Chicago: Take Two
As most of you know, recently I visited Chicago for the second time in what most would consider a short time frame. But this trip was completely different than the last – it wasn’t the crazy-busy girls shopping weekend I did back in November. This was all about hanging with my friend Lib, catching up on some much needed girl time, and relaxing a bit.
And of course, getting a few really good meals in my tummy!
Instead of going through every meal and every dish I ate on this trip, I’m just going to recap the two restaurants where we had the best experiences. Here goes…..
2152 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
Started off the evening in the upstairs bar of The Bristol, as we had about an hour wait (they don’t take reservations). My drink (pictured above) was fan-freakin-tastic.
Domaine de Canton, Bombay Sapphire, Honey-Rosemary Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Ginger Ale
with Dill Butter and Sea Salt
I’m still seriously thinking about this bread days later. I need to find a recipe and try to recreate it at home. Anyone out there point me in the right direction?
with Toasted Hazelnuts, Marinated Manchego
But alas, I put my aversion to runny egg yolk aside and ate. With abandon. The brown butter sauce was so incredible that it drowned out any apprehensions I had about the dish.
with beets, sour cream, and fresh dill sauce
I love beets. Some think they taste like dirt. So be it. I still love them.
Saturday night’s restaurant was one that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. It was actually going to be on our agenda for the girls’ trip in November, but we waited too long to make the reservation and couldn’t get in. Both food and service were top-notch!
217 West Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60654
If anyone else out there cares—it’s a Cognac-based liqueur made with various aromatics, fruit peels and herbs. Developed in 1518, it is believed to be the oldest liqueur continuously made.
Although I was more than happy drinking it with dinner, I actually think it would be doubly wonderful for brunch, so it’s been added to my “must-make-at-my-next-brunch” list.
In addition to my interest in this drink, I was also quite fascinated and surprised that crack was served free of charge. Yes, crack. Of course, it’s hard to recognize it as crack because it’s disguised as popcorn. In place of the bread basket that most restaurants serve while you’re perusing the menu, Graham Elliot gives you a big basket of truffle oil infused popcorn. Totally legal I suppose, but addictive nonetheless.
On to our appetizers. This first one was not only a party in my mouth with all it’s textures and flavors, but also completely visually stunning. My photo does not do it justice.
pomegranate seeds, tuscan kale, crumbled gorgonzola, port reduction
bratwurst, green apples, glazed onions, cheez-its
Oh my goodness, the Beef Stroganoff. This is not your Mama’s stroganoff. Deconstructed and recreated with a shallot compote and sour cream on bottom, then a layer of chanterelle mushrooms and peppered spaetzle, topped with slices of medium rare, melt-in-your-mouth beef. Divine.
The one thing I dislike about Chicago? I don’t live there.
Since I don’t live there, I don’t have the opportunity for repeat visits to these establishments. Residents of Chicago- I hope you are frequenting these places OFTEN.
What will it be the next time I’m in the Windy City? Whatever it is, I’m quite sure it won’t disappoint.
Photo Credit: monkey bread by The Bristol