Day: June 22, 2012

182. Barrington EATS with Biltmore Chef Mike Battaglia

 If you’ve read my blogs, you know that I often refer to cooking as a sport.  I recently met Mike Battaglia, the Executive Chef at Biltmore Golf, Beach & Tennis Club in North Barrington, and I’m telling you he is a player. Major Leagues. The kind who is always in the game, covering the whole field and going above and beyond average play. He changes up his strategy (menus), stays on top of changes in the industry (ingredients) and covers all the bases (making the most sense with his food).
Getting a chance to chat with a chef who plays this well is always a treat and inspiration. Chef Mike’s passion for his food is evident. And, to him, flavor is so important… as it should be for any great chef. So, Mike took us on a tour of his kitchen home base, showing us where he creates the meals for the Biltmore Country Club dining rooms that host weekly dinner menus and scheduled and private events……

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181. Toad the Wet Sprocket at South Barrington Arboretum Music Fest

 Anyone up for a FREE music festival this weekend?  Prepare to flash back to the 90’s because Toad the Wet Sprocket is one of ten bands performing at the Arboretum of South Barrington’s two-day Block Party and Music Fest, which starts at noon tomorrow.

There’s a great lineup of performers for both Saturday and Sunday, but the headlining band is Toad the Wet Sprocket performing at 8:30 on Saturday night. Named in honor of a sketch by the Monty Python comedy troupe, this 4-piece band of Santa Barbara, CA high school cronies came to be known as Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986. The band’s big commercial breakthrough came in 1991 (the year I graduated from high school) as the single “All I Want” became a Top 20 hit. Another single from Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Fear LP, “Walk on the Ocean,” also became a successful track for the band.
Here’s a look at the scheduled performers for the fest and an oldie but goodie by Toad the Wet Sprocket……

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180. Ride Hogwarts Express & Tour the Train Lady’s Railway Gardens

 The Train Lady is opening the doors of her private property tomorrow, June 23rd, to let the public view her amazing train garden railways and she has some exciting new highlights planned for this year. If you’ve never seen her gardens, you do not want to miss this awesome opportunity to experience something really special and only found right here in North Barrington. Train Lady, Elaine Silets, has been hosting tours of her property once a year since 1990, but this year she’ll be introducing us all to some very special guests.
Elaine designs model railroad gardens for a living and your jaw will drop when you see the garden scenes she’s created in her own back yard. It’s 10 luscious acres she calls Gardens at Wandering Tree.
The grounds are covered with gorgeous flowering gardens, laced with miniature tracks and spotted with whimsical model train vignettes.
One of many highlights is the Glorée & Tryumfant Garden Railway, complete with 6,000 square feet of waterfalls, streams, lakes, bridges, trestles, city and country scenes.  And Elaine is raving about her roses this year, “I don’t know what happened to the roses, but I think they got hormones from this weather.  They’re absolutely gorgeous!”
Her gardens are stunning, but one of my kids’ favorite features is Elaine’s train which carries children as passengers and circles around her drive. It’s called “Hogwarts Express” and tomorrow it’ll be the hottest ticket in town!
More details on her gardens in a minute, but first, here’s what’s new this year……

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