Roy’s Archive



January 2013



Chicago First Bites Bash 2013

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants, Uncategorized

My first post of 2013!  Better late than never right?!  Last night I attended Choose Chicago’s First Bites Bash at Union Station, the kick-off event for Chicago’s 2013 Restaurant Week, benefiting the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.  In short, it was THE best food-centered event I’ve attended here in Chicago…and you definitely didn’t need to be a “foodie” to enjoy it!

Chicago First Bites Bash 2013

First off, Union Station’s Great Hall is an absolutely gorgeous space for an event and last night it was glowing purple and looking stunning!

Chicago First Bites Bash 2013

My friend and I arrived when the doors first opened and there was a large crowd waiting to get in and check coats, but nothing unbearable.  In fact, even when we were leaving around 8p and more people had arrived, there was still space to move around and you didn’t feel overwhelmed.  I attended the Chicago’s Table event back in October and that event was insanely overcrowded and they ran out of food and drink before the event even ended.  I think the large space of Union Station and the 50+ restaurants (compared to Chicago’s Tables 13) helped spread out the crowds, although they probably could’ve used more bathrooms and few more garbage cans!

First Bites Bash 2013

So…onto the food!  We had a TON of great bites…so many that we couldn’t get to all the restaurants because we were so stuffed!  There were a few misses, but mostly wins!  Everyone was incredibly friendly and so excited for us to be trying their dishes.  My personal winner for the night was Siena Tavern’s Truffle Gnocchi.

Siena Tavern-Truffle Gnocchi

Siena Tavern’s Truffle Gnocchi topped with bacon

Siena Tavern is Fabio Viviani’s new Italian restaurant opening at 51 W. Kinzie in February.  Yes, Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  This creamy, truffle-y, bacon-y bite was enough to convince me that I need to get there ASAP!  Along with Siena Tavern, honorable mentions also go out to Chicago q’s Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders served by the lovely Lee Ann Whippen herself, Bakersfield’s delicious Oxtail Bites, Flo and Santos’ Potato and Cheese Pierogi with apple bacon slaw (who doesn’t love Pierogis?!), Roy’s Maine Lobster Dim Sum (always my favorite app when I visit Roy’s!), Nellcôte’s Chestnut Agnolotti, Signature Room at the 95th’s Braised Short Rib, Untitled’s Grit Cakes with Tomato Jam and the tasty Gin cocktail they were serving, and IPO’s 48 Hour Beef Short Ribs.

Lee Ann Whippen and at Chicago q

Lee Ann Whippen at Chicago q

IPO's 48 Hour Beef Short Rib

IPO’s 48 Hour Beef Short Rib

First Bites Bash 2013

First Bites Bash 2013

Libations were also flowing freely at the First Bites Bash-Peroni and Blue moon provided the beer but there were also tons of other drink stations to be found amongst the food.  Wine, Effen vodka, Maker’s Mark, Absolut, and Patron were just a few of the brands served in various mixtures, keeping everyone happy!


First Bites Bash 2013

And if all that wasn’t enough…Enter:  The Sweet Relief Lounge.  One of the wings off the Great Hall was transformed into a mini-heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth.  Chocolate Marquis from ZED451, Dark Chocolate Caramel-Filled Cupcakes from The Berghoff Restaurant, Semi-Freddo on a Stick from Terzo Piano, Chocolate Whoopie Pies from Table Fifty-Two, Chocolate Mousse from Mon Ami Gabi, the crazy spread of treats from Magnolia Bakery, and my favorite dessert of the night-the Butterscotch Custard Cream from Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba.  I wanted to lick my cup clean, it was sooooo good!!

Magnolia Bakery's spread

Magnolia Bakery’s spread

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba's AMAZING Butterscotch Custard Cream

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba’s AMAZING Butterscotch Custard Cream

They also had a photo booth back in the Sweet Relief Lounge with props for a fun photo-op.  At this point we were ready for someone to roll us out of there-just so much delicious food!  This was such an amazing event and if people weren’t excited for Chicago’s Restaurant Week, I’m sure they are after last night!  I left a stuffed, tipsy, happy girl!

First Bites Bash 2013



August 2012



Kauai: Day 3

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

Another beautiful morning in Princeville!  Today we woke to the sight of a rainbow right outside our window.

