Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spicy Jicama, Pineapple & Cucumber Snack

spicy jicama, pineapple and cucumber street snackLast month, Naoto and I lived out his dream of eating at Frontera Grill, Rick Bayless’s hard-to-get-into restaurant in Chicago. We made the reservations back in January so by the time March 14th rolled around, I wasn’t the least bit interested in going, especially considering it was St. Patrick’s Parade Day in the city and drunk people were stumbling about. But, we went anyway and didn’t regret it. The food was amazing, the cocktails blew my mind, and the service was impeccable. chips and guac, street food, frontera grillMy favorite dish was this Mexican street snack of jicama, cucumber, and pineapple. It’s shown above on the right, along with my tasty Meyer Lemon Margarita and our guacamole. The street snack was so fresh and crisp and juicy…I really could have just eaten a whole meal of it alone. It seemed easy enough to make at home, so on Easter, we tried it out as an appetizer for Easter dinner at Karen’s. spicy jicama, pineapple and cucumber street snack

Spicy Jicama, Cucumber and Pineapple Snack 

(inspired by Frontera Grill’s Jicama Street Snack, which was inspired by Mexican street snacks)

1 English cucumber

1 jicama (ours was the size of a softball)

1 fresh pineapple

4 limes

chili powder (or Tajín, for more flavor)

sea salt

Cut the cucumber, jicama, and pineapple into sticks (like french fries). Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the juice of the four limes. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with chili powder and sea salt and toss again. (Be gentle, the pineapple is fragile!) Serve, standing up in a few glasses. (Old fashioned glasses work nice for sharing, or you could do individual servings in tiny juice glasses.) There should be some leftover juice on the tray. Drizzle it over the prepared servings and sprinkle with a little extra chili powder or Tajín and salt. Serve immediately. spicy jicama, pineapple and cucumber street snackThe jicama and the pineapple were by far the most popular, but I think the cucumber adds a savory touch. Plus, all three textures work really well together to make a perfect appetizer or snack. I do believe this is going to make it into the next Hasegawa Happy Hour menu!

P.S. Thanks to Naoto for modeling!

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Kimberly AH Three Years Later

our tree at 3And here’s that tree again.

I know it seems weird to talk about, but I think about this blog a lot. It’s not a job for me, but it is a place that gives me a bit of a routine, sometimes a bit of a purpose and, most importantly, a bit of connection with like-minded people. I feel like “the blogging landscape” has changed so much since I started reading Angry Chicken back in 2007. I loved reading blogs back then, probably because they were new to me, but also because people were just sharing. Sharing their art works, sharing their homes, sharing their ideas, sharing their recipes… Sometimes it feels a little self-indulgent to share, but it also feels wonderful to find other people who have the same interests in mail or cocktails or Japan or gardening. So, thank you again for sharing this space with me, for visiting and commenting and reaching out the old-fashioned way.

Cheers to another year “at home“!

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Happy Easter, Happy Spring

Easter coffee table Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Friends! Today is a perfect spring weather day in Chicago so I’m out and about mailing some letters and planting the rest of my seeds for the balcony. I hope whatever you are doing today is equally enjoyable and relaxing.

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Naoberly’s Noodle Tour: Oiistar

Oiistar Ramen oiimen ramenI’m behind in my ramen reporting! We tried Oiistar back in February, before we went to Furious Spoon. Oiistar gets really good reviews from food writers in Chicago and it’s made it on several “best ramen in Chicago” lists. It was the first ramen shop in the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood. It definitely has a “hipster feel” to it, for better or for worse. It’s casual and there are individual tables, a counter, and communal seating to choose from. The owner describes his menu as having French and Italian influences, and you can definitely see that in the menu along with some Chinese and Korean. Oiistar RamenThere are old black & white Looney Tunes cartoons projected onto the wall and the music is old school and loud (but not too loud.) It was freezing and snowy the night we went, so we were both in the mood for a hot bowl of noodles. We started with drinks and I will just say this: my review of this restaurant may be unfairly colored by what you are about to seeOiistar Ramen embarrassing mason jar glassMy drink, the house-made sangria, was served in a mason jar glued to a candlestick. This thing was enormous and clunky and just plain embarrassing. It was so top-heavy that I kept thinking it was going to fall over and spill everywhere. And it stood up so high on the table that it almost blocked my view of Naoto! Everything else in the restaurant was normal…I just have to wonder what in the world the restauranteur was thinking when he chose to serve his (perfectly delicious) sangria in this monstrosity. Oiistar Ramen, baoOkay…back to the food. We ordered buns as appetizers. They arrived at our table with our ramen, which was a huge bummer because it was impossible to enjoy both at the same time, as ramen noodles are best when eaten right away. Pictured above is the Tempura Shrimp bun, which is a fried shrimp with chili mayonnaise, fennel slaw, and sesame seeds on a Chinese-style bao bun. It was delicious and something I would order again if we venture back here.

For ramen, I got the oiimen (pictured at the top) with pork belly, egg, scallion, mushrooms, spicy oil, and garlic. Naoto got the kimchee ramen. The ramen was solid, but the texture of the noodles didn’t wow me. They are made in-house, which is supposed to be a huge plus. All of the other ramen places we had tried until that point have them shipped in from Sun Noodle. (In the meantime, Furious Spoon opened with their own homemade noodles and, after eating Furious Spoon’s noodles, I think Furious’s noodles are better.) But the flavors and the pork and the soft boiled egg in Oiistar’s ramen were delicious.

I would love to go back and try some of their salads and snacks. They offer a bruschetta topped with pickled shrimp, fennel, balsamic and olives that sounds intriguing enough for a repeat visit. I just won’t be ordering another ridiculous sangria.

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Write On In April…

letter writers alliance, wax seal, member stamp, postage stampJust when I thought I couldn’t handle another month-long letter writing challenge…well, here I go again. I heard about the Write On Campaign on Instagram a few weeks ago and I signed up for a free kit, so now I’m obligated, right?

In all honestly, I’m really looking forward to April, which is actually the “official” National Letter Writing Month. I’m looking forward to getting back into the daily habit of writing and catching up on my growing mail pile. And, I just found my original welcome note from the Letter Writers Alliance. March 29th marked my five year anniversary as a member of LWA. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than writing letters!

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