• The Chopping Blog

Tackling a Flaky Foe: Croissant Making in Paris

  For many who love baking, homemade croissants represent a particularly challenging prospect. So for those of us that don’t even like to bake, croissants can be downright terrifying! And let’s just ...

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The Continuation of A Chef’s Travels Through San Miguel de Allende

  Every year, for an entire month I travel to one of the most charming, beautiful and quaint colonial cities in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato. For those who have read my ...

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Passport to Paris

When I realized that Bastille Day was coming up this Thursday, July 14, I figured that was a good excuse to indulge in some French food (as if I even needed an excuse)! Bastille Day, for those that ...

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Big Apple Food Frenzy

I recently returned from a mini-vacation to my favorite city outside Chicago, New York City. I try to visit New York every year to catch up with friends, explore neighborhoods, and try new and ...

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Festival Food Worth Making at Home

It's now summer, so it's a great time to relive Summercamp and dream about other festival food I will eat this summer. Festival food has evolved into its own subculture, such as Crawfish Monica at ...

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The Quest for the Best Bloody Mary

I love summer in Chicago. Admittedly, and not surprisingly, a large part of my affinity for Chicago’s summer has to do with food. I love the variety of food at street fests (Burger Fest is my ...

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A Look into the History of Spam and Why You Should Try It

With Memorial Day now behind us, a long weekend that many take advantage of for quick, mini-vacations, I found myself reflecting on some of my past travels. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a ...

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Exploring Island Cuisine

  I love to travel because I find exploring local food to be one of the best ways to experience other cultures. My friends and family have learned to accept that I’ll ask cab drivers to pull over at ...

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Something Missing in your Dish? Add a Dash of Tabasco Sauce

I grew up with Tabasco sauce on the table, right next to the salt and pepper. Sometimes the salt even has Tabasco in it. Avery Island in South Lousiana, where Tabasco began, is just a few miles away ...

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This Bird is on Fire: Nashville Hot Chicken

I took a quick food tour through some Southern states sampling BBQ, shrimp Po’ Boys, grilled oysters, crawfish and beignets last week. Despite a bevy of delicious meals, the standout winner was a ...

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A Small Peek into the World of Japanese Snacks

  There's nothing like traveling to Japan to make you call into question things you assume to be routine. Hand soap in the bathrooms? Optional. Rare, even. But a flush system with more buttons than a ...

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How to Eat and Drink Prickly Pear

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the Southwest knows about the deliciousness that is the prickly pear. Yes, that spiny cactus is edible!

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Travel the World in Each Bite and Sip

  I am a big lover of travel, especially when it involves food and wine. There is no better way to learn about a culture and what it holds dear than tasting its foods and wines and sharing them with ...

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Feeling "Le Bern"

I had the pleasure of revisiting one of my favorite restaurants, Le Bernardin in New York City, a few weeks ago. I’ve been lucky enough to have celebrated a few milestones tucked into its chairs or ...

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The Cake Cafe: Dublin, Ireland

  I have been feeling the need to travel these past few weeks. It could be the slowly approaching summer months or it could be the need to stumble across a new restaurant. In lieu of my wanderlust ...

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Drinking Craft Beer in Kansas City

  Since my start at The Chopping Block, I have become much more accustomed to trying new food. It becomes a hobby when everyday there is a new flavored popcorn or appetizer for the store tasting. So ...

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First Encounter with a Purple Pig

It has been a while since I have ventured out to try a new restaurant, so last weekend I made plans with my girlfriend to stay downtown and try something different. We decided to visit The Purple Pig ...

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Ringing in the New Year around the World

I love New Year’s Eve. I love the excitement as the clock strikes midnight around the world, and the anticipation as the new year heads steadily towards me in whatever time zone I may be in. Last ...

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A Hidden Gem in Massachusetts

  Five years ago, I moved to this beautiful city of Chicago. Five years ago, I let go of the habit of visiting my hometown bakery at least three mornings a week in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Yes, this ...

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Escaping the Chicago Winter to South Florida

Allow me to tell you about my recent Florida escapade! A dear friend of mine, living in Germany now, is in charge of planning our annual vacations. We have known each other for a very long time and ...

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Tour de Airport Culinary Adventure

I love a good food tour. A friend of mine recently went to New York and did a Pizza Tour, my old bakery here in LA is always one of the favorites on a walking cupcake tour, and of course there’s the ...

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The Latest in a Chef’s Travels Through San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

  Anyone who knows me well is aware of my love and fascination with the small beautiful colonial city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I have been traveling there for the past 8 or so years for ...

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How To Do a Tim Tam Slam

Just one day from now, I will be boarding a flight that will take me to the other side of the world. My husband and I have long been anticipating our three-week trek through Australia and New ...

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Has Creativity in Food Gone too Far?

One of my favorite things about Chicago is the array of dining options. I love going out and seeing what the chefs of this great city are doing with food. It is exciting to see the creativity that ...

