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Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book // Author’s Photo: Chamere Orr & Briana DeBolt © A Full Living, LLC // Photo: @fabsoopark

I can’t believe it… as of today on 4/1/19 (no April Fools joke!) my book is here! It is with great honor and joy to announce the release of my book, Chicago Food Crawls. I’ve been working on it for a year so it is so surreal this day is finally here. Pinch me now.

I’ve lived in Chicago since I was three years old so being able to share some of my favorite restaurants in my hometown has been a dream come true. Chicago Food Crawls (978-1-4930-3769-8 • Paperback • $21.95) is part of a city series (Boston, New York, etc.) by Globe Pequot, a division of Rowman & Littlefield. It maps out the ideal culinary tour within various neighborhoods with one bite and libation at a time with a unique theme and focus. Discover the hidden gems and long-standing institutions found within more than 15 neighborhood crawls (from Bridgeport to Evanston), each featuring 3-10 establishments (150+ restaurants). Plus… 8 extra food-themed BONUS crawls. Who doesn’t need a doughnut crawl in their life? Or a Taco Crawl in Pilsen? How about a Dessert Crawl in the West Loop? Each tour is the complete recipe for a great night out, the perfect tourist day, a new way to experience your own city and fabulous stories to enjoy from home.

Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book // Photo: Globe Pequot

Are you hungry, yet? Here’s where you can buy: Amazon, Barnes ‘n Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Target, and more. It’s an easy read filled with mouth-watering photos perfect for a foodie in you or a foodie visiting Chicago.

Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book // Background Art: @revisecmw // Photo: @fabsoopark

Live the Fab Food Life,
Soo

//Special Thanks//

Thank you to everyone who has made this book possible… chefs, restaurants, PR companies, etc. Special thanks to my husband who has supported my dreams from day one. A few years back, I got into a car accident and recovery was hard. My husband encouraged me to quit my corporate job (worked over 17+ years) to focus on my health and pursue my passions. Three years later… here I am. He’s the rock of our family and most loving father to our two year old. Speaking of our two year old, thank you for filling our hearts with so much joy and happiness! We love you so much!

Thanks to my right hand lady, @topchicagoeats! She started as my intern but currently our Social Media Manager. You’ll find some of her drool-worthy pictures in the book as well.

Last but not least, thanks to my friends who have supported me unconditionally! You know who you are. When I first started in the food blogging world, I would get a lot of people questioning if I had a “real” job. To be honest, I was doubtful at times, especially with the criticism but it was the support I received from friends and family that gave me the fuel to keep going.

My friends know I don’t like to be the center of attention but they always find a way to make me feel special. Thanks to @tinaeatschicago, @kimsekulich, @missnyoo, and @ririandb for hosting an adorable book launch tea themed par-tea! Your friendships mean the world to me.

Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book // Photo: @fabsoopark

Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book // Photo: @tinaeatschicago

Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book // Cake: @touslesjoursusa // Photo: @fabsoopark

The post Fab Happenings: Chicago Food Crawls Book appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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No Bones Beach Club is a vegan restaurant in Wicker Park but also in Portland and Seattle. It originally began as a food truck in Seattle but now have expanded into Chicago. Vegan food isn’t all about boring salads. Their motto is “just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it sucks” and I couldn’t agree more.

I am not vegan but I do enjoy trying different foods. Vegan food when done right can be very creative with unique flavors. No Bones Beach Club takes classic food like tacos and nachos and puts a vegan spin on it. You won’t even miss the meat.

{Ambiance}
The entire space is bright and colorful with palm tree decorations throughout. When you first walk in, you feel like you’ve stepped onto a beach, far away from the Windy City. You’ll notice a surfboard with instructions written on it to place your food and drink order with the bartender at the counter. After you order, you can grab a seat at one of the high top tables, small tables, or at the bar.

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Entrance // Photo: @topchicagoeats

The entire space is extremely colorful with playful decór. From faux palm trees to decorative pineapples and neon signs, the space is designed to transport you to a tropical beach. The neon painted walls mixed with the gold decorative accents create the perfect chic and modern beach vibe.

