, minced
Pit and dice avocado, and put in mixing bowl.
Add limejuice and mix.
Add the rest of ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
Makes about 2 cups.
80 cal/ 7 gm fat/ 1 gm prot/ 4 gm carb
Recipe by: Chef Corey @ Mii amo
Charred Pineapple Pico De Gallo
1 Pineapple, sliced
1 Red Onion, diced
½ Jalapeno, diced
½ bunch Cilantro, diced
1 tsp Garlic, minced
Juice of 2 Limes or Vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Allow to stand in refrigeration for at least 1 hour before serving.
25 cal/ 1 gm fat/ 1 gm prot/ 7 gm carb
Recipe by: Mii amo Cafe
Freelance travel writer Maralyn D. Hill, The Epicurean Explorer, is President of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. Maralyn focuses on food, spas, travel, and wine, while still covering meetings, incentives, and corporate assignments.
Website, Blogs & Email: The Epicurean Explorer, Where and What in the World, NoraLyn, IFWTWA Profile,email@example.com