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Pumpkin Gnocchi with Crème Fraîche–Sage Sauce

It actually is. Amongst its shades of meanings, succulent and luscious are a couple of ways to think about it.

Nov 20, 2014
gumibear in Recipes

Authentic Mexican joints in Houston (or Woodlands)

So I'm a chowhound from Chicago, and I, for some reason, didn't do the proper research before heading down to visit my parents in Houston. A few members of my family don't eat meat on Saturdays (it's cultural), but we are all huge fans of authentic Mexican cuisine. I know it sounds ridiculous, but Chicago has some amazing joints, and I'm almost hoping Houston can put us to shame. Any suggestions? Anywhere in the Woodlands area and around Houston will be fine by me.


Jan 15, 2011
gumibear in Houston

Chili Help

So I am working on a chili recipe, and I was wondering why some people make different spice blend "dumps" to add in at different points in the cooking. Is this essential to making a fantastic chili?

Dec 05, 2010
gumibear in Home Cooking

What's the best bakery in Chicago for sweets?

Now that Floriole Bakery is open, I would have to say this is it hands down. Their canele's, gallettes, tarts, banana bread, brioche....gosh any and everything is so amazing. Way too much of my paycheck goes to their coffers. Totally worth it.

Jul 17, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Lunch in Mission/one good dinner

Thank you for all the suggestions everyone! We ended up stopping by a couple different places on our little jaunt through the mission. First stop was La Palma Mexicatessen. It was this great grocery/taqueria that had fantastic carnitas. Next we stopped by Local Mission Eatery. Loved it for their clear commitment to locally sourced food, not to mention really well prepared food. Last stop for lunch was Tartine Bakery where we picked up a banana cream tart. Ridiculously good, and no line! We ended up doing dinner closer to home at Koo (sushi). All great choices. Can't wait to try the rest of your suggestions.

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

La Palma Mexicatessen
2884 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Local Mission Eatery
3111 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Lunch in Mission/one good dinner

So I am visiting from Chicago to see my baby niece. I wanted to get some suggestions about a good casual lunch in the mission. I've been really excited to check out the food carts, but I think I might end up doing that on Thursday at the market. We were also looking to do one nice dinner anywhere in SF. Nothing super upscale because we have a baby with us, but something that represents great California cooking (also open to awesome mexican food since my brother has a soft spot). Thanks!

Wine country ideas for a 1st timer

So I am planning a trip for the coming weekend (the 11th), and it seems like the trip you have in mind is very similar to what I want as well. Can you let me know what wineries you ended up visiting and if you would recommend I try them as well? It's supposed to be a romantice, but relatively cost-effective weekend. Lord knows how I will finnagle that, but I am going to try.

Bachelorette Party Help

I recently threw one at Nacional 27, and everything was perfect. The staff were really friendly and amenable to all the requests. Keep in mind, most any place you are going to with a group of that size will encourage you to get a family menu. With a group of 8, I was able to get around that, but I would still highly recommend calling in to talk to management ahead of time.

Quartino's would seem like an unusual choice, but they have a private dining area for parties of that size, and it's extremely reasonably priced without having to worry about the issue of family meals.

Carnivale is also an excellent rec.

Jan 16, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Need to find a dinner place that is both carni and veg friendly

My brother and sister-in-law to be are in town and she is vegetarian. My challenge is to find a dinner place that is both carnivore and veg friendly for $30/person or less (not including liquor), and is not Italian, Mexican, or Middle Eastern. Anyone want to weigh in?

Jan 16, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Absolute best burger in Chicago?

Rootstock in Humboldt Park has a Black Earth organic burger, bacon-scallion aioli, red onion, tomato, Fiscilini cheddar, w/ mezclun greens & house pickles. It's $9, and cooked mid-rare, is rock my socks amazing.

Jan 07, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Driving myself nuts planning this weekend visit...HELP!

Thanks so much to both of you! nxstasy, I've noted your thoughtful replies to other people's posts and I was hoping I'd be hearing from you.

