All posts by Amy

The Chopping Block: Cook yourself up a Date Night this May!

As mentioned before, my husband and I love spending our date night’s at one of the Chopping Block’s couples themed cooking classes. It’s hands-on, a perfect opportunity to learn and new skill, it’s also a great time to spend with other couples, indulging in some wonderful food.

Please check out some of the classes offered this month:

Date Night: Hangin’ at the Hacienda – Vamanos! Bring a date and have fun making these all time Mexican favorites.
Queso Fundido; Authentic Carne Asada with Corn Tortillas, Salsa Verde, Queso Fresco and Mexican Crema; Mexican Rice and Borracho Beans; Flan Misterioso (Chocolate-Cajeta Flan Cake).

Couples Cooking: Hawaiin Luau – Immerse yourself in the sun-drenched food of the Hawaiian Islands.
Mango and Shrimp Spring Rolls; Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi Mahi with Volcano-Spiced Pineapple Relish; Coconut Rice; Passion Fruit Chiffon Pie.

Table for Two: Spring Dinner Party – At the Chopping Block, every table is the chef’s table. Bring a friend and watch one of our expert chefs work some kitchen magic to create a soul-satisfying feast. This cooking lesson includes a full meal, so come hungry!
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Focaccia; Celery Root, Parsley, Shaved Fennel and Watercress Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette; Pan Roasted Chicken

The Chopping Block has two locations – One in Lincoln Square and the other at the Merchandise Mart. If the class you desire is booked, be sure to check both places!

Culture Yourself! A Free Visit to a Museum

Money is tight but you and your partner need to get out? Chicagoland offers many great museums, quite a few with ‘FREE musuem days!’

  • The Field Musuem: The second Monday of Every Month.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art: Free Tuesdays – Every Tuesday
  • The Art Institute of Chicago: Every Thursday up until May 26th, After May 26th every 1st and 2nd Wednesday of the Month.

Also many of our cultural centers have free admission EVERY day. To name a few:

  • Chicago Cultural Center
  • The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College
  • Jane Addams Hull House Museum
  • National Museun of Mexican Art
  • DuSable Museum of African-American History

Please try these out and let us know about your visit. We will continue to keep you updated on special events as well!

Ideal Date Night Cooking Classes at the Chopping Block: November

Again here I am STRONGLY encouraging you to try out one of the following Couple’s Nights at the Chopping Block. Two locations, one being in Lincoln Square and the other located in the Merchandise Mart, make it an easy date night to get to, no matter your location. Both are accessible via public transportation and we’ve never had issue finding near by parking in Lincoln Square.

Not only are you assured a delicious meal, you may:

  • Meet other couples.
  • Learn a new technique in the kitchen, or try a new food.
  • Challenge your partner with your knife skills and knowledge of all things culinary!
  • Impress, impress, impress.. both yourself and your date.

So here are your options for the month of November:

Couples Cooking: Fireside in Vermont

Bring a date and warm up with these cozy recipes.
Gruyere Cheese Fondue; Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Bacon Vinaigrette; Maple Glazed Salmon with Celery Root and Potato Hash; Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Sauce.

Date Night: Mambo Italiano

Authentic Italian cooking. Mamma mia!
White Bean and Sage Bruschetta; Porcini Mushroom and Herb Risotto; Eggplant Parmesan; Fresh Ricotta and Chocolate Filled Cannoli.

Wine and Dine

Have a blast learning fresh, new ways to make dinner fun!
Mushroom, Bacon and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart; Herb Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Potatoes and Root Vegetables; Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fig Balsamic Glaze.
Two glasses of wine or beer per student are included in the price of the class. You must be 21 or over to attend.

As always take a look at their calendar and try something else that interests you as well. Make any cooking experience your ideal date night.

Five Great “Date Day” Ideas

So you’ve worked your way up to no kids for a full day! What to do? Here are five semi-local date ideas for those of you that live in the Chicagoland area.

1. Southwest Michigan Wine Country – Our favorite stop is the Round Barn Winery for not only their wine but their vodkas and gourmet vinegars. Spend the day stopping by St. Julian’s, Tabor Hill, Lemon Creek and Round Barn. End your visit to Harbor County and have an upscale meal at Timothy’s or be a bit more casual at the Red Arrow Roadhouse. Mix up the wine tour with some apple picking as well!

Round Barn by Joe Marinaro

Continue reading Five Great “Date Day” Ideas

Festa Italiana: Taylor Street

Chicagoland does not disappoint with it’s plethora of street fests. Beer and wine tents, some mini-carny rides for the kids, yummy local food and just plain ‘fun’ music.

My husband and I never “plan” to make our Taylor Street Festa Italia an official date night since we always seem to wind up there somehow. This year we’re making it real, getting a sitter, and I’m scoring a couple of dances, under the street lights… to someone covering Frank or Dean.

Check out the details and join us please. This weekend, August 5th-8th. They’ve planned some culinary demonstrations, Italian Dancers… there are sure to be a few local arts booths. The casual atmosphere is great, the fun of a festival without the craziness of an uncontrolled crowd.

Oh and did I mention the Italian street vendors? Yum!