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Interior // Photo: @topchicagoeats

{Food}

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings have been a recent favorite of mine and I must order them anytime I see it on a menu. So when I saw they offered it, it was a no-brainer for me to order. No Bones Beach Club really blew this dish out of the water. The fried cauliflower was tossed in a tangy but slightly sweet coconut buffalo sauce. The cool house-made ranch it was paired with balanced out the spiciness of the buffalo sauce.

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Buffalo Cauliflower // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Crab Cakes
The Crab Cakes were veggie and parsnip cakes made in-house with Old Bay Seasoning. The Old Bay Seasoning really gave it that extra flavorful kick.

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Crab Cakes // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Jackfruit Flautas
When I took the first bite of the Jackfruit Flautas, I was surprised that the taste resembled the flautas my mom makes me at home. Even though these were vegan, they still had that familiar flavor with a good crunch and crisp. It was also topped with a savory and creamy avocado sauce and fresh lettuce and tomato.  

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Jackfruit Flautas // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Beer Battered Avocado Taco
The Beer Battered Avocado Taco was my absolute favorite. It was served in a thin tortilla with generous portions. The avocado was thickly sliced and fried. The taco was topped with cilantro slaw and a spicy chipotle sauce. If you love spicy dishes, you need this taco in your life.

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Beer Battered Avocado Taco // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Piña Colada
The Piña Colada had me dreaming of warm summer days. The first sip of the Piña Colada made me feel like I should be in the sun laying on a beach. It was made with coconut milk, which made it tastier than a regular Piña Colada. For now, I’ll just be counting down the days until summertime Chi.

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Piña Colada // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Banana Ball Sundae
There is a sign when you walk that reads “don’t forget about dessert.” Listen to the sign… you won’t regret it! I ordered the Banana Ball Sundae and it was such a great decision. Literally one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. Pieces of ripe banana were covered in toasted coconut and topped with Coconut Bliss ice cream and house-made coconut whip. The coconut whip was creamy but not too sweet with a subtle hint of coconut. Seriously, do not forget about dessert. 

Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club // Banana Ball Sundae // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Happy Hour specials available Monday and Wednesday-Friday from 4-6 p.m.

{Experience}
Not only does No Bones Beach Club successfully execute excellent vegan food, but it also does a great job at creating a fun, tropical beach vibe. I have been a fan of vegan food for awhile now but they really do succeed at making vegan food not boring. While it is a fast-casual restaurant, it is also a great, laid-back spot to grab tropical cocktails and just hang out. Whether you want to take a vegan friend out to dinner or friends who aren’t vegan, there’s something for everyone!

{Location}
No Bones Beach Club
Wicker Park || 1943 W North Ave, Chicago, IL

{Price Range}
$$ ($11-$36)

{Fab Rating: 4 Fabs}

Where is your fave spot in the city for vegan food? Share below.

Eat, Eat, Repeat,
Lisette

Note: This meal was not complimentary. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the writer.

The post Fab Review: No Bones Beach Club appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp // Olive Oil World Tour // Photo: @fabsoopark

Now that the holidays are over and eating copious amounts of food with family and friends are behind us… at least for a while. I am starting the new year thinking healthy. I turn to simple foods and pure ingredients. My go-to dish is my Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp.

Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp // Olive Oil World Tour // Photo: @fabsoopark

The key ingredient in the recipe is the olive oil. I gravitate towards using olive oil versus heavy sauces because it enhances the taste of food but never changes it. It also has many health benefits:

  1. Reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 30%.
  2. Help control blood and sugar levels.
  3. Assist in managing weight.
  4. Improve mood swings.
  5. Decrease mental fatigue.

I used an Extra Virgin Olive Oil specifically from Spain. It’s made when the olives have reached optimum ripeness and comes in pure 100% olive juice providing natural antioxidants such as Olive Oil polyphenols and vitamin E.

Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp // Olive Oil World Tour // Photo: @fabsoopark

With that said, I was excited to hear about the “Olive Oil World Tour”.  Olive Oils from Spain and the EU have joined their efforts to promote and bring the European healthy lifestyle throughout all parts of the world.  “Let’s make a tastier world “ is their mission. They want to encourage foodies to live a healthy lifestyle with a top notch product. Olive Oil is a fundamental part of the Mediterranean Diet and an important part of the European culture.

Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp // Olive Oil World Tour // Photo: @fabsoopark

Now who’s hungry? My Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp is quick and easy and most important part, guilt-free.

Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp // Olive Oil World Tour // Photo: @fabsoopark

Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp
 
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
20 mins
 
Author: Soo Park
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Spain
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined, and tails intact
  • 3 tablespoons of high quality olive oil (oliveworldtour.com)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, medium, sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp of chili pepper powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red chili flakes to taste
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over shrimp evenly. Set aside.
  2. Heat large skillet to medium heat and add olive oil, garlic, red chili pepper, and parsley. Stir occasionally for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and toss with mixture thoroughly.
  4. Pour in the lemon juice and stif.
  5. Add chili pepper powder and red chili flakes for a little spice.
  6. Top with fresh parsley for added color.
  7. Enjoy!
3.5.3251

Fab Recipe: Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp // Olive Oil World Tour // Photo: @fabsoopark

Simply delicious! Let’s make this a tastier world! Learn more about the Olive Oil Tour here. #letsmakeitatastierworld

Like on Facebook and Follow on Instagram for more info. 

Live the Fab Food Life,
Soo

Note: This post was sponsored by the Olive Oil Tour. However, the views and opinions expressed herein are those of the writer.

 

The post Fab Recipe: Simple Spicy Chile-Garlic Shrimp appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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Fab Food Chicago by Contributing Writer - 5M ago

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We’re thankful for all the food we’re about to eat especially the PIES! We, (@topchicagoeats) and (@hangry_amy), begrudgingly (sarcasm) tasted pies from all over the city and created this list of their favorites!

Any of these pies would be a perfect addition to Thanksgiving dinner or just a special treat for yourself for making it through the holiday. Here are our picks for “Top 5 Pies 2018″…

5. Pumpkin Cheesecake at First Slice Pie Café

We’re huge fans of First Slice Pie Café! The seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake is a must with a thick graham cracker crust mixed with crushed Oreos and a rich pumpkin cheesecake filling. It is a little heavy on the nutmeg but fitting for the season. The whipped topping was light and fluffy with a hint of cinnamon.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Pies 2018 // Pumpkin Cheesecake at First Slice Pie Café // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Extra pies will be available today (Thanksgiving) on a first come first serve basis!

{Location}
First Slice Pie Café
Edgewater || 5357 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 275-4297
Ravenswood || 4401 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 506-7380
Albany Park || 4644 N Manor Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 267-0169
Evanston || 1823 Church St, Evanston, IL || P: (847) 859-6620

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 3.5 Fabs}

4. Holiday Spiced Pumpkin Pie at Baker Miller

How can you go wrong with pumpkin pie? This pie from Baker Miller was just one of the many pies they offer during the Holiday season, but it’s definitely our favorite. It puts an interesting spin on a classic pumpkin pie because the extra spice flavor really helped to balance out the sweetness of the pumpkin. The brown butter crust was amazing as well, and we found ourselves picking the plate clean.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Pies 2018 // Holiday Spiced Pumpkin Pie at Baker Miller // Photo: @hangry_amy

FAB TIP: Closed Thursday and Friday for the holidays.

{Location}
Baker Miller
Ravenswood || 4655 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL|| P:(773) 654-3610

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4 Fabs}

3. Apple Pie at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits

A true classic like Apple Pie never disappoints. Who doesn’t love the taste of cinnamon apples? It was not super sweet so you could taste the flavor of the fresh apples. It also had a crunchy and buttery streusel crumble on top adding a nice texture.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Pies 2018 // Apple Pie at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Limited quantities of pies will be available today on Thanksgiving.

