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5 Guys Burgers and Fries

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I have had Five Guys on a few occasions, I must say their burger and fries are pretty good and filling. They also have to new CocaCola machine where you can create your own soda from cherry, lime, orange, coke zero, diet, grape, etc. I thought that was neat! Tons of seats, Service was good, although we called in advance to see what time they closed after we saw a movie at the Pickwick and an employee hung up and the we called again and she couldnt hear us. Hmmpf! I got the Bacon Cheeseburger, she got the little Bacon cheeseburger and we shared a large fries which was plenty of potatoes to go around! Food was delicious and I had fun making my Cherry and Lime Coke as well as Cherry Coke since its free refills. I can only imagine how long the line would get with just 2 soda machines during a busy rush. I was only going to give 2 stars but because of the burger and fries hit the spot I gave it 3 and found it really rude for another employee to clean and sweep repeatedly around us while eating, thats a NO! NO! especially if closing time was more than an hour away. I am glad that they do cook their fries better, not like before where it tasted like cardboard and not crispy. Cant forget the peanuts, free peanuts while you wait. Thats probably why it costs so much, not a fan of their pricing…Overrated? I think so…Id rather have Culvers or In-N-Out

Five Guys

25 S. Northwest Hwy

Park Ridge, IL 60068

(847) 292-1841

3 out of 5 stars

Thai Village

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Another Groupon Success!! If you want fast and friendly service along with great tasting food and get your Thai food fix, Thai Village is a great place! Jessel got us a Groupon and we had dinner here last week. The Groupon included, Salad, Appetizer,  Entree, and a Drink. We started with the Fresh Garden Salad and I must say the lettuce was cool and crisp, bright colors with lettuce, cilantro, bean sprouts, and a homemade dressing that was sweet, vinegary, and a lightly spiced taste, topped with finely chopped peanuts for crunch and tofu. It was a refreshing salad that I would come back for. We shared crab cream cheese wontons with sweet and sour sauce that was pretty good. I had Green curry beef that was amazing and loved the flavors and spicy but wasnt overpowering. She had Pad Thai, that was just ok, the noodles seemed heavy and stuck together a little bit, however the flavor was spot on. Thai iced coffee and thai iced tea were refreshing as well.

Overall our experience was great! The servers worked as a team and cleared our plates as we finished and were attentive. We got in around 6pm before the dinner rush. Seating is comfortable, it wasnt too loud since it was before the rush. Bathrooms were clean. Would eat here again! Presentation is clean! Delicious Thai food and cant wait to try more food off their menu! Pretty filling portions…I am a fan and you would be too!

Thai Village

2053 W. Division St. (Ukranian Village)

Chicago, IL 60622

(773) 384-5352

 

4 out of 5 Stars

Anderson’s Frozen Custard

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Made it in after having dinner at Rocco’s tonight 4 minutes before closing time, and was surprised to be greeted with smiles from the friendly staff. I asked for a recommendation for 1st timers, but who can go wrong with homemade custard and homemade ice cream! I love dessert, especially ice cream, so we had a scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream and a scoop of kahlua fudge chocolate…it was a nice portioned scoop too! Jessel had chocolate custard. Choice of cone or dish, we got all ours in a dish. Then one of the employees came up to the register and made a funny hehehe, he had ice cream on his face and made Jessel laugh and then I laughed of course! =P
I did ask about some good New York Cheesecake, but unfortunately no recommendations =( still 5 stars for excellent service and awesome tasting ice cream/custard homemade deliciousncess!!! Keep up the great work team! Thanks from CHICAGO!!

5 out of 5 stars!!! WOW!!!

Anderson’s Frozen Custard

6075 Main St

Buffalo, NY 14221

 

FRESH and DELICIOUS HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & CUSTARD…FLAWLESS EXPERIENCE!!!

