Author: Chef Julius
• Thursday, August 08th, 2013

It seems that every time we do another pop-up, so many things have changed in the food industry. The culinary landscape in Chicago moves so fast that most chefs dismiss the fads and ignore new food trends until they can no longer be ignored. When it comes to a pop-up, I like to take new food trends and merge them, making people feel good. It’s really why I decided to “Pop-up” in the first place. For the next one, I am giving Sunday Dinner a much needed makeover. In this very crazy 9 to 5 world, so often dinner is eaten on the fly…or in front of a television…or from a drive thru. Most want to just get past it just they can rest, because “We All Hate Mondays”. Well, I have had enough of seeing that happen. The Sunday family dinner used to be fun, and sharing a meal is special. It makes the food taste better and you get a chance to relax a bit and gear up for what Monday has in store for you. It’s my belief that if I show you a “re-working” of family dinners from various parts of the world, you can start to enjoy Sunday Dinner again. And this isn’t just a big hunk of protein carved and thrown to the group. There will be PLENTY of fresh, “in-season” vegetables, some duck, lamb and seafood. There are items to remind you of the most comfortable night in front of a fireplace. I also have dishes that will take you to the sexiest beach in Brazil. If that’s not enough, you can jump from a cozy French bistro to a bustling tapas bar in Barcelona. I have around 8 courses and a few surprise dishes to take you ANYWHERE you want to go. No TSA’s, no luggage, no horrible tasting wine from plastic bottles. This is how I see Sunday Dinner from around the world with the energy of a Saturday Night!

Here is a preview of the first few courses:

1st Course

HERB & PARMESAN ARANCINI with BLISTERED SUN GOLD TOMATOES (Italy)

2nd Course

YOUNG CARROTS WITH SAGE, TROPEAS & MERKEN (CHILE/ITALY)

3rd Course

LOBSTER CROQUETTES with BLACK TRUFFLE BUTTER & GRILLED SCALLIONS (South America)

4thCourse

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI, SWEET PEA PUREE & CANDIED WALNUTS (Italy)

5th Course

DUCK CONFIT ETOUFFEE, GOAT CHEESE CORNBREAD CRUTONS (France/USA)

Date & Time: Saturday, August 31st – 6pm

Location: The Centered Chef | 175 N. Ada

Int’l Family Style Dinner

Author: Chef Julius
• Thursday, August 08th, 2013

Thanks to everyone that came out to the Taste of Chicago demo last week! Guests watched intently and asked great questions as Chef Julius showed them how to impress their friends with 2 dishes: Chilean Shrimp with Merken and Herbed Quinoa AND the Better Butter Cheddar Burger with Black Truffle Butter from Epicurean Butter PLUS wine pairings from Casillero del Diablo’s Winemaker’s Red Blend from the Concha y Toro family. Here are the photos from his July 11th demo at the Dominick’s Cooking Corner.

And a extra special thanks to our sponsors Casillero del Diablo, Concha y Toro, Epicurean Butter, Nature Isle Tropical Gourmet, Savory Choice and Deleyda Olive Oil.

Photo Credit: Tim Hanrahan

Author: Chef Julius
• Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Let’s face this indisputable fact. Chicago is one of the most beautiful places to be in THE WORLD during the summer. It even has its own moniker “summertime chi”. That’s because the weather is ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS for 16 days (the rest of the summer is good too), the lake is beautiful, LOLLAPALOOZA ROCKS, beach volleyball is hot and outdoor food festivals like the TASTE OF CHICAGO comes back!

That is right. Love it or hate it, the TASTE OF CHICAGO is the largest open food festival in the world. And because Chicago is such a great food city, everyone takes notice. I know the crowds can be a little much and the tourists are everywhere, but you really didn’t think that with all this food, no one else wants in…did you? Of course, this means you just have to plan better. It’s worth it! I like the fact that Chicago has brought back the “pop-up” restaurants and they even added food trucks. I checked out the line-up, it’s some good ones.

And this year, once again I will be giving a cooking demonstration at the “Dominick’s Cooking Corner”. If you have ever attended one of my demos, you know we have a good time and I am prone to give away free stuff! You get to stop by the tent, sit down for a bit, learn a fun fact or two about cooking and maybe even get a “chef goodie bag”.

My cooking demo will focus on a few easy to cook dishes, easy to find ingredients, affordable wine pairings and how to have some fun with your summertime cooking. Everyone will get copies of the recipe and who knows what other goodies that I have in store? It’s all happening on July 11 at 5:30pm. Stop by and let’s visit for a bit. After that, you can get back to tasting or check out one of the FREE concerts. My demo just happens to be the same night as the Robin Thicke & Estelle performance!

