Satiated City Chick: Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder

Note: Since the events of my first post reviewing Anteprima, I’ve had to change the name of my column; single city chick no more!

There are 6 days until Christmas and a little less than two weeks until New Year’s Eve. Inversely, there are -6 days since Hanukkah has finished. The holidays mean something different to every individual, every couple, and every family. To my dad, my brother, my stepmother and I the holidays hold one special tradition in particular: Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, or CPOG. Situated in a 19th century brownstone, this is the spot to take your partner, parents, friends, or colleagues for an incomparable holiday dinner that embodies something all Chicagoans value: the best pizza in the city.

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A Single Girl’s Restaurant Review: Cookies & Carnitas


C&CMost cityfolk have a place to fall back on when things are bleak. For many, their venue of choice is a dive bar with worn out cushions in the booths, or a dependable diner with an extensive soup menu. My culinary cure for a bad day is a little unorthodox and a little spicy: I have a taco joint. Cookies & Carnitas is the local place where everyone knows my name, and I count my blessings to be able to fall back on their cuisine after a tough day. This is the type of place where the staff might sit down with you for a moment or two to catch up; the epitome of a good neighborhood restaurant.

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A Single Girl’s Restaurant Review: Anteprima

I’ve been a resident of Chicago for two years, and after spending my childhood in the ‘burbs and nearly a decade in New England I took immense pride in having a city zip code attached to my address.  I’ve been single for as long as I’ve lived in the city, but my romance with patisseries, pubs, and GrubHub has been constant. The thrill hopping on the El to explore a new neighborhood, the smells of curry, garlic, and something fishy as I walk down Sheridan Rd.- these exciting revelations haven’t diminished over time. Perhaps this is what happens when one has spent the past several years in a small town..

Whenever I go out on dates, my friends want to know how the company was, but it seems like a good chunk of the experience can be shaped by the atmosphere. Where we meet- whether it’s a hipster coffee bar, a Kosher-style deli, or my favorite brewpub- can influence the date almost as much as the conversation and chemistry (or, more often than not, lack thereof). With this in mind, I decided to explore writing about an evening’s juicy culinary details with my company in the background- instead of the other way around. [Read more…]

Crossing Cocktail Borders

I love having a “eureka!” moment when I’m mixing improvised cocktails.



One of the joys of mixology for me, aside from tasty libations, is the experimentation with new ideas and recipes. Most of the time, it’s borne of necessity — I have a limited amount of ingredients at hand, not all of which traditionally mix well together. Knowing basic recipes and proportions, I’ll improvise a cocktail. Most of the time, it’s good. Sometimes the theory doesn’t translate into practice.

And sometimes I’m surprised how unbelievably well it worked. That’s when I scramble for pen and paper or my phone, so that I can try to write down what I just did. [Read more…]

Maple (Cocktail) Season

I know everyone wants the weather to warm up, but hear me out.

If you are a true North American, you don’t want spring warming up too quickly. You want it to warm up during the day, but you still want the temperatures to dip below freezing at night. You want this, because that’s the ideal situation for sap to run in the sugar maple trees throughout this continent.

And the more maple sap that runs through Acer saccharum trees this spring, the more delicious maple syrup this continent produces. It all works out, especially if you also want to make delicious cocktails with maple syrup, like the ones I’m about to talk about.


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Sweet, Sweet Vermouth

Last month, we looked at hot cocktails in a cold season, but winter libations are about more than just temperature. When the thermostat is bottoming out, I like my drinks to have some heft to them. The flavors are bold, with darker sweet notes and warm spices, and definitely with a nice heavy dose of herbs.

martinezWhich is why I love a good drink with sweet vermouth at this time of year. Granted, it’s an all-year, all-season love, but there’s something particularly satisfying about sweet vermouth in the winter. And here’s why I think you should join me in imbibing this lovely fortified wine. [Read more…]

New Year’s Eve Cocktails

New Year’s Eve is only a couple days away, and a lot of cocktail guides are going to give you a list of specific drinks you can prepare for whatever party you’re attending.

This is going to be a little different. Since we’re located in Chicago, the capital of improv, I’m providing you a guide on how to add improvisation to your cocktail-making. No matter what your host has at their bar, you should be able to mix a drink or two for yourself or fellow guests. Here are the assumptions I’m working under:

You are a guest at the party. Maybe you enjoy pre-batching punch, mulled wine, or complex cocktails and bringing them to a party. But even if you do, sometimes circumstances prevent you from bringing more than a few bottles. And if you’re attending more than one party? Yeah, you’ll want this flexibility.

Your host has some basics, like citrus juice, soda, sugar, a few spirits, and maybe even a mixer or two. I’m also assuming that there will be more than enough champagne and sparkling wine to go around.

You only have capacity to bring a few things. I, for one, cannot afford Jim Meehan’s bartender bag, so I’m limited to what I can carry in my trusty backpack. This means a couple bottles of spirits, a couple smaller bottles/jars for mixers, and a few small bottles of bitters.


So many options, so few hours left in the year…

With those in mind, here are some simple cocktails using the limited ingredients you might have in front of you, Iron Chef-style. I’ve also broken out a a recipe in each category, variations on existing cocktails to surprise you and your fellow revelers.

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