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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National Margarita Day (but that could be any day really…)

Turquoise Margarita Day Trivia Facebook Post

If you know anything about me, I enjoy two kinds of drinks: a glass of Cabernet and a 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.

Big Star– This might be the most obvious choice, but their margaritas are really tasty. Either by the pitcher or glass, I prefer the Big Star mezcal rather than the Classic. The classic is made with blanco tequila, which doesn’t give the smoky taste I prefer like the Big Star. They have an amazing patio and it’s perfect for the warmer Chicago months, and of course, let’s not forget their tacos.

Masa Azul– This Logan Square Mexican and cocktail bar is a little gem that might have the best margaritas in the city. Seriously. Their margaritas are that good. With almost 20 cocktail options to choose from, all ranging from $6- $12 dollars, lots of tacos (lots of vegetarian options), this is my top 5 favorite Mexican places in Chicago. This is a bold statement, considering my husband’s discerning taste. With such a variety of options, there might be a margarita for everyone.

#nationalmargaritaday

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The two margaritas I recommend are the Prickly Pear and Where there is smoke. This has mezcal joven with a Serrano Chile. Smoky with a little spice.  Pair it with their guacamole = perfect meal.

Crio Bar and Restaurant– Located in West Lincoln park on Clybourn Avenue, this Latin American gastropub has some really flavorful margaritas, great empanadas and drink specials throughout the week. On Tuesdays, Margaritas are only $6 dollars.

New Guava Margarita 🙌🏽 it's so refreshing, already had 10 😜

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$6 margaritas for Lunch and Dinner 😜 #happytuesday #tacotuesday

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I have two go-to drinks here. First, the hibiscus marg is a delicious combination of sweet and spicy.  Second, they have a version of a Moscow mule, made with mezcal, which is really good. Plus, for all you instagrammers, the mural and flower wall make a great photo opportunity.

Del Toro– Located in Pilsen, this little gem is always packed and always worth the wait. The tacos are delicious, but the margaritas is make me coming back. My favorite is the  jalapeno margarita.  It literally comes with a flaming jalapeno which is not only entertaining, it makes for fun experience. It was also delicious – which is a double plus.

These are just a few places, but Chicago is full of so many amazing places to grab a margarita. I’d love to hear your go-to places!

Until next time…

~xoxo~

Christine

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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Favorite Places for a cocktail or ✌🏼

 

With this beautiful weather Chicago has to offer lately (for February, it’s near short of a miracle), I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite places to grab a glass or wine or cocktail. Not in any order, below are some fun places for any day of the week, date night, solo or with the whole family.

London House (Date night/solo)

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London House

Just there views alone are breath taking. Like seriously, amazing views of downtown Chicago. They have a great cocktail list and an extensive mezcal list, which is my favorite. They also have a 3 course Power Lunch menu for $20 dollars (a legit steal for downtown). It’s a three course meal from their lunch menu. This is great for date night, out of town friends, have a ladies night or solo. I went during the day on a Tuesday and had he rooftop to myself. Either way, the views and cocktails are top notch.

Bar Cocina (Sunday Funday/Friends) Heading up north, this taco spot has a year round patio. Brunch outside or ice skating during the winter, it’s a year round spot for great cocktail with your friends or family. Their Bottomless Brunch for $39.95 with Chef Stations and Drinks is a must. Their biggest selling point is their year round patio, which isn’t too common for a bar/restaurant. With large couches, heat lamps and plenty of space, the day could be spent here sipping away!

Parson’s (Sunday Funday/Family)

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Parson’s

Head to Humboldt Park and sit outside (in winter, it is an ice skating rink) with the entire family. The chicken, hush puppies and slushies are my personal favorite. There is so much room for strollers and doggies, that you could spend hours eating and drinking. My kind of place.

J. Parker (Date Night/Friend/Parties)– With some of the best views in Chicago, this rooftop is located at the Lincoln Hotel in Lincoln Park. They now currently have a year round roof, so enjoy it any time of the year.

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J. Parker

Some of my other favorites are the mocktails at Santa Monica House, Big Star and Dark and Stormy slushies at Chop Shop.

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Chop Shop

Chicago is a place for eating and drinking so there’s so many more. Let me know what you think!

~xoxo~

CGL

Date Night (or day)

Where to go on the next date? A night or few hours during the day away from the kids? So many places…let me make it a little easier for you.

