Mad Girl Eats Gus’s Fried Chicken in Chicago

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Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 847 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL. Located in the West Loop with multiple locations in different cities.

Short and sweet. I had chicken and only chicken….and really, thats all that matters. First bite was an OMG moment. A perfect crisp and gentle bite, sunken deep into super moist and flavorful chicken. A medium spicey heat where the chicken doesn’t get lost. You’re not wiping your brow, nor crying due to your mouth being on FIYAH! More please!

Superbly done. This chicken is worth the trip.

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:oopm to 10:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am to 12:00am.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

5 out of 5 perfect poultry points!

Mad Girl Eats Norsland Lefse In MN

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Norsland Lefse, 210 W Jessie St, Rushford, MN.  Located in Southeastern Minnesota.

Norwegians love lefse, I am part Norwegian. If you don’t have someone who can make it from scratch, you go in search of good lefse. Good, not mediocre. Lefse is similar to a tortilla, but made with potatoes. It is delicious! Norsland Lefse makes good lefse. It is a lefse factory with a quaint restaurant, incredible bakery, and adorable Scandinavian gift shop. Open for Breakfast and Lunch.

I am traditional and like my lefse with butter, but lets try it as a turkey sandwich or breakfast wrap. The sandwich wrap is typical fixings, but I haven’t seen many as a gigundo breakfast extravaganza. Two eggs, hashbrowns, cheese with sausage, bacon, or ham, wrapped in lefse and topped with hollandase sauce. I also tried the grilled  cranberry bread (made in their bakery) turkey sandwich with cheese, onion, bacon, tomatoes. Uff dah! I bought a loaf of cranberry bread to take with me. Phenomenal.

Let me say, the bakery goodness alone is worth the trip to Rushford, Minnesota. The Peanut Cakes are 2D4!

Anyway you roll it, lefse soothes the soul of every Ole and Lena out there. Norske bliss! Tip: They ship!

http://norslandlefse.com

Hours: Mon – Fri 7am to 4pm, Sat 7am to 2pm, Sundays CLOSED.

4.75 points out of 5.

 

 

 

Mad Girl Eats Aloha Poke in Chicago

Aloha Poke Co, in the French Market, 131 N Clinton St, Chicago, IL. Other locations to choose from. My “partner-in-crime” heard some nice rumblings about this place and I have wanted to…

Source: Mad Girl Eats Aloha Poke in Chicago

Mad Girl Eats Aloha Poke in Chicago

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Aloha Poke Co, in the French Market, 131 N Clinton St, Chicago, IL. Other locations to choose from.

My “partner-in-crime” heard some nice rumblings about this place and I have wanted to check out French Market in the West Loop of downtown Chicago for quite some time. The day finally came and I was not disappointed! Basically, they had me at poke. Give me some ahi poke and you’ve got a friend for life. Yeah, it is that simple.

I didn’t really have a clue as to what i was going to encounter, but the continual long line had me intrigued! As I inched near, you have decisions to make. What size bowl, what kind of rice, what kind of poke, what produce and such add-ins, which sauces, or just get them all in the 808.

I opted for the BIG, brown rice, ahi tuna, and created my own bowl instead of one of their House Creations. Maui onion, seaweed, scallion, avocado, crunch, with sesame oil and spicy aioli.

Oh my GAAAA……it was an incredible dish, exactly everything I love…except I forgot to order the tobiko (eggs). Next time! Also next time, I will get the KAHUNA sized bowl. It was one of my favortie dishes on my entire summer road trip. Oh so super fab, I wanted to don my coconut bra and grass skirt and hula away my happpiness.

Plane, train, automobile, bike, feet. Get there. You’re welcome.

http://alohapokeco.com

5 out of 5 points of perfection.

 

 

On Vacation!

I am on my annual Summer Roadtrip. 

Eat. Drink. Be Merry.

No WiFi, just good food and great people. Logged over 7,000 miles so far and on-the-road for another month! 

New restaurant reviews coming soon!

Mad Girls Eats Dixie Belle’s Cafe in Orlando

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Dixie Belle’s Café, 7125 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL.

I’m always on the lookout for scrumptious breakfast places that won’t break the bank. I heard good things about Dixie Belle’s biscuits and sausage gravy and that piqued my interest. Great American classics with a little oomf thrown in.

Let’s start with chicken and waffles, side of country ham, and an order of their signature sweet potato biscuits. Also add, the Country Platter has the must-try Biscuits and Gravy, 2 strips of Applewood bacon, 2 sausage patties, and 2 eggs. Round this out with the Barnyard Platter, its inspiring. Country Fried Steak, on an open biscuit layered with tater tots, 2 eggs, and smothered in Dixie’s famous sausage gravy. Not one bite was mediocre. It checked all the marks for down home taste and utter satisfaction…(I’ve been back twice in a month). A true breakfast haven!

Hours: 6am – 2pm

Offering breakfast and lunch.

dixiebellescafe.com

 

 

 

MG Eats Smokey Bones in Kissimmee

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Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, 2911 Vineland Rd, Kissimmee, FL. More locations.

