Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hot Chocolate



Saturday afternoon calls for brunch and a little shopping. So my friend Jenny (who is starting a fashion blog shortly, dets to follow!) and I set a date for Hot Chocolate in Bucktown. I haven't been here in ages so I was really looking forward to it. 
We sat at the bar (my favorite) and immediately ordered two hot chocolates to sip. I ordered the half & half (half espresso and half dark chocolate) and she ordered the Mexican (dark chocolate and cinnamon). Mine was so rich and delicious, and with a side of their home made marshmallow it was heavenly. We decided to start with their warm doughnuts and home made raspberry preserve. I almost licked the preserves clean, but held back. For entrees I ordered the usual; eggs with potatoes and toast and she got the quiche. My food was OK,  I was a little let down with my eggs and I think Jenny was bummed they ran out of the potato pancakes (how does that happen??) but overall the doughnuts and hot coco made up for it. Next time I'll be a little more creative with my pick.
I'd love to come back for din, it's so charming in there and I love the random homemade surprises sprinkled throughout the menu.
After lunch, and an ample amount of time to digest, we strolled down Damen and North for some shopping. I got a lovely jersey and lace dress from BCBG and Jenny got some great finds! A perfect Saturday. Now if only I took home some treats from Hot Chocolate for later...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Your Guide to Restaurant Week 2011

People have been asking me where I'm going this year for Restaurant Week... well you'll just have to wait and see. But I can tell you if you haven't made reservations yet here are some ways to pick your restaurants. First, check out the promotional menu on Restaurant Week's website. You should find a link, and for the restaurant's without a special menu, I'd be concerned because that means they are going off their already priced menu (what's the point then?).
Next take a look at their regular priced menu. Notice any major changes? If not, then pick another restaurant. They are missing the whole point of restaurant week; to get you in and save you some cash.
When you've finally arrived at your restaurant (I'd recommend steak houses or higher rated places that give you your money's worth) make sure you pick the more pricey, higher quality items like steaks or seafood. That's another way to get your money's worth.
Here is a fun calculator that I found that gives you the best and worst of this years Restaurant Week menus from A.V. Club Chicago. Have fun!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Molly's Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day & Happy 1-year Birthday to my bloggy. You are getting so big! It's hard to imagine just last year I started this little project as a creative outlet for myself and friends/family. It's been really fun taking photos of food experiences in Chicago, I hope you are enjoying it as much as I enjoy posting. I realize there are plenty of blogs you can be reading, and I hope mine is just a tiny bit different than all the billions of other food/photography blogs. If not, no biggie. Hope you have a great Valentine's day. I leave you with this little red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from Molly's Cupcakes in Lincoln Park. Go get some for yourself!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Odyssey Brunch

The day before Valentine's Day my thoughtful boyfriend decided to make plans for us to do the Odyssey Valentine's Champagne Brunch. We are more the dive bar, listen to good music, and occasionally have a dance party -kind of couple (rewind to Tuman's Saturday night and us trying to dance after a night of mixed concoctions). So this was out of the norm for us, and albeit cheesy, it was so much fun. The cruise took off at Navy Pier and coasted the Lake for a couple hours while we ate from the buffet and sipped mimosa's. The clientele was diverse, and it was really fun people watching. The buffet had the standard assortment of brunch items: french toast, eggs, bacon, salmon and halibut, a carving station, salads and the other typical fixins. The food was surprisingly tasty. As cheesy as the band was, the backdrop of the city (thank you sunny skies) made it a playful day date and something I'm glad we did. It's fun to explore things like tourists do, and get a chance to mark something off your bucket list. My favorite part was stealing a few minutes to the third level empty banquet room stretching our legs and enjoying the view. Our very nice waitress brought us tea and coffee while we relaxed. Ah, yes I am a cheese ball. But it's Valentine's day, might as well embrace it. And even if you don't have a sweetie to enjoy your V-day I hope you get to do something special.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Del Seoul

 Last week a co-worker and I decided to set a date and meet up over food. She, an avid restaurant lover like myself, was open to trying something new. So we decided to check out Del Seoul in Lincoln Park. My old stomping grounds are always fun to re-visit and seeing this new spot made me jealous I didn't live off Clark any longer. I do love River West but Lincoln Park's timeless allure is still appealing.
Del Seoul was a perfect setting to catch up and feast. They are described as "Korean Street BBQ", mimicking the ol' street flare that is very much present in Cali and of course Asian countries. Korean food done well, and not dressed up and reduced to a portion the size of a spoon. I mean, isn't that all a person wants? Just plan good food. I realize they try to modern-it-up, yet I appreciate them doing it without losing the essence of street-food. 

We each ordered 3 tacos, split fries and split dumplings. The tacos were: Kalbi (beef short rib), spicy BBQ pork, spicy BBQ chicken, and sesame chili- shrimp all on corn tortillas. The cilantro relish with "secret" slaw was so tasty. We both agreed that the shrimp was the best, and wish we ordered more!

The fries were nice and spicy, with a side of garlic aioli, it was nice to have something to munch on in between the tacos. I do wish I got the kimchi fries, maybe next time. And the Pièce de résistance: Seoul style pork street dumplings. I am usually not a fan of stemmed pork ( a thousand dumpling lovers are gasping) but this was so yummy. I wish I wasn't full otherwise I'd finish them all! 

Del Seoul is a fun take on street fare with really surprising flavor combination's. A little bit of Asian and a hint of Mexican street food. 

The atmosphere of this little joint was great too, we were able to order, sit and chat for awhile over dumplings. Doesn't get better than this!

Del Seoul on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Small Bar & Snowpocolypse 2011!!

Well if you were in Chicago this week you probably stayed in and watched your car get covered in a couple feet of snow. And hopefully not one of the fools that tried to dig out your Ford Focus while it was still snowing. Once the snow stopped mid afternoon I decided to venture around Division street and find some grub...

 It was fun exploring the streets but finding someplace for lunch was not so fun. Jerry's Sandwich Shop was packed and most other restaurants were closed until we got to Small Bar on Division. Just in time because they were turning down patron's for lack of servers. Understandable, no one wants to venture out in this snow to work. Most cars were covered in snow.
The servers were clearly stressed and I felt so bad for them  - for the entire bar it looked like they were running on 2 servers (minus the owner) and a cook. The whole lunch took a couple hours but we didn't mind. It's not like we had anywhere else to go in this mess. Did I mention I was raised in Buffalo, NY and this weather is like an average day in Buffalo??

We ordered some Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout's to stay toasty and waited for our grub. About an hour later and alas!- awesomeness. On a frigid day like today a BLT and 1/2 pound burger do the trick. No need for the fancy schmancy stuff. Thank you Small Bar. I appreciate your dedication to plow yourselves out of your apartment and feed me. Yum.
Back to my apartment.