October dinner at work

October 29th I was honored with tickets to a fancy dinner. For those of you familiar with Floriole’s monthly dinners you know they really are quite spectacular. I still can’t believe that a café that has perfected breakfast and lunch can create food that, in my opinion, is fair competition to any dinner joint in town. The most recent three-courser drew inspiration from fall fare.

This is a place that produces each and every item served on the menu from their little (efficient) kitchen space. I mean everything — the bread to the preserves, pastries to the candies, tarts and the rooftop herbs garnishing the housemade soup. Everything. What an honor to work there.

Food: butternut squash apple soup with pumpernickel croutons and kale chips
Place: Floriole Café & Bakery
1220 W. Webster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614


Red wine braised short ribs, potato purée, roasted root vegetables, gravy (more kale chips)


Warm apple tart, brown butter/apple cider ice cream


Impressive, no? Next month’s dinner: November 13th, goose cassoulet. Uhhh, yum?


tandoori chicken

Indian for lunch. I felt like meat (a bi-annual craving), but still went white. All-in-all, impressed. Hit the “meat spot,” if you will. The tandoori tasted BBQ-y. The lamb lit my mouth pleasantly on fire.

Food: tandoori chicken, lamb in spicy mystery green sauce, rice, mango lassi
Place: Essence of India
4601 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Sometimes I can’t understand the logic behind garnishes/accompaniments — take the shredded carrots, raw white onion, and undressed greens here. Do they….think I’m going to eat that with my rice?

Stay tuned — fancy dinner tomorrow evening at my place of employment, Floriole!


aaand…. revamp!

I know I have said it before, “I’m sorry I haven’t updated this in a while!” “Whew, it feels like it’s been a long time since a blog post!” blah, blah, blah…

I think the roadblock to keeping this blog current, my hang up if you will, was simple: I read so many gorgeous, well-written, *ahem* commercially funded food blogs, how could mine ever compare? How could I ever be able to spend enough time and give enough energy to a blog instructing people what/how to cook? Showing everyone my beautifully grown-up kitchen? Showcasing spotless photos of magazine-quality plated dishes? The answer is simple: I can’t.

Writing this truly does make me happy. I just need to add fulfillment in there too. So, I need to go another direction. Now here at allisoncooks, I will not only show you what I have prepared in my kitchen, but also foods I have sampled around Chicago. I take pictures of everything I’m about to eat anyway — why not just post them up with a little blurb?

Food: croque monsieur, greens, iced coffee (and Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk — meh, it was just OK)
Place: Café Selmarie
4729 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

The vinaigrette was nice and zippy. I could have gone for a little more béchamel on the croque, but my thighs are probably happier there wasn’t.


Tomorrow it is supposed to dip into the 40’s here. Jacket –> coat?