{Location}
Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
Logan Square || 2051 N California Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 276-8888
Ravenswood || 4947 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 530-9020

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4.5 Fabs}

2. Pear Apple Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumble & Bourbon Pecan Chess Pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company

We couldn’t write a “Top 5 Pie” post without mentioning Hoosier Mama Pie Company. This small, retro-style pie shop definitely has a cult following, and we totally get why. They offer so many different types of pies that it was hard to choose which one to get. In the end, we decided on getting the Pear Apple Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumble AND the Bourbon Pecan Chess Pie and it was a great decision. Both pies were so crumbly and satisfying. We will definitely be back.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Pies 2018 // Pear Apple Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumble at Hoosier Mama Pie Company // Photo: @hangry_amy

FAB TIP: On Friday nights they offer a “Friday Night Flight” where you can get a small sample of 3 different types of pies.

{Location}
Hoosier Mama Pie Company
Ukrainian Village || 1618 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 243-4846

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4 Fabs}

1. Cranberry Yuzu Meringue at Spinning J

And last but not least our favorite and most unique pie we tried… Cranberry Yuzu Meringue. Talk about a one-of-a-kind pie! At first bite, it tasted like a regular lemon meringue with a fluffy meringue topping. But as your dig deeper into the pie, you could taste the added sweetness of the cranberry which was a nice contrast to the tart citrus yuzu flavor.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Pies 2018 // Cranberry Yuzu Meringue at Spinning J // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Make any slice of pie a la mode by adding a scoop of gelato.

{Location}
Spinning J
Logan Square || 1000 N California Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (872) 829-2793

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4.5 Fabs}

What are some of your fave pies in Chicago? Share below.

Lisette & Amy

Note: These items were not complimentary. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the writer.

The post Fab Happenings: Top 5 Pies 2018 appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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The crisp, colorful leaves are falling off trees and Chicago temps are quickly dropping. That can only mean one thing…FALL! Fall has always been my favorite season so of course, we can’t forget about all the seasonal treats that come with sweater weather.

Here are my “Top 5 Fall Treats”…

5. Pumpkin Pie Le Stan at Stan’s Donuts & Coffee

Stan’s Donuts & Coffee introduced their version of a cronut called Le Stan this past spring. Now they have made it even better with the quintessential Pumpkin Pie flavored Le Stan. Flaky layers of this croissant/donut hybrid are dusted in cinnamon and sugar and filled with pumpkin pie filling. Yum!

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Fall Treats // Pumpkin Pie Le Stan at Stan’s Donuts // Photo: @topchicagoeats

{Location}
Stan’s Donuts & Coffee
Lakeview || 3300 N Broadway, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 883-4764
Lakeview || 2800 N Clark St, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 868-0173
Wicker Park || 1560 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 360-7386
West Loop || 1301 W Lake St, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 285-2148
Streeterville || 259 E Erie St, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 255-1130
South Loop || 26 E Roosevelt St, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 834-0700
Magnificent Mile || 535 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 955-3100
The Loop || 181 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 729-5480
Oak Brook || 529 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL || P: (630) 590-1060
Schaumburg || 5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL || P: (224) 353-6092

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 3.5 Fabs}

4. Pumpkin Pie Concrete at Lickity Split

Lickity Split has been a favorite of mine since I was in college as it was walking distance from campus. Their Scarlet’s Last Fall sundae is my ultimate fave but I always look forward to new seasonal treats. The Pumpkin Pie Concrete was a mix of creamy pumpkin frozen custard and pumpkin pie. I decided to kick it up a notch and make it even more indulgent by adding marshmallow fluff with graham cracker crumbles on top.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Fall Treats // Pumpkin Pie Concrete at Lickity Split // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Customize your concrete by mixing in any toppings.