See ya there,
Chef Julius

More info: Full Cooking Corner Line Up

Author: Chef Julius
• Friday, May 24th, 2013

WOW!! Another “pop-up” has come and gone. And I have to say this one was INCREDIBLY special for a few reasons. We dealt with many challenges right up until the day of the event. That included the location, new cooks not showing up and servers “missing in action”. You would think those issues would deter us…NOT ONE BIT! We had an awesome time.

Once again, Jada and her wonderful team from High Style Marketing & PR transformed a humble sausage shop to a quaint bistro. The colors were bright and matched the theme of the dinner. We had some of our constant supporters attend the event and had quite a few “1st timers”. One of the 1st timers was my mother. She along with a few of my aunts had a blast. It felt so good to showcase this style of my cooking for them. I’m sure they’ll be back.

There were food enthusiasts from all backgrounds at this one and we all got a chance to connect over food and great wine from the Concha Y Toro family. Speaking of which, it never ceases to amaze me how at every “pop-up”, the wonderful people from Concha Y Toro bring us something new and exciting to the Chicago Wine Scene. This time was no exception with the Coastal White Blend. If you’re in the city, make your way over to the Armanettis, located at 515 North Western Ave. The Coastal White Blend, usually served during the spring and summer, is really affordable and pairs perfectly with light and fragrant cuisine.

Oh yeah, I think we have quite a few NEW fans of ramps, if there is any judging of how well the Chilean Sea Bass dish went over. A special thanks goes to my reliable culinary team for helping execute a new take on a southern classic, the Salmon Croquette.  I think that dish will make its way onto a few of the summer menus.

If we missed you this time, we hope to see you at the next one. The expected date is August 31st 2013. We will offer an early purchase price of $70 for the tickets bought before August 1st. For purchases after August 1st, the standard pricing of $85 per guest goes into effect. The theme for our next “pop-up” is Summer Jazz: A Global Fusion of Cuisine. Tickets on sale now! See below.

NEXT UP: Taste of Chicago on July 11th at 5:30pm.  Robin Thicke and Estelle are performing that night. It’s gonna be HOT.  And Thursday is the new Friday so COME OUT.

“Summer Jazz” Early Bird Tickets Thru 8/1

Author: Chef Julius
• Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Yes it’s been a while and you have been missed.  Still, as the seasons change, so does the cuisine. It is time to embrace the beauty of the coming spring and ALL that is has to offer. With that being said, we present the next theme in our “Pop Up” restaurant series…Nature’s Gift, The Bounty of Spring. On May 18th, I will showcase a fresh and colorful menu of the wonders that come with the first harvest of the season. The ingredients will have a focus on items that you associate with coastal shorelines, freashness and new culinary growth. The sweet smell of lavender, the whimsical smoke of cherry wood and the rich beauty of flowers…all of these feelings will be incorporated into the menu. As always, we will have surprise bites that will not be listed on the standard menu. And we never have a meal without incredible wine from Chile, including the Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc that was a big hit at the Valentine’s Day pop up!

If you have ever attended one of the pop ups, you will enjoy the evolution of cuisine. If this is your first time, be prepared to experience the feeling of having your own private chef cook for you based on his world travels and expose you to the new direction of global cuisine. Here is a sneak preview of a small part of the menu…

Pisco & Coconut Salmon Ceviche

Scallops with Merken Butter

Sea Bass with Chai Tea Spring Pea Puree

Pistachio Crusted Lamb with Quinoa & Carmenere Braised Figs

Calvados Pound Cake with Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Braised Apples, Grand Mariner Ice Cream with Toasted Walnuts & Lavender

Location: Westminster HD | 11 N. Wells

Get Tix Here:

Select ticket preference from the drop down menu and click “Buy Now”

“The Bounty of Spring” Dinner

Author: Chef Julius
• Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Chef and the Andros'

On March 11th we got the opportunity to be a part of one of our favorite events…CHOWDAH FEST 2013!!!! We came back with our Chilean Seafood Chowder with Black Truffle Croutons. We upped the ante by adding DUCK BACON! One thing true about the fest is that you cannot coast or “phone it in” because every place brings their best. These guys are serious. There was King Crab Chowder, Oyster Chowder and one was served using the shell from a razor clam. All in all, it was an incredible night of eating! We were happy to be a part of the Winner’s Circle again. We missed out on Fan Favorite this year but that only means…WE’LL HAVE TO MAKE IT TASTE EVEN BETTER NEXT YEAR! Special thanks to High Style Marketing & PR for our presentation and design, Amaris for helping make the chowder & Imagine Festivals for keeping a great tradition going. See you next year!

