I thought that the best way to kick off 2015 would be to take a look back at the best of 2014. Today I am looking back at my favorite recipes, restaurants, places, events, and moments that made 2014 a year that I will never forget.
The Best Moments of 2014:
1. Buying a condo in Old Town – we finally moved out of our tiny one bedroom and into a much more spacious home in a neighborhood that I just adore. The very best part is my new home office which has an extra desk so that friends (mainly Erin) can come work with me. Plus, the view from the roof deck is stunning.
2. The entire Frankenfood experience – it was just so much fun, and Patrick (my competitor) and I are still in touch! The show aired the same weekend that we moved. That was a crazy week.
3. The Windy City Blogger Collective Holiday Party – I launched the group with friends in January of 2014 and we had an incredible year. We hosted a giant holiday bash at Del Friscos and it was amazing to see something we started grow into a massive group of bloggers who all encourage and support each other.
The Best Recipes of 2014:
1. Lemon Sage Chicken – this is the recipe that I made the most in 2014. This chicken (sometimes without the sage) got added to pastas and salads and I just can’t get enough.
2. Vanilla Bean Strawberry Shortcake – sometimes there is nothing better than mastering a classic recipe and this New England style strawberry shortcake reminded me of summers in Maine.
3. Enchiladas Suizas Grilled Cheese – not only did I love this recipe, it appeared on Better Homes & Gardens blog which was a big accomplishment.
The Best Things I Ate:
1. This is a tie between two very different pasta dishes. The first is The Pump Room‘s Meyer Lemon Tagliatelle, and the second is Eataly‘s Short Rib Ragu. The Meyer Lemon Tagliatelle is fresh, light, and creamy, while the Short Rib Ragu is rich and hearty. Both dishes were so memorable that I have returned to the restaurants again for seconds.
2. The tacos at Bien Trucha in Geneva, IL. I sit by a very quiet co-worker, and when he overheard that I was heading to Geneva on a trip for Aldi he instantly perked up and started singing the praised of Bien Trucha. I nervously lead a group of 8 food bloggers on a frigid walk from our hotel to Bien Trucha hoping that food would live up to the recommendation. And oh it did. I think I earned a little street cred from the other bloggers too. (Thanks Max!)
3. Lunch from The Fat Shallot. I am constantly trying new restaurants, so there are very few restaurants I have dined at more than twice a year. The Fat Shallot is definitely the eatery that I visited the most in 2014. I am positively addicted to their fries with a truffle sauce, and I love the buffalo chicken sandwich (which I get on a bed of lettuce).
The Best Places:
2. Maine – I spent more time in my homestate in 2014 than I had in 7 years and I fell in love with the state all over again. I’m already looking forward to the 2015 Kennebunkport Festival. I also went on an epic food crawl of Portland last week.
3. Kansas City – a big group of my friends and I ventured down to Kansas City for Go Blog Social in April. While the trip was technically for business since I was speaking at the conference, it definitely felt more like fun, and I was charmed by Kansas City.
The Best Events:
1. The Weddings – it wouldn’t be fair to pick just one since all five of the weddings that we attended in 2014 were amazing.
2. Taste Talks – leading up to the weekend food festival I got to interview Jeni of Jeni’s Ice Cream. She is on of my personal foodie heroes, and she gave such inspiring advice. A few days later I got to meet Jeni in person, and she made me this delectable ice cream sundae made with bat cat espresso ice cream, salted caramel sauce, graham cracker crumbs, and chocolate crumbs.
3. Pitchfork and Lollapalooza – Chicago winters are rough. In the summer all I want to do is to spend time outside in the sun, preferably with a beer in my hand and a band playing. Fortunately, Chicago has the best music festivals and I was lucky to attend two in 2014. First Erin and I went Pitchfork, and then Charles and I went to Lollapalooza. I especially love how Lollapalooza has redefined music festival food by getting some of Chicago’s best eateries to have pop up restaurants at the event. Plus seeing Glen Hansard, who is the most humble and talented musician around, play in the pouring rain was something I will never forget.
I would like to thank my readers for all of your support in 2014. You are just the best! I am looking forward to sharing more recipes and restaurants with you in 2015! Plus Erin and Charles deserve a very special shout out for all of their love, support, and taste testing. Cheers everyone!