Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Busy Burger, Chicago

When we had the chance to check out the newly revamped Busy Burger, we didn't hesitate. Both of us have attended school at the University of Illinois - Circle Campus, so it was good to get back into the neighborhood. It's been a while. Parking was a breeze on a Saturday afternoon, surprisingly, but we didn't complain. Busy Burger touts itself as a healthier casual eatery, with never frozen, made by hand burgers, hand spun shakes and fresh cut fries. They use no preservatives, hormones, or antibiotics. Always a fan of this kind of philosophy.

Busy Burger, Chicago
The remodel (compared to earlier iterations viewed online), has a clean, simple, bright look that is aesthetically pleasing. Definitely feels like a place you want to eat and don't mind staying there rather than taking it home. While it was cold on the day we were there, in better weather there is outdoor seating that looks like a nice place to while away some time. The new space includes a wall that hides the kitchen and is, in my opinion, the worse for it, nice design withstanding. There's just something about watching food being made that is satisfying. A bigger problem is that the ordering counter is just inside the door, but the menu is further in along the new wall - flipping them would make a lot more sense.

Still, we managed to order (a little bit of a lot of things on the menu), grabbed a seat at the window bar, and enjoyed a really good meal. The restaurant has a wide-ranging menu, from chicken soup to sausages to burgers, along with a whole lotta sides like onion rings and pizza puffs. Not easy deciding on what to get, for sure. I'd recommend pretty much anything, it was all good, but someone in the group should definitely order a stuffed burger, which is what they are best known for. The only place they fall flat is with dessert, with only two options: plain or chocolate chip cheesecake, though it is nice they've gone with Eli's, a local company.

Busy Burger, Chicago

Busy Burger is not a fancy place, but it's located in an interesting area, has a broad menu, and the food is really good. Their philosophy of keeping things clean and fresh is a welcome change to other options in the casual food world. Recommended.

Chicago's Busy Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Busy Burger

Meal provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Wines

Concha y Toro make a wide variety of wines, from casual everyday drinkers to more serious celebratory bottles. One of my favorites for its high quality to price ratio is the Gran Reserva Serie Riberas line. This is a special selection selection of Gran Reserva wines coming from vineyards located close to different river basins. This translates into unique, distinctive fresher wines. The line comprises five red varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec) and two whites (Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc). We recently tasted through some of the newer bottlings.

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Wines

Tasting Notes:
Malbec 2013: Ribera del Tinguiririca; pre-phylloxera grapevines from the Ucúquer Vineyard in Colchagua; aged 10 months in French foudres; deep ruby color; blueberry, violet and tart cherry aromas; dark fruit, toast, tart cherry, and subtle herbal flavors; lots of acid and a tannic finish; cork closure; SRP $17.
Sauvignon Blanc 2014: Ribera del Rapel; hand picked from the Peumo Vineyard in Peumo; aged 3 months in stainless steel; light, very clear yellow color; white floral, chalk, and citrus aromas; melon, pear, and tropical fruit flavors into a citrusy finish; acidic backbone moves into a lingering finish; twist off closure; SRP $17.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: Ribera del Tinguiririca; hand picked from the Palo Santo Vineyard in Marchigüe; aged 13 months in French and American, medium toast oak barrels; dark and opaque; dark fruit, earth and subtle raspberry aromas; mushroom, pomegranate, dark cherry, plum, and herbal flavors; touch of acid balances the fruit; cork closure; SRP $17.
As always, pleasure to drink - food friendly, well-priced, and readily available.

Wine provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Siro Merotto Wines

Siro Merotto was founded in 1960 and the tradition is continued by the founder's grandchildren, who cultivate the vineyards located on the hills of Col San Martino in the province of Treviso. These wines are made exclusively with Prosecco grapes and other old wine varieties grown organically,  harvested by hand, then made using traditional methods. The wines are refermented  at a low temperature in order to enhance body and bubbles. The whole company uses the energy produced by photovoltaic systems what allow it to be energy independent and environmentally friendly, so important in today's culture.

Siro Merotto Wines

Tasting Notes:
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Tranquillo: golden yellow, visible tiny bubbles; pear, melon, and subtle citrus aromas with the same repeated on the palate; pleasant mild effervescence; cork closure.
In un Sol Vino Bianco Frizzante: foamy into glass; deep golden yellow with visible tiny bubbles; yeast, melon and citrus aromas; pear, green melon, and citrus flavors; pleasant effervescence; balanced with nice acid; cork closure. Many, many small bubbles, fun wine to drink - paired with a Greek salad and chili cheese dogs and stood up pretty well, surprisingly.
Prosecco Spumante Brut: light yellow with many, many, many tiny visible bubbles; red berries, citrus, and floral aromas; yeast, pear and lemon custard flavors; cork closure. Why did this go well with a chorizo burrito? I don't know, it just did.
Food friendly and just fun to drink - these are inexpensive wines that would be a hit at any party, or for everyday drinking.

Wines provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fogo de Chão, Naperville, IL

It's been more than a few years since we last visited Fogo de Chão in downtown Chicago, so it was pretty exciting to get an Opening Night invite for their new location in Naperville. This is a lot closer to our home, so we're more likely to return sooner.

Fogo de Chão, Naperville, IL

Entry is through a small vestibule and straight into the bar, with the dining area a large and airy open space behind that. Our previous visits to Fogo had us surprised at how brightly lit the dining area was, but it's a good change. We'll see if it remains that way moving forward or if it was just for the one night.

Sipping caipiriñhas (Brazilian rum drinks) and enjoying appetizers, we watched as the mayor of Naperville cut a ceremonial ribbon and then it was time to eat.

Fogo de Chão, Naperville, IL

As we experienced before, there is the Market Table, a central buffet of salad, charcuterie, cheeses, and more. Even without dinner, there are plenty of options to be had here, but save room. My favorite thing about this restaurant is the servers circling the room with various meats skewered and served table-side. Flip the provided medallion to green and the servers know to come over - flip it to red to enjoy what's on your plate or when you're done. Sides include mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, cheesy rolls, and more. Save room for dessert, though, if you can, because they are decadent and enormous!

If you haven't tried Fogo de Chão before and you're in the western suburbs, visit the restaurant for a unique and tasty meal. Make sure to taste the caipiriñhas, check out the Market Table, and save room for dessert.

Fogo de Chão Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fogo de Chão

Meal provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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