Smoque BBQ Restaurant Review

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Finally ate here just this past Monday, the seating arrangement is family/picnic style so make room for others to sit next to you. There is a nice big board for you to read the menu. We decided to get half and half. I wanted the pulled pork, she wanted the brisket. Was it amazing and tender! The sauce was really good and vinegary, I wish it was thicker, but still worked out. The mac n cheese is a must have along with the scrumptious corn bread! Last but not least, peach cobbler was really great…all it needed was a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The price is really good, and all for about $22 for the 2 of us was more than enough! There is always a line, but it moves pretty fast and worth the wait if you are a BBQ lover! I will be back for more even though I make some good pulled pork myself hehehe…

Ay Ay Picante Restaurant Review

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We ate here last night with my godson and his parents by their recommendation. I must say it is awesome! Amazing! Our server went over the menu and made recommendations. Warm bread service with this slightly spicy avocado spread was delightful. Calamari for appetizer was really good along with an empanada. The portions are generous with Peruvian spices…mmm MMM delicious. You must order the Ceviche Mixto (Tilipia Shrimp and Octopus) with sweet potato and corn OH MY!!, the Lomo Saltado is a must. Dont forget dessert, the tres leches was oh so good! Now I know why my godsons favorite cake is tres leches, they perfected it, I wanted more but was really full. This is my first 5 star review for flawless service, nice ambiance, perfectly seasoned food with generous portions, and its BYOB….I will be eating here again, thats for sure! What are you waiting for, go out and TRY IT =)
Good call Alberto and Clarisa!! This restaurant is on the top of Chef O’s list!

 

My first 5 Star review!!!

Bicol Express With Chef David and Chef O YouTube Video

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http://celebreaty4recipes.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/chef-david-hilo-and-chef-omars-winning-recipe-of-bicol-express/

 

Chef David Hilo and Chef Omar’s Winning Recipe of Bicol Express

Chef David Hilo, 2011 graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, is moving soon to Cincinnati, Ohio to work in a plush sushi restaurant.   But glad to have him in the CelebrEATy Circle with his chef-buddy Chef “O” and shared their version of the “flaming dish” Bicol Express.   The 2 chefs were fun to watch while doing their prep works in the kitchen and really observed the “mise en place” and cut up veggies and meat the professional way.   Soon they were ready for the camera…and so as not to get embarrassed again for the second time, they made sure they had vegetable oil this time.  The 2 chefs entered a cooking competition with this same recipe few months back.  They admitted they were a bit nervous, like true first timers in food competition, and when it was their turn to do the demo, to their shock and horror, they didn’t have vegetable oil to saute chopped onions and ginger and minced garlic.  But they regained composure and boil coconut milk to extract coconut oil….brilliant, it even made the dish extra-special.  And they were handed the best dish of the nite…what a great story!  To both chefs, my congratulations and more power…I really encouraged them to audition for Food Network Star or Hell’s Kitchen…they both have the drive and passion, and I volunteered to work on their personality.  Here’s the recipe for the Bicol Express:

CHEF DAVID HILO AND CHEF OMAR’S WINNING RECIPE OF BICOL EXPRESS

2 cans Coconut milk
1 can Coconut cream
1 root Ginger, chopped
3-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Kalabasa (squash), peeled and chopped
10-15 finger long peppers
10-15 Thai chili pepper
1 red pepper, sliced
1 lb Pork loin, sliced
1 lb Shrimp

Visit Chef Omar’s blog:   https://chefoblog.wordpress.com/

and view their you tube demo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vapx1YMihUQ (demo on Bicol Express w/ Chef David Hilo)

Thanks to Sarah Lee!!