Author: Chef Julius
• Thursday, March 21st, 2013

We have been busy working and competing (more info to come on that) but could not let another day go by without

Chef Julius' Valentine's Day Pop Up Restaurant

reflecting on the last Pop Up! We want to send a warm thank you to those that returned for the Valentine’s Day festivities and to all of our new friends that joined us for the 1st time. We hope you enjoyed your culinary experience. Based on your feedback, a couple of the standouts of the night were the Duck & Chicken Confit Etoufee with Goat Cheese Cornbread and the Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. You guys liked the Sauvignon Blanc so much that we will definitely keep it on the wine list through the summer. *And* we have set the date for the next “Pop-up Restaurant Experience”, it’s Saturday, May 18th!!! We will be celebrating all things SPRING! So Mark Your Calendars and check back over the next few days for more info. If you want to be added to our email list, send your contact info to chefjulius@taleof2chefs.com

Author: Chef Julius
• Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone,

As I wish a prosperous and blessed 2013 to all of you, The Tale of Two Chefs team wants to do their part to help. Our “Pop-Up” Restaurant Series has returned! As always, we are dedicated to bringing you great tasting food in 2103. The first in the series will be for a day that truly celebrates beauty, Valentine’s Day! On Thursday February 14th, 2013 at 7pm, you will be taken on a culinary journey that promises to be a feast for the palate, eyes and all of your senses. Our six-course menu will make use of truffle honey, baby fennel, lobster, lamb, saffron and so many other ingredients that will make this a meal you will never forget. We are sure that this will rank in your top 5 dinners EVER! We will provide wine from coastal Chile & Argentina. For the first time, I have decided to include a dessert wine. And no it’s NOT Moscato! Apps will be passed before the first course and as always, we only allow 50 tickets to be purchased. This is not a couples only event. There will be plenty of single tickets available. And yes, at this event, I will be serving my most decadent dessert to date, “Dark Forest Chocolate Ganache & Cherry Cake”. You have to taste it to believe it! See you on Valentine’s Day at Westminster HD – 1045 W. Madison St.

Note: for those who want  to spend a quiet night at home, we have Valentine’s Day Dinner delivery packages available. Call us at 312-326-1948 for more information.

Chef Julius

VALENTINE’S DAY POP-UP MENU
FEBRUARY 14, 2013

1st Course
CHILEAN OLIVE OIL POACHED SALMON WITH AVOCADO, APPLE & MERKEN

2nd Course
CHARRED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH POMEGRANATE, PECANS, PARMESAN & SHERRY

3rd Course
LAMB LOLLIPOPS WITH TRIO OF ROASTED CARROTS, HONEY, LAVENDER & CHANTERELLES

4th Course
DUCK & CHICKEN CONFIT ETOUFFEE WITH GOAT CHEESE CORNBREAD

5th Course
PAELLA WITH ROASTED BABY FENNEL & THE BOUNTY OF THE SEA

Sweet Course
DEEP FOREST CHOCOLATE CAKE
3 TYPES OF CHOCOLATE, CHERRIES COOKED IN MALBEC, CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, GANACHE & CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS

Get Tix Here:

Select ticket preference from the drop down menu and click “Buy Now”

Valentine’s 2013 Dinner Tickets

Valentine’s Day Dinner Delivered

We have two great options for those staying in this year. Wine pairing available. Contact us for details and to schedule deliveries – 312-326-1948 or chefjulius@taleof2chefs.com

(OPTION 1) $50 PER PERSON

1st Course
RED PEPPER & LOBSTER BISQUE

2nd Course
CALVADOS BRAISED CHICKEN
HERBED NEW POTATOES
CHARRED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CHEF JULIUS’ HANDMADE CANDIED BACON

3rd Course
DEEP CHOCOLATE COGNAC BROWNIE WITH RASPBERRY COULIS

(OPTION 2) $65 PER PERSON

1st Course
RED PEPPER & LOBSTER BISQUE

2nd Course
NEW ORLEANS CRAB CAKE WITH TRUFFLE CREOLE REMOULADE

3rd Course
CONFIT OF CHICKEN OR CHILEAN SALMON WITH CHAMPAGNE SAUCE
PERUVIAN POTATOES SAUTÉED WITH DUCKFAT
SPICY KALE WITH MANGO

Sweet Course
DEEP CHOCOLATE COGNAC BROWNIE WITH RASPBERRY COULIS

Check out this preview on FOX Chicago with Corey McPherrin

Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Author: Chef Julius
• Monday, December 10th, 2012

Chilean Christmas Bread and Other Beautiful Food

Posted on Dec 3, 2012

Boka hosted a Chilean dinner (created by Chef Julius Russel, a south side Chicagoan who is now the Chilean Chef Ambassador) a couple of weeks back that I had the pleasure of attending.  It’s kind of funny because so much of what we talk about these days having to do with resto menus revolves around local and seasonal ingredients.  On the other hand, so much of the produce we see in the grocery stores during this time of the year is imported, and much of it from Chile.  (You know… it’s their summer when it’s our winter.  PS.  How weird would it be to have Christmas on the beach?)  We’ve come to expect that we can buy asparagus or blueberries in December or any other time of the year for that matter.  That’s all thanks to the crops of places like Chile.  The whole menu highlighted Chilean ingredients.  It was quite lovely.

