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An Urban Picnic

October 24, 2010


Unfortunately we didn’t advance to the next round of Project Food Blog.  Fortunately we had a STELLAR time competing! This contest has been great for us at Foodo for so many reasons.  First, as we continued to advance, it brought added excitement to our blog (and to us!).  Second, as that excitement continued to build, we were able to include more family members in the posts.  Third, it felt great to work creatively within Foodbuzz’ guidelines and to keep the challenges true to Foodo’s roots.  We would like to send out a mighty big THANK YOU to Foodbuzz for creating so much excitement in this family of foodies and to all of you who voted for us along the way!  And in the spirit of good sportsmanship, we’re posting what would have been our next entry..


~ Mary & John ~


We arrived home late Thursday afternoon from spending a week in Paris, and on our doorstep was a package from Foodbuzz, our cooler for the next challenge.  I had been hoping the weather would hold through the weekend, but Friday was do or die for our Urban Picnic, after that the weather was going down hill fast.


To celebrate this challenge I decided to focus on our beloved Chicago.  We adore  this city, and with all the traveling we’ve done lately, our road trip needed to be local.  This is funny, because driving to any destination in Chicago can take 20 minutes one day and an hour twenty the next.


We decided to add a little side trip up to the Lincolnwood, Grossinger Buick dealership to see the fancy new Buick LaCrosse (Project Food Blog sponsors), before we headed downtown.




Chicago is known for its neighborhoods and ethnic diversity.  Our neighborhood alone consists of a large population of Latinos and Poles.  Walking into any local store, the signage is always in three languages Polski/Spanish/English, in that order.  Yes, this white girl IS the minority in this ward.


With this in mind, I set out to create a menu that not only reflected our neighborhood but also the city as a harmonious whole.  Between the cooler, the car and our eats, we gained some serious street cred during this challenge!



Banh Mi – A wonderful Vietnemese sandwich that has a quirky take on it too; in Vietnam they’re often served with some liver pate`, we got our pate` from Gene’s our local Polish deli.  We made it on a crusty Portuguese roll, made fresh from our local Mexican Bakery.  click here for recipe


Israeli Couscous Salad – This salad is seasoned with turmeric, tarragon and orange juice making it a uniquely interesting, bright, colorful salad,  as refreshing as it is pretty. recipe coming soon


Mediterranean Salad – Covering the Greek and Italian neighborhoods and our local A&G grocery’s roots. click here for recipe




Dulce de Leche Bars – Rich, delicious and ever so easy to transport on our road trip. click here for recipe



Beverage:  Cider Shandy made with Zywiec and Fresh Cider

Zywiec – Our Polish beer of choice.  Be careful, this one will knock you on your petutie!

Fresh Cider – Because fall isn’t complete with out it, and we must include our neighboring states, Michigan and Wisconsin.


Millenium park is a showpiece among showpieces when it comes to urban parks, and it couldn’t be a more apprapos location to have this  Project Food Blog challenge.  From Pritzker Pavillion to the Bean to the fountains to the lake and the buildings to the…..  well, come to Chicago next summer and experience it for yourself.



We realize that many people will stop for fast food while on a road trip.  “Fast food, schmast food,” we say.  Once you’ve made your own cooler full of goodies, you’ll never want to stop for half-fast again!  All of this food can be consumed easily road-side or in the car (provided you’re drinking the cider sans beer) as you drive merrily along…a taste of home as the rubber hits the road.  It’s even better if you’re in your safe, reliable and stylish Buick LaCrosse.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. Katy permalink
    October 24, 2010 7:54 am

    It would have been fun to make it to the next round, but I have to say I’m so glad you posted these delectable eats, anyhow. Great photos!

  2. October 24, 2010 7:57 am

    LOVE this post. You made all my favorite foods in one picnic! You always have my vote. Even if you are out of the competition you are still a winner!

  3. October 24, 2010 7:59 am

    😦 Sorry about no advance – but you guys are MARVELOUS. Thanks for sharing your day trip – fun! Oh, a past co-worker of my husband, married a lady from Chicago. She is Polish and had lived in the Polish community of Chicago for 20 years and could speak very little English. Bless her heart – from the Polish community of the big city of Chicago to the backwoods of Georgia! She has done well, though.


  4. Pat permalink
    October 24, 2010 9:55 am

    WOW!! Another exuberant post!!! The FoodBuzz Challenge has been the best thing that ever happened to Foodo!! Can’t believe it wasn’t advanced on that beautiful six (count ’em 6) pizza spread. How could six unique pizzas fail anything??? Oh well, life goes on, but am I ever glad you posted your Road Trip!!!

  5. October 25, 2010 10:06 am

    So sorry to see you didn’t make it through, but glad you enjoyed the picnic anyway (and that you decided to post)! What a great competition, and congrats on making it halfway!

  6. October 26, 2010 9:55 am

    Mary, I was so bummed you guys didn’t make it to the next round – great entry for the picnic round though! 😀

  7. October 26, 2010 3:35 pm

    Love that you posted this, because not only does it prove that you are indeed a Food Blog Star, but all those international flavors with a great American backdrop like Chicago are just to good to resist! GREG

  8. October 26, 2010 6:05 pm

    Wha?? LOVE this meal – I would tag along with you anyday!

  9. October 26, 2010 6:17 pm

    You did great! Big hugs and good job on all the challenges.

  10. October 26, 2010 8:44 pm

    Oh wow Mary this is a fabulous post and an even better picnic. It is just like you all to be gracious and awesome. Proud to be a Foodo follower!

  11. October 26, 2010 9:57 pm

    Fast-food-schmast-food indeed – I’m with you and you know how to picnic. Please – cook for me anytime.Great picnic!

  12. October 31, 2010 11:59 am

    Great would have been entry and picnic. You really deserved to have gone as far as you did. Sorry you did not move on 😦

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