As a foodie, flavor has always been the most important element of cuisine for me and Casa Yari (3268 W. Fullerton Ave.) did not disappoint. Casa Yari offers some extremely flavorful food that is nearly impossible to find anywhere else because what it is doing is extremely innovative. I also appreciate that Casa Yari is BYOB, adding to its affordability. It is the perfect spot for a chill dinner with friends over some red wine.
Best Intentions serves non-dive bar, dive bar realness. If it were a true dive bar, they wouldn’t have super delicious cocktails and I wouldn’t go here because dive bars can feel creepy if you’re not an old man. What I love about Best Intentions is that it has a chill, relaxed feel like a dive bar without the bad smell and depression. The ambience is charming and eclectic with a dysfunctional juke box and some funny video games. They also have a spacious patio for warmer days. It’s tucked away and cozy. If you’re here on a weekend night, get ready to hear some 80’s and 90’s hits and get prepared to see some drunk people dramatically sing their favorite hits.
Who doesn’t love a hearty piece of breaded eggplant smothered in marinara sauce and cheese?! Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite cozy dishes to make for a dinner party because it’s delicious, filling, and serves many people. However, there are many components to it and it can get time consuming. If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to this, you can definitely make the components at different times or make some shortcuts (e.g. sauce in a jar).
I recently had a slew of disappointing dining experiences. You know that sunken feeling in your stomach after everyone on Instagram hyped up the restaurant and you found yourself scratching your head wondering what the big deal was? Then realizing you were deceived because of sponsorships and superficial realities like that. I cautiously entered Etta wondering if it was actually going to be a delicious dining experience or whether it was going to be yet another hyped up disappointment fueled by Instagram. Etta (the E is lower case) was nowhere near a disappointment.
I feel like there’s a plethora of delicious taco joints throughout Chicago, but I have a hard time finding delicious Enchiladas in the city. Maybe I’m just not going to the right places, but the more authentic places tend to not have the best vegetarian options for their enchiladas even though their sauces are phenomenal. They are always vibrant and flavorful. One of my favorite “Mexican” dishes are enchiladas because of how saucy they are. I love a complex and spicy red sauce with melted cheese over it. It’s heavenly. Since I have a hard time finding mouthwatering enchiladas, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and cook them at home. I wouldn’t say these are super authentic but they are tasty and spicy, which I am satisfied with. The recipe I am using is based on https://cookieandkate.com/2016/vegetarian-enchiladas-recipe/. I love her recipes because they are very vegetarian-focused while still being flavorful.
Bellemore is the less traditional, let your hair out sibling of Boca. While Boca is fine-dining and more traditional, Bellemore is a little more experimental and hip with similar price-points and a similar level of refinement and deliciousness. The layout and aesthetic reminded me of Proxi, another favorite restaurant of mine that is across the street from Bellemore. I wonder if Proxi’s aesthetic influenced Bellemore’s style or if it’s a mere coincidence. The lighting was just right without it being too dimly lit but not too overly bright where you feel like you’re in a mall.
I was inspired to cook Szechuan Eggplant after purchasing some Japanese eggplant from the farmers market. While I have cooked with regular eggplant many times, Japanese eggplant is long, lean, and purple. It’s absolutely beautiful. Szechuan eggplant is also quite simple to make, but you do need to baby the eggplant a bit since it is really easy to overcook and undercook it.