In The Restaurants

These Ingredients are Unexpected Perfect Pairs

These Ingredients are Unexpected Perfect Pairs

Jan 1, 2018

With the New Year comes new menus, and just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of interesting flavors and ingredients to work with. Chef CJ Jacobson and the team at Ema in Chicago’s River North introduced a brand new winter menu that’s stocked full of the unexpected, from ingredients and cooking methods to flavors and presentations.

Unexpected Ingredient: Pomegranate Molasses

“The molasses is super acidic and sweet, which makes the ingredient more dynamic, and can be used in many different ways. In the Grilled Pork Belly, it’s used as an element of sweet and sour to the rich broth,” says Chef CJ.

Apples + Pork = Love. Watch how Ema’s Grilled Pork Belly dish comes together utilizing the pomegranate molasses.

Grilled Pork Belly with pomegranate molasses glaze, radishes and apples

Do you have more of a sweet tooth? Chef CJ is also using the pomegranate molasses in a brunch favorite.

“We are also using pomegranate molasses in the House Yogurt. Here we use it as you would honey for a sweet finish,” says Chef CJ.

Ema's House Yogurt & Granola with rolled oats, pistachios, dried fruit and molasses sauce
Ema’s House Yogurt & Granola with rolled oats, pistachios, dried fruit and molasses sauce

Been to brunch at Ema yet? If not, here’s why you probably should go check it out ASAP.

Unexpected Methods:

Juiced butternut squash for the new risotto dish.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmesan, crispy sage, squash vinaigrette
Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmesan, crispy sage, squash vinaigrette

“For this butternut squash risotto we don’t make a puree, we use juice. First, I juice the butternut squash, then salt and ferment it. After cooking the other half of the butternut squash, I combine it to form a squash vinaigrette,” Chef CJ explains.

The second unexpected method shows up on the cocktail menu in the Oaxacan Peach Pipe using Lebanese 7 Spice as a key ingredient.

“What’s cool about using the Lebanese 7 Spice in a cocktail is that these spices are typically just used for baking. I was using it for a dish that was on the menu and we decided to turn it into a simple syrup for this drink.” 

 

Oaxacan Peach Pipe with Rittenhouse rye, mescal, Lebanese 7 spice, dandelion and burdock bitters
Oaxacan Peach Pipe with Rittenhouse rye, mescal, Lebanese 7 spice, dandelion and burdock bitters

 

Unexpected Pairings: These ingredients are the perfect savory + sweet match. 

Frozen Greek Yogurt with Olive Oil 

Cup of greek yogurt drizzled with olive oil
Ema’s Signature Greek Yogurt with Olive Oil

Ema’s Frozen Greek Yogurt with Olive Oil and sea salt has become a staple at the restaurant. While unusual to some, yogurt and olive oil complement each other in that olive oil is a buttery oil, and adds a different dimension to the acidic yogurt.

Avocado and Grapefruit.

“Mango and avocado sounds good; grapefruit and avocado sounds good; but to most, all three together could sound strange. One is bitter, and the other is sweet and tangy, but they are all bridged by sweetness! This new dish comes together with the freshness of cucumber and the nuttiness of crispy quinoa.”

Avocado & Grapefruit with mango, cucumbers, fresnos, dill, sage and crispy quinoa
Avocado & Grapefruit with mango, cucumbers, fresnos, dill, sage and crispy quinoa

Stop by Ema and check out Chef CJ’s new winter menu.

Vegan Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Sweet Potato Soup

Highlights include Grilled Pork Belly with pomegranate molasses glaze, radishes and apples, Avocado & Grapefruit with mango, cucumbers, Fresno chili, dill, sage and crispy quinoa, Garlic Hummus, Vegan Sweet Potato Soup, Winter Vegetable Tabbouleh, Chicken Milanese Sandwich (for lunch) and more. To make your reservation click here. Check out the new menu by visiting emachicago.com.


You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
Celebrate National Wine Day Tomorrow
May 24, 2018

National Wine Day (May 25) is tomorrow, and while we love a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Mother’s Day 2018
May 11, 2018

That special woman who would do absolutely anything for you deserves a day to be celebrated. Join us…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Season: Spring Peas
Apr 24, 2018

Spring has sprung and with the change in the season, our chefs have beautiful green veggies on their…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Apr 21, 2018

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Apr 20, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Apr 11, 2018

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Spring into the season with these dishes
Apr 2, 2018

The temperatures are rising and tulips are being planted, which could only mean one thing: spring is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Dishes and Drinks with the Color of the Year: Ultra Violet
Mar 30, 2018

Every year, Pantone, the creator of colors, announces their choice in what the Color of the Year is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Easter 2018
Mar 28, 2018

Celebrate the end of Lent and bring the whole family in for Easter. Whether you're looking for…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Mar 15, 2018

You've been to the zoo, the beach, the pool... the kids are starting to get stir crazy. We've got…

read more >
In The Restaurants
This One’s For Our Indecisive Diners
Feb 26, 2018

For all of you indecisive order-ers out there - the "I want to order one of everything on the menu"…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Presidents Day 2018
Feb 8, 2018