{Location}
Lickity Split
Edgewater || 60656 N Broadway, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 274-0830
Rogers Park || 7000 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 293-7239

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 3.5 Fabs}

3. Candy Corn & Black Cat Popsicles at Pretty Cool Ice Cream

Pretty Cool Ice Cream opened this past summer and offers a large selection of unique and classic popsicles. Think popsicles you used to get from the ice cream truck as a kid but with better ingredients. I chose two of their seasonal Trick-Or-Treat Pops, which are available through the end of November. First I tried the Black Cat popsicle. It consisted of cream cheese ice cream dipped in an orange shell and topped with festive sprinkles. At first I thought a cream cheese based popsicle seemed a little odd but it was amazing! It didn’t have an overpowering cream cheese taste as I had expected. With Pretty Cool Ice Cream offering such a wide variety of popsicle flavors, I had to try a second one.

Next, I tried the Candy Corn Popsicle. I’ve never been a fan of actual candy corn but this Candy Corn Popsicle is 10x better than the actual candy. It tastes reminiscent of an orange creamsicle popsicle but more rich and creamy. If you were a fan of orange creamsicle popsicles as a kid, then you’ll definitely love the Candy Corn Popsicle.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Fall Treats // Black Cat & Candy Corn Popsicles at Pretty Cool Ice Cream // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: They also feature vegan popsicles.

{Location}
Pretty Cool Ice Cream 
Logan Square || 2353 N California Ave, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 697-4140

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4 Fabs}

2. Frozen Caramel Apple at XO Marshmallow

The Frozen Caramel Apple is one of my favorites because it tastes exactly like a caramel apple lollipop. Those were my favorite Halloween treat when I was a kid. It was topped with toasted marshmallow fluff and drizzled with caramel. To make it even better, it also had a caramel apple lollipop and an apple turnover marshmallow.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Fall Treats // Frozen Caramel Apple at XO Marshmallow // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Fall marshmallow flavors include Pumpkin Spice, Apple Turnover, Maple Pecan, and Caramel Corn.

{Location}
XO Marshmallow
Rogers Park || 6977 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL || P: (872) 484-0011

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4 Fabs}

1. Loaded Pumpkin Churro Bites and Pumpkin Churro Cone at Bodega

You can always count on Bodega to offer cool and festive treats from churro sundaes to churro cones. If you love churros then and other unique sweets, then this is the place for you. One of their fall-inspired creations is… Loaded Pumpkin Churro Bites! The churro bites were drizzled with pumpkin cream cheese sauce and topped with crunchy, cinnamon churro Chex Mix and candy corn. I loved the flavor of the cinnamon Chex Mix with a little extra sweetness from the pumpkin cream cheese sauce.

Fab Happenings: Top 5 Fall Treats // Loaded Pumpkin Churro Bites at Bodega // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Get a Mexican Hot Chocolate topped with a churro donut.

{Location}
Bodega
River North || 355 N Clark St, Chicago, IL

{Price Range}
$ (Under $10)

{Fab Rating: 4.5 Fabs}

What are some your fave fall treats? Share below.

Eat, Eat, Repeat,
Lisette

Note: Some of these items were complimentary. However, the views and opinions expressed herein are those of the writer.

The post Fab Happenings: Top 5 Fall Treats 2018 appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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Fab Food Chicago by Lisette Avila - 7M ago

Katana is celebrating their one year anniversary! It is a popular Japanese restaurant, which originated in Los Angeles and opened last year here in Chicago. The kitchen is led by chef Jose Melendez and Rob Juan. The trendy, modern vibe of the restaurant really suits the River North neighborhood. Katana markets its original location in L.A. as “the place to be.” They are on the right path to accomplishing the same for Chicago as well.

Sushi is my favorite type of food so I knew I had to check Katana out. When you walk in you can just feel the cool and hip vibe. Upscale restaurants can tend to be stuffy, but Katana is approachable and laid-back.

{Ambiance}
Katana has a large multi-level space. It has an elegant ambiance while also having a relaxed atmosphere.

