Friday, February 28, 2020

Chicago, IL - February 2020

Chicago in February!? Why not! 

In early 2019, our friends Kevin & Lisa moved to They Windy City for a new job opportunity and life in Cleveland just hasn't been the same. It was finally time for the Schurs to take their talents to Chicago for a long weekend! We did what we do best...ate, drank and explored :) We enjoyed incredible food all weekend long!

Steve and I flew Southwest to Midway airport, which is only a hop, skip and a jump from where Kevin & Lisa live in Chicago's Little Italy. We arrived late and Lisa was already waiting for us at the highly sought after Au Chevel. Typically a 2 hour wait, Lisa was able to cut our wait down to just 30 minutes. A 2 hour wait for a burger. Wow.

Anyway, 4 people and 4 burgers...and not just any burger. This was a single (really a double!) patty that some of us added thick cut bacon and/or egg and the end result was the same. Melt in your mouth delicious! 2 hour wait delicious? Probably not, but 30 minutes? Absolutely! Thanks Lisa  :)

After dinner we stopped for a couple of drinks at a couple of small speakeasy-ish bars.

The next day was filled with a little sight-seeing and more food and drinks. We started at the infamous Bean. With temperatures in the single-digits, it was not as busy as usual, so we were able to get a few good pictures.

After The Bean we made our way to the 95th floor of 875 North Michigan Avenue, the former John Hancock Center, where we took some pictures of the sweeping views of Chicago. The best views are actually from the women's bathroom. Pretty funny. Steve and Kevin could only live vicariously through our pictures :) After a drink and some selfies, we starting making our way to dinner. 

Bathroom selfie!

We enjoyed another pre-dinner drink at Formeto's where we ordered 4 old fashioned's.

 Lisa was able to make reservations at another highly sought after restaurant. Being Valentine's Day, we knew it would be difficult to get in anywhere so Lisa made reservations at Bar Siena months in advance and we're happy she did. 

I love gnocchi, but not all gnocchi. The best gnocchi I had ever had was 10 years ago in Chicago. I remember it vividly. So when I saw gnocchi on Bar Siena's menu. I knew I had to get it. It was the best gnocchi I'd ever had (or at least tied!)

We also ordered a charcuterie board (who doesn't love charcuterie!) and short rib lasagna. 

Although we were all filled to the brim, we couldn't turn away the complimentary order of stuffed donuts. 

On Saturday we started the day just how we planned...with bottomless mimosas! Besides sports, the one thing we all have in common is our mutual love for bottomless mimosas. Davanti's is a only 2 short blocks from Kevin and Lisa's house, so this was a dream come true. Bottoms up!

Not only did we enjoy bottomless mimosas, but Kansas and Dayton men's basketball were both playing on separate TV's...could this get any better? Yes, yes it can. 

The food was outstanding! The artichokes (wow!), truffle egg toast, gnudi, and bianca pizza were all great. 

They also had a very extensive bloody Mary bar...but who needs Mary when you can have all the Mimosa you need. Cheers!

After a nap and some TV, we ventured out to eat (again!) and play some pool. It was a laid back night as we geared up for another day of fun.

Sunday lunch had us checking out Time Out Market, a 50,000-square-foot, three-floor destination home to 19 restaurants and 3 bars. 

We navigated the different restaurants and ended up sharing several items. The highlights were the fried chicken and biscuit from Split-Rail.


The drink highlight was the small speakeasy serving tiki drinks. Yum!

Now on to the grande finale...

The Girl and the Goat is considered one of the best restaurants in all of Chicago. Of course we had to go there! One again, Lisa pulled through with reservations. Even though she made them months in advance, the only available table was 9:15 pm on Sunday. We'll take it!

The menu consisted of a number of small plates with bold flavors and global influence. We ordered 11 different dishes (13 total) ranging from relatively basic to adventurous. The drinks and food were both delicious and memorable. It was quite an experience that we'd all do again. 

The beet and scotch drink was exceptional.

Mine and Steve's favorite was the duck tongues with ahi tuna. OMG.

Another favorite was the fire-roasted shrimp. Yowza yum!

We ordered the goat empanadas because we felt obligated to order goat. They fell a little flat and weren't a highlight. 

Then there were the green beans. "These are the best green beans I've ever had!" Said no one ever...Until these. 

The scallops were ok. They were cooked perfectly, but just didn't have the "wow" factor of so many other dishes. 

We ordered 2 of the short ribs because we thought it was a safe choice. They were excellent. 

The wood-grilled broccoli didn't hold a candle to the green beans. Did I mention the green beans? Yes, that good.

The wood-oven roasted pig face was crispy and delicious. The egg with the sauces and potato stix added incredible texture that made this a one-of-a-kind dish. 

The marinated lamb skewers were a favorite with our group. The Mediterranean flavors really stood out from the rest of the courses. 

Finally dessert. The chocolate sorbet was delicious and a nice ending to such a rich and delicious meal...but the cheesecake.

As soon as I took one bite, I put in an order for a second cheesecake. Quite possibly the best cheesecake dessert of my life and the best bite of food I had all weekend. Next time we're in Chicago I will have this cheesecake!

That's it! Our Chicago culinary adventure with two of our favorite people was a huge success. Can't wait until we can do it all over again!