A Stroll down Southport Corridor (adults only)

The Southport Corridor may be known for strollers, moms and boutiques, but recently, there has been a surge in places for adults to play. So ditch those strollers, grab a glass of wine, and take a peek into some adult friendly places popping up on the Southport Corridor.

Coda Di Volpe-  Boasting Southern Italian fare like pizza, steak and seafood, they are most known for their Neapolitan pizza that comes with a side scissors to cut your own slices. Chef Thompson brings his own flair with a seasonal menu, house-cured meats, along with a contemporary vibe that all creates a great spot on Southport.

Coda has a great wine list (award winning in fact) and a creative cocktail menu.  As for starters, my absolute favorite appetizer is the goat cheese with beets appetizer (I am not sure this is on the menu anymore, sigh…) and the pork & prosciutto Meatballs.

How’s your Friday night looking? #chicago #tailofthefox

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Goat Cheese and Beets Appetizer

Next, pizza! The Funghi and Diavolo pizza are both delicious, but really, they all look fantastic.  Thompson crafts traditional VPN-certified Neapolitan pizzas served with authentic pizza shears that adds an element of fun to the dining experience.

Next up, pasta. All the pastas are made in-house and available gluten free upon request. A stand out dish is the Trombette Trapanese made with Coda’s fennel sausage, tomato, almond, garlic, and basil. It’s also just beautiful to look at.

They are also now serve brunch on the weekend. It’s perfect for date night or a night out with the ladies.

Ella Elli- The newest addition to the 4 star restaurant group, is the wine bar, Ella Elli. This sexy, romantic spot is so swanky, I felt like I had been transported downtown to a fancy hotel in River North. The over sized lanterns, fireplace and couches, make for THE perfect date night spot.

We love Fridays! Stop in for a drink at the bar before we fill up! 📸: @nadia.ryan

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 The wine list is extensive, but Pinot Noir Rose by Willamette Valley really paired nicely with our cheese board.  We also tried the creamy mushroom toast with creme faiche and thyme, this would make me come back. Everything is presented beautifully and our server paired everything really well with our wine.

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Ella Elli

They have pizza great for sharing, pasta and burgers. The burger is supposed to be outstanding, as well as their brunch menu  When I visited, we shared the charcuterie  and toasts, which really can be a meal in itself. Next time, the burger is on my list.

@Eater_Chicago named our pizzas as some of the hottest in Chicago!! Have you tried them yet?

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If you need a date night, Ella Elli should absolutely be on your list.

Tied House– Just opening in February 2018, this is brand new on Southport. The reviews are rolling in and everything about Tied House has been outstanding.

Schubas Tavern has been around for three decades, and now there is a new addition  with the opening of Tied House, the owners’ new restaurant next door. The modern architecture and the courtyard that separates the restaurant from Schubas with a giant outdoor fireplace just dazzles from the inside and out.

Schubas will continue to have the same menu, Tied House’s chef, Debbie Gold (who happens to be  James Beard Award-winning chef) to create her own menu, including short rib, crudo, porridge with beets and house made ice cream.

Tied House will be perfect for pre and post concerts and is a great addition to the area looking for more “adult” friendly dining.

With so many options now on Southport, there is really something for everyone.

Until next time.

Christine

 

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Bring Your Own Date and Booze: My Favorite BYO Spots in the City

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BYO (bring your own booze, beer or wine) is one of those great restaurant qualities that  many look for when dining out. It’s cheaper (usually), much more casual and a great place to dine with groups. Chicago has an abundance of BYO options ranging from casual to upscale dining, so I have rounded up a list of my favorite spots throughout the city.

Sushi Mon – Located in Lincoln Park, this BYO sushi restaurant has a wide variety of sushi rolls, sushi bowls, pressed sushi and an impressive list of veggie rolls. My personal favorites are the Godzilla, V6 and Sparking rolls (see all three below). They recently expanded from one tiny room to now a much bigger space. The service is friendly, prices are great and no corkage fee. Go check it out and tell them I sent you 🙂

Sushi mon is a BYOB in lincoln park

Various Rolls at Sushi Mon

Sushi Mon: 2441 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

90 Miles Cuban Cafe– My family has been coming to 90 Miles for years now for their traditional Cuban cuisine. We have celebrated graduations, anniversaries and birthdays here. It is huge, has an outdoor seating and the decor all make for a fun dining atmosphere. The empanadas and ropa vieja are not to be missed, some of the best I have ever had (sorry mother-in-law!)

