Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Road Trip & Recipe: Chicago - Bespoke Cuisine

On a recent work trip to Chicago we had a team building activity at Bepoke Cuisine in the West Loop of Chicago. 

It's very similar to The Glendalia here in Cincinnati - hands on cooking classes with drinking along the way! (aka FUN FUN FUN!) Since we work on a US Hispanic-focused website, they did a customized Mexican menu for us for the evening - oooh I was so excited! 

They had some cheese and crisps out for us to nibble on while we cooked - along with a bar - so we can drink some too!

They had stations around the kitchen area all set up and prepped and ready for us. On each table was all the ingredients, utensils and the recipe. We split our group up into 6 groups - 4 or so for each station. (It really works best with 2-3 per station - we got a little crowded.)

Here's a selfie with me and my fashionista Whitney! I j'adore this girl - she's been my inspiration for wearing makeup at work. Now if I could just find some leopard print pants in size big butt - we'd be sisters from another mister!

Whit was in super-concentration mode - but I'm not sure if she was concentrating on the cooking or the drinking?! :-)

Isaac was stirring something - I wasn't on his team - so I have no idea - I think he was on the croquette team - so I'm gonna guess sautéing some chorizo.

Luis - well he got the man job of grilling flank steak. He took this job very seriously! :-)

And he did a great job - the beer-marinated flank steak skewers with chimichurri sauce were one of our apps and they were awesome! I could really have eaten this whole plate - but I shared.

This was one of my favorite things all night - Chorizo Potato Croquettas! These had a LOT of steps - which scares me off a bit! There is potato mashing, croquetta shaping, batter dipping and even frying! Wow - so glad I wasn't on this team! They were like yummier-than-usual tater tots.

Oh man - it was really amazing to see the other teams finishing up their dishes and starting to drool over what we were about to have for dinner.

Oh yeah - some of this too! 

Our chefs finally let us have a seat and put the finishing touches on all of the dishes and plated them for us.

We started out with a grilled radicchio salad - this was my team. I had never grilled lettuce before - it was delicious! Some of the greens were a little bitter for my taste - but I liked the tricks I learned about grilling the veggies.

We also had a Guava Grilled Pork Tenderloin with a Seasonal Vegetable Bake with Crema. I have to say - that vegetable bake was awesome! My coworker who REFUSES to eat vegetables even choked down a few! Of course 3 cups of cheese never hurts a vegetable. :-)

My favorite of the evening was the Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding with Kahlua sauce. If you remember that rack of them above - I could have eaten a whole tray! I wanted to go back in the kitchen and see if there were any extras. I love love love bread pudding.

This was a really fun evening - we got to hang out and chat with each other - drink a little, bond a little and get outside of our usual teams. Bespoke Cuisine (and The Glendalia here in Cinci) are a great experience for friends or work teams!

Here's the recipe for the Bread Pudding - hope you enjoy:

Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding


1 loaf of brioche or French bread, cut into cubes (about 15 cups)
3 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish or 10 individual ramekins
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, cream and liquer
4. In another mixing bowl, combine the sugar and brown sugar with the cocoa powder & mix well. Add to the milk mixture.
5. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to the milk mixture and mix well.
6. Stir in the chocolate chips
7. Pour mixture over bread cubes and allow to stand for 10 minutes, stir occasionally to make sure all the milk gets absorbed
8. Spoon the bread into baking dish or ramekins and bake until a wood skewer comes out clean. For the 13x9 pan about 1 hour, for the ramekins about 40 minutes.
9. To serve, make a well inside each of the ramekins and spoon in a small amount of the Kahlua cream sauce or spoon the sauce over individual servings from baking dish.

Kahlua Sauce


1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup kahlua
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten


1. In a double boiler, over medium heat, melt the butter
2. Add the Kahlua and sugar, whisk until the sugar is dissolved
3. Whisk 1 TBS of the Kahlua mixture into the beaten egg to temper it
4. Add the egg/Kahlua mixture to the butter/Kahlua/sugar over the double boiler and stir constantly until slightly thickened
5. Remove from the heat and place in pitcher. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm until ready to serve with the bread pudding.

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