If you're into sweetbreads, I'd say The Publican has the best in town so far, not to mention a wonderful beer list, among other great surprises. Kith and Kin is a new favorite. They have only recently opened, so still working out some kinks, but fantastic comfort food done in gourmet style. They take everything we want to eat to feel warm and cozy, but kick it up several notches. The chef used to work at French Laundry and Trio if that gives you a clue to the caliber. Thanks again!

Jan 07, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Best Happy Hour?

So what are everyone's top happy hour spots? Also, do you have a Friday favorite?

Jan 07, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Driving myself nuts planning this weekend visit...HELP!

I have a good friend coming in town from New York to celebrate his birthday here in Chicago for the second year in a row, and he will be staying at Hotel Monaco (Wacker and Wabash). He had an amazing time last year. I took him for drinks at The Signature Room for the view, missed our reservation at Aigre Doux because we were enjoying the view so much, then we went to a comedy show and The Drawing Room for late night drinks/food. Saturday we did Cafe Spiaggia for lunch and Mercat a la Planxa for dinner (kind of underwhelming, although still a good time). I'd like this year to be just as good, but I'm kind of driving myself nuts figuring this out.

He wants something low-key, so I was just planning on having an indoor picnic of gourmet sandwiches and mac n' cheese and wine because it is so terrible out and I thought it would make for a cozy night in. Although any cozy bar suggestions are welcome.

He works during the day, so blackbird or Naha's lunch is out. I was thinking The Publican or Kith and Kin for dinner. Something fun and comforting but still delicious.

My biggest problem is with Saturday lunch. LOVED last year's lunch at Cafe Spaggia because we spent hours over a couple bottles of wine and wonderful food. Would like to recreate that upscale intimate lunch (not brunch) elsewhere, but cannot find anything.

Dinner I was thinking North Pond for the view, but I've heard really mixed reviews about service, portion sizing, and a lot of other such issues. Perennial is a potential. Any other ideas?

If I don't do dinner at the Publican, brunch here is an option. Still trying to figure this one out, but there are a ton of great choices, so this one is up in the air too.

I know this is a ton of information I threw out there, but feeling a bit lost. Thanks for any and all help!

Jan 07, 2010
gumibear in Chicago Area

Cupcakes- oil or butter

I am hosting a baby shower and I have a bit of a conundrum concerning one of the desserts. I currently have a favorite coconut peach layer cake recipe that I want to convert into cupcakes because I have a whole spread of other desserts like cookies and scones and cream puffs that I figure people will be more apt to eat something in a cupcake form rather than cut a whole piece of layer cake. Anyway, here are my questions.

1. Do you think I should use a combination of oil and butter or straight butter?

Oil is 100% fat to butter's 80% so I would modify and swap out about a quarter of the volume butter for oil (not olive even though, yes, it is supposed to keep baked goods more most than say vegetable because I don't like the flavor of even light olive oil in my cakes). There are tons of arguments that oil makes a harsher crumb, but I figure that a combo would give a good balance considering both moisture and denseness. Then again, this recipe makes for a pretty dense cake even considering using cake flour because of the sour cream, buttermilk, and coconut cream, so is it really worth it to risk using the oil in an already dense recipe? So basically, just looking for some educated opinions because I am hopelessly indecisive.

2. Should I bake the peaches in with the cupcakes or fill it post?

Just don't know the better option in terms of flavor. I would lightly flour the peaches to account for sinking. Or the other option is to cut a cone out of the top and fill with the peach filling.

Clearly I am probably over-analyzing all this but any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Jul 17, 2009
gumibear in Home Cooking

It's FAT TUESDAY - Are You Celebrating?

I am having a big Mardi Gras shindig. It's definitely not a stick to the roots sort of party, but more an excuse to celebrate good food and drink with friends. While generally I like to have a cohesiveness to my dish choices, I am really bastardizing things and making a hodge podge of dishes that honestly simply reflect recipes I've been wanting to try out, and kind of pawning it off as Carnival/Mardi Gras to make room for excusing some of the dishes. Sorry if that offends!

