Anyone who knows me knows I love numbers.  Big , small, rational or irrational, I look at numbers and my brain fires up.  (Okay, I am a little OCD and I just love to count things.) So the first time I saw there was a restaurant called N9NE Steakhouse, I was intrigued. This past Friday, I had the WONDERFUL pleasure of dining at N9NE Steakhouse in Chicago and thought I’d count down my Top Nine Reasons to Dine at N9NE.  (I could come up with more reasons but I’m trying to be cute!) NINE REASONS TO DINE AT N9NE STEAKHOUSE 1.  FOOD:  I wouldn’t be aRead More →

Arghhh!  VEGETABLES!!!  They have been my archenemy for years.  I have despised them and once even vowed to rid the planet of their evil presence.  (Okay maybe not the planet but I sent my visual death rays at my mom’s garden each time I walked by it.) I didn’t like vegetables for two very good reasons.  First, vegetables and Crohn’s disease don’t mix.  Veggies equaled stomachaches so therefore they were bad to me.   (In all fairness, everything gives me a stomachache but as a kid I was sure that veggies were the only culprit.) My other good reason is that I just couldn’t appreciate theirRead More →

Once upon a time there was nice young (age is relative) blogger who started a vegetable garden in her yard.  It wasn’t a big garden but it was enough to keep her away from her computer for the last week. She looked at her calendar and said, “Oh my, I need to write a blog.”  (Actually she said a four-letter word instead of “my” but let’s keep this “G” rated.) “I think I will go for a walk in the wilderness to help come up with some witty things to say.”  She drove to the forest and got out of the car with her faithfulRead More →

Surprises.  They happen every day and are around every corner.  I think surprises are one of the most exciting parts about food.  You can take one ingredient and prepare it many different ways.  It can taste completely unique even if it is something that has been around for years. So when I was invited to a preview luncheon at the new Season’s 52 opening May 21, 2012 in Oakbrook, IL.  I wasn’t expecting any surprises.  I already knew their seasonally inspired menu would be delicious.  I knew that the dishes presented to me were going to be under 475 calories and yet full of flavor. Read More →

There are a lot of things I like about going out to breakfast.  Most restaurants have some sort of fun dish that I wouldn’t take time to make at home.  Or maybe they carry a unique ingredient that is hard to find.  But  what really gets me excited is when I see something absolutely BONKERS on a menu.   (I love when I can use bonkers in a sentence.) I was out to breakfast with the girls last month and we were trying out a new place.  The menu had its usual bacon and egg fare and a really good coffee menu.  But it was pancakeRead More →

You walk into the grocery store and go down the aisles.  You buy the items you need.  You aren’t given the option to taste everything you buy or in some cases know where it is made.  You do it because, in most cases, that is your only option. But let’s say you could go into a store and taste everything you were going to buy AND receive helpful cooking advice.  Would you do it? If you answered yes, then I have the store for all of your olive oil and balsamic vinegar needs.  The Olive Branch in Granger (Notre Dame Country), Indiana, is a storeRead More →

There is nothing more exciting in a small town than the opening of a new restaurant.  (If you read the headlines on our front page you will realize the truth in that statement!)  It can be anything from a small independent sandwich shop to a larger franchise coming to the area.  If it involves new food, people will come.  (Heck, the food doesn’t even have to be new, people will still come!) So about 3 or 4 years ago, a little Mexican restaurant opened up in a neighboring small town.  It was a pretty neat place because it didn’t serve only the usual “Americanized” MexicanRead More →

Happy May, Everyone!  Besides the obvious weather advantages, there is something else about May that I love and that is the re-opening of many Farmer’s Markets.  Are you familiar with them?  (And no ladies, it is not a place to shop for hot looking farmers.) Farmer’s Markets are market places set up with stalls or booths.  In these booths, you will find some of the most amazing local food a person can imagine.  It is your town’s way of giving you the opportunity to truly serve food from farm to table. The backbone of our country, the rural communities are your best bet for findingRead More →