Chicago: Urbanbelly, Girl and the Goat
Duck and Pho Spiced Dumplings at Urbanbelly
Yes, there is a Part 2 to Monday’s Chicago post. That’s because I had two back-to-back trips to the Windy City, one in late May and the other in early June. Work turned me into a traveling fiend for a few weeks (including my trip to Atlanta for Food & Wine Festival), and although it was exhausting, I’m definitely not complaining about all of the incredible food I got to experience!
Urbanbelly Short Ribs with Scallions
Karl and Sarah of Nashville’s Biscuit Love truck are a bit addicted to Chicago’s Urbanbelly and for over a year, on each trip I took there, they recommended that I add it to my eating itinerary. Unfortunately, each time, it just never worked out.
But on my last visit, I arrived into the city early on a Sunday afternoon with a couple of hours to kill before I needed to be somewhere, so I decided it was time. I summoned Uber, and in the car on the way, tweeted to Karl asking him exactly what I needed to order. His response: #4, #9, #13, #16, #18.
Um, that’s sounds like a lot of food for one person! Sure enough, when I arrived at my destination and looked at the menu, it was more than I thought I’d be able to handle, so I narrowed it down to 3 of the 5.
Urbanbelly Wrinkle Beans
A few minutes later, as I was waiting for my order to arrive at my table, my server brought me a bowl of short ribs, courtesy of the kitchen. Apparently someone at Urbanbelly figured I could handle 4 dishes instead of 3. They seem to know me better than I know myself, because I had no trouble polishing it all off!
Urbanbelly Rice Noodle: Hominy, Kimchi, and Spicy Pork Broth
I totally get why Karl and Sarah hit this spot every time they visit Chicago. In addition to the incredible food, they also have an awesome staff. If you find yourself at Urbanbelly any time in the near future, ask for Will and tell him that Beth from Nashville sent you!
3053 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
Girl and the Goat’s Squash Blossom Rangoon with crab, chive yogurt, toasted almonds
Another restaurant I’ve had good intentions of visiting for ages is Girl and the Goat. For as much as I loved Stephanie Izard during her season of Top Chef and for as many times as I’ve been to Chicago since the Girl and the Goat opened, you’d think I would have dined there by now. It really wasn’t for lack of trying. I’d attempted to get reservations on several occasions, but the only times available always seemed to be 5 pm or 11 pm. So each time, I just said, “oh well! I’ll try again on the next trip”. And then I would, and the same thing would happen.
Finally I decided to just take a chance on walking in the door without a reservation. I knew they allowed for some walk-ins, but had heard that the wait could be up to a couple of hours. Note: I’m not a person that likes to wait that long. However, because I had such a fantastic (and late in the day) lunch at Urbanbelly, I wasn’t dying of hunger, so figured I could tough it out.
Wild King Salmon with braised peanuts, strawberry chimichurri, spiced beef, and shallot yogurt at Girl and the Goat
As luck would have it, we were able to get a seat in less time than it took us to finish even half of a cocktail!
After eating outrageous amounts of really oustanding food – wood grilled broccoli with smokey blue cheese, chickpea fritters with trumpet mushrooms, kona kampachi crudo (crispy pork belly with chili aioli & caperberries), squash blossom rangoon with crab & chive yogurt, wild king salmon with braised peanuts & strawberry chimichurri, and pig face (yes, you read that correctly) – I am kicking myself for not making more of an attempt to get there before now.
Lesson learned. I will now risk a long wait and be a walk-in diner at super popular establishments, particularly this one. Long or short, it’s worth the wait.
(PS – sorry these pics aren’t better. Again a case of bad lighting that even Photoshop couldn’t fix!)
809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607