-white and red Sangria
- Dark n' Stormy's
-3 different type of croquetas- crab, mushroom/cheese, and chicken
-Rum Cake (yes this is totally ridiculous in lieu of king Cake, but i am coloring the icing in green, purple, and gold and putting a baby in the cake in honor of that at least)
-Moon pies
-red beans and rice

Question chicaraleigh- I apologize ahead of time for my ignorance, but what exactly is maux chaux?

Feb 23, 2009
gumibear in General Topics

Need help planning weekend in Chicago!

Perennial is on my short list. I cannot tell you how difficult this has been with how obsessively I've been scouring

Thank you so much for reminding me of Atwood. Before I moved, I loved doing high tea there- although I probably seemed like a child playing dress up. Now that I'm back, I'm looking forward to revisiting.

Jan 29, 2009
gumibear in Chicago Area

Best bars to visit during the daytime?

While, I'm originally from Illinois, I only recently moved back to the area from New York and am very out of the loop. I tend to like a bit of everything, so I am taking your advice as well on Friday. I've noticed your very informed posts on many other threads. I'm sorry to have overlooked thanking you too!

Jan 29, 2009
gumibear in Chicago Area

Best bars to visit during the daytime?

That is exactly what I was looking for- thanks for the enthusiasm and the wonderful suggestions! I look forward to trying them out. I'll make it a personal challenge to see how many I can fit in. Won't want to have wasted your time.

Jan 29, 2009
gumibear in Chicago Area

Need help planning weekend in Chicago!

Thanks for the advice! Like I said, I tend to go overkill. Always need help reigning it in.

Jan 29, 2009
gumibear in Chicago Area

Best bars to visit during the daytime?

What are your favorite bars/pubs/lounges to hang out in and grab a casual drink on a cold Chicago winter day?

Jan 29, 2009
gumibear in Chicago Area

Need help planning weekend in Chicago!

I have a friend coming in from New York to visit Chicago for the first time this weekend. I want to make the most of his trip here because we're celebrating his birthday, but I'm horribly indecisive and of course, want him to try EVERYTHING. Impossible. So I beseech all you fantastic folk out there to help narrow things down. He gets in at 3 on Friday and we'll be staying at the Hotel Monaco (Wabash and Wacker) but I don't mind driving around. Here's kind of a vague idea I have for the weekend.

- Early cocktails at C-View or Cityscape (something with a good view I thought would be a nice first glimpse of the city....any other good places for that at that time?)
- Dinner at Spring (he wants to spend 100-150 a head, but he doesn't want to wear a dinner jacket. Something "modern" but not necessarily haute, which I have no idea what that translates to for him, but he likes fusion foods -nothing like Alinea :(- but alternative ideas are welcome
-late show at 2nd city
-Thinking drinks at The Drawing Room to finish off the night

So Saturday is really what's tearing me apart. If we were to go everywhere I want, we would be comatose by 3.

-Breakfast/brunch at Big Jones or M. Henry (Between is closed for brunch til March!)
- I know this isn't food, but he's an Architecture buff and I'm an ignoramus in that department so any tour ideas? was thinking to take that hop on/off trolley bit, and that way I can hit up the Art Institute and other areas easily without being restricted.
- Thinking Hot Dougs for lunch or saving that for a mid afternoon snack and trying Custom House or Cafe Spaggia
- What are good bars/pubs to visit during the day/afternoon in Chicago? I am thinking something lowkey, warm and friendly. Hopleaf is high on my list, but should I save that for after dinner?
-Publican or Avec for dinner.
-Where to go for post dinner drinks. Figure we'll jump to two or three places. And here are some ideas I've culled.

Nacional 27, Weegee's, The Hideout, Duke of Perth, The matchbox, The Chipp Inn, The California Clipper, Red Lion Pub, Bungalow, and potentially Hopleaf if not earlier in the day.


This whole itinerary is highly open for change and suggestion. Thanks everyone!

Jan 29, 2009
gumibear in Chicago Area