Archives for 2013

bellyQ: Perfect Start of the Global Tasting Tour in Chicago

bellyQ: Perfect Start of the Global Tasting Tour in Chicago


Condé Nast Traveler and MasterCard Priceless Cities kicked off their “Global Tasting Tour” this weekend.  And guess which city they chose to start the celebration? CHICAGO, of course!  The “Tour” is a week of dinners celebrating different types of foods from around the world.  At each dinner, a leading industry chef will introduce the one-time menu. Each dinner is available to only MasterCard holders with advanced purchased ticket.

Chef Bill Kim and Lulu pose for a pre-party photo

Chef Bill Kim and Lulu pose for a pre-party photo

First stop on the tour: bellyQ hosted by Chef Bill Kim.  Adam, Lulu and I were lucky enough to score an invitation to the “Family Dinner Event.” We were intrigued by the idea of a “family dinner” at this primary Asian influenced establishment. The dinner was actually a detour from Chef Kim’s usual Asian-fare: tonight we were eating Bar-B-Q!

Before we sat down for what promised to be an amazing dinner, Chef Kim gathered the children together and taught them how to make spring rolls. Laid out on a long table was every possible ingredient one might need.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Proud parents stood snapping pictures while their talented prodigy identified which ingredient they wanted to use, then designed their spring roll on paper, named it and finally returned to the ingredients table to bring their creations to life. 

 It was no surprise, of course, that the first course was the very same spring rolls that were now fried to perfection.

Designing her spring roll

Designing her spring roll


Adam and I love Chef Kim’s food and could not wait to try the beef ribs, corn bread with kimchi and bacon, the cole slaw with nuoc cham and mint.  With all of the fantastic choices, it was hard to come up with an agreed upon family favorite until we tasted the coconut spinach dish. Lulu even asked Chef Kim for the recipe!

Dinner ended with a dessert of Vietnamese Donuts with cinnamon and vanilla soft serve ice cream.  To top it off, the donuts came with an amazing caramel sauce rumored to have soy sauce and balsamic vinegar in it.  As we were leaving the restaurant, Lulu told the chef: “even if my parents don’t want to drive me down here, I am going to take a cab.  These donuts are that good!”

So let’s see: Awesome chefs + A one time only themed dinner = A MUST event for the Keats!

There are three more events Condé Nast Traveler and MasterCard Priceless Chicago scheduled this week.  If you are in the Windy City and love food as much as Adam and I do, you do not want to miss any of these events:

  • Monday, October 28th: PUBLICAN QUALITY MEATS
    • American Classics: Oysters, Pork and Beer
    • Price: $125 pp
  • Tuesday, October 29th: YUSHO
    • Just for the Sake of It: A Tasting Exploration
    • Price: $125 pp
  • Wednesday, October 30th: SPIAGGIA
    • A Celebration of Nomadic Bees
    • Price: $125 pp

It’s not too late to get tickets for these amazing culinary adventures?  Check out for more information.

I was not monetarily compensated for this post.  But my family and I did enjoy a fantastic, unique and belly-filling meal/experience for which we are grateful to Condé Nast Traveler and Mastercard Priceless Chicago for asking us to participate.


Halloween Trending: Most Popular Costumes in 2013

Halloween Trending: Most Popular Costumes in 2013

Wondering what the most popular Halloween costumes are for 2013?  As you know, we take Halloween very seriously in this house!  After all, our street gets over 400 Trick-or-Treaters in three plus hours! Picking the right costume can mean the difference between getting voted “coolest” house and being TP’d.   Choosing the “right” costume is a family event.  This year, much to Adam and my dismay, there has been a bit of dissention in the ranks and Lulu has elected to go it alone.  So we decided to check out what costume choices are trending this fall in hopes that there won’t be too many Steam Punk Pirates or Endermen walking the streets of Highland Park. Top 10 Halloween Costumes Over-All in 2013

Lulu: Zombie Child

Lulu: Zombie Child


    • Drop Dead Gorgeous:  Yes, zombies are all the craze thanks to shows like “The Walking Dead.”  Last year Lulu embraced the trend and wreaked havoc on her neighbors as a zombie child.  (In my opinion, best costume EVER!)

Minecraft:  Somebody stop me before I scream.  Suddenly, our 10 year old is demanding that I dive in dumpsters to recover cardboard boxes, paint them black and assemble them as a Halloween costume.  She decided to be “Enderman” this year and somehow that is a really big deal.  All I know is I just shelled out $30 for a painted black box with purple slots for eyes.  I seriously hope this trend is a “one-Halloween-hit” wonder.



  •  Adventure Time:  Have you heard of Jake, Finn, Fiona, Princess Bubblegum or the Ice King?  Me neither.  But according to the Spirit of Halloween site, they are a hot commodity
  • Super Heroes:  Not a shocker and I expect to see my share of Superman, Batman and Iron Man this Halloween. Don’t forget, you can also secure a super-hero costume for your super canine too!
  • Princesses!  Oh!  Those princesses are EVERYWHERE this year and they’re not just for little girls either.  A sexy Ariel?  King Triton would be horrified!
  • Killers:  Yes, it’s time to get the bejeezus scared out of us by pint-sized killers. Look for Dexter this year with his buddies: Mike Myers, Freddy Kruger and the “Scream” ghost.
  • Angry Birds:  One word: Again??  Okay, can we please move on from 2011’s hottest costume?
  • “Minions! Oh! Universal Studios, you know we still love you!  And we love the cuddly yet mischievous yellow minions too.  There is a lot of variety from which to choose: some with hats, hair, goggles…Be sure to check out the DIY costumes found on 
  • Venellope: From Wreck-It-Ralph.  It’s a definite DIY if you have the time, patience and the talent.
  • Celebrities:  I am beginning to wonder how many Miley Cirus look-alikes we are going to have to endure this Halloween?  Worse, I am still trying to figure out what to tell Lulu should she see a Miley clone.  Hannah Montana, she ain’t.



Top 5 Children’s costumes: Overall anything related to movies or animated shows are trending.

          1. Despicable Me 2: Minions…minions…minions
          2. Monster’s University
          3. Super Heroes
          4. Sofia, the 1st.
          5. Doc McStuffin:  Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing this costume.  Too cute!








And now….my FAVORITE list for 2013:  The NEW Costumes

Really?  Who comes up with these things?

Really? Who comes up with these things?


        • Totally 80’s:  I think that I am offended by this
        • Batman Classic 1966 Series Grand Heritage Batwoman:  Just saw a Barbie dress in this garb. If Barbie’s wearing it, it must be popular, right?
        • Skylanders: Deluxe Crusher
        • Morph suits: Okay, I DID see people wearing them last year but I’ve noticed that there are a lot more variations.  American flag morph suits anyone?  Creepy!



So, what’s it going to be?  Are you standing out in the crowd with your fancy-pants costume or are you following the pack?  It looks like we are doing a bit of both. If you are in the Chicago area and in need of one of these costumes, you may want to skip the pop-up Halloween shops and hit Fantasy Costumes.  They seem to have the best (and strangest) variety of costumes this year.  Also, they’re open 24 hours/day the week before Halloween.  There’s nothing like buying a Halloween costume at 3 o’clock in the morning.


Disclaimer:  Not one of these stores, brands, sites or products paid me a red cent (or any other form of currency including helping me with my Halloween costume,)  Not one.  Just thought you should know.