The Catalogue: No. 2

Friday, May 11, 2018

This week I wanted to touch upon how to best use Yelp, my favorite easy recipes for college students or lazy “young adults”, and a couple of my favorite cheap eats in Chicago. Can you tell that I’m obsessed with food? I am frequently on Instagram not just looking at beautiful women, but at food. And sometimes I stay up an extra hour at night because I lose track of time on Yelp.

How to Best Use Yelp: 

1. Open Now
Whether you’re on your phone or computer, make sure you click the “Open Now” button. There’s nothing worse than finally picking a place to eat at only to realize it’s not open or it’s closing soon. If you’re online, click “All Features” and click “More Features” in the Features column to select the time you’ll be dining. On the phone, click “Open Now” and then you can modify the time.
2. $$
Always clarify the price point of the meal you’re about to eat. $ indicates under $10 and $$ indicates $11 - $30 per person for the meal. (Not going to bother including the rest of them because why are you going somewhere so expensive anyways??)
3. Wait Time
If you’re going somewhere popular with a ton of reviews, use Yelp’s review search function. Before my Saturday brunches, I always use the search to figure out what time I should get to the restaurant to avoid a long wait.
4. Parking
If you’re eating in LA or somewhere like Downtown Chicago, figuring out the parking situation near a restaurant is necessary. Whether it’s figuring out the valet price or if there’s a parking lot, use the Yelp search function to help you and your friends out.
5. Most Reviewed
When visiting a new city, it's always great to go to the city's most popular restaurants. That's why I love the "order reviews by Most Reviewed" function. While it's great to order the reviews by highest rated, sometimes places are rated highly because they only have two or three reviews which might not provide the most accurate representation of the restaurant's food. Most Reviewed gives you an opportunity to see a place's most popular eats and makes sure that you don't miss out on places like Los Tacos No. 1 when you're in NYC.

Here are two of my favorite simple recipes:

Roasted Broccoli
Once in a while, I like to eat healthy and when I do this is my go-to vegetable dish. It’s super easy to prepare in bulk if you want to meal prep or if you’re hosting some friends.
  1. Buy fresh or frozen broccoli, garlic, and other seasonings (salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, etc.) 
  2. Cut your garlic! Also preheat your oven now. 
  3. Put your broccoli and garlic into a large bowl (or a pot if you’re like me and don’t have super large bowls). 
  4. Season it! Personally, I love adding cayenne pepper to give it a little kick. Sprinkle olive oil and lightly coat all the broccoli. 
  5. Now mix it all. 
  6. Put it on some aluminium foil and into the oven at 425* for 17 - 25 minutes. If you want it evenly crispy, make sure to flip all of them over when the timer is halfway done. 
Scallion Pancakes and Eggs (lazy version of Dan Bing 蛋餅) 
  1. Buy frozen scallion pancakes from a nearby Asian supermarket. (Choose I-MEI if you can, L and I swear by their Green Onion Pancakes. Also, we love supporting Taiwanese brands.) You can even find scallion pancakes now at HMart and American grocery stores though.
  2. Lightly oil the pan and make sure the oil is spread all over. 
  3. Throw the scallion pancake into the pan until it looks brown and crispy. 
  4. Flip it over and continue cooking the other side. 
  5. Now, crack an egg onto the bottom of the pan and gently spread it into a circle. Sometimes I use two eggs. (The reason we can’t just put the egg onto the scallion pancake is because unlike the Taiwanese Dan Bing/crepe version, the pancake is too thin for the eggs to get cooked) 
  6. Drop your cooked pancake onto the egg, so it sticks! 
  7. Make sure it’s cooked all the way/to your liking and you’re done! 

Chicago Cheap Eats

Seoul Taco | $ | Korean-Mexican, Asian Fusion
Seoul Taco started out as a food truck in St. Louis. Now, there are 5 locations in the Midwest. Korean food is good. Mexican food is good. And the combination of both for a pretty cheap price is even better. Each item on their menu comes with a meat of your choice. I recommend getting their Gogi Bowl, Nachos, and newer menu item Sweet Potato Waffle Fries with Bulgogi Steak or Chicken!
BIG & little’s Restaurant | $/$$ | Burgers, Fries, Seafood Tacos, “Gourmet” Fast Food
BIG & little’s not only has poke tacos, but has fried fish, grilled shrimp, kimchi fries, cheeseburgers, and more. Every item I get there is good and I love their cajun fries. There are three different locations in Chicago, but one of them is cash only! Check out their menu here.
P.S. They currently have a Groupon where you can pay $12.50 for $20 to spend.
BONUS: Chicago French Market | $/$$ | Food Hall, Not French At All
I love food halls, because there’s always something to eat for everyone. The Chicago French Market isn’t huge and doesn’t have the most interesting hours, but they do have Happy Hour prices at some of their vendors (for the food). There’s boba, korean food, vietnamese food, lobster rolls, poke bowls, crepes, empanadas, gnocchi, and more. If you and your bff can’t decide what to eat, go here and walk around and just pick something. You can’t really go wrong.

Good food doesn’t just nourish the food, but also nourishes the soul.


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