Friday, June 1, 2012

Update: Back from Chicago

I haven't had a chance to go through all our photos yet from our mini-holiday in Chicago last weekend, but I wanted to give an update from this {post}.

I absolutely loved the city.  I had only ever been in the downtown part at night so I didn't realize what a pretty city it was.  I loved the old buildings with so much character and the beach smack dab in downtown.  How fabulous!  The weather was perfect and we spent as much time as possible outside in the sun.  We also spent as much time as possible eating! :)  

Sadly we didn't make it to all the restaurants recommended {here}, which is probably a good thing since there were over 20 restaurants on the list for our 4-day holiday! Of the rec's these are the ones we made it to:

We went here our first day.  We got off the plane, dropped our stuff downtown at the hotel and walked here for brunch.  The portions were huge!  
I think they were pretty generous with my 2-egg veggie scramble.  Must've been some big chickens! We definitely should've shared.  The food was great though. We were a bit disappointed that they didn't serve alcoholic beverages.  Don't judge! We were on vacay - Thursday morning cocktails are allowed :)

I loved it here!  We headed here to rest our feet after a day of shopping.  It was perfect.  They had a fantastic selection of bottles and a really nice small bites menu.  There was great outdoor seating, but we opted to sit inside at the modern bar.   We shared a small cheese plate and it was perfect.  I would've loved it if they would have had a few more options for split bottles, but that's completely my own fault for having such a low tolerance. :)  We passed by here on a few late-nights as well and the place was packed!

I go to this restaurant every time I'm in Chicago.  I'd call it French Japanese, if there is such a thing.  The food is delicious and beautifully presented.  I must admit though, it's the venue that's really amazing.  If you go, ask to sit downstairs and if it's warm out, ask to sit outside.  They have a fantastic patio downstairs with loungey sofas and chairs.  We got pretty lucky a snagged a comfy sofa, sipped on mojitos loving the warm chicago night. No sweater needed!

We stopped here on our way to The Art Institute.  It was a bit hard to find, the address said N. Michigan Ave, but it was a bit off the street and inside an office looking building.  I'm so glad we kept looking though.  Imagine delicious tasting, completely organic ingredients piled onto pretzel bread, yep a baguette-looking pretzel.  It's even better than it sounds.

On our last day, a friend recommended stopping by here and told us to try the Chicago Mix, which is cheesy popcorn mixed with caramel corn.  I know it sounds weird.  I was a disbeliever as well.  I don't really even like caramel corn.  But we picked up some at the airport for a snack.  I bought the small which turned out to be the size of a small grocery bag (the portions again!).  It was so yummy!  I checked their online shop and saw that they deliver (yay!).  Now I just have to figure out how I can justify spending $40 on popcorn.

One of my co-workers told me this was his favorite restaurant in Chicago.  It has the same owners as Avec and The Publican which were restaurants that came highly recommended as well.  But he said "favorite" so we went there and there was no disappointment.  The menu at first seemed a bit limited, but I think it's one of those places where you won't be disappointed with anything you order. I would definitely call it an upscale restaurant, not someplace we would frequent on any regular basis, but if you're a foodie and don't mind spending a bit of cash it is worth a visit.

Dan originally booked dinner reservations here for us, but after all the restaurant recommendations came in we decided to move it much later just for dessert and drinks.  If you go here, make reservations!  You get to cut to the front of the elevator line, which is usually quite long, and head straight up to the 95th floor.  The views were amazing.  

We had drinks at the bar first and then were seated at a table where we could see the fireworks over Navy Pier (this happens only on Saturday nights).

For dessert, they didn't have what I wanted on the menu, but I asked anyway.  Our waiter Eric was really cool, we chatted with him about California.  He loved snowboarding in Tahoe and surfing in Santa Cruz. He said he check for my dessert.  And then brought out this:
Crème brûlée covered in fresh berries 

It soon looked like this:

I saved the best for last.  The name doesn't give away much and the place doesn't look like a whole lot, but you'll notice the hungry people waiting outside and the long list when you put your name in for a table.  

We almost didn't go here.  We stayed in the River North / Streeterville area and didn't really want to take cabs.  We loved walking around the city.  But the menu looked really good and we couldn't find one bad review.  

I ordered the stuffed french toast.  It came with one filled with mexican chocolate, one with mascarpone cheese and one with strawberries. I couldn't resist the heavenly mimosa - champagne with fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade. Yum!  Mine was delicious and tasty and wonderful.  

Dan had prosciutto and spinach eggs benedict and a wasabi bloody mary.  Dan's was the best breakfast I have ever tasted. (sorry mom.)  I will go back to Chicago simply to have breakfast at Toast again.  The hollandaise sauce is perfection - a slight lemony flavour finished off with a bit of truffle oil.  At the most unpretentious place you can imagine.  I do not have words to describe how wonderful this was.

Later that day I told Danny I was going back to Toast the next day for breakfast.  He wasn't sure if he wanted to deal with getting up early and grabbing a cab there since we had to make the train by our hotel to head out to see his family.  I told him that was fine, but I was going to Toast again for breakfast the next day. :)  

We made it back again and we arrived early enough so that we were seated immediately at the bar with the super nice Tyler waiting on us.  We shared the prosciutto and spinach eggs benedict and it was just as perfect.  And we were only slightly embarrassed when we ordered a bloody mary and a heavenly mimosa and were told they weren't allowed to serve alcohol before 11am on Sundays (doh!).  Don't judge!  

If you do nothing else in Chicago, go to Toast.  But the rest of the city is pretty cool too. :)

{At the bar at Toast}


1 comment:

  1. Wow I think I would go to Chicago just to eat at Toast--yum! Have a wonderful weekend!

    xo Mary Jo


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