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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Chicago, My New Found Love Interest

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Feast

I’m the first one to search for local’s favorite spots when traveling. I have yet to dine at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami or Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas – just not my scene. I much prefer to find an off-the-beaten path joint that’s known for good food and local company. Feast fulfilled both of those desires for me. I loved the home-like feel of the restaurant and the laid back environment. The three variations of bread in the bread basket were all incredible and I never comment on bread bowls. Some stand out dishes included the Chicken Tortilla Soup with fresh chicken, avocado and homemade tortilla strips and the Bacon Seared Brussel Sprouts.

Table Fifty-Two

I have no words to describe how much I enjoyed my time at Table Fifty-Two. From the amazing Vermont-style house decor and feel (literally the restaurant looks like a home from the exterior) to the welcoming kiln in the center of the restaurant that cranked out the most unbelievable items: oozing gooey mac and cheese, bacon and jalapeno cornbread cakes and of course, some pizzas as well. The line cook who prepared everything by the bar that I dined solo at, kept me company alongside one of the restaurant owners. Some standouts were the Pistachio-Crusted Chicken with Lo Mein Noodles, the Frogmore “Fisherman Stew” and oh – my – god the side of cauliflower. Yes, I said cauliflower – cauliflower with pepperoncini, bacon and white cheddar…. words can’t describe.  

Tortas Frontera

Since when do airports have legitimately great Mexican food?! While on my way back to JFK, I stopped in O’Hare’s lunch cafeteria for an early lunch. I couldn’t help but see an array of fresh salsas and chips on display in the window… what if there was actual quality Mexican in here was what I thought. Boy, was the food delicious. From incredibly seasoned chicken and steak to three variations of homemade salsas and chips, I definitely recommend trying this restaurant for a happy last reminder of Chicago.

Aritzia

I really don’t like shopping, I can preface this as such, but when I find staff that is just incredibly and genuinely nice, you can’t help but want to stay in the store for hours and play dress up. I was given millions of “Taylor-like” outfits to play around with and even a 800 dollar jacket which for the time being, isn’t a purchase I’ll be making but fun to try anyway right? I got a great fitting pair of khaki J Brand’s and a beautiful black ruffle blouse. Their collection of Hudsons, J Brands and Citizens are extremely noteworthy – also, the way in which everything is paired for display makes you pretty much NEED to purchase “outfits” not only pieces of clothing. Just found out they have a shop in SoHo, cannot wait to spend money I probably shouldn’t there as well.

Tempo Cafe

I have become such an advocate of relying on Yelp comments to help pick breakfast/lunch spots while traveling. I wouldn’t go so far as to book a dinner reservation based on Yelp comments, I trust Opentable and Zagat more for that – but regardless, I trust Yelp’s opinion. Luckily, I took their word on trying Tempo Cafe – it’s a diner of sorts, but not a chain (luckily) that offers THE COOLEST cask-iron skillet omelets for a scary low cost of $8 for enough food to feed any army. I ordered various oversized omelets during my stay in Chicago and can say with confidence, everything including the massive pancakes looked and taste incredible. The meals also come with some fruit on the side – which is something you LUST for after polishing off FAR TOO MANY EGGS and cheese in one amazing looking skillet.

Rockit Bar & Grill

I usually don’t comment on night life in other cities or even really within New York since I’m up to drink wherever – ironic seeing as that I work in the spirits industry and attend many wonderful events at the coolest mixology bars. I guess when it comes to the weekends though, I’m just up for some loud music, sleazy scenery and a good environment. Rockit fufilled all of my checks off the list – it was loud, people were tacky, the music was and the drinks weren’t complicated by any stretch of the imagination.

Corner Bakery Cafe

Even before you place your order at Corner Bakery, your mouth is salivating and  googley-eyed. Every single pastry looked like it was baked by my mom this morning at my home – incredibly delicious pastry selection. In addition, they have amazing hearty breakfast sandwiches and lunch options. Some of the most delectable sweets included their signature Cinnamon Creme Cake, Cinnamon Pecan Rugalach and Maple Pecan Bars.

 

 Sable Restaurant & Bar

For the launch of my client, Redbreast Single Pot Still Whiskey’s latest brand, Redbreast 12 Cask Strength, we conducted a semi-informal tasting lunch at Sable last week. Not only was I incredibly impressed with head bartender, Mike Ryan’s ability to make a Redbreast cocktail that was both innovative and refreshing, featuring: ginger ale, sherry, lemon juice and Redbreast 12 year old. The food served throughout the tasting was incredible but there was one standout dish: the Sweet Corn Creme Brulee – yes you heard right. I have never enjoyed corn this much in my life and I’m a corn fan to begin with! It took the stereotype of creme brulee having to be a sweet dish and turned it on its head to make it a savory one – incredible.

Sixteen at Trump Hotel

 I was able to enjoy lunch at Sixteen during my stay at the Trump Hotel last week also for business. The hotel was delightful and beautiful and the restaurant was no different. I ordered a Roast Chicken with Sunchokes and Mashed Potatoes – I tried also some of the restaurant’s waffle fries with truffle, amazing as well. The decor on its on takes your breath away with floor to ceiling windows – it’s a must stop for lunch.  

 Henri Bendel in Water Tower Place

Henri Bendel just takes me back to my childhood – my mom would always keep her makeup and hair accessories in the signature bags. I love Bendel – while overpriced, they do have such an array of upscale jewelry and accessories to splurge on. The staff in the newly opened Chicago store were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable.

Credit: Racked Chicago

 

 

The Girl That Fell From The Sky – Book Review

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm

You know those books that just grip you from the beginning and don’t allow you to do anything else until you’re done reading it? The Girl That Fell From The Sky was undoubtedly one of those types of books. The book was both extremely compelling and unbelievably heartbreaking all at once.

The book, written by Heidi Durrow, is a story centered around a horrific tragedy: a helpless mother, Nella and her three children that shockingly fall off the ledge of a high-rise in Chicago. The only remaining survivor, Rachel, is left in the world alone and forced to move in with her grandmother (who she detests) and her aunt (who she admires). In addition to being the “new girl,” Rachel being mixed-skin evoked confusion with her fellow classmates and at times blatant acts of racism.

The story is told from four different view points: Rachel, Nella, Nella’s boss/Super for her living situation and “Brick,” the boy who saw the tragedy land right on his doorstep (literally) and in front of his eyes. Each of the character’s take you through their own life experiences before the tragedy occurred and of course, how it affected them following the event. There were themes of alcoholism and drug abuse, racism and violence weaved throughout the story, told through the eyes of the different point of views.

While the story begins in an unbearably sad tone, the story concludes with a sense of hope and closure. The Girl That Fell From The Sky sucks you in immediately with readers longing to know, throughout the novel, why the family fell off the ledge? Who orchestrated