chicgail's Profile

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Cooking/Eating in Sicily, Tuscany, Amalfi

Mr. CG and I are planning a kind of bucket list trip to Italy in May and, of course, one the most important aspects of our trip revolves around food. We will be traveling in Sicily, Amalfi, Naples and then renting a villa in Tuscany for two (2!!) weeks.

We have not yet settled on exactly where in Sicily or Tuscany we will be so this may help us narrow it down.

There are so many cooking classes offered in those areas, I am sure some are much better than others so I wanted to hear from Hounds about where you have taken cooking classes in those regions and what you loved or hated about them. I am a pretty accomplished home cook (not a professional) and I write a food blog. Mr. GC is a willing participant.

In addition, if there are not-to-be missed restaurants or street food that you could recommend, I would be thrilled.

about 23 hours ago
chicgail in Italy

Best french bistro (Bistro Campagne? Bistrot Margot?Chez Simo Bistro?)

Le Bouchon is smaller. It feels more like a little neighborhood Paris bistro. A little more casual and comfortable. Very good choice.

I am also a big fan of Bistro Campagne in LIncoln Square. Their roast chicken is some of the best I've ever had. The chickpea crepe is also wonderful. Plus, with the weather getting nicer, they have a beautiful outdoor dining space that is a huge attraction.

Apr 18, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Kitchen Casino

How do you know they are losing viewers?

Their ratings clearly tell them what works to bring in viewers (i.e. advertising $$) and they have doubled down on games, competitions and restaurant-fix-shows while moving away from actual cooking. The execs are not stupid. I have to believe that their ratings show them that the former are what more viewers are watching and the cooking shows are not.

Apr 15, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

What's for Dinner #291 - the Taxman Cometh Edition [Through Aprl 16, 2014]

Not sure that cooking isn't cheaper than Mickey Dees almost any time.

Apr 13, 2014
chicgail in Home Cooking
1

Diet Soda that Sh*t is going to kill you....especially if you are a woman.....

I'm truly sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your husband have had.

My point was that it would be statistically significant if 90% of people who have root canals go on to have serious health problems. That is very different than that 90% of people who have heart conditions have at one time had a root canal.

I'm not a dentist nor am I usually a defender of root canals (no one's favorite procedure), but given that the bacteria that cause tooth decay can go to the heart and cause coronary problems, root canals (no one's favorite thing) can be a way to prevent heart disease by removing the diseased root.

Apr 10, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

Diet Soda that Sh*t is going to kill you....especially if you are a woman.....

This kind of junk science is precisely why many people ignore all the contradictory reports about what is/isn't good for you.

Coffee will kill you. Coffee is healthy. Running is good for you. Running will kill you. HRT is good for you. No, it's very bad. Well, actually it's pretty good. A friend just posted something about the alleged correlation between root canal and illness. 90% of people with heart conditions have had root canals. Duh. They've also eaten ice cream. Ice cream will kill you.

Reporters aren't scientists. Their job is to find something that will get you to read their article or watch their show - the most controversial the better. And they take half-baked articles that some PR gal (like me) throws at them and then they water it down to the comprehension level of a 3rd grader.

Garbage and superstition.

Apr 10, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

Kitchen Nightmares .... back to Amy's Baking Company

What's so bizarre is that GR didn't pick them out and just drop by to shoot Kitchen Nightmares. Amy and Sammy applied to be on the show. They wanted the publicity and (although I can't imagine why) they expected that GR would take their detractors to task for being so mean.

I think it's clear that they don't deal with reality. Sammy's comment about coupons. Amy's comment about how people shout at each other in restaurants in other parts of the world (I've been to other parts of the world including Israel - never seen anything like them). The whole - "we have to fight them" schtick.

I gotta think they're a deck of about 48 cards between them.

Apr 10, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News
4

Kitchen Nightmares .... back to Amy's Baking Company

I saw some of that. These are two very not well people. Perfect for the good doctor's show which, of late, has turned into a slightly less combative version of Jerry Springer.

Amy said something about she shouldn't have done the show with GR. Oprah or Martha Stewart would have better understood what she was about. And then she declared herself not a media whore. Really?

Totally delusional. Kinda sad. But watching a train wreck is always compelling.

Apr 10, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News
2

Kitchen Casino

I watch way too much reality cooking TV. Not this one.

Was I mistaken by the promo or was the "host" one of the Donald Trump apprentice winners?

For me this one looks like a big ole Yawn.

Apr 09, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

Wild/Alpine Strawberries

I seem to recall May, June and maybe September. They are usually small and have a delightfully strong strawberry aroma. I can't get enough of them.

Apr 09, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area
1

Wild/Alpine Strawberries

I can't speak to wild Alpine strawberries, but I do look for the wild strawberries that are sometimes available at the Green City Market. They are quite wonderful and NOTHING like commercial strawberries.

