Sorry it’s been so long! I’ve missed you guys!

Heeeeey Peeps!

I know it’s been like FOREVER since I’ve posted and for that I am truly sorry. I have been super swamped but I think I have a handle on things and I am back and ready! I’ve been to some interesting places and I’m anxious to share them with you! I am in the process of moving my blog to another site and it will be bigger and better than ever! Hopefully, this process will be done before Christmas and I can get a 2011 recap post out. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you on the other side of the blog!

Looking for a Georgia Peach Cobbler

Hey Y’all!

The Rhoyal Socialite has found herself in the Peach State in the city of Atlanta! It is indeed the south and me being the foodie I am, after checking out the sites, I am looking for some good southern cuisine. In line with being in the land of peaches, I am on a quest to find some good peach cobbler. 

Finding out what’s good here hasn’t been so easy. I’ve asked a few natives and didn’t really get many answers (obviously, I haven’t  ran into the right person yet). So continues my journey of fun, relaxation, vacation and food…. I will check back in later….

Peaches! 

Hit me up on Twitter

@rhoyalsocialite

It’s Deli-cious!

Shout out to all my tweeps on #foodiechat Monday nights on Twitter! It is an awesome group of foodies who come together to discuss food, exchange tips, recipes and advice all while having a good time. Through #foodiechat, I won a free meal at Steve’s Deli in River North in Chicago and with my love of sandwiches; I couldn’t wait to get there.

I went on a Thursday evening for dinner and walked into a store on one side, a hot bar of dinner items in front of me and a dining room on the other side.


 I was greeted and seated in a super cute space that reminded me of a 50s diner with a hint of Roman Collosseum. It was a different look I had not seen before but it was pristine and kinda fun.

I opened up the menu and everything sounded delish!

There was a mix of kosher hot food and deli items and after much deliberation, I settled on the hot corn beef combination sandwich with swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing served on a crispy rye bread.

Let’s start with the bread. It was soft, extra fresh with slightly tough edges that were chewy and delicate. The coleslaw had a vinegary tang and a nice crunch. Now for the star of the show, the corn beef… Never, have I ever had corn beef so lean, so flavorful and so tender, I almost didn’t need my teeth to chew it!

 It was sliced to a perfect thinness, moist and with the other sandwich components,  it was hands down the best corn beef sandwich I have had to date! 110% delish! I added a little mustard (in a bottle with their own label on it might I add) and it was phenomenal!

We even had a very attentive soft spoken server named James who made the experience that much better.

I give Steve’s Deli a coveted 5 crowns! 

Great place, great service, excellent sandwiches! Steve’s Deli is deli-cious!

Recommendation? Questions? Comments? Hit me up on Twitter @Rhoyalsocialite

It’s in the Mix

Major shout out to Groupon for having their $1 deal of the day in Chicago back in the summer. That was great publicity for them and a great time to try a few new spots and get some cheap eats. Way to go Groupon! Among my dollar tilapia dinner and my dollar slab of ribs was a special that allowed me to check out a new bakery I had not seen or heard of before, Chi, in the south  loop.


Chi was a cute little spot with an inside that was very new and very clean. Because of Groupon, there was a line of about 10 people waiting while they bake and frost cupcakes. The young man working there (who I assumed was some sort of manager) was extremely nice, made conversation and continuous announcements to keep the crowd patient and informed and even passed out broken cookie dots (a term I made up for the very small cookies he broke up) as samples. Lucky for him, everyone was very understanding and pleasant. Maybe cookie dots small enough to go into a cavity did the trick.

In any case, after about 15 minutes, I finally settled for what was in the case because I had other Groupons to cash in on and had to leave. I got 2 yellow chocolate cupcakes, 2 yellow cake with carmel and two strawberry cupcakes with some kind of frosting. I don’t exactly remember what kind of frosting, but there is a good reason for that.

I opened up the yellow chocolate and examined it. The cupcake was very very yellow, kinda spongy and had a very familiar smell. Once I bit into it, the mystery was solved: this cupcake was pure, unadulterated, unaltered, unequivocal CAKE MIX! Baked good foodies, please try not to faint. I know this is pure BLASPHEMY! Straight cake mix! Just to confirm my suspicions, I had the expert foodie and top homemade baker who birthed me give a second opinion and after breaking open a few, smelling and sampling, she confirmed it was indeed cake mix. I even tasted the strawberry cupcake that was exactly the strawberry mix sold in stores. I was shocked, appalled and thoroughly disgusted! No offense to cake mix makers and bakers, but I do not partake. I enjoy the fresh, pure taste of baked goods from scratch and it is highly disappointing that an establishment would actually open its doors and sell cake mix that they are unable to mask and at least make me THINK it’s not in there. How dreadful!