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Photo by Lindsey Howald Patton

The service is top-notch, especially since there are many large groups at time. They take reservations and it is definitely recommended. In addition to being BYOB, they have a sangria and mojito mix, so bring wine or rum they will make you a cocktail. There are a few locations in the city. To find out more information, click here.

1. 3333 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

2. 3101 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

3. 2540 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Home Bistro Chicago– The first time I dined at the cozy and quaint Home Bistro, was on a date (with my now husband years ago) when we first started dating. Located in Lakeview, with a constant changing New American menu, along with no corkage fee, this is the ideal date night spot.  They have an option for a prix fix on Wednesdays and Sunday brunch. For parties of 7 of more, they have a family style prix fixed menu at $45/person. They take reservations and are highly recommended.

Photo from Home Bistro

Home Bistro Chicago: 3404 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657

Caro Miro- For our very first Valentine’s Day (7 years ago…), we came to the Italian BYO Caro Miro and have gone several times since. Located in Ravenswood, this cozy, neighborhood spot has homemade pastas with huge portions, big enough to share. The pesto filled gnocchi is the best and chicken parmesan is also another favorite. There is not a corkage fee, but if you plan on sharing entrees, there is a $4 sharing fee. They recently expanded their dining room and take parties to up to 80 people now. Reservations are taken for parties of 4 or more. Bring your appetite and a bottle or two for some delicious Italian food.

Gnocchi Gratinati @ Caro Mio Italian Restaurant

Photo from Food Spotting.com

Caro Miro: 1833 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Semiramis- This Lebanese restaurant is intimate, welcoming and the food is fantastic. I love the mixed grilled platter, falafel, and hummus are delicious. There is plenty of street parking, but it is located right off the Kedzie Brown Line stop. There is a corkage fee and don’t take reservations, but so worth the wait. Promise.

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Photo from @TammyGreen

Semiramis: 639 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

There are plenty of BYO restaurants to choose from in Chicago and a little something for everyone. Now get those appetites and bottles poppin’. 🙂

Until next time…

Christine

Valentine’s Day: The Family Way

Before having our son, my husband and I rarely went out on Valentine’s Day. It’s so much more fun to stay in and cook a big meal of all our favorites (and also a lot cheaper!). Now with a toddler, we still celebrate with a home cooked meal, but it’s slightly different. If you are staying in with your family, I put together an easy meal for you with a fast cleanup that you and your family to enjoy together this Valentine’s Day.

Drink- Shirley Temples

One of my favorite drinks to order as a child was a Shirley Temple. I always felt so grown up. To be honest, I occasionally still order them. This makes the perfect Valentine’s Day drink because kids love it, it’s festive and adults even make it more “adult” like if they’d like 🙂  I prefer using tall plastic SOLO cups because really, kids and glassware just don’t mix.

IMG_1512.JPGIngredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle Grenadine
  • Ice
  • 1 (2 Liter) bottle lemon-lime soda
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour 1 ounce Grenadine over ice in a glass.
  2. Top with 8 ounces lemon-lime soda.
  3. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Shirley Temple Recipe using SOLO cups for Valentine's Day

Shirley Temple Recipe using SOLO cups for Valentine's Day

Main Dish- Pizza with Heart Shaped Pepperoni

Heart shaped pizza is such a fun Valentine’s Day dinner, but to save time on making it, why not just buy your favorite pizza and make heart shaped pepperoni? It’s easy and you can do it together.

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

You can use a cookie cutter, but I just used scissors and cut the pepperoni into heart shapes.

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

Heat it up and serve on SOLO plates. These can later serve as crafts for your kids to color and make their own hearts!

Making heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine's Day

Dessert- Cake “Fondue”

Now, for the best part, dessert. Instead of the traditional cheese fondue, replace the cheese with frosting. This cake “fondue” is so fun to dip your mini cake pops into different icings and everyone customize their own Valentine’s Day treat.

