Travel

Chicago Part 2

by Koko on March 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Cooking, Travel, WCR

Over the weekend I realized I never finished recapping how much fun I had in Chicago during the rest of the Women’s Chefs conference. With a conference consisting of incredible women chefs, you have to know the food is going to be knock out. Each meal was unreal, mostly created with ingredients supplied by the sponsors (think Wisconsin Dairy (cheese), Gallo Winery (wine), In Harvest (grains), and Tabasco. This cute ramekin was filled with spicy hash and topped with a fried egg – to die for. Oh and that was only one out of maybe ten freshly made breakfast items available.

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For the big gala on Monday night, there were Kitchenaid centerpieces (my mom and I both were plotting to take one home) and more food than you could even imagine (check out that cheese plate, there were two of those per table!)).  photo 3

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On Tuesday, I took a few breakout classes. The first was about pairing beer and cheese. Apparently beer pairs better with cheese than wine does because of all the bubbles (clears your palette better between tastings). I learned about different craft beers and cheeses from smaller producers. Most importantly, I learned how to put an ideal tasting together (start with light cheeses and lagers and move towards blues and stout beers). I can’t wait for Q to get home so I can show off my new skills!

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My mom took a class on butchery where they butchered the whole lamb and talked about the different cuts and how to use them. I stepped in at the end trying to learn something to bring back for Q, but all I took away is that he is a far better butcher than I am.
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I met an amazing pizzeria chef, Ruth Gresser and bought her pizza book to give Q and my Friday night pizza tradition more excitement. Those of you in the DC area may know her for Pizzeria Paradiso IMG_1322

And then sadly, I had to fly home. My mom and I were both originally on mid-morning flights out, but with the storm that was hitting Chicago, we raced to the airport and got on earlier flights. Our earlier flights ended up being delayed until past our original flights, which ended up getting canceled. We were just glad to have gotten out of there. And this guy was very happy to have me home.

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Hello Chicago!

by Koko on March 10, 2014 · 3 comments

in Restaurants, Travel, WCR

Hi friends! On Saturday, I hopped on a plane to the Windy City for the annual Women’s Chefs Conference (last year my mom and I went to it in San Francisco). WCR is an organization of women in the food industry (chefs, restaurant owners, writers, farmers, sommeliers, bartenders, front of the house people) who support each other in this mainly male-dominated industry.  It is an AWESOME conference to attend and I always leave so inspired.

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I came in a day early to have dinner with my best friend from college and meet her 9-month-old daughter for the first time. It was love at first sight. We went to a lovely restaurant called Tavernita in the city and had delicious American-style tapas.

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Yesterday, I signed up to go on a food photography tour. The tour took us to Stephen Hamilton‘s photo studio in the heart of the city. We had a fun lunch before learning about food styling, photographing food and the challenges that come with food and photography for restaurants (diners taking photos of your food under bad lighting and what it does for the PR of your restaurant- interesting stuff).

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Then we stopped by a local apple brandy distillery, Rhine Hall, where we toured the distillery and learned how to make alcohol from apples. The company’s story is a so sweet- a daughter and her father opening the family business after learning about the process in Austria. Oh and the daughter is only 26 and owns and manages the distillery on her own- very inspiring (although the brandy business isn’t for me, I had about one sip and that was it).

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And then last night, my mom and I ventured across the street to The Purple Pig, a hip local restaurant that features what its name suggests: wine and pig- the food and drinks were superb!

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Today, we have some sessions on keeping the food industry green financially and economically and also on creating a brand for yourself. Tonight is the big gala dinner at the Art Institute of Chicago- looking forward to it.

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Asheville

by Koko on January 21, 2014 · 2 comments

in Travel

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This weekend we roadtripped up to Asheville, North Carolina to spend the weekend with our good friends, The Bulls. We haven’t been able to get together since we both moved out of Alaska and we thought Asheville would be a good meeting spot. It took us about 5 hours and it took them about 4, so it was right in the middle.

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Asheville is known for its great food and fun, local breweries (there are 17 located in the town!). We loved seeing the town and exploring the different areas of the city. We definitely recommend The Junction for brunch or dinner (fabulous!), The Circle in the Square for pizza and Hi Wire Brewery (great atmosphere).

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We rented a GREAT house on airbnb, which is a website where you rent homes and apartments from people. We loved staying in a home and being able to cook dinner all together and hang around in one big room rather than stay in a hotel. And it was WAY more affordable! We took long walks with the dogs around the neighborhood and truly made ourselves at home. I would highly recommend looking on airbnb before heading out on a trip.

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It was SO fun to just pick a city and a weekend and just go! We had the best time just hanging out and enjoying our friends in a new place. The real question is: where should we travel to next??

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Winter Break

by Koko on December 28, 2013 · 0 comments

in Travel

Has it really been a week since we have been home? Since our schedules have been so hectic recently, Q and my goal this break has been to just relax, have no agenda and spend time together. This trip was also Carl’s first visit to LA and he has been loving every minute of it.

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One great week down, one great week to go!

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