I give Chi Bakery 2 crowns:   one for being clean and one for the head counter fella being kind, but I cannot excuse trying to sell me a cake mix cupcake….shame on y’all!

Hit me up on Twitter @rhoyalsocialite

Have a rhoyaltastic weekend!

 

The Valuables in the Vault

 I love places with creative marketing concepts and innovative business strategies and this place has both. I was told about a place who sells donuts by opening when the donuts are ready and close for the day when they are sold out. They keep their Twitter updated for opening, how many people are in line (yes, they are known to have 30, 40 and 50+ people in line), how many of which flavors are still left, and to say “Sold out! See you tomorrow.” Brilliant! So with a place creating that much buzz on a marketing budget the cost of a tweet, I had to go check out Doughnut Vault for myself.

My friend and I decided to head to them one Tuesday around 9:20am after I read that there were only 10 people in line and plenty of flavors left. By the time we got there, those 10 had vanished and no one was standing outside…even better!

The outside was cute. It had a little vintage café feel to it with a little patio of a few tables and chairs out front. The menu is right outside painted on the brick, so there is no question of your choices, and since the choices are limited, it should be fairly easy to make your decisions. Good thing the menu is outside, because the inside isn’t big enough for a flea to give birth. There were 4 people in line ahead of me, I was in the back of the line, and no one else could get in.

This is truly a hideaway, but it really is cute, like being inside a brick oven complete with complimentary lemon water. How thoughtful!

So after a short deliberation, I decided to try the chocolate donut, the buttermilk donut(which is similar to a cake donut), the chestnut donut and the gingerbread stack (so almost everything).

The chocolate donut has a vanilla glaze and then he was partially dipped in chocolate. Sounds like a lot going on but I must say it actually worked!

The donut was extraordinarily soft and so was the chocolate! It was extra fresh, extremely tender and just plain delicious! The chocolate was rich, slightly decadent and coupled with the vanilla gave the perfect sweetness! Although the donut was huge, I couldn’t actually stop until I finished the entire thing. It truly is THAT good!

Chestnut: same size, equally as delish. The chestnut glaze gave it a good flavor that wasn’t overwhelming on the same tender donut. Perfection!

Buttermilk and gingerbread (which came in a stack of three) had the same story: soft, light, fresh, delish. The gingerbread had a cinnamon/spiced sugar mixture on them that was excellent! I see why people stand in line for these things, they are addictive.

My only concern was that my chocolate donut was placed in a bag, which captured a good portion of my chocolate, as you can tell by the picture.

I’m the kinda girl who will fight for my chocolate and don’t mind taking on a bag, but I wasn’t in the mood to put tongue to paper, so that was a problem for me. I wanted all the chocolate ON my donut.

Everything else was great and I give The Doughnut Vault a big, round 4 crowns ! I look forward to my next trip to the hidden gem for my chocolate donut, but in a box please?

Life’s a Burrito Beach

Shout out to all those who were on #Foodiechat last Monday on Twitter! It was awesome! Not only did I have a fun chat and meet new and interesting people, I also won a tweet contest from Burrito Beach. Because of my love of all things Mexican, I headed straight down to the beach the next day.

This is usually the part of the post where I give you descriptions of the ambiance, décor, service, blah, blah, blah.  I had to park in a loading zone and run in so I didn’t get the pleasure of dining in.  Also, I really just wanna cut to the chase, meaning the food, so I’ll make this part short and sweet. Décor=fine, service=fine, other=fine. Now on to the good stuff…

After combing the extensive menu online filled with burritos, tacos, salads and even quesadillas, the baja chicken burrito (one of their signature burritos) called me by name.  After reading the description of grilled chipotle chicken with fat-free black beans, white citrus rice, corn relish, onion-cilantro mix, Jack cheese, romaine lettuce + sour cream, I didn’t hesitate to answer: YES! I’M COMING!

