Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chicago Food Spots

Recently, Mat and I had a chance to visit Chicago for a college friend's wedding.  Even though I used to live in the area up 'til I was about 20, I still find the city to be unfamiliar to me because the city has changed drastically in the past 5 to 10 years.  Each of the neighborhoods are more well defined, cuter, and cozier.  Before, the only cute neighborhood was Lincoln Park but now there are so many other places to go like Wicker Park, University Village, etc.  There are lots of cute places to walk around (weather permitting) to shop and tons of yummy places to eat.  Boy...   where have I been?  I wanted to highlight a few places we went to.

The first place we checked out was Hot Chocolate for brunch.  The brunch is pretty amazing and I ordered the fluffy pancakes but don't have a pic of it because my camera malfunctioned.  Sorry!  But I do have a picture of the hot chocolate.  It was very rich and decadent and comes with a homemade marshmallow.  Totally delicious.

Another place we had to check out was Davanti Enoteca.  I had heard so many good things about this place that I had to eat here and take Mat because I knew he would love it too.  We were lucky because the weekend we went, there was the big Chicago marathon so the restaurant was pretty calm and quiet.  This place does not take reservations and the wait can be really long. 


I can't remember all the things we ate but the food was scrumptious.... squid ragu on top of polenta, truffle toast with eggs, fresh ricotta with honey and toast, prosciutto pizza.....

My total favorite was the uni pasta with lumps of crab meat.  Uni is one of those things that you either love it or hate it.  I happen to love it!  I really have to figure out how to make this one at home. 

The highlight of our weekend full of food was to eat at my girlfriend's restaurant but before we could eat there, we had to stop by and pick up some wine at Lush Wine and Spirits.  Pretty cool wine shop if you ask me.  The wine glass chandeliers were such an interesting touch to the decor and totally fitting for a wine shop. 

And this is my girlfriend's restaurant..... Ruxbin.  She opened it with her brother as the chef and a good girlfriend and the restaurant has become wildly successful.  In 2011, it was voted top new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit Magazine.  Pretty crazy but they are such hard workers and good things happen to good people.  Just fyi, it is BYOB and the restaurant is pretty tiny (it sits 32 patrons max).  There are so many interesting, thoughtful details throughout the restaurant from the ceilings, walls, lighting, etc so of course I took a ton of pictures. 


The ceiling is plastered with pages from the chef's personal collection of cookbooks.  Pretty darn cool and creative.


The spotted object sitting right above the hostess bar is from an old church organ I believe. The rays of light that come out of that thing are very cool. Who would have thought you could do that?  Definitely not me.


They re-purposed just about everything they could.  The orange walls are from apple crates and the seats along the wall have back support from car seat belts.  Yup... I said car seat belts.  

I think Mat ordered the entire menu for our table of 3.  We tried to eat and try as many delicious dishes as possible. 

One of my favorites was the salmon tartare which was their special of the night.  It is the dish with the pretty, little edible flowers on it.  The plating for the dishes were beautiful and I didn't expect anything less. 


I loved their take on the caesar salad with endive and frozen grapes.  I love anchovies so that may have had something to do with it. 


We had an amazing dinner with wonderful company and amazing food.  I wish my girlfriend would hurry up and move back to LA already!  But I can see how her restaurant is her baby and I can't selfishly want her to move back to LA just for me. 


The rooftop of Ruxbin has an amazing view of the beautiful Chicago skyline. 

Last but not least, we ate our last meal in Chicago at Girl & the Goat.  The decor of this restaurant totally reminded me of Searsucker in San Diego.  We went not too long ago with our cousins in this past post.  They also served small plates that are meant to be shared with the table.


I loved the cute little goat details throughout the restaurant.


I didn't know I loved goat so much!  It is not as gamey as lamb which I can appreciate for certain dishes.  I particularly enjoyed the goat empanadas, roasted cauliflower, beef tongue, beet salad, and goat pasta out of the gazillion dishes we ordered.


We're definitely going to have to come back when the cold weather subsides to eat some more yummy food and see our friends.  It was a great weekend.  One of Mat and my favorite weekend getaways this year.  


Kathy said...

Beautiful shots as always, so glad you got to try so much delicious food in Chicago!

Monica said...

thanks kathy! =)

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