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Filtering by Tag: All Saints

But First Coffee...

Erik Engstrom

Coffee is wonderful. Coffee is good. Coffee is so wonderful it's all I want.

When I am running around the city, to work, meetings, or simply running errands, I typically want a quick fix for my caffeine addiction. A trenta iced coffee from Starbucks is my go-to. It is quick, easy, and packs enough punch to keep me going. Starbucks has its time and place. 

Here's the honest truth though...I much prefer going to a smaller, locally owned coffee shop. One that roasts their own beans in the back of their shop. One that doesn't have mass produced aprons that their baristas have to wear. One that allows their employees to have and show off any tattoos or piercings they may have. When I am in Chicago, Heritage General Store is my go-to. When I am visiting my parents in the suburbs? Hansa Coffee Roasters all the way.

Reading a book. Working on my novel. Editing photographs. Researching the hottest new restaurants in the city. Chatting with friends and family. Yea, Starbucks may fit the bill when I don't have time to truly enjoy the experience. But when I want to savor the moment, and cup of coffee, I will always choose a local coffee shop.

tommy.

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Bronson Leather Fedora Hat
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Chicago Gourmet, I Miss You Already!

Tommy Engstrom

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” 
― Orson Welles

This past weekend marked my second consecutive weekend attending Bon Appétit Presents Chicago Gourmet in Millennium Park. When I say that this event would be equivalent of an adult's Disneyland, I am not joking. In fact, I would take going to Chicago Gourmet for a day over going to Disneyland for an entire week. The more I become ingrained in the food community in Chicago, the more excited I become about sharing these experiences with people who hold the same appreciation. 

Can you imagine sitting at a table eating the most delicious froie gras you've ever tasted and have the person sitting next to you say that they would rather eat a hot dog with mustard and ketchup? First of all, ketchup on a hot dog is sacrilege! Everyone in their right mind knows that a hot dog should only ever be served with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. Secondly, the two individuals at hand have completely different tastes and expectations when it comes to food. 

Chicago is quickly becoming one of the premier culinary hubs in the country and as such, a world-class festival hosted in the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion only seems fitting. With 13,875 people waking the grounds, some of the top restaurants, wineries, and distilleries showcased the best that they have to offer. From exquisite lobster and seafood, to the comforts of BBQ and grilling, Chicago Gourmet gives foodies everything they can ask for and more. 

The food and drinks aside, people have the unique opportunity to rub elbows with some of food and wine's greatest talents - Adam Rapoport and Andrew Knowlton to Emeril Lagasse and Rick Bayless. Some of the biggest names in the industry attend this event. For food bloggers like myself, it is a dream come true to have the chance to pick the brains of such well known individuals. 

So, if you find yourself hankering for a bit of food and wine (and beer and liquor), and you are in Chicago next September, this event is absolutely one that must not be missed. Be sure to subscribe to Smak to be notified when Tommy's full coverage of the weekend is published. 

tommy.

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Gourmand.

Tommy Engstrom

The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
-- Mark Twain

The time has come. Chicago Gourmet is just around the corner and I could not be more excited to spend two days at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with thousands of fellow foodies. Restaurants, chefs, wineries, distilleries. The space will be filled with some of the hottest people in the food industry. I will be tasting incredible dishes. I will be drinking phenomenal wines, beers and liquors. 

September 2014 marked my first time attending this event and I really had little to no expectations going into it. I like food. That is obvious enough. With that in mind, I had little doubt that I would be let down. In fact, as things turn out, reality far exceeded my expectations. 

As I continue down this journey called writing and blogging, both as a food and style blogger, I've learned a few things. But the one thing that sticks out most is how incredibly motivating and inspiring it is to be a part of these communities. I may not know Joy the Baker personally and I may have not gone out for rosé and oysters with Chris and Brock. That is not the point. The point of this all is that we are all doing something that we love and are passionate about. Be that food or style. At the end of the day, we write blogs because it is what we love. It is an outlet for creativity and perhaps a few narcissistic tendencies

I leave you with that. Chicago. Food. Fashion. The Swedes.
It is all incredible. Life is incredible.

tommy.

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Suede-Patch Merino Cardigan (similar) | Pig Crew | Hawkings McGill Stretch Skinny Chino
Wesley Fedora (similar) | Hipster Chukka | Anchor Necklace (similar) | Morris Tote 

Photography by Britta Marie Photography