There were so many things to choose from and everything looked fresh and appetizing. They even had a tortilla choice of flour, wheat or spinach. As much as I wanted everything, I settled on the following burrito fillings;

  • Red rice-which I was told was rice with tomato juice
  •   Baja Chicken
  •  Romaine lettuce
  • Mild salsa-not too thin, not too chunky
  • Corn medium salsa
  • Sour cream-which was thin like Crema 
  •  Monterey jack cheese
  •  Little bit of nacho cheese
  •  Red onion and cilantro mixture 
  •  Black beans

All that rolled into my spinach tortilla with a side of guacamole and chips and I was ready to dig in. With the very first bite, I tasted a combination of flavors that just danced on my tongue. It was a fresh, extra savory waltz with the right amount of heat and spice. Unbelievable!  The chicken was seasoned to perfection and extremely tender. The crunch of the romaine and red onions and even the slightly underdone black beans made this burrito phenomenal! The sauces and cheeses was the finale that tied it all together. This is by far the best burrito I ever put in my mouth! Beyond scrumptious!

The guacamole was chunky and delightful and the chips had no salt and a hint of lime. Perfection!

I give Burrito Beach a coveted 5 crowns!

If life is a Burrito Beach, then life is truly good…

Feel free to comment or recommend where I should visit next.

Find me on Twitter @rhoyalsocialite

Last day of the 127 sale for 2011. More posts to come!

Last day of the 127 sale for 2011. More posts to come!

My first 127 Sale purchase: mini stainless steal garbage can $.50

My first 127 Sale purchase: mini stainless steal garbage can $.50

I am less than 24 hours away from the 127 Sale also known as the World’s Largest Yard sale that spans almost 700 miles from Alabama to Ohio. Miles upon glorious miles of junk, I mean stuff, to cipher through looking for treasures. Last year was my first time and now I am gearing up for my second annual trip. I will bring you updates throughout my journey and post some of my awesome finds! Nite all!

I am less than 24 hours away from the 127 Sale also known as the World’s Largest Yard sale that spans almost 700 miles from Alabama to Ohio. Miles upon glorious miles of junk, I mean stuff, to cipher through looking for treasures. Last year was my first time and now I am gearing up for my second annual trip. I will bring you updates throughout my journey and post some of my awesome finds! Nite all!

A Cupcake Dollhouse

While standing in my favorite bagel spot in downtown Naperville, I so happened to have looked out the window and spotted this cute little pink frame storefront that caught my attention then the name caught my eye, Sugar Monkey Cupcakes. Interesting name, huh?

As you know, cupcakes are all the rage now. They are like the Justin Bieber of cakes…even if you’re not at all interested in them, you have to admit they are kinda cute. Well cupcakes (unlike Mr. Bieb) are my thing, so I scurried across the street to get a closer look.

The inside was just as cute as the outside-very colorful and inviting. (I would have taken a picture inside, but I didn’t wanna look suspicious or creepy). My eyes quickly went away from the décor over to the case that was laced with all manner of little sweet treats. Everything was so cute and the names sounded so tasty, but I settled on a chocolate raspberry, a cookies and cream and a banana fluffer nutter (what a name).

I sunk my pegs (another name for teeth, of course) into the choco raspberry first. It was a chocolate cupcake with a chocolate frosting and a dot of raspberry frosting in the middle of the chocolate frosting. It was actually good; a little dense, but that is a true sign of it being homemade. The cupcake was probably in the oven 90 seconds too long (real bakers know this changes the moisture) but it was not dry and to the untrained “buds” it probably makes no difference at all. It was still a good cupcake.

The ·banana fluffer nutter is described as a banana cake stuffed with marshmallow fluff and topped with peanut butter frosting. Sounds like an Elvis special and the king would be proud because it was quite different and surprisingly good. It was a little sweet and so heavy I felt like I had eaten a meal, but otherwise I was pleased. This is a cupcake’s cupcake.

              

I must admit, I did not get a chance to eat the cookies and cream cupcake (oops) but I am sure it was as tasty as the others. It certainly looked tasty, anyway.

I give Sugar Monkeys 4 crowns .  Cute spot, good cupcakes, original combos and flavors. I will definitely go back and try something else and let you know how that turns out.

Where shall I go next?? Suggestions welcome! Hit me on twitter @rhoyalsocialite

 

Yoberri is Berry Good

So, I stumbled upon this cute little frozen yogurt shop while hanging out at another spot near by in Lincoln Park. I typically don’t like yogurt, but frozen yogurt is like ice cream right?