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36 Hours in Paris

36 hours in Paris: three croissants, two Steak Frites, a Croque-Madame, four macarons, multiple Café au laits, a Crème Brulee, countless glasses of champagne and a few very fond memories made!

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Red Beans and Rice Cake: Korean Food Adventures, Part 1

Just over a month ago, I stopped by The Chopping Block on my way to the Korean embassy in Chicago. Now, I'm writing from Deokso, South Korea, miles away from everyone and everything I knew.

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The Maine Event: Seaside Lobster Mac and Cheese

Summer for the Mast clan this year included a rare vacation. As us kids are slowly moving further and further from our hometown of Goshen, Indiana (think Houston, Fargo, and for me, South Korea later ...

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Food Markets Near and Far

As an interest in local food and the farm-to-table movement grows, there has been a rise in farmer’s markets and food halls. But in some parts of the country (and the world, for that matter), these ...

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Porking Out in the Mile High City after our Whole Hog Class

As I've mentioned before, I spend a good chunk of the summer traveling. My other job takes me all over the country, and one of the things I always try to do is explore the culinary scene of the ...

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Bunna: An Experience in Ethiopian Cuisine

I have always enjoyed eating Ethiopian cuisine and recently was fortunate to experience a charming vegan Ethiopian restaurant called Bunna Café, in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. Nestled between ...

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I Fell in Love with Fried Oysters in Seattle

I have always loved the East Coast, specifically Cape Cod, where I would travel every summer. Some of my favorite moments back on the Cape are mostly food-related: fresh oysters, chowder, salt water ...

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Southern Food Expedition

My girlfriend just recently moved from Detroit, Michigan to Columbia, South Carolina. Although green with lush countryside scenery, Columbia does not have much entertainment to offer and isn't much ...

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I Left My Heart in NOLA

My family and I don’t have the opportunity to travel very much, and when we do it’s usually in the Midwest. It’s a very cost effective way to get out of town (especially when we can stay with friends ...

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Santa Monica Farmers Market Inspiration

It may be because I live in Chicago, and this seems to be the longest winter ever this year, but after traveling to Los Angeles lately, I could not get enough of the sunshine and nature’s beauty. But ...

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A Trip to South Florida: Good Rum and Cuban Sandwiches

My wife and I just got back from a vacation to South Florida. As per most vacations, it was far too short. But we did get to enjoy a few of my favorite delights: Cuban Sandwiches and a Dark and ...

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Springtime in Seattle for Cooking Inspiration

I have a secret identity. You all know me as Luke, the mild-mannered Retail Associate at The Chopping Block. What you might not know is that, during the spring and summer, I am also Luke, the ...

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Tropical Fruit Passion

I took a break from Chicago's cold weather this winter to fly to tropical Miami Beach, Florida. It was between 75 and 80 degrees and sunny every day we were there. It’s funny what warm weather does ...

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San Miguel de Allende & Top Chef: Inspiring Combination

San Miguel is my favorite city in Mexico. Heck, it’s my favorite city on the planet. I spend a month there every year and if I could spend more time there, I would.

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Spam Musubi – A Hawaiian Treat

Aloha! I don’t know about you, but I am ready for summer. Winter in Chicago is finally getting to me, and I find myself dreaming of warmer days and warmer places. For me, one particular place that ...

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Russian Piroshki: From Grandma with Love

Last weekend was Valentine’s Day, which is all about our loved ones. When I was a small girl, I loved weekends because that's when my family would get together and do something fun. A lot of times we ...

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In Search of the Ultimate Pâtisserie

Many years ago, as a young college student, I was fortunate to spend six months in a small French town southeast of Paris called Tours. At the time, the dollar was quite weak and during the first ...

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Let's Talk Cookbooks

Being a chef instructor at The Chopping Block allows me to share with our customers and students my recommendations for tools I think are vital for their kitchens. Tools such as a great knife, ...

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A Thank You Note to Toscana

Dearest Tuscany,

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Rules for Traveling (& Eating & Drinking) Abroad

I’ve always considered myself a meat and potatoes type of girl. I like a really hearty, comforting meal that includes my star player, the potato.

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Tuscan Invasion

I’m about to make you all jealous. And when I say that I’m going to make you all jealous, I mean that you might, in fact, hate me a little bit after reading this blog.

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A Chef's Travels Through San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I love traveling. As a chef, it gives me inspiration for my greatest passion: cooking. Every year, I journey to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. My trip always begins with dropping off luggage at the ...

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Snacking our Way through Amsterdam

Whenever my husband and I travel to Amsterdam, we rarely sit down for a real meal. Instead, we snack our way through the city, taking in all the glorious sights and food there is to offer. Among all ...

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Food Fraud

Earlier this year, it was reported that food fraud was up 60% from previous years. What is food fraud? Food fraud is when manufactures put fillers into food products without listing these additives ...

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