RSS Feed

Ay Ay Picante Restaurant Review

Posted on

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!!!

Advertisements

Bicol Express With Chef David and Chef O YouTube Video

Posted on

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!!

Tava Fresh Taste of India Restaurant Review

Posted on
7172 Dempster St
(between Shermer Rd & Harlem Ave)
Morton Grove, IL 60053

(847) 966-8282

Went to eat here about 2 weeks ago and it was awesome!! This is a pretty new Indian restaurant and sure is a Fresh Taste!! From the moment we walked through the doors…the service was flawless and the food was seasoned nicely. Greeted at the door, seated right away by the fireplace on a cold winter night, white tablecloths, and the amazing smell of the cuisine. They had $5 martinis that we skipped on, started with Calamari Bhaji and was cooked perfect, our server also brought out homemade flatbread with their homemade chutney that was really tasty! She had the Tava Mix Grill that had a little of everything, Tandoori Chicken and shrimp, boti kebab, and reshmi kebab…very good and highly recommended as it is one of the house specialties. I enjoyed a plate of the Fish TIkka Masala, fresh mahi-mahi fillet marinated in yogurt and spices roasted in tandoor and sautéed with indian seafood masala, that packed some heat, also another Tava specialty. Our server thought we ate there before, but it was our first, she said awesome choices. And finally DESSERT, their homemade MANGO icecream is the best, i mean BEST MANGO ICE CREAM I EVER HAD, it beats out the Filipino brand Magnolia by far! YOU MUST HAVE IT…The only thing I am not used to is that the side dishes like flatbread or rice is a la carte…but I can get used to it…i feel that by ordering a la carte, you appreciate to read exactly what you want to get for your side dish, we ordered the garlic flatbread (garlic naan) yummy!!

TAVA is definitely on the right track and has a great menu selection and friendly wait staff! It is a welcoming and warm environment, even the manager came by our table and the CHEF came out to another table to answer some customers questions. Will be a return customer for sure!

4.5 out of 5 STARS this is a must dine at restaurant for an awesome taste of Indian Cuisine!!

Cha Ching!!! Rivers Casino Here I Come…

Posted on

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!!!

The Park in Golf Mill

Posted on

During these tough times, I have finally had the opportunity to have an interview for a new full time position. Unfortunately, I am not getting the hours needed to survive during these rough times at my current job.  A few weeks ago, I checked for job openings on Linkedin and saw many jobs in SanDiego, more importantly…I want to stay in Chicago still. So I applied at the Park in Golf Mill and sure enough, I get a call to set up an interview.

The interview was last Friday and met with the Dining Services Director/Executive.  Before he came out and got me, I was sitting patiently in the lobby area when a resident came along and sat by me. She asked me, what I am all dressed for? Before I could answer, she said, wait..dont tell me…an interview right? What position? I said yes an interview to be a cook. With her New York accent, she was talking about the menu, the food, and how good it has been. A few minutes later, I met with the Director and greeted the kind resident good bye…she wished me luck!

Instantly, the Director was like, that is our toughest resident here and you got to speak to her…Nice! I was saying in my head…sweet! Thank goodness I am getting better at interviewing and got it down packed. Definitely made a great first impression. It lasted about a good hour and then set up a follow up for today. He said come back Tuesday and I will give you 2 proteins to cook for me.

Today I went in and was excited to throwdown in the kitchen. Got the grand tour and met with the staff. I got chicken breasts and tilapia along with pantry and everything else. I asked him if he wanted a full plate, including starch and vegetables…he said no need. Chicken was up first since it takes longer to cook…I figured…hmmm…I will butterfly it and fill it with a traditional breadcrumb stuffing and a simple chicken sauce. I go to the pantry and grab some breadcrumbs, then the cooler for celery, onion, and carrots.  I butter up a saute pan and start to cook down the mirepoix along with some italian seasoning and toss the breadcrumbs in it. Then make a simple chicken base sauce with italian seasoning and thicken it up with a slurry. While i had that all going i went to the back and prepared to butterfly my chicken. Set the sauce aside, filled the stuffing inside and seared em off. Finished off in the oven and ladled some sauce to keep it moist and covered with foil. Next, the fish…hmm…I wanted to keep it simple and just poach it in white wine, lemon juice and dill. I couldnt just serve it alone…So i roasted a red pepper, grilled some lemons for garnish. To finish it off, i made a lemon butter and dill sauce to mate with the tilapia.  Finally, plated both of them up…and wala…2 dishes to present the Director and Executive Chef…

It was a success, the only thing was the chicken base was not low sodium and was slightly salty on their palate. They loved the way it was presented and my idea of butterflying it. The tilapia was refreshing and not too overpowering with the dill…light and simple.

Tomorrow I will get the call…and of course as I walked out, I acknowledged the waitstaff and everyone in the kitchen. They said, they hope to see me soon?? woot woot

Definitely excited to see what will happen. Looking forward to work 40 hour weeks in just 5 days and it is a set schedule….we shall see…=)

Crazy Jaws Roadhouse Restaurant Review

Posted on

Wow! I had a great experience dining here! Had to try something new and this place had some great tasting food for those that like a little heat or bbq, and burgers sounded good as well. Was seated and greeted right away, it was a quiet night tonight…our server was on top of things…she mentioned the specials as she passed out the menus…and even changed to channel to the blackhawks game…we started off with smoke bbq chicken wings with ranch, and was tasty. I ordered the pulled pork bbq sandwich which was great…only thing i would recommend is that they dont toast the bread/bun..it takes away from the bbq flavor, otherwise i was still happy…and chose seasoned fries to pair with is…she had jambalaya and jalapeno corn bread…it was tasty…bold flavors and some heat to go with it…it didnt overpower the dish…nice balance! It is a sports bar, plenty of tvs, plenty of tables and space to even play bags! One of the guests even asked us if they can play, how polite…but of course…

Dessert was banana pudding made in house…it was really good too…especially on a cold winter night…not too sweet…not too heavy..nice and warm with caramel sauce and whipped cream and powdered sugar…big portion for dessert!
Definitely a spot to come back to! Maybe we can do a Subaru meet here guys and gals =) Spacious parking lot!

You gotta have the Jambalaya and Banana Bread Pudding…try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream 😉

4 Stars for really good eats…banana bread pudding made in house and good service!

Leona’s in Des Plaines Restaurant Review

Posted on

Unfortunately, not on the top of my list to visit back to dine in at this location =(
I was excited to try some italian cuisine and dont get me wrong the food was really good from our appetizer (calamari), bread service was great with the parmesan compound butter, and entree (got the Duo famous baked mac and cheese and 4 cheese lasagna with a side of meatball (huge piece of meat) lol…then the disappointment dessert…the turtle cheesecake…it was definitely from the freezer and   nuked in the microwave…some of it was hot..some of it was warm, some cold and middle still frozen…Nicole…your turtle cheesecake is still #1 on my list! The 2 stars are for the awesome food, definitely great portions for the price and great flavors on the palate. However, the service was pretty horrible, no drink refills in time, entrees came out while just having a bite of the calamari, grr i dislike when someone drops the entree when the appz just came out! Then the Cheesecake issues…Oh I forgot to mention, the manager was not dressed appropriately unless it was casual friday for them…seriously…khakis and a bright colored polo? also when he collected dishes he dropped them into the bus pans and created loud clanking noises, making it uncomfortable to hold a conversation…The lighting was good, not too bright…food is really good and that what the 2 stars are for. Not a repeat restaurant for me, possibly makes for great carryout?? Looking around, other people seemed to enjoy the food at least…

2 Stars Good Food….Horrible Service