Fab Review: Katana // Interior // Photo: @topchicagoeats

The space is sleek and modern with black, red, and wooden accents throughout.

Fab Review: Katana // Bar // Photo: @topchicagoeats

There are three kitchens for their sushi, robata dishes, and chef specials. In addition to a generous amount of seating throughout the restaurant, there is also a sushi bar.

Fab Review: Katana // Sushi Bar // Photo: @topchicagoeats

{Food}
The menu is broken down into cold dishes, hot dishes, robata grill, and sushi rolls. I sampled a bit from each to get a good variety. We began our meal with Kampachi Crudo, which was easily one of my favorite dishes.

Kampachi Crudo
The Kampachi Crudo had a creamy texture with a bold citrus flavor and was topped with pressed cherry tomatoes, lava salt, and trout roe. What made this dish unique was the hickory smoked flavor of the trout roe, which I learned was because they use Japanese oak coals to smoke it.

Fab Review: Katana // Kampachi Crudo // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Sake Ringo
Another delicious cold dish I highly recommend is the Sake Ringo. Seared sake was wrapped around thin slices of Fuji apple topped with Osetra caviar. You could taste the freshness of the sake at first bite. The sauce added a touch of sweetness. I also liked that there weren’t a ton of apple slices wrapped inside because it didn’t take away from the flavor of the sake.

Fab Review: Katana // Sake Ringo // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Robata Skewers
Next, we moved onto the robata grilled items. The large selection of robata items is perfect if you go with someone who isn’t a huge sushi fan. A trio of sauces was brought out with our skewers. The sauces included classic ponzu, a ginger sauce that was a little on the sweet side, and Karachi mustard, which had a mild wasabi flavor.

We tried the Gyu (ribeye), Wagyu Kosho (wagyu), and Suzuki (Chilean sea bass) skewers. I dipped the Gyu skewer in the Karachi mustard as the wasabi flavor in the sauce gave it an extra kick. The skewer was cooked to perfection. It was lightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I tried the Wagyu Kosho next, which was marinated in black pepper sauce. The Wagyu Kosho was extremely tender and melted in your mouth. It was already so flavorful on its own that it didn’t need any of the dipping sauces. The Suzuki was my favorite out of all the skewers. It was very flavorful and seared slightly brown on the outside. While the robata skewers came with dipping sauces, the exquisite flavor of the meat and sea bass didn’t require any.

Fab Review: Katana #fabfoodchicago // Robata Fab Review: Katana // Robata Skewers // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Shirobuta
I’ve never really been a fan of pork chops but Katana’s Shirobuta is the exception. It was served bone-in with a garlicky, shisho chimichurri sauce. Like with the other cuts of meat, it was seared perfectly so you could taste the enhanced flavor of the meat. Pork can sometimes be tough, but this dish was tender as they brine it for 24 hours in orange juice and garlic.

Fab Review: Katana // Shirobuta // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Robusuta
The Robusuta was definitely a unique preparation of lobster. A generous portion of plump, butter poached lobster was served over crispy potatoes and leeks with yuzu. The yuzu created an interesting flavor profile so if you want to try a dish with innovative flavor, I suggest the Robusuta.

Fab Review: Katana // Robusuta // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Kani Maki
Once we got towards the end of our meal, we made our way to our last few dishes… sushi. We started with the Kani Maki, which was a baked lobster hand roll. The Kani Maki was different than any other sushi hand rolls I’ve tried in the past. It was simply wrapped in soy paper and topped with black and white sesame seeds. I liked that the simplicity allowed you to really focus on the fresh flavor of the lobster.

Fab Review: Katana // Kani Maki // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Tsukiji
My favorite sushi roll was the Tsukiji, which was wrapped in cucumber instead of traditional seaweed. I enjoyed the combination of the fresh salmon, tuna, and yellowtail. An acidic and sour mustard ponzu was served alongside it and elevated the flavor of the fish.

