Saturday, August 25, 2012

August Adventures

Maxwell Street and Randolph Street Markets

A week before I went to Cabo San Lucas and San Francisco, I took a quick trip to Maxwell Street and Randolph Street Markets in Chicago. I love these markets so much I’ve become a regular.

Maxwell Street…Sunday Morning Breakfast

Isn’t it fantastic that we no longer have to jump on an airplane just to get great eats?

Maxwell Street is my go to place for a Mexican food fix. In fact, when I eat here for breakfast, I don’t eat the rest of the day.
Did you know that Chicago has the greatest concentration of artisanal tortilla factories in the world and I am trying to recreate one inside my own kitchen? Stay tuned.
Disputing a recent Red Eye article on the best tacos in Chicago, the lines at Rubi’s says it all. Based on the smells alone, I am transported to just about anywhere in Mexico. Their Tacos Al Pastor reminds me of the little stand I use to eat at every Sunday morning outside of Toluca. It’ a place that I still have food dreams about.
Treasure Hunting at Randolph Street
Randolph Street is held once a month. For those who crave a find, I’m sure it’ just doesn’t come around often enough.
I liked the sweeping selection of finds and the fact that it takes an entire day just to explore the outdoor market. In fact, I never go inside anymore.
I’m wasn’t looking for anything in particular but ended up finding three things I just couldn’t live without and since that rarely ever happens these days, Randolph Street is my new favorite place to hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures.
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo is another “leave me here” place. In fact, if I forgot to book a ticket home… no problema! Don’t bother to ship my things. I already have my swimsuit and really, that’s about all you need.
I discovered great food places this time around including the celebrated Edith’s where the fresh grilled lobster melts in your mouth. In fact, everything about this place was five-star and truly the highlight of our Mexican food adventure.
Listen to the locals because everyone who told us about this place absolutely nailed it. It was just a five minute walk from our hotel, Me Cabo where the beach beds came in handy after a 5 course meal at Edith’s.
Speaking of Me Cabo, in my estimation, Medina Beach is still the only place to stay in Cabo. There are so many distractions here you can literally be side tracked with the blink of an eye.
No worries though…it will always take you somewhere that delivers yet another perfect adventure.
Ahhhhh….San Francisco
The Ferry Building is a mecca for foodies. The quality of the vendors located inside the building and the Farmer’s Market produce outside are just amazing. I really don’t think that any other location as a whole measures up. In fact, if I lived here, this is where you would find me every Saturday morning.
Now I know what they mean when they talk about California grapes. The grapes I tasted were so full bodied you’re tempted to just pack everything up, buy a vineyard and make wine. Not for anyone else mind you...just for yourself.
Funny, but I wasn’t willing to share my grapes with anyone…and I ALWAYS share.
I’ve come to the conclusions that this is a place where temptations are meant to be surrendered to. Like a $60 bottle of wine. One sip of the Merry Edward 2010 Russian RiverValley Chardonnay Olivet Lane and my name was all over it.
La Cocina’s  San Francisco Street Food Fest
La Cocina
Ask me about a cause that I am passionate about and I will tell you that it is La Cocina.
La Cocina is home to over 30 businesses with a target to nurture low-income food entrepreneurs as they develop and grow their business.
La Cocina supplies inexpensive, commercial kitchen space with full access to both markets and capital. Over 90% of the entrepreneurs are women with 70% of them immigrants.
One particular delight was talking with Adrianna Lahl, owner of Sal de Vida who not only has a thriving food business but also just signed a book deal and is so excited to bring her food to the world. La Cocina has so many success stories like Adrianna’s.
Women like this inspire me to do things in the kitchen that I’ve never done before. For instance, a scoop at the nearby Humphry Slocombe’s Ice Cream and I’m now brave enough to cook ice cream rather than just take the easy way out and make it with cold ingredients. Look for my notes on whipping up a batch of their Malted Milk Ice Cream this weekend.
You’ll hear amazing stories when women who love to cook get together in the kitchen.
SF Street Food Fest
Imagine 85+ vendors and 80,000 people in the six blocks on Folsom between 20th and 26th streets. It was wall-to-wall people but never for a moment felt crowded. More like a large group of friends who gathered for one big progressive dinner.
Celebrated SF restaurants such as the Slanted Door, Flour + Water and State Bird participated in full support of La Cocina.
Because this festival (Named by CNN as one of the top 5 in the world) is held in the Mission District in San Francisco, a quick side trip to see the murals in Balmy alley was a celebrated journey.
I came across this artist while I was taking it all in. It is exhilarating to me that street murals are still a work in progress. Diego Rivera lives on.
Bon Appetit !