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Ingredients

  • 1 box Funfetti cake and cupcake mix
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • Cookie sticks (quantity depends on how many you want to make)
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Fruit of your choice (I like pineapple with cream cheese frosting!)
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Pink, purple, red and white gel food colors
  • Mini cupcake liners
  • SOLO bowls with lids
  • SOLO plates

Instructions

  1. Bake the mini cupcakes according to the instructions on the box
  2. While baking, make your frosting colors in the SOLO bowls.
  3. Let the cupcakes cool for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Place the mini cupcakes on the cookie sticks
  5. Dip away!

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

For the leftover frosting, stick a lid on the bowl and place in the fridge.

Valentine's Day kid friendly fondue using solo products

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day meal with your loved one!

Until next time,

Christine

This post was sponsored by SOLO cup however all opinions and experiences are my own!

Jinya Ramen

I love a good ramen place, but recently, this city is being overcome by them. I feel like there is one every few blocks, it makes it hard to find one that stands out. So many places skimp out on the noodles and protein and it is just a bowl of salt. So when Fab Food Chicago invited me check out Jinya Ramen Bar at 553 W. Diversey Pkwy in Lakeview, I jumped at the chance to try a new place with hopes of it being great. Read more at CGL Food

Quest for the Best *Thin Pizza Only

There are a few things that can get me out of the house during winter hibernation or away from my summer Netflix and Chill; pizza,  wine and maybe a manicure. If I’m desperate enough.

There are so many good places in Chicago to eat a good slice, but I can’t stand deep dish. Except, maybe when I’m hungover. Or pregnant. One of those happens more than the other.  But really, I’m a thin crust kind of girl. I have narrowed it down to just three, but there are so many more options in the city. Read more at CGL Food

Navy Pier: A Native Perspective

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I am not going to lie, I haven’t been to Navy Pier in years. Actually, most Chicagoans I know haven’t been either. There really hasn’t been much of a reason to go. It’s crowded, has overpriced food and drink options and hasn’t been updated for awhile. But for Mother’s Day, my parents and in-laws wanted to see the Rolling Stone Exhibit, which is currently at the pier until July 30th.

This massive, interactive exhibit is the largest at nearly 18,000 square feet. It includes rare artifacts that cannot be found anywhere else. In fact, many of them come from the band’s personal collection. There are over 500 items which include costumes, tour posters, and equipment to name a few. Throughout the exhibit, you can listen to audio of band interviews and music. The best part of the exhibit was the grand finale, which is the backstage-to-onstage 3D concert experience, which truly feels like you are at a Rolling Stones concert (this might be the only non-child friendly part about the exhibit).

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After the exhibit, we walked around and got some drinks at Tiny Tavern. I have to say, Navy Pier has really made some great improvements. I remember when the pier just had a food court when you could get McDonalds, Churros or Garrett’s Popcorn. Now there are some really great spots to hit up. Porkchop BBQ, Frankie’s Pizza, Goddess and the Baker and Tiny Tavern just to name a few. For a complete list of all the food options, check out their site Navy Pier Food. 

From the updated food options, new and improved Ferris wheel, the Rolling Stone Exhibit, or just to walk around, there are so many things to do. Whether you are from Chicago or an out-of-towner, Navy Pier is definitely worth checking out. It has come a long way from what it used to be. You could easily spend a few hours eating and drinking a while taking in the views of the city and lake.

Until next time..

Christin

 

Your Non-Hipster Guide to Pilsen

If you know anything about the various neighborhoods in Chicago, you would know that Pilsen has always been a predominately Mexican neighborhood. Pilsen has been slowly gentrifying as hipsters and young families move into the area, the culture is still very present. Although the restaurant scene is thriving with places like Michelin rated Dusek’s and Honky Tonk BBQ, there are still plenty of authentic, Mexican taqueria’s and bakeries. My husband’s family still lives in the area, so we know some less touristy places that might not be as well-known. Plus, he has a discerning taste 🙂

El Milagro (1927 S. Blue Island)- Cafeteria style dining and the only tortillas you should ever eat, El Milagro. I had chicken tacos, rice and beans. You will literally have an entire piece of chicken, bones and all. So good and such a unique dining experience.