Fab Review: Katana // Tsukiji // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Carnival Cake
Last but not least, we had the Carnival Cake. If you are regularly looking at food on Instagram, you may have seen this dessert that is literally lit. Once it is brought to your table, your server sets it on fire. The Carnival Cake was encased in cotton candy, which melted away to reveal the dessert. A crunchy, chocolate brownie was topped with layers of raspberry gelée and creamy peanut butter semifreddo. It was then finished off with toasted meringue, house-made toffee, and pretzels. This dessert brought back the familiar taste of eating peanut butter and jelly growing up.

Fab Review: Katana // Carnival Cake // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Katana’s Tropical Infusion
Also, not to be missed, was Katana’s creative cocktails. My favorite was Katana’s Tropical Infusion. The cocktail had a refreshing mix of vodka, watermelon, cantaloupe, and watermelon. It was also beautifully presented, which is always a plus for a food Instagrammer. The drink was reminiscent of a watermelon Jolly Rancher. So, if you want to feel nostalgic, I recommend this cocktail. It’s a medley of tasty fruit flavors, perfect to sip on their patio in the upcoming summer months.

Fab Review: Katana // Katana’s Tropical Infusion // Photo: @topchicagoeats

FAB TIP: Happy Hour specials available during the week from 5-7 p.m.

{Experience}
Overall, I would highly recommend this restaurant to a sushi lover or anyone just looking for a trendy hot spot to have a night out on the town with friends. The plates are on the smaller side but shareable so try a wide variety of items. I arrived at Katana with the expectation that it would be a fancy spot with an uptight vibe but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t. However, it still met my expectation of being a cool, trendy spot to go out to.

{Location}
Katana
River North || 339 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL || P: (312) 877-5544

{Price Range}
$$$$ (Above $65)

{Fab Rating: 4.5 Fabs}

Where is your fave spot to grab sushi? Share below.

Eat, Eat, Repeat,
Lisette

Note: This meal was complimentary. However, the views and opinions expressed herein are those of the writer.

The post Fab Review: Katana appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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Fab Food Chicago by Lisette Avila - 9M ago

Raisu opened in August 2017 in an unassuming location on Irving Park Road. Although they kept a low profile in the beginning, people are starting to notice the exceptional sushi they offer. Expect high quality fish that is beautifully presented.

The menu is quite extensive with a wide variety of appetizers, sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls. A few non-sushi entrées are available as well.

{Ambiance}
It is a smaller space so I recommend making a reservation, especially for dinner. It’s cozy and intimate, perfect for a quiet dinner to catch up with friends or for date night. 

Fab Review: Raisu // Interior // Photo: @topchicagoeats

The walls on the right side of the restaurant are painted beige with a pop of red. The space is decorated with colorful paintings throughout the restaurant.

Fab Review: Raisu // Wall Art // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Beyond the dining tables, the bar is adorned with lantern lights. This side of the restaurant has a mix of light and dark wood covering the walls, which gives it a contemporary feel.

Fab Review: Raisu // Bar // Photo: Raisu Japanese Fine Dining

{Food}
What makes this spot different than the well-known, trendy sushi restaurants downtown? They serve high quality fish (flown in from Japan) at an affordable price. Chef Simon Liew puts care and precision into every dish he makes.

Tuna Tartare
The Tuna Tartare was wrapped in fresh avocado with pickled onions, scallions, and sesame seeds. The sauce was slightly sweet and spicy. This was a mouthwatering, light appetizer.

Fab Review: Raisu // Tuna Tartare // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Golden Calamari
The Golden Calamari was lightly breaded. You could actually taste the calamari as opposed to just the breading. It came with cooked jalapeños that added the right amount of spice. It was served on a bed of greens with a light citrus dressing, which balanced out the fried dish.

Fab Review: Raisu // Golden Calamari // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Hon Maguro
The Hon Maguro sashimi was not quite what I expected. It was even better! Usually, sashimi is thin cuts of sliced fish with no flavors added. At Raisu, the large cuts of bluefin tuna were topped with sautéed shiitake mushrooms and pickled onions. The crispy pieces added some extra texture. There was a bit of special house dressing, which enhanced the natural flavor of the fish. The toppings were perfectly paired to complement the bluefin tuna.

