Coco Questionnaire… Five Questions With Audarshia Townsend

Illustration Of Audarshia


In every city there is a trusted authority people seek for the latest in food, wine , and cocktail industry news. I’m fortunate I can count Chicago’s Audarshia Townsend as a friend.  Her following is huge on Social Media and she’s  the Chicago Travel Expert for She is also a features journalist covering food, cocktail, culture and travel. She knows everyone and chronicles her dining adventures on her Facebook Page 312 Dining Diva. Continue reading “Coco Questionnaire… Five Questions With Audarshia Townsend”

The Dining Room at Kendall College…Chicago Hidden Gems

Without a doubt, Kendall College is one of Chicago’s leading Culinary Schools. So when my friend Monika , the Director of Dining and Event Services at Kendall College, invited me for lunch at the The Dining Room , I was eager to see. Its been a struggle to connect with her and we finally nailed a date.The Dining Room is a living classroom providing real world experience in a Zagat rated establishment under the tutelage and supervision of Kendall faculty.The students get in depth front and back of house experience, which is essential in managing their own establishments. If the chef doesn’t know whats going on out front, or the front doesn’t know  whats going on in back, it spells disaster.

Did you know the Dining Room is the first and only Culinary School restaurant that is included in the Michelin Guide to Chicago?The Dining Room at Kendall college is committed to sustainability and is a certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Dining Association. They also source their ingredients locally , compost, recycle, and practice energy conservation. In addition the students have a sustainable garden on campus to provide even more ingredients for the restaurant.

I chose the Mozzarella Salad prepared table side  for lunch as part of a $19 Prix Fixe main course. The starter was a divine dish of Salmon Quenelles. The mozzarella curds are pulled in hot brine while you watch and served with dressed arugula greens and roasted chickpeas. Dessert was a fried funnel cake with Rhubarb. An outstanding meal worth far more than the $19 charged.

Here is quick video showing how to prepare the mozzarella salad.


Kendall College offers great event space options for 6-200 guests . It truly is a Chicago Gem you need to explore. The following are some series coming up that you can’t miss. Or just come in and take advantage of the Prix Fixe lunch menu for $19 .

Lunch Menu

Dinner Menu

Monday Night Dining Series

Hours/ Schedule Spring 2011

As the restaurant is operated around the students class schedule, please check ahead for the schedule each season.

Lunch Schedule

April 14-27

May 2-13

May 18-June2

June 7-20

Monday- Friday 12:00 p.m-1:30 p.m

Dinner Schedule

April 15-May 14

May 20-June 18,

Tuesday – Friday 6:00 p.m -7:30 p.m

Saturday 6:00 p.m-8:00 p.m

In addition please check out…

The Dining Room Wine Dinner Series

With an impressive and International student body,The Dining Room at Kendall College has so much to offer from future culinary stars, to some of the countries leading chefs , many based in Chicago,  who pass through for special events and series.

Kendall College also offers Recreational Cooking Classes called Spice Up Your Life from beginner to advanced techniques.

With the beautiful Chicago Spring ahead , you owe it to yourself to check out the The Dining Room  at Kendall College and then enjoy a nice walk by the river. Consider this for your next business meeting, friendly outing, or for a place to impress out of town visitors.





Comfort In the Windy City…Chalet Nights at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago

Thank You all for the support and love you have shown since last week. As my dining companions said last night , stop saying you were not terminated or eliminated, you are in transition. And if the offers , outreach, and opportunities I have received this week are anything to go by, my future is going to be high style.

One outreach  extended towards me, was from the The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. Their PR department invited me along with with several other  influential Chicago bloggers to experience Chalet Nights at their charming European restaurant/cafe/wine bar Pierrot Gourmet. The recently refreshed  ski lodge themed restaurant is offering Chalet Night devised  by their new Chef de Cuisine Tony Schmidt, who had worked at such other fine institutions as Blackbird, Everest, and Trio.

Each Thursday until March 31 a special Swiss themed menu will be offered for $19 per person ( 2 person minimum) featuring a three cheese fondue( Gruyere, Appenzeller, and Fontina), mountain bread,  a Juniper berry smoked Speck ham , house pickled vegetables, and salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. The meal is finished off with Pear flavored Eau de vie.

Having had my share of fondues both at home and in Switzerland, the meal was excellent. and elegantly presented. A comforting buzz ran through the table and I realized  I forgotten how fun and sensational Chicago can be with it’s various offerings.  Did I mention how exquisite the desserts were? Pierrot Gourmet has a French born Pastry Chef that makes the most incredible variety of flavored macarons that are not too sweet . If you don’t have time for a sit down meal or coffee, the takeout option is there.

Afterward we went over the John Hancock Observatory at the invitation of Zach , the Director of Operations there who partners with The Peninsula Chicago. At the Observatory  we were treated to cocktails, and more nibbles at Lavazza’s Expression Cafe before taking to the indoor ice rink. Imagine all of this 1,000 feet above the city! Great fun. The SKYY High Cocktail ( SKYY Raspberry vodka, Blue Curacao, and Lemonade) and The Hawks Cup ( Makers Mark, fresh ginger, muddles blackberries, and lemon sour) must be tried along with numerous other drinks, and hot and cold coffee drinks. After that, I was most definitely too buzzed to skate, but enjoyed watching the others.

Thank You Peninsula Chicago & John Hancock Observatory for reminding me what I love about my city Chicago.

Peninsula Hotel/ Pierrot Gourmet

108 East Superior Street at the corner of Rush and Superior