Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!

by Megan on May 31, 2014

Here are some places we MUST visit – soon!

24 Chicago diners, drive-ins, and dives

irazu

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The Office

by Megan on February 23, 2013

the office We were recently honored to get to go to The Office at the Aviary a few weeks ago with our good friends Jolene and Pete.  After putting two and two together, I realized that one of Tom’s oldest friends (and Jolene’s ex-boyfriend from long, long ago) is the bartender at The Office – Jason Cevallos (I should say super famous friend Jason, LOL!)

The ambience was like a rich old man’s study, quiet, and dark.  It only holds something like 14 people, so it was very intimate.  As we were walking downstairs, people said “ooooo, they must be special” hahaha!  Kinda weird since we certainly aren’t “scenesters”!

The drinks – I don’t know what they were or what they were called, but they were all awesome and like nothing we’ve ever tasted.  Pete had some kind of milk punch that was clear, but made of milk.  They also brought us balls filled with something that we cracked open.  We also had some kind of dry-ice powder concoction with a liquid that we poured over it.  All awesome – no idea what these things were.

The food – Tom and Pete had oysters with tinctures of flavor – they said they were awesome.  We had a seafood platter that was amazing.  I also had caviar for the first time.  It was ok…didn’t taste like much and I couldn’t get over the fact I was eating fish eggs.  The best thing was the veggie appetizer – least expensive and awesome!

It was a great time with good friends and we are so lucky we got to go!  Special thanks to bartender and dear old friend Jason for getting us into this super exclusive place.  We’ll have this memory forever!

jason

 

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Blackbird

by Megan on November 18, 2011

We went to Blackbird for my 30th birthday in 2008.  We had a very nice seat next to the window and great service.  I had a fish entre from Brazil and Tom had the venison medallions.  Both were delicious.  It was a very nice dinner – also very pricey.  I would go back, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.  Try it if you are looking for something new!

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Gene and Georgetti’s

by Megan on November 18, 2011

Gene and Georgetti’s is a Chicago fixture and rightfully so.  This no-nonsense steakhouse is like walking back in time to when going out to dinner was a special occassion and you knew what you were getting.  The servings are big enough to share with the whole table, but tempting enough to finish off yourself.  The steaks are legendary – you will have to try them for yourself to see what the rest of the world already knows – simply the best!  If you are going to have one steak while you are in Chicago, you need to make Gene and Georgetti’s a top priority.  Five stars, all the way.

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Rockit Bar

by Megan on November 18, 2011

Rockit Bar is a must if you are going to be bumming around River North.  The food is different and ecclectic, but recognizable.  The menu is bound in old album covers, which sets the mood for a fun dining experience.  This restaurant/bar is centrally located to shopping and entertainment and will not disappoint!

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9 Muses

by Megan on November 18, 2011

9 Muses is seriously the best Greek restaurant in Chicago.  Great chicken, gyros, drinks, and the greek coffee is amazing!  It’s located on a bustling corner – great for people watching in the spring and summer out on the deck.  This restaurant is traditional, yet modern and not to be missed!

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Frontera Grill

by Megan on November 18, 2011

I was fortunate while working downtown to be able to go to Frontera Grill a few different times for lunch.  The guacamole was fantastic, as well as the tacos and everything else I tried!  They have small plates at lunch that allow you to share and try a bunch of different things.  The xacao sauce was to die for – highly recommend getting an entre that includes it.  Try this place if you are interested in authentic mexican food with a twist!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

by Megan on April 7, 2011

I haven’t posted recipes on this blog, but I’m going to start with my new all-time favorite cake – red velvet.  A colleague passed this along – it’s Cake Man Raven’s recipe and it is DE-LISH!  I could suck the frosting with a straw.  It is so moist and yummy…it’s best not to think of how it will ruin your diet:)  I usually make cupcakes instead of an 8″ cake.  Just cook for 22 minutes instead of 25-30.

MAKES ONE 8″ CAKE
According to legend red velvet cake was invented in the 1950s at Oscar’s in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria. However, Raven Dennis of Cake Man Raven Confectionary (whose recipe we adapted) claims red velvet
cake originated during the Civil War, and that southern ladies made it “to keep their husbands home.”

FOR THE CAKE:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

FOR THE FROSTING:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar (Kelly Mc – powdered and confectioners are actually the same thing – it’s just superfine sugar with a bit of cornstarch in it)

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour, sugar,
baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl. Beat eggs, oil,
buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with
an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat
until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased
and floured 8″ round cake pans. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through,
until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean,
25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a
plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool
completely.

2. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together
in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and
beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

3. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate; spread one-quarter of the
frosting on top. Set another layer on top and repeat frosting. Set
remaining layer on top and frost top and sides with the remaining
frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake. Chill for 2 hours
to set frosting, if you like.

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Wildberry

by Megan on February 20, 2011

We LOVE Wildberry in this family!  They have great breakfast and lunch and it’s always fresh and light.  Get here early on the weekends because there is always a pretty long wait.  They also have a great coffee bar with pastries and gourmet coffee.  If you’re in Libertyville, check out Wildberry – you won’t be disappointed!

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Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

by Megan on February 20, 2011

One of the shows we regularly watch around here is Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.  Two of the restaurants he visited in Chicago have been on my list of ‘must visits’ for some time now – Alinea and Graham Elliot.  These both look absolutely amazing!  While I’ve never had foie gras, the foie gras lollipops at Graham Elliot look tempting:)  We’ll have to get a sitter and have a couple of date nights at these restaurants soon!

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