Smokey Bones bbq has always been a good place to eat. They came out with a Late-Night menu that worked into my schedule on a Saturday night to make a visit. Great prices and nice choices that last from 10pm until close every evening. I like eating at their bar. A large wrap around bar with a multitude of TV’s, some hi-top tables and booths are available as well as their dining room.

I’m pretty finicky when it come to burgers, but theirs never disappoint. The LN menu offers a  1/2 lb Premium Burger with cheese, none of the others are offered on this menu, but for 7 bucks, I don’t need avocado and bacon. They are cooked to order and I love that. Let’s add Smoked Wings $7.00, and the Loaded Cheese Fries $5.00. A beer seems the perfect pairing for this mix, and they were having a special, $2.95 for a Blue Moon. Score!

The cheese fries came first and dang, they looked amazing! A hefty amount of seasoned French fries covered in cheddar jack cheese, bacon, chipotle mayo, sweet BBQ glaze, green onions, tomatoes, and ranch dipping sauce. Yes, it could be an entire meal and you’d be completely happy, just wash it down with beer and it’s all good. My PIT (Partner in Crime) wasn’t sure about the sweetness of the bbq sauce on it, but after a few bites, I had a hard time keeping up! Damn, I want some now…my is watering!

The chicken wings came and they were very good. I probably would have like them better naked, instead of the sweet glaze on them. I like to dip into my own sauce, because if you don’t like their sauce, the whole plate is ruined. Nice hint of smoke though.

The burger arrived and it was cooked to perfection! Not many can get the Rare temp correct, but they mastered it. It has your basic sides, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles. I put some ranch dressing on it and it was on! Delectable burger. Lots of flavor and a tummy full of happiness.

Go to smokeybones.com and view their Late Night menu. It’s a good one for late night noshing. Super specials throughout the week from their regular menu, lunch and dinner.

Their best Sammy is the Pulled Pork and it is on the menu for $6.00. You can’t barely get a crappy fast food sandwich for that!

4.5 out of 5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

MG Eats Cid’s Filipino Restaurant

 

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Cid’s Filipino Restaurant, 1328 N John Young Parkway, Kissimmee, FL.

I was searching for a good Filipino restaurant since eating at one in Chicago and again watching Andrew Zimmern enjoying some Crispy Pata. It was time to delve back into some awesome Filipino eats and I came upon Cid’s.

Cid’s is located in a strip mall right off the main drag in Kissimmee, John Young Parkway and Hwy 192/ Vine St., a suburb of Orlando. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall, but generally those venues create the best food. An interesting menu, it was time to have a new experience. Definitely the small cigar looking Lumpia, (spring rolls and eggrolls are my jam) these will be right up my gullet alley. Siopao(steamed bun) and Lechon Kawali (pork belly) will round out this lunch. This is a pretty basic introduction into Filipino food if you’re a beginner.

All three choices come with their own sauce, which I love. I’m a saucy chick. Everything looked amazing and made my mouth water. First up, the Lumpia. Oh yes, crispy outer with a nice filling of ground meat and spices. The sauce was very mild, so I dipped them in sweet chili sauce when I got home. Excellent! The Siopao (Special asada) was filled with a mixture of chicken, pork, Chinese sausage and egg. Delicious! Big, squishy, warm and a good amount of filling for a steamed bun. So tasty, with good sauce.

The Lechon Kawali is in a word…..awesome. Crispy skin, flavorful, fatty meaty pieces of pork heaven dipped in a golden sauce. I was told they have a customer who uses it to make tacos at home. Great idea! Sooooo good.

Very warm and welcoming people at this restaurant. Thoughtful with their food, and even packing it to go. To keep the integrity of the food, they cut an opening in the top of the container. Magical idea!

I will be back for their Crispy Pata next time, and their Daing Na Bangus. It is a whole fish that is marinated and fried. Freaking fabulous!

Hours: CLOSED MONDAYS. Tues: 11:00am – 6:00pm, Wed – Sat: 11:00am – 8:00pm, Sun: 11:00am – 5:00pm. ** Last Dine-In 30 minutes before closing.

http://filipinofoodatcids.com

5 out of 5 Fantastic Filipino Points

Mad Girl Eats Keke’s Breakfast Cafe in Winter Park

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Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, 345 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Other locations around Orlando, Central and South Florida.

Sunday morning, rainy and cool. I need breakfast and a visit to Keke’s is just the place to fill the bill. Keke’s is a breakfast and lunch only restaurant. They have a large menu and when everything sounds soooo darn good, making a decision seems like an epic chore. Start me off with coffee and let’s go from there. Good coffee, by the way!

Belgian waffles, pimped out waffles, pancakes (dinner plate size), pimped out pancakes, French toast, stuffed French toast, eggs, omelets, ….oy. Everything looked amazing to my starving belly. I’m feeling like something sweet with savory on the side.

