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
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Sep 17, 2018

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
Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants
Sep 12, 2018

Finding gluten-free friendly restaurants has gotten a lot easier than it used to be. At Lettuce…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Sep 10, 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
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Sep 3, 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
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Sep 1, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Aug 22, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Aug 10, 2018

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

read more >
How To
All the Ways to Rosé this Summer
Aug 6, 2018

Let’s face it, rosé is welcome all day, every day. We’re here to help you navigate your way…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Life: Meet Avril Zayas, Senior Designer
Jul 30, 2018

Welcome to Lettuce Life, a behind the scenes look at what makes Lettuce Entertain You special: our…

read more >
How To
Treat Your Vegetables More Like Meat
Jul 25, 2018

Summa time, and grilling's easy... but what if you just aren't in the mood to eat meat? CJ Jacobson,…

read more >
How To
This Summer, Grill Like A Chef. Here’s How
Jul 19, 2018

Executive Chef Justin Diglia of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in Chicago and his…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Summer Ice Cream Checklist
Jul 19, 2018

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM...we all know the drill so let's get to the good stuff. July is National Ice…

read more >
How To
Watermelon & Feta Salad from Ema
Jul 19, 2018

Chef CJ Jacobson's refreshing Watermelon and Feta Salad is exactly what you want to eat this summer.…

read more >
How To
How to Make Ema’s Avocado & Sweet Pea Spread with Vegetable Crudite
Jul 17, 2018

Here's a great recipe to add a little green to your summer BBQ spread. Slice up your favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Perfect Fried Chicken Sandwich is Served
Jul 2, 2018

You can roast ‘em, you can bake ‘em, and you can grill ‘em, but nothing tantalizes the taste…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Unconventional Wine Regions of the World
May 24, 2018

Everyone loves a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, but lately, our LEYE Wine…

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
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
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
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
Late Night & Live Music with Lettuce
Sep 20, 2018

Night owls rejoice - select Lettuce restaurants and nightclubs offer everything from late-night food…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Detroit-Style Pan Pizza Rises at Stella Barra Hollywood
Sep 20, 2018

The Detroit-style pan pizza craze has swept the Midwest for years, and now, it has reached the West…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Oktoberfest with this Festive Kickoff Party at Hub 51
Sep 19, 2018

With fall, we see the arrival of apple-picking, pumpkin spice-flavored everything and best of…

read more >
How To
This Secret Ingredient Will Take Your Guac to the Next Level
Sep 18, 2018

El Segundo Sol serves up some of the freshest, most authentic Mexican food on the Las Vegas Strip,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Sep 17, 2018

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
Cooking and Dance Classes To Improve Your Skills
Sep 17, 2018

Ever wanted to learn how to cook like a chef or dance like a pro? We offer a variety of ongoing and…

read more >
How To
A Few Of Our Favorite Game Day Recipes
Sep 14, 2018

When you are in the mood to get your hands dirty in the kitchen for hosting your crew or solo…

read more >
In The Restaurants
5 Ways to Play Summer Scratch Off
Sep 13, 2018

Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Lucky for you, you can play…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants
Sep 12, 2018

Finding gluten-free friendly restaurants has gotten a lot easier than it used to be. At Lettuce…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Rise & Shine: The Best Way to Breakfast During the Week
Sep 12, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
Food For Thought: What Our Chefs Cook Their Kids
Sep 12, 2018

School is back in session and our chefs are cookin' up a storm...but this time for the kiddos. We…

read more >
In The Restaurants
You Can Earn $$ By Booking Your Holiday Party Early, Here’s How!
Sep 11, 2018

Are you in charge of booking your company (or friends) annual holiday party this year? If the answer…

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!