Cha Ching!!! Rivers Casino Here I Come…

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I have applied to Rivers Casino when I was on my Externship in Spain, hoping when I came back, I would be lined up with a job. Unfortunately, there were no calls or messages back in May/June. Sunrise Senior Living Church Creek gave me a great opportunity in the meantime. I developed great friendships and awesome people doing great things for the elderly. The experience I received at Sunrise will never be forgotten…

Just recently, I reapplied at Rivers Casino and this was the last straw before making my big move to San Diego. Yup, I was west coast bound and ready to make the big risk…but for some reason my phone rang 2 days after reapplying at the casino. “Good morning is Omar Soriano available?” says the HR representative…”Speaking” I said…”I am calling in regards to the application you submitted and have a few questions if you have a moment?” “But of course!” I said. Oh was my heart beating with excitement…HR rep asks “What are 3 ways of thickening up a liquid?” I respond quickly…”Roux, Slurry, and Natural Reduction” “Correct” says the HR rep…and last quick question “What are the 2 numbers between the Temperature Danger Zone?” I took a moment to make sure it wasnt a trick question…”Ahh…yes, between 40 and 140″  “Correct!” Says the HR Rep..Next, we set up a date for an interview and of course I bring my famous Lincoln Bread.  Surprisingly, I interviewed with the pastry chef since the Executive Chef was not in that day. Brought my portfolio and my catering menu and I felt confident enough that this one was in the bag.

After my interview, I was told that I would receive a call the next day to set up interview #2 and was invited for a tasting. I was thinking in my head…ahhh the Chef is inviting me for a menu tasting?? Nice!!! NOT!!! I was my cooking test…hehehe. Just last week I went in on my off day and showed up for my 8am tasting dressed in my whites and my knife kit bag. One of the Chefs brought me in and gave me the grand tour and showed me where I would be cooking and handed me a full sheet tray consisting of shrimp, chicken breast, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, carrots,leeks, lemon, cucumber, red and green peppers and the use of pantry and produce in the coolers. Chef said, “You  must make an appetizer and an entree, 2 plates each with 2 hours to complete using most or all the ingredients.” Oh yea…I felt like I was on the Food Network show, Chopped. I will admit that my nerves were running through my body, but after 20 mins I got myself focused and in the zone. I knew right away,what the entree was going to be…Stuffed Chicken Breast with Vegetables 2 ways and Herb Roasted Potatoes…I start off with a pot of water to get the potatoes going, butterfly my chicken breast…cut up all my vegetable and mirepoix. I run to the pantry and grab breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. Come back and start sauteing my mirepoix in butter with mushrooms and breadcrumbs for stuffing the chicken breasts. I start to blanche my asparagus and oil up the eggplant that will be grilled. Prepare the zucchini and squash that will be herb roasted with the potatoes. Once my traditional bread stuffing was done I stuffed those chicken breasts and seared them off and got em in the oven. I would say about an hour past.

Next was the appetizer, I was thinking tempura at first..nah…how about some heat? Went back to the kitchen and made a dry rub for the shrimp, curry, ginger, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Let that get all happy and start roasting the peppers…went to the cooler and grabbed a mango…oh yes! A warm mango salsa and roasted peppers to pair up with that fiery shrimp.  Sliced some cucumbers for the base of my plate in a nice uniform spiral, used my cookie cutter to place the mango salsa neatly and cleanly, and finally sauteed those bad boys up in brown butter and plated them. With 10 minutes to spare I started plating Chicken with the vegetables 2 ways with the potatoes and a simple chicken gravy…use the same water i blanched my veggies and potatoes so nothing went to waste and had flavor. And also boiled the shrimp shells and used it to flambeau the shrimp 😉 I think i covered most of the culinary techniques in these 2 plates and made it come together as best I can.

Finally, judging time. 3 of the Chefs and a Sous Chef were seated and I had to explain each plate. I got through it and had to write down my menu as the Chefs discussed my plates. They were talking for a while…and then they told me that I did a great job, go clean up and meet me in my office. As I, was cleaning up, one of the Chefs said, “I know the news!” he gave me the thumbs up while I waited to be called by the Big Boss…He congratulated me and walked me to HR to get the paperwork started. WOOT WOOT!!!

Official start date January 13, 2012….

 

CHA CHING!!!