Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Condo camping

We closed on our condo in Evanston!  We are still working on selling our house in Dallas, so the official move will have to wait a bit, but we loaded up one of our cars with as much stuff as we could fit and drove up there last weekend.  We’re all set for condo “camping” at its finest, complete with an aerobed, 2 patio chairs, 2 overturned empty boxes as end tables / nightstands, and a TV sitting on an empty storage bin.  We’ll be back and forth between Dallas and Evanston as we prepare to move, so roughing it at the condo won’t be too bad, and it will all be worth it in the long run.

Celebratory lunch

After working up an appetite signing our lives away at the condo closing, we celebrated with lunch at our favorite Evanston burger joint, Edzo’s.  Although they have the best burgers around, I decided to mix it up a bit and try their Classic Chicago Dog, which was delicious.  Even more delicious — their “Five Onion Fries,” topped with caramelized onion cream, fried leeks and scallions.

Fall view from the condo

The view from the master bedroom of our condo currently includes some golden yellow fall foliage.  (We know, we know — enjoy while it lasts because soon all we will see are sad, barren tree limbs, often covered with snow and ice, during the loooong winter months…)

Coast Sushi

Our new go-to sushi place in Evanston is Coast Sushi.  It’s one of the few favorite restaurants that is not quite walkable from our condo (especially during the winter!) but it’s worth the short drive, and they deliver (sushi delivery is unheard of in Dallas, so that will be a nice perk of Evanston city-living.)  We especially enjoyed the “Dressed Sashimi,” which included 2 pieces of several types of fish (tuna, hamachi, salmon, super white tuna, crab and eel, “dressed” with various sauces and garnishes).  It was a great way to try different bites of sushi prepared in ways to best accentuate the flavors and textures of each type of seafood.



For us, one of the best parts of Greek food is the tzatziki.  Take the gyro — equal parts sandwich and vehicle for consuming creamy, cucumber-y, dill-spiced tzatziki sauce.  At home, we love serving tzatziki alongside simple, olive oil and herb-marinated grilled lamb.  Tzatziki is also really good as a dip with pita bread, which is how we served it as an appetizer when we recently had friends over for a Mediterranean-inspired dinner with a different sort of lamb (Guinness-Glazed) as the main course.  Our tzatziki recipe has been a bit of a work-in-progress as we tested and adapted other recipes, trying to come up with the easiest and most tasty version.  Ours might not be the most authentic tzatziki out there, but it’s quick and easy to make (no draining the yogurt!) with fresh, bright and tangy flavors that are addicting.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Ready for its close-up

We’ve been fortunate in our current home to have a huge walk-in closet (it was a small bedroom that was converted into a master closet) and we are going to miss it when we move.  But it also was a bit of a curse, in that having so much space enabled us to fill every inch with stuff.  Several days and numerous donations to Goodwill later, the closet has been purged and is ready for listing photos and showings.  And we are relieved to have less stuff to move with us to Chicago.

Game hen

Dan is working from Dallas this week, while also helping to get the house ready to go on the market.  Which means he’s also around to cook my dinner.  He made a pan-roasted game hen one night that was delicious.  He had previously read about placing bacon on top of the hen while it cooks in the oven and decided to try it.  We’re not sure whether the bacon did much, other than maybe adding flavor to the drippings for the pan gravy, which was by far the best part of the whole dish.  After the game hen was done, he spooned off most of the fat from the pan, added some flour to make a light roux, then added chicken stock and seasoned the gravy with salt and pepper.  So simple, yet so perfect.


Just in time for Halloween, the new season of American Horror Story started this week!  Every season has a different theme and storyline, and this season is “Coven” about — take a wild guess — witches.  AHS is not for everyone — the “horror” part of the name is no joke — but we love it and are super excited for Coven.  The cast is amazing, with several actors from prior seasons (including the impeccable Jessica Lange), as well as impressive additions of Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett.  If the first episode is any indication, it’s going to be our favorite season yet.  (And speaking of favorite shows on TV, “Homeland” is back and better than ever!)


Just in time for us to move away, we found a great, new-to-us taco joint called Chiladas.  It’s a counter-service, fast-food style of restaurant, but all their food is made with farm-fresh ingredients (they don’t even have freezers or microwaves in their kitchens.)  All of the tacos we tried were delicious — carnitas, brisket, shrimp and fish.  Their guacamole was good too, which is always one of our benchmarks for measuring quality Tex-Mex.  We didn’t partake on the day we were there for lunch, but they also have cheap margaritas (especially on their “Margarita Mondays”) made with real tequila (none of that wine-a-rita imitation stuff.)


Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:


Dan had a great first week starting his new job at Kraft Foods.  We flew to Chicago together last weekend so we could tend to some condo business, and I dropped him off at Kraft headquarters on his very first day.  The campus is beautiful and the main entrance features a cheerful macaroni statue with the inscription “You know you love it.”  They also have an awesome statue of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!


Downtown Evanston continues to impress us with excellent food options.  We stopped at Farmhouse for a quick late afternoon snack, and almost went back there for dinner it was so good.  The “tavern-cut” potato chips with fresh dill dip and the mussels (cooked with tomatoes, bacon and shallots in a white wine broth) were both outstanding.  Plus the restaurant has an interesting hip-yet-rustic vibe that we really liked.  We’ll be back.

Lake. Big lake.

No trip to Evanston is complete without a walk over to the lake (especially before it gets too cold for me to leave the condo.)  Each time we visit, we feel so lucky that we will actually get to live there.

Prosciutto arugula lavash

Back at the Dallas homestead, I made my favorite version of lavash pizza thus far.  I used pizza sauce (recipe in this post) thawed from the freezer, topped with a layer of mozzarella cheese and cooked for about 5 minutes until the cheese melted.  Then I added prosciutto (thin slices torn into bite-sized pieces), fresh arugula and a little shaved Parmesan cheese.  So good, and SO easy!

Ponzu Sea Bass

My dislike of fishy-tasting fish is pretty well-documented on this blog.  I don’t like fish, but I do like to try to eat healthy, and since fish can be a really good-for-you food to consume, I’m always looking for seafood recipes that don’t make me want to gag.  Bonus points if said recipe is also easy to prepare.  This fish dish fits both requirements, and then some.  The recipe is inspired by one I heard about on the fourth hour of the Today Show (I know, I judge me too) from Hoda Kotb, who makes delicious sea bass by putting the fish in a shallow baking dish, adding ponzu sauce and baking it in the oven for about half an hour.  That’s it.  Hoda and Kathie Lee raved about the fish so much that we had to try it.  We adapted the recipe a bit to have more of a sauce or glaze for the finished sea bass (fish with a sauce always seems more appetizing to me than plain fish), and we could not be happier with the result.  Our recipe was further inspired by this one, which includes a marinade made with sake, mirin and soy.  Instead of just ponzu and ginger for the sauce, we added sesame oil and brown sugar.  With both a marinade and a sauce, the recipe sounds complicated, but it’s really easy.  Just marinate the sea bass for about 30 minutes, sear it on both sides in a hot skillet, then finish by baking in the oven while the sauce simmers and thickens on the stove.  I’m truly not exaggerating when I say that this is our new favorite fish dish, and that I actually crave it.  If you like subtle Asian flavors, you will love this dish — even if you don’t particularly care for fish.  Fellow Fish Haters (you know who you are):  I hereby double-dog-dare you to try it.  In fact, I insist!

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