Monday, July 30, 2012

Peach and Raspberry Crisp

BBQs. Flip flops. Beach volleyball. Everybody has that something, that one thing that, for them, epitomizes summer. It's what we dream about in the dead of winter when the warmth of summer seems like a distant memory. Summer isn't truly summer without that special something.

For me, that something is fruit desserts. Beach days are great, and I love sundresses and ice cold lemonade as much as the next girl, but it's not officially summer until I make my favorite dessert, peach and raspberry crisp. It's a dish that will always hold a special place in my heart, in part because it was one of the first recipes I learned to make on my own. And, along with Martha Stewart's Mac & Cheese 101, it's probably the recipe I've made most often over the course of my time in the kitchen. It's seen the countless milestones and celebrations, which inevitably fill up my calendar summer after summer— birthdays, graduations, Father's Days, Memorial Days, Labor Days, lakehouse weekends and beach trips. It's grown up with me over the past 10 years, and I've introduced it to all of the important people in my life. Summer after summer, things change and those people come and go, but I always come back to this dessert.

It know it's sappy to wax poetic about a simple mixture of fruit and sugar, but consider this my ode to summer. Try making it and maybe you'll understand what I mean.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dining Out in Chicago: Acadia

"This is where you're eating?" asked my cab driver, somewhat puzzled, as we pulled over at the corner of quiet and nondescript in the South Loop one chilly night in March. I responded with a nod and cheerful affirmation; I had been looking forward to this night for weeks. The larger part of my 20-minute cab ride had been spent chatting about my destination- an exciting new restaurant that had recently received high praise from the food critic at the Trib. After all my hype, it's no surprise he seemed a bit confused- from the outside, Acadia is just another storefront on a quiet block, no eye-catching sign or entrance, no crowds or passersby. Nothing about its exterior suggests the experience that awaits just behind the frosted glass. 

From the small unassuming sign at the entrance to the muted color palate and sparse decor, Acadia is the epitome of understated sophistication. Refined without being pretentious, it welcomes long, intimate conversations, and the caliber of both the food and the service guarantees a meal to remember.