Here are the pics:

Pisco Sour

Chicago Food

Chilean Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Avocado, Apple and Pickled Strawberries.

Chicago Food

Steelhead Trout with Quinoa, Steamed Mussels & Clementine Vinaigrette

Chicago Food

Roasted Chilean Chicken Breast with Corn Semolina Galette, Kale and Crispy PlantainsChicago Food

Vegetarian Chilean Gnocchi (which was actually pressed fregola pasta) with Maitake Mushrooms and Roasted Baby Yellow CarrotsChicago Food

Almond Financier with Chilean Blueberry (52% of imported blueberries come from Chile) Compote, Chilean Almond Ice Cream and Tonka Bean Custard

Chicago Food

It was all very beautiful and delicious.  Chef Julius did an absolutely fab job!

Here’s the recipe for the Christmas Bread.  It’s something similar to the Italian Panettone or German/French Stolen (which are both delicious!).  Anybody have the guts to try it?  Comment if you do and let me know how it goes!!!

CHRISTMAS BREAD (PAN DE PASCUA)

This holiday bread is prepared everywhere in Chile during December, commemorating Christmas It is always served with chilled Monkey`s Tail. The features of the Pan de Pascua evoke both German and Italian cuisines, as a reflection of those two big communities through Chilean history.

Ingredients:

  • ·1 cup butter, softened
  • ·1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ·1/2 cup sugar
  • ·4 eggs, at room temperature
  • ·3 cups flour
  • ·1 teaspoon soda
  • ·1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ·1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ·1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ·3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ·3 teaspoons
  • ·Zest of one orange
  • ·Zest of one lemon
  • ·1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee
  • ·1/2 cup pisco
  • ·1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • ·2 tablespoons anise flavor liqueur
  • ·1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ·1 cup nuts, finely chopped
  • ·1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
  • ·1/2 cup golden raisins, family chopped
  • ·1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degress.
  2. Cream butter with the sugars until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well blended.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir the fruit zests into the dry ingredients.
  5. Whisk the coffee, Pisco, evaporated milk, anise flavoring, vanilla, and vinegar together.
  6. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture, blending well.
  7. Fold in the nuts and the dried fruit.
  8. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with a circle of wax paper.
  9. Spread the batter evenly into the pan.
  10. Bake cake for 45 minutes. Without removing the cake from the oven, carefully sprinkle some sifted powdered sugar over the top of the cake, then bake cake for 15 minutes more.
  11. Check cake for doneness: a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. If the cake is not yet done, return it to the oven and check it again every 5 or 10 minutes until done.
  12. Let cake cool 15 minutes in the pan on a rack.
  13. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Sift 1 cup confectioner’s sugar into bowl. Add melted butter, pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 – 2 tablespoons milk, or more to reach desired consistency.
  14. Remove cake from pan, and drizzle top with icing.
  15. Cake keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic.
Author: Chef Julius
• Tuesday, December 04th, 2012

11/16/2012 12:23:00 PM

Best Thing We Ate Last Night: Almond Financier at Boka

Things got a little spicy last night, or perhaps it was more smoky, due to the Merken (a traditional Chilean spice blend) covering several of the courses at Boka. Sponsored by Foods From Chile, these cultural immersion dinners took place in restaurants and home kitchens around the country. Each offered a different menu that highlighted the same signature ingredient such as Chilean olive oil, trout, salmon, Merken, and blueberries. Our menu was prepared by the culinary ambassador to Chile, chef Julius Russell, in collaboration with chef Guiseppe Tentori.

Each of the five courses was paired with one of three Chilean wines to accentuate the fresh and savory flavors of the South American country that’s cuisine is often overlooked. Our meal began with salmon poached in olive oil on top of avocado seasoned with Merken along with strawberries and apples. The dish had a tropical yet seasonal flavor, despite strawberry season ending several months ago. This was followed by another seafood course of skin-on Steelhead trout with quinoa and clementines. Roasted chicken with kale and plantains, then gnocchi with Mitake mushrooms concluded the savory part of the meal.

The star of our seating was dessert. It was in the realm of the elegant platings we are used to at Boka, but contained a distinctly more exotic flavor, thanks to the rich and sweet Chilean blueberries. They were served as compote with almond ice cream, Tonka bean custard and almond financier. The blueberry was the star of the dish, but did not overshadow the light and almost festive flavors of the almond cake and vanilla custard. Overall, the meal convinced us to add Chile to our foodie travel destinations.

View the full photo gallery at http://blog.zagat.com/2012/11/best-thing-we-ate-last-night-almond.html