Yeah, pretty much….

So, in I went to a place with a few flavors of yogurt and some little buckets of little toppings, how cute. I settled on a half chocolate, half banana frozen yogurt with a topping of almond slivers.

The yogurt had a really good, bold flavor. It wasn’t too “yogurty” but was very smooth and creamy. The chocolate had a slight after taste, kinda like it might have came from a mix (that powdery mix after taste) but I avoided that by continuting to eat…and only 24 calories an ounce, this just might be a winner. I give Yoberri 5 crowns. Smooth, tasty with no guilt…best combo in the world!

Happy 4th of July Everyone! I promise some new posts will be coming this week. Stay tuned!

Happy 4th of July Everyone! I promise some new posts will be coming this week. Stay tuned!

This “May” Just be the Worst I’ve Ever Eaten

I’m a sucker for Latin cuisine. I think I’m actually part Mexican (well, part of my “love lumps” are due to my many guacamole raids). But I absolutely love Latin food. I cherish the flavors, bathe in the aromas, and lust after the array of spices and colors. It is truly a love affair. So when I heard of the eclectic mix of Puerto Rican, Mexican and Cuban influences May St. Café had to offer, my heart skipped a beat and I skipped right on over.

I first did my homework and read reviews: they were a generous mix of good and not so good but mostly great. People raved about the chicken mole (which I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE! Did I mention Love?) and typically complained about the price of drinks and the price of the entrees. I didn’t plan to consume alcohol, so no worries there but I was prepared to risk eviction by spending my rent money on the meal. I can safely say after looking at the menu, that wasn’t at all necessary. It was modestly priced. Most reviews said make a reservation and that I did, but when I pulled into the lot, there was only one other car and that was my lunch companion. Hummmm….12:30pm on a Friday and no cars? Ahhhh, maybe they get mostly foot traffic…

I entered to see only one other table of people which blows my foot traffic theory but so what, I actually despise crowded restaurants. Moving right along…

The inside was extremely warm and cozy. Smaller than it looked on the outside (and the outside looks very small) but very cute. It reminded me of a cute living room in Costa Rica (although I’ve never been, allow me to imagine). There were couch like benches covered with a rich chocolate brown fabric that lines the wall with throw pillows and wooden chairs on the other side. The room was kinda dark but it was comfortable. Definitely got a few points for ambiance!

We were given a lunch menu, which I did not see online which wasn’t terribly extensive but for those of us who have a hard time choosing a dish, a small menu is sometimes appreciated. It consisted of simple and traditional sounding fare: tacos, burritos, one burger and some other stuff, however I CAME FOR THE MOLE! So, I asked the waitress if I could order that from the dinner menu and she said she could make it for me. Two more points for being accommodating. LOVE IT!

So my friend and I ordered the guac which also came with the house made salsa. Here began the downward spiral of the relationship status changing to “ it’s complicated”  (thank you facebook).The guac and salsa came presented very pretty, as you can see. 

There was even a huge plantain chip sticking out. How cute. However, the poor guac was terribly salty and didn’t have much flavor. I wonder if any cilantro had even been in the same room with the guac? I didn’t see any, but if anything was in there, the salt washed the flavor away. The salsa was no more than a chipotle or adobo sauce. No chunks, no onions, just a dark, brownish-red ketchup. It had a slight bite (heat wise) but definitely not something I want to eat a lot of on what appeared to NOT be homemade chips (who does that?). Moving on, I ordered the allegedly scrumptious chicken mole which was described as “delectable” in more than a few reviews. 

Mole is usually delish, even out of the can sold in the store, but maybe I should have seen them make it because I tasted NOTHING, NADA, NiENTE! The sauce was terribly bland and so was the chicken breast. No seasoning, no salt, no herbs, nothing. I understand that mole usually goes over boiled chicken, but couldn’t they at least flavor the water if they couldn’t flavor the sauce? HIGHLY DISSAPOINTING! It came with an even more flavorless ball of rice, some grilled squash, zucchini, and a grilled red pepper. Hard to mess that up, it was edible at best. Even the coke was weak, yet more disappointment set in.

My motto is a restaurant is usually only as good as its dessert, so I held out hope for the little place. Food Network has a show called the “Best Thing I Ever Ate Chocolate” and a chef talked about the delectable white chocolate flan. 