Lupitas (1723 S.Ashland) This is a taqueria which serves breakfast all day and homemade FullSizeRender(1)menudo (cow stomach), which my husband had and loved (not so much my thing). I had steak tacos, huge portions and delicious. This mom and pop restaurant has grandma and mom cooking in the back and the daughter works the front. We stumbled upon while walking around the area and so glad we did. Very easy to miss, but definitely a must stop.

Bon Bon Bakery (1457 W. 18th Street)- TRES LECHES (3 milk cake) had me in tears. Seriously, the best in the city. Maybe world. A ittle bit more well known throughout the city, this original location is a must along your way.

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Nuevo Bakery (update May 2017, Nuevo León restaurant will not reopen. The owners have now opened BYOB Canton Regio across the street) (1634 W. 18th Street)- This bakery has the best conchas (Mexican Bread). Best when dipped in coffee.

Try out the street food. Don’t be scared. We had some tamales from a lady on 18th street, right by the Pink line. They were fresh, delicious and really, it feels good to shop local and support small businesses.

Jump on the Pink line to 18th Street and do some exploring. Try the street food. Check out the National Museum of Mexican Art and all the street art. Do it. Let me know what you think!

Until next time,

~xoxo~

CGL

Margaritas in May

FullSizeRender(19).jpgIf you know anything about me, I enjoy two kinds of drinks: a glass of Cabernet and a mezcal margarita with salt.  But margaritas can be overly sweet, watered down, or just really, really bad. Whether it is Cinco de Mayo or a warm day in Chicago, a margarita is the perfect cocktail to sip on. To help you get your buzz on,  I have rounded up a few of my favorite marg’s around the city. Read more at CGL Food

Getting Fresh Retro at Rhyme and Reason

Between sports bars and brunch spots, it’s difficult to stand out on Division Street. But, Le’Qoinne Rice and Zafer Genc are doing it with Rhyme or Reason, 1938 W. Division. Their 70’s themed interior, menu from Chef Chris de la Cueva, and live entertainment, all help bring a fun, retro vibe to the Wicker Park area.

Plush rugs, velvet couches and mirrors sets the mood for the 70’s eatery with shareable food and innovative cocktails. The mural around the base of the bar is by Jas Petersen, a Chicago visual artist and painter, which surrounds the circular bar. With an open kitchen, large windows, and an outdoor patio with seating up to 75 people, this is a perfect spot to spend the warm summer months ahead.

The Tuesday through Friday dinner menu has a touch of comfort food like fried oysters, lamb meatballs, wings, burgers and poutine, while the weekend brunch has some of my favorites.

On the brunch menu is a delicious edamame toast, an upgrade from avocado toast. For those who enjoy a little heat, the fried chicken and donuts topped with fresno chili is the perfect choice. Their Bloody Mary comes with a slice of house smoked bacon and mini grilled cheese sandwich. It’s like a meal before the meal or a side for your drinks of choice.

The $1 oysters as well as the bottomless mimosas for $18.95 with orange, hibiscus and grapefruit juices are more reasons for Rice’s and Genc’s Rhyme or Reason to be one of your favorite brunch spots too.

During happy hour from 4pm to 6pm, Tuesday through Friday, $5 dollars gets you bites like lamb sliders, fried oysters and the West Town pizzette. Wash it all down with Prosecco on tap and a glass of Retro Fruit Punch.

Tuesdays are special community giveback to Chicago Public Schools. CPS receives a donation of 15% off all sales.

Rhyme or Reason’s music scene is live Friday and Saturday and ranges from local funk to soul and disco. During the week, the vinyl only DJ booth is coolest and brings a unique quality to the venue.

Le’Qoinne Rice and Zafer Genc opened the business in February 2016 and have been friends for years. Rhyme or Reason reflects their relationship, coming from opposite backgrounds, but managed to develop a relationship and now business.

Whether you stop by for food, drink or music, you’ll find there is both rhyme and reason.

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