Fab Review: Raisu // Hon Maguro // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Hamachi
The Hamachi was a refreshing, citrusy dish. It was served in a house vinegar sauce that tied the whole dish together. The grapefruit added a little bitterness, which paired well with the slight spiciness from the jalapeño.

Fab Review: Raisu // Hamachi // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Nigiri
Raisu is well-known for Chef Simon Liew’s signature Nigiri. Each order of signature Nigiri came with one piece of simple, traditional Nigiri and one piece of the signature version. The signature version was dressed and topped with a variety of ingredients depending on which type of fish you ordered.

Fab Review: Raisu // Aka Ebi, Madai, Unagi, and Sake Nigiri // Photo: Raisu Japanese Fine Dining

Whole Red Snapper
What really separates Raisu from other sushi restaurants is that they fly in fresh fish directly from Japan and other countries. The fresh catch rotates based on availability and is served sashimi-style. Not only does Raisu keep the price of their fish affordable, they also go above and beyond with presentation.

Fab Review: Raisu // Whole Red Snapper // Photo: Raisu Japanese Fine Dining

Hi Jack
The Hi Jack roll had tempura shrimp, but like the calamari dish, it wasn’t overly fried. I often find at other places, the tempura to be too overpowering because of the batter. You could taste the fresh shrimp in every bite in Raisu’s version. It was lightly topped with homemade spicy mayo, unagi sauce, scallions, and tobiko. This roll also had cream cheese, which I am usually skeptical about getting in maki rolls since it has a tendency to mask the flavor of the fish. However, only a small amount was used making this roll surprisingly tasty.

Fab Review: Raisu // Hi Jack // Photo: @fabsoopark

Inferno Dragon
The Inferno Dragon was literally lit. It came out with flaming fire. While this roll was complex with the many ingredients, the flavors complimented each other nicely. It was topped with white tuna, avocado, tobiko, spicy mayo, and a dash of hot sauce.

Fab Review: Raisu // Inferno Dragon // Photo: @fabsoopark

Omakase
While there were many great dishes to order off the menu, Raisu’s Omakase option should not be overlooked. Let your server know your budget and what your taste is and they will customize your Omakase experience. The Scallop Sashimi was just one of the amazing dishes that were part of the Omakase. The only way to find out what other excellent cuts of fish are included is to try it for yourself!

Fab Review: Raisu // Scallop Sashimi // Photo: Raisu Japanese Fine Dining

FAB TIP: Omakase available starting at $50.

Strawberry Crepe Cake 
I enjoyed the Strawberry Crepe Cake because it wasn’t too sweet. It was light and airy and not as dense as regular cake. Choose between strawberry or green tea cake flavors and with or without mochi. It satisfied my sweet tooth without leaving me on a sugar high.

Fab Review: Raisu // Strawberry Crepe Cake // Photo: @topchicagoeats

Dassai Beyond Sake
Last but not least, don’t forget to pick out sake to pair perfectly with your meal. You can find an extensive selection of sake at Raisu.

Fab Review: Raisu // Dassai Beyond Sake // Photo: Raisu Japanese Fine Dining

{Experience}
Overall, I have to say this is now one of my favorite spots for sushi in the city. It’s difficult to pick a favorite dish when everything was amazingly delicious in its own unique way. I also enjoyed the casual vibe with the approachable menu. It’s really reasonably priced for the high-quality sushi you get.

{Location}
Raisu
Irving Park || 2958 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL || P: (773) 961-7299

{Price Range}
$$ ($11-$36)

{Fab Rating: 4.5 Fabs}

Where is your fave spot for sushi in the city? Share below.

Eat, Eat, Repeat,
Lisette

Note: Some items were complimentary. However, the views and opinions expressed herein are those of the writer.

The post Fab Review: Raisu appeared first on Fab Food Chicago.

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