Kauai, St Regis, Princeville, Rainbow

Today we picked up our car and headed south and around to the other side of the island with our end destination being Waimea Canyon.  Heading west would actually be a quicker route to the canyon, but the island doesn’t have a road that goes all he way around-so that means we pretty much drove the entire length of the main island road in a day-kind of crazy, but we stopped and got to check out a lot of cool things along the way!

Kauai’s main road

To fuel up before our big day of sightseeing we stopped for breakfast at Kilauea Bakery and it was awesome!  So cute and tiny with great bagels, sweets, and other breakfast goodies-we will definitely be making a return trip or two here!

Kauai, Kilauea Bakery

After breakfast we made our first sightseeing stop of the day at the Kilauea Lighthouse.  You could only look from afar, but it was definitely a postcard worthy view.

Kauai, Kilauea Lighthouse

After the lighthouse we headed south, stopping at two waterfalls along the way-Opaeka’a Falls and Wailua Falls-the later being the famed falls from the opening credits of Fantasy Island.

Kauai, Opaeka'a Falls

Kauai, Wailua River

Kauai, Wailua Falls

One thing we learned as soon as we got off the plane was that there are chickens and roosters EVERYWHERE on the island.  Apparently a while back the chickens were all in one place on the island, a big cock fighting operation.  A hurricane hit and all the chickens and roosters got loose and are now all over the island.

Kauai, Waimea Canyon

Once we got a few waterfalls in we were on a mission to get to Waimea canyon-the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and once we got there it was awesome.  The windy roads up to the top made us a little nauseous but the views once we got there were well worth it!

Kauai, Waimea Canyon

Kauai, Waimea Canyon

Kauai, Waimea Canyon

Kauai, Waimea Canyon

After our stop at the canyon, we continued on the windy road and made it to the top for the most amazing view of the Kalalau valley.  The bright green on the mountains and the beautiful blue of the ocean were overwhelming to take in.  It really felt surreal to be seeing this stuff in real life, I’m looking forward to looking back at these pictures time and time again to remind myself that I was ACTUALLY there!

Kauai, Kalalau valley

After finally making it to the top, we wound down the mountain and headed back towards Princeville.  Along the way we made a stop at the Kauai Coffee Co and, for lunch, Puka Dog.  Puka Dog makes hot dogs like you’ve never seen before.  The bun is hollowed out in the middle and they offer a bunch of tropical relishes to put in there.  It was delicious and I only wish we were staying closer so we could have another!

Kauai Coffee

Kauai, Puka Dog

Kauai, Puka Dog

After enjoying our Puka Dogs in Poipu, we made our way (through ridiculous traffic) back to the St. Regis to clean up and head out to dinner.  Since we had such a long day we opted to stay close by, so I chose The Tavern at the Prince Golf Course. The Tavern at Princeville is actually owned by Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s and Top Chef Masters fame…if you’ve ever eaten at Roy’s, The Tavern is pretty much the polar opposite!  The Tavern specializes in comfort food-and comforted we were!  After this meal we were more than ready to get back to our hotel and pass out from the food comas we were in.

Kauai, Princeville, The Tavern

Kauai, Princeville, The Tavern, Calamari

Kauai, Princeville, The Tavern, Shrimp

Kauai, Princeville, The Tavern, Burger

Kauai, Princeville, The Tavern, Short Ribs



February 2011



Restaurant Week!

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Restaurant week in Chicago has begun!  We started off the week’s festivities at Ruth’s Chris on Friday night with friends…the same friends who participated in our notorious Pittsburgh weekend….yea, you know we weren’t stopping at dinner.  Champagne, wine, whisky, and espresso led us to Irish Eyes.  We usually remember going to Irish Eyes, what we never remember is leaving (or the hour or so leading up to leaving).  Ian’s pizza followed and I woke up the next morning wishing I had made better decisions-but hey, it WAS a great night, totally worth the millions of calories ingested and the pounding headache the next day!

8 oz filet, mashed potatoes,
mushrooms, creamed spinach
who knows what is going on here

Our next restaurant week outing was Sunday night at Roy’s with my mom…a much more tame night, to say the least.  Roy’s seafood never fails to impress me, the shrimp I had were like no shrimp I had ever eaten before-oh, so THAT’s how shrimp are supposed to be cooked!


We’ll round out our week with a visit to Japonais on Wednesday night with the same friends from Friday night.  Don’t worry, its a school night, we’ll try to keep the cocktail sampling to a minimum!

****Has anyone from Chicago or other cities participated in restaurant weeks this year?  What was your favorite??

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