Apr 09, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Cicchetti

I did eat there. It was very good Italian small plates. Cicchetti is how many people can afford to eat lunch in Venice (standing at a table in a cicchetti bar, ordering a drink or two and getting free bites of food). The restaurant tries to recreate a bit of that feeling with nicer replicas of those cheap white hard plastic lawn chairs so many of us have. I had a hard time getting over that it was on the ground floor of the Gaulter Medical Building on Northwestern Memorial's campus.

Apr 09, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Cicchetti

It's very casual. I wouldn't wear torn jeans and a t-shirt, but suits and ties or high heels certainly not required.

Apr 08, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Comfort food after a break-up

Initially I always go for the starches: pasta, rice or popcorn with plenty of butter and maybe some grated cheese.

Sometimes an old school Cantonese egg fu young will do the trick for me as well.

As I'm feeling just a mite better, any kind of seafood becomes a must-have.

Apr 01, 2014
chicgail in General Topics

Pizza on Paulina--Does Anyone Remember?

Thank you! I remember her fondly.

Apr 01, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

First time in Chicago

No one should ever go to Hot Dougs for the hot dogs!

It is a place to eat really interesting "encased meats" like "Juniper and Garlic Pork Sausage with Gin & Tonic Mustard and Smoked Gouda Cheese" or "Sweet Chinese Pork Sausage with Hoisin Mayonnaise and Asian Slaw à la Tracy."

I agree that the location is out of the way, but if someone wants to get a feel for Chicago and its people, those lines engender some really great conversation.

Edzo's does a good burger. But a burger not only ain't a hot dog, it ain't a Hot Doug's sausage.

My preferred alternate would be Franks and Dawgs on Clybourn, which has only gotten better over the years.

Mar 28, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area
1

Thai, Indian, Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago for solo diner

The central tourist areas of Chicago are not your best bet for really good authentic Asian food.

Cumin is very good. It is Nepalese, not strictly Indian. About 3 miles from the Trump.

As others have said, the most authentic Vietnamese and Indian food in the city is a pretty good distance further north. Probably the most authentic Indian is on Devon Avenue, a good 10 miles north. Not too bad a drive, but probably close to an hour on public transportation.

Argyle and Broadway is home to our most authentic Vietnamese food. It is about 7 miles north of the city and maybe 30 minutes on public transportation (Red Line).

Mar 22, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

5th Wedding Anniversary dinner suggestions for downtown??

You summed it up perfectly for me, sunbrace. And none of those options will occur - at all - like a compromise or make-do option. Congratulations and enjoy.

Mar 19, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Beat Bobby Flay

I am usually a sucker for this stuff, but I found it to be derivative and predictable. Maybe it'll grow on me. We'll see.

Mar 15, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

Need Pizza Help!

Malnati's is an excellent example of traditional Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Enjoy.

Mar 15, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Looking for the Soul of Chicago

Eataly. Mario Batali and Lydia Bastianich's Italian market is a cornucopia of gorgeous standard and luxury Italian food products. Eataly is not "unique" to Chicago, but it is worth a visit.

Mar 13, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Cutthroat Kitchen

I am. myself. baffled by your strategy cresyd. Each contestant as $25,000 to spend. If they win and have money left they get to keep it.

If a contestant sabotages someone who has a lot of money and they get eliminated, it goes back to the production, not to the person who sabotages them or who wins.

Why would it be better to sabotage someone who has money, rather than someone who might be a threat? Is there something I am missing?

Mar 05, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

something different in a chicago neighborhood - byob?

Many gems in the hoods. Can you give us an idea of budget, likes or dislikes?

Mar 05, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

Paula Deen: I’m Just Like ‘That Black Football Player’

Maybe she's not a bigot. Maybe she's just plain stupid.

Mar 02, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

Anyone tried CI's new take on Chicken Marbella?

The link has expired. Not surprising - the OP is more than 2 years old.

Try this one:http://myyearwithchris.wordpress.com/...

Feb 25, 2014
chicgail in Home Cooking

Anyone tried CI's new take on Chicken Marbella?

I'm not at all too young, and I know that it has a great reputation people love and request this recipe, but I've never been a huge fan. I like the idea of anchovy paste and crisping up the skin would be a good thing. I'm just not sure this dish is worth the trouble. IMO, it just doesn't live up to its mythology.

Feb 25, 2014
chicgail in Home Cooking

B'fast near Hotel Chicago

Eggsperience is closer. Meli is better. Not sure about the upscale part.

Feb 19, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area

The Taste semi 2/13 spoilage

The show is waaaay too long. Too much time listening to people sit around and talk about nothing very interesting. Please have pity and cut it down to a single hour. Plenty of time. Really.

Feb 15, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News

Top Chef: The People's Couch

How very meta. People watching television about people watching television. Ick.

Feb 15, 2014
chicgail in Food Media & News
2

Longman & Eagle...5 p.m. on a Saturday...what to expect?

I was just there for lunch and while we got seated right away, there wasn't an empty seat in the place. It was still buzzing when we left around 2 pm.

Feb 14, 2014
chicgail in Chicago Area