Enjoy your long weekend on Presidents Day (Monday, February 19) by staying up late, sleeping in and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to go on Valentine’s Day 2018
Feb 4, 2018

Have you made your Valentine's Day plans yet? It's right around the corner and there's lots of…

read more >
How To
How To Make the Perfect Game Day Dip
Jan 22, 2018

A staple for your Big Game Sunday spread is a delicious dip! In case you need some inspiration, we…

read more >
How To
Already Fell Off the Healthy New Year’s Resolution Wagon? Let’s Eat.
Jan 12, 2018

"New Year, Same Me" more your speed? Well, we're right there with you. Celebrate one of our favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat: Martin Luther King Day 2018
Jan 6, 2018

A long weekend calls for long brunches filled with sweet and savory treats. And don't forget about…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Our Chef’s Predictions and Resolutions for 2018
Jan 2, 2018

Our chefs aren't psychic but they do have a finger on the pulse of what's on the horizon for the New…

read more >
In The Restaurants
These Ingredients are Unexpected Perfect Pairs
Jan 1, 2018

With the New Year comes new menus, and just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that there is a…

read more >
How To
A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Thanksgiving Wines
Nov 7, 2017

Fact: wine stores are intimidating. More truth: we're here to help! We've tapped the minds of our…

read more >
How To
How to Host Friendsgiving
Nov 1, 2017

Friendsgiving (n): the turkey-centric festive feast held by your chosen family - your friends - to…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Fall Harvest’s Best Dishes
Oct 30, 2017

The bounty of fall harvest comes at a time in the year when we are craving the comfort of cool…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Ema’s Pumpkin Hummus
Oct 30, 2017

Enjoy your favorite fall ingredient the Mediterranean way and make Ema's Pumpkin Hummus by Chef CJ…

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Oct 22, 2017

'Tis the season for everyone's favorite fall ingredient, pumpkin. Whether you're preparing pumpkin…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Oct 18, 2017

If you're anything like us, you plan your weekend around brunch. Here is your guide to all of our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Where to Eat & Drink in October
Oct 2, 2017

Throughout the month of October, Lettuce Entertain You restaurants are donating a portion of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Brunch at Ēma
Jun 21, 2017

Your weekend plans have been decided for you thanks to Chef CJ Jacobson. Ēma in River North is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Bloom: Strawberries
May 21, 2017

Summer is on the horizon, which means strawberries season is back to brighten our palates! From…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Mezze Madness
Mar 14, 2017

March is all about epic matchups; be it on the NCAA basketball court or tableside at Ema. In the…

read more >
In The Restaurants
‘Tis the Season: Cozy Cocktails
Dec 16, 2016

Like it or not, winter is upon us. It’s getting quite chilly, the darkness approaches sooner than…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Halloween Candy-inspired Desserts
Oct 1, 2016

Pumpkins are being carved, costumes are being purchased, parties are being planned, and the best…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Date Night
Aug 15, 2016

 

read more >
Openings
Welcome to Ema
Jun 30, 2016

This Mediterranean restaurant showcases Chef CJ Jacobson’s lighter California-style of cooking is…

read more >

Recent Posts

In The Restaurants
Celebrate National Wine Day Tomorrow
May 24, 2018

National Wine Day (May 25) is tomorrow, and while we love a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Only on Thursdays: Alaskan King Crab & Burgers at Oyster Bah
May 23, 2018

Why wait for the weekend to have all the fun because every Thursday night at Oyster Bah, in the Low…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Let’s Do Lunch! Meet You at Booth One
May 22, 2018

It seems that no one ever has time for lunch, which is often replaced by a quick snack between…

read more >
How To
Here’s How to Make Pesto
May 21, 2018

Summer is upon us and one of our favorite seasonal condiments is pesto! You can make pesto with…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Farm(ers Market) Right to Your Table: Brunch at Stella Barra
May 17, 2018

Chef / Partner Jeff Mahin (Summer House Santa Monica, Stella Barra Pizzeria, M Street Kitchen and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Happy Hour at Antico Posto
May 17, 2018

Here’s something to get “happy” about. You can now enjoy Antico Posto for lunch, dinner and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Brunching in the Chicago Burbs?
May 16, 2018

When planning your weekend, brunch should always be a priority and trust us, there’s lox to love…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Windy City Smokeout Presents the Country Music Stars of Tomorrow
May 13, 2018

Windy City Smokeout is returning to Chicago on July 13-15! Known for showcasing country music's…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Rise & Shine: The Best Way to Breakfast During the Week
May 13, 2018

Early risers rejoice! We've rounded up all of our weekday breakfast specialties that will keep you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Mother’s Day 2018
May 11, 2018

That special woman who would do absolutely anything for you deserves a day to be celebrated. Join us…

read more >
How To
How To: Make a Restaurant-Quality Dinner at Home
May 11, 2018

Our friends at Peapod are making it easier for you to enjoy your favorite dishes from Wildfire and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gift Guide
May 10, 2018

Whether it's a birthday, the holiday season or any of the countless holidays throughout the year,…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!