A Squared: Introducing: The Tastemaker Top 10

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Introducing: The Tastemaker Top 10

So, I have been thinking for a long time that I wanted to find a fun way to bring the voices of other bloggers to A Squared on a more regular basis. I love it when the blogs I read feature their favorite bloggers-- it's a great way to get introduced to new blogs that you may not be familiar with yet. So, after kicking the idea around for a while I am excited to launch the Tastemaker Top 10 series on A Squared!

Every week (hopefully) you'll hear from a new blogger answering the same (or similar) 10 questions about their favorite things in the food and restaurant world. I have a few great bloggers lined up already, but Regan from Up Close and Tasty (who you will hear from soon!) suggested that I take a page from my own book and answer these questions myself...so, to introduce you to the Tastemaker Top 10 I am including my answers below. And stop by next week to hear from our first guest blogger!

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine: Pasta. Always pasta. I could seriously eat it every day and in college, I think I did (which would explain my Freshman 15). It's so versatile and it's totally my go to comfort food.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine: Green peppers. If they are in a recipe I will sub in a red pepper without hesitating because I just hate the flavor of them so much. I also have a real issue with texture, so I just can't stomach things like oysters and flan.

3. Favorite restaurant in your city: This is my own question and so very difficult to answer! I have to go with Balena on this one... it's Italian, which you know I love. And it's a great mix of modern and traditional, chic and comfortable, and with a solid menu full of food that I just love. I have written more about it here and here and here.

4. Favorite restaurant outside of your city: Another very difficult one to answer! I'm going to narrow this down to my favorite restaurants in places where I have previously lived-- so that's actually 3 restaurants. I spent a semester living abroad in Florence where I was obviously in pasta heaven. My hands down favorite restaurant there was Trattoria ZaZa, a casual trattoria serving delicious traditional Tuscan food (like their amazing pasta in walnut sauce). At college in Syracuse there was nothing better than Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, an amazing casual (read: divey) biker bar and barbecue joint. It was a staple when my parents came to visit (and my dad still raves about it) and I did a little happy dance recently when they announced the opening of a Chicago location in 2015! And finally, during my post-college years in Boston, Toro in the South End was a favorite. It was my first introduction to Spanish tapas and, little did I know that 7+ years and dozens of tapas later, still the best that I have ever had.

5. Favorite food memory: An easy one-- making Christmas cookies with my mom and siblings. It was a tradition for us year after year and I just loved that time cutting out, baking, frosting, and laughing with them. And the cookies are pretty much the best things ever. It's a tradition that I have actually coerced my husband into partaking in and something that I plan on starting with our future children too.

6. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It reminds me of my childhood and I will look for any excuse to eat it. It's just so good... Tater tots and French fries are close second here. This girl loves carbs.

7. Favorite ingredient: Garlic is my hands down favorite ingredient to cook with. I think I have managed to add it to 90% of my dinner recipes. And if I am at a restaurant and see butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, or goat cheese in a dish you can almost guarantee that I will be ordering it.

8. Favorite recipe: This is like a favorite child situation for me. However, I have two that I always come back to: My mom's Chicken Divan is one. It's the only old school casserole recipe that I truly love and that I make pretty regularly. The second is my cranberry walnut stuffing. I have made it every year for Thanksgiving except for one-- and I really regretted it!

9. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.: I love my Cuisinart Smart Stick! It's an immersion blender, a whisk, a chopper, and works as a food processor for small quantities when I don't want/need to drag out my big food processor. And it's compact and perfect for my city kitchen where space is at a premium.

10. Favorite thing about blogging: I love having a place to go where I can be creative and talk about the things that I love. And the opportunities for cool events and the people (the other bloggers, in particular) that blogging has introduced me to has been truly priceless!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

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