I was invited to Syracuse University to give a lecture during the Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month of April. I’d never been to Syracuse, and all I knew was that it’s a college town in New York. Even though April is officially springtime, it was still pretty damn cold at nearly freezing temperatures. I had no idea what to expect with Syracuse, but a few fun facts I learned: Syracuse University’s mascot is an orange named Otto. My theory proves correct again: Koreans really are everywhere. You can still

What I noticed about my dining experiences at Avec, Blackbird, and Girl and the Goat was their common use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Whether it’s fish or vegetables, the dishes are reflective of the time of year. The hubs and I have a friend who’s an avid fisher, and he gifted us this hybrid striped bass. There’s no better way to enjoy fresh seafood than to fire it up quickly on the pan with butter, salt, and cracked black pepper before giving it a squeeze of lemon prior to eating.

The first time I ate at Girl and the Goat, it was a last-minute decision: I’d finished a work engagement in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and my friend and I were driving into Chicago where we’d be flying out the next day. “Let’s try to get a table at Girl and the Goat tonight,” my friend said. I’d heard from a few other friends that Girl and the Goat was hands-down their favorite Chicago eatery or at least a must-try while there. I called and was able to get a table after

We obviously didn’t get enough meat stuffed in between bread because after the hot dog and roast beef sandwich at Portillo’s, we made our way over to Eataly and split a prime rib sandwich. Eataly is the Italian food mecca behind the brains of celebrity chef Mario Batali and the former judge from my season of MasterChef, Joe Bastianich. (In fact, the original Eataly location in New York was where our official season finale party was held.) Eataly is a massive food paradise—think a multiple-storied gastronomic mall. There are different

I’m excited to announce I’ll be doing a pop-up in collaboration with Ozone Bar in Hong Kong! Ozone is located on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and is the tallest rooftop bar in the world. That’s the hubs and me below at the VIP corner table overlooking breathtaking HK during our visit in May. And now, from June 28 to July 1, I’ll be back with a very special event: my biggest pop-up restaurant yet! Here’s what’s on the menu: A SUMMER HOLIDAY AROUND THE WORLD With

Hot dogs topped with neon green relish, onion, and tomatoes are a Chicago institution, and I tried my first at Portillo’s, a busy fast food-style local joint that serves quick, greasy foods from chili cheese dogs to Italian roast beef sandwiches to cheese fries. On a Saturday during lunchtime, the place was packed, and it took a few minutes for our group to snag a table. There are different lines selling different foods, so luckily, our group was large enough that two of us could save the table, while the

I love a good cocktail, and even though molecular gastronomy is not really my thing, the experience at The Aviary was pretty spectacular…that is, if you’re willing to burn a small hole in your wallet. That’s because drinks at The Aviary ain’t cheap. It is, after all, the cocktail bar akin to Michelin-starred Alinea. This means three things: whimsical fare, excellent service, and hefty price tags. My friends and I came here on a Friday night after our two dinners at Avec and Blackbird. We’d bought tickets a week ahead

Right after our first meal at Avec, we walked a couple of doors down to Blackbird, a one-Michelin star restaurant which, like Avec, had an extensive beverage menu. The ambience here was upscale casual, the crowd lively and boisterous, the music playlist fantastic (at least for my generation). Since this was our second meal, we opted out of the tasting menu ($130; $200 with additional wine pairings) and instead ordered a few dishes to share. What stood out to me the most were the endive salad ($14) and the burnt

Our friends who frequent Chicago said their favorite local restaurant is Avec, a restaurant serving shared plates I’d describe as a conflation of Basque, Mediterranean, and Arabic. Their wine and beverage program is extensive and fantastic—we were recommended some phenomenal beers and port (in fact, it was the first place I’d ever enjoyed port). Avec doesn’t take reservations, so my advice is to go early (we went at 3:30 PM). Since we’d planned on having a second dinner right after Avec, we decided to keep it light. Among some of

I say “happier marriage” because I won’t pretend that I hold the keys to a happy marriage. I say “happier” because it’s relative. Every person is unique, and every relationship possesses different dynamics. What works in my marriage may not work in yours. But after seven years of marriage, I’m happy to say I’m still happy. And so today, as a tribute to our 7th anniversary, I offer you my 7 bits of advice that has made our marriage work so far. Following these tips may not solve all of

1 2 3 4 45 Page 2 of 45