I went in hard for a Banana, Nut, & Caramel Waffle. A beautiful masterpiece. Banana and pecans baked inside the waffle, topped with more banana and pecans, then add caramel drizzle, whipped cream, and powdered sugar, Sugar! Wow. Hey, don’t stop there. You MUST add maple syrup to get the entire scrumptious layers of flavor. Yes, do it.

Also ordered were their pancakes. Gigantic pancakes. Eggs and bacon. Former patrons had said, their pancakes were enough for 2 people. I’m saying, they are correct. The taste wasn’t anything special, regular pancake mix flavor. The bacon was excellent and the eggs were fine. If you’re a picky eater, get this basic breakfast. If you’re adventurous, get a souped-up, pimped-out waffle, pancake, or egg dish. They know how to put some bang in your breakfast!

Hours: 7:00am to 2:30pm daily.

http://kekes.com to peruse their breakfast AND lunch menus.

4.5 out of 5

 

 

Mad Girl Devours Sartori Cheese

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I was gifted a kit of 7 cheeses from the Sartori Cheese company in Plymouth, Wisconsin. They make lovely artisan cheese and use Wisconsin cows! Immediately I put my creative foodie hat on to see just what different ways I could use them beyond a knife and a glass of wine.

First up I used the Espresso BellaVitano (yes, espresso…get some) to make my take on a grilled cheese…not just any grilled cheese, but one that suited my sweet-driven persona. I used a glazed blueberry cake doughnut, sliced it like a bagel, butteredwp-1450720771532.jpg

 

the cut sides (so the sugar from the glaze wouldn’t burn), laid one half buttered cut-side down in skillet, top with slices of Espresso BellaVitano, top that with the other half of buttered doughnut.

Grill like any other cheese sandwich. Watch out, it may be addictive. Boom!

wp-1450720789956.jpg Sweet and salty…nothing better!

How about some protein after that sandwich?! Let’s try a beautiful egg scramble with sautéed onion, jalapeno sausage and topped with Extra Aged Goat Cheese. wp-1450720814733.jpg The creamy egg, sweet onion, and spicy sausage, married perfectly with the tangy and earthiness of the goat cheese. The cheese also helped to calm the fire from the jalapeno. I served tomato salsa on the side for brightness and color. Bold and brilliant!

The Dolcina Gorgonzola had me salivating just thinking about all of the tasty treats I could try. Nothing could stop me from making a Gorgonzola Cheese Cream Sauce. It is multi-purpose!wp-1450720860758.jpg I used a basic Bechamel recipe, made a roux, added cream, then finished with Gorgonzola, salt and pepper, then a bit of nutmeg. Holy Toledo Batman, sinfully good! This dish is pasta, topped with sautéed mushrooms, then finished off with Gorgonzola cream sauce and sprinkled with basil. Later, I will top off a burger with this sauce and a few crumbles of Sartori’s Gorgonzola. This is also a fantastic sauce to put on a steak. It is so special, and so smooth. I could bathe in this sauce. Oh my!

*Dolcina Gorgonzola Cream Sauce Recipe w/ pasta and mushrooms:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4 Tablespoons All-Purpose flour

2 cups Half and Half

4 oz Sartori’s Dolcina Gorgonzola, crumble

1 Tablespoon of your favorite fresh herb or spice. If using dried herbs, use a smidge less, especially when using a strong flavor. I used nutmeg IN the sauce, and dried basil last, to top off the dish. Remember, taste test along the way!

1 pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

1 lb pasta

3 cups of sliced mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta as directed on box, drain, cover and set to the side.
  2.  Melt butter over med-high heat in a med pot. Once melted, add flour and whisk. Cook until flour turns a light brown color, about 4 minutes.
  3. Slowly whisk the Half and Half into the roux. When it is all incorporated it will be thicker, but not completely thickened. Turn down heat to low and simmer until thicker, about another 4 or 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in Gorgonzola until melted and keep warm until needed. Taste for salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate pan, saute your mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, cook until just tender.
  6. Place pasta on serving platter, lay the mushrooms on top, then ladle on the cream sauce and finish with a few shakes of dried herbs…basil or rosemary are nice.
  7. Enjoy!!!

Quite honestly, the Raspberry BellaVitano, Merlot BellaVitano, and the Limited Cognac BellaVitano are all incredibly delicious cheeses on their own. A charcuterie board with these 3 cheeses, slices of pear, apple, dried apricots, dates, olives, nuts, honey, crackle bread, fig jam, and prosciutto would make a perfect Holiday appetizer for my guests. Add wine and we’re good to go!

The Asiago with Rosemary and Olive Oil will be sitting atop an Italian red sauce with melted anchovies and plenty of garlic over gnocchi. My mouth is watering already!

Sartori’s artisan cheese is superb, a definite must-try for any cheese lover. High quality, beautifully made, phenomenal flavor. 5 out of 5 stars! Go to their website and peruse their story, cheese, and recipes.
It is pretty impressive. http://sartoricheese.com

You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take the cheese out of her! Thank goodness. Cheesehead to the end 🙂

Xo, Avery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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