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The Allis at Soho– This is a trendy, nice brunch or lunch spot during the day. The former belting factory has now transformed into a hotel, bar and restaurant. Allis is the name of the former factory owners. My husband and I sat at the bar and sat for two hours just checking out the scene, sipping yummy crafted cocktails and eating.Pull up a spot at the bar, grab a cocktail and watch your food be prepared or drink stirred. The decor and people watching, and well crafted cocktails (had the Nobel Roselle- I love anything with mezcal) will have you stay awhile  The architecture is fascinating with old brick walls and vintage chandeliers. Prices are comparable for the location and they also serve afternoon tea.

City Winery (Riverwalk)- I love City Winery in the West Loop, but when they opened on the Riverwalk, I was so excited! Grab a glass or two of wine and watching the boats and people pass by. You can even bar hop along the Riverwalk. Or grab the water taxi at Michigan Avenue (an all day pass is $8.00 dollars) and go up and down the river.

NIGHT

Semiramis– This was the second date my husband and I went on (first was a Cubs game). My husband loves Mediterranean food and claimed this was some of the best in the city. I can now agree. It’s located in Albany Park right next to the brown line, BYOB and has the best hummus I’ve ever had. Their lentil soup is my favorite as well  They do take reservations, but it’s a small, quaint place and can get really crowded on the weekends.  No outdoor seating, so it’s perfect when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Osteria Langhe-It’s just amazing. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this place. Their Plin (always add truffles when it’s an option) are pillows of happiness filled with butter and thyme. And their wine list is very impressive. My husband had the rabbit and said it was the best meal of his life. It’s romantic and the food is so beautiful, it’s a conversation piece. They have happy hour Monday-Thursday from 5:30-7pm, which is half price cocktails. On Tuesdays, they have three courses for $38 dollars, which I highly recommend. Reservations are definitely needed.

These are just 4 places I love, but there are oh so many more places in the city. Cheers to love and wine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Fever, a Budget and a Baby

Happy Thursday! With the birth of my son this past February (see little man below) and the changing weather, I have a serious case of spring fever. I’ve also missed out on some good wine and yummy food in the past 10 months, so now is the time. Now what to do with a 3 month old? I’ve done a lot of exploring, knowing I shouldn’t overspend, and compiled a list of adult “kid” friendly fun places.

  1.  Whole Foods– Yes, Whole Foods. Sounds boring. But at the DePaul location, every Friday is Five for Five from 5-7pm. Five dollars for five wine tastings. With generous pours, food pairings and an opportunity to get groceries, it’s perfect. No problem with babe in the stroller and even left with some recipes. Plus, you get a 10 dollar off coupon for the next day if you spend 50 dollars or more (very easy to do at Whole Foods). Great deal and a good time with hubs and friends.                         959 West Fullerton 5-7pm $5 dollars
  2. Punt and Plume– A neighborhood wine and spirits store, “where everybody knows your name” kind of vibe. Doors always open and you’ll be greeted by the friendly neighborhood dog. The room is a little small, but the stroller was easy and there’s a ramp on the side of the building. Every Thursday and Friday, there are FREE wine tastings from 6-8pm with light snacks. We left with some really great wines, which we tasted. Always a plus. Wasn’t too long, so babe was great in the stroller and we were home in time for bedtime. http://www.puntandplume.com/mobile-main                                                                    1324 W. Wrightwood 6-8pm Thursday and Friday’s, Saturday’s (times and days may change) FREE
  3. Earls Restaurant– I have a small obsession with New City, the new mini mall on Clybourn and North Avenue. Indoor parking, a movie theatre, shopping, Mariano’s and restaurants, it’s a one stop shop. Hubs and I had a lunch date with babe and were impressed by the food, beer and wine list. I easily breastfed, no worries and felt very comfortable. There was lots of space for the stroller and the staff was very accommodating. My favorite, the Watchmacallit Chardonnay (only available at Earls) literally tastes like butter, it’s my favorite. Amazing. https://instagram.com/p/BB-yQrBTH9k/. They have a great soup, sandwich, and salad menu. I had the Santa Fe Salad and it was great and big. Portions are easily shared. Overall, it’s nice addition to Lincoln Park. They also have happy hour and a patio to check out as well.                1538 North Clybourn Avenue Unit A108 Average bill ranges. 
  4. Knife and Tine- FREE bar snacks (bar only) from 4-6pm from Monday through Friday. A little bit more challenging with a stroller, but can easily be done. Might be easier wearing baby, but stroller is not an issue. The staff easily checked the stroller at the hostess stand. Bartenders swear brunch is a big baby spot. The Shisisto peppers are a must snack on the menu (see below). Wine, beer, and cocktails are also half off from 4-6pm. Enough said.                        1417 W Fullerton FREE Bar snacks Monday-Friday 4-6pm, half off beer, wine and cocktails