 

It did look good, so I ordered it and my friend ordered the chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream….. BIG BIG BIG SIGH….and not of relief. The romance had officially ended, we broke up and I am so scorned that I slashed all his tires. The chocolate cake tasted like it had a cake mix based and was cooked 10 minutes too long.  

 The flan was so small I needed bifocals to see it.  It was the best thing I ate at that meal (which isn’t saying anything) and it was creamy, but that was it….

The waitress was moderately friendly and the chef came to ask how was everything. I said fine and left it at that, after all, he wasn’t gonna change his recipe on my behalf, but the cuisine definitely didn’t live up to my hot blooded Latina taste buds.

So, as I prepare to nurse my broken heart back to life, I give May St. Café one crown for being cozy and I drop a few tears in agony for being a scorned lover. I need a bag of cookies and a pint of ice cream to heal… or another Latin romance….stay tuned…..

Rich and Beany

 

So now that it is officially autumn in Chicago and winter is only a degree or two away, I start to crave some chilli. Thick, rich, hot, meaty, dark (am I still talking about chilli?) goodness in a bowl. So when I’m not pawing at my mother’s door looking for it (because she has the best chilli in the midwest by far) then I am on the hunt for it. My hunger and my quest took me to Wendy’s because everyone says Wendy’s has good chilli. So off I went to see the little girl with the red pigtails (is that still their mascot?). Got my chilli (and I asked them to add cheese and onions which is a must), sat down, and after I added the watery chilli sauce in the little gold packet, some crackers and some sour cream, I dug in. The flavor was actually decent and I did meet one ball of meat on my journey but what I then found was a bean festival! A bean bonanza! A bean extravaganza! A party of beans great and small! Beans of all races, colors and creeds! Now, I’m not against a lentil or two, but this was ridiculous! I began to spit them out only HALF way through and I wish I had taken a picture of how many beans were on my napkin which is more than I bargained for, but I did not want anyone to upchuck their lives…so Wendy, hunny chile, you get 1 crown for flavor and 10 gags for all those pesky beans….and so my journey continues…

Beat it to the Bongo Room!

Bongos/beating/get it? Anyway, I had the fortunate pleasure of checking out one of the trendiest brunch spots in the city. The Bongo Room in Wicker Park. This place had rave reviews and pictures that made me wanna eat the screen. They also talked about the wait that was so long you’ll start to go gray, so a friend and I decided to go towards the end of the day, 1pm on a Sunday. (They close at 2pm) We got there and put our name on the list and then stood outside with the rest of the anxious soon to be patrons. Since the weather wasn’t too bad and my friend and I were catching up, it didn’t seem that long. In all, it may have been 30 minutes, but I can see how that may be a problem had it been a typical Chicago winter day.

Moving right along, the inside was small, clean and kinda trendy. They had a counter and what appears to be a somewhat open kitchen in the back. The servers were pleasant, dressed in plain clothes and had no order pads, but somehow it worked. My first food experience with them was the coffee and it was superb! I don’t profess to be a coffee expert or nothing, but I know a strong coffee blend when I taste one. No flavored creams, but the coffee was so good I didn’t notice. They even served it in a personalized Bongo Room mug.

The menu wasn’t huge and super extensive, which i like. When there are too many choices, several things come to mind: one, what on earth shall I choose and two, there is no way all of these items are fresh, tasty, or cooked properly. It was tough enough with the choices given because EVEYTHING sounded great and EVERYTHING coming to other tables looked divine. After some mental deliberation, the verdict was in and I choose the French Toast Brioche with a compote of cherries and apples, with a vanilla mascarpone topped with granola. 

Can I tell you that I will never eat regular French toast again?? This dish was better than fantastic! The bread was light, the flavors meld together perfect and it wasn’t too sweet. 

The portions were generous, but for $11.75, who would complain about that, except the bird eater I went with, but I digress. I also ordered the hash browns and the Thai chicken sausage. The browns were red potatoes chopped largely and sautéed with onions, herbs and spices. (Did I see a sprig of rosemary?) The chicken sausage had a good flavor but was a tad on the dry side. 

My friend had the half order of pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin whipped cream and pecans. That too was delicious. The pancakes were moist with the right hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.

As you can see, even the half portion was generous. (As was continuously pointed out by Mrs. Bird Appetite who went along with me. Don’t you hate people like that??)

Overall, I give The Bongo Room in Wicker Park 5 crowns. 

 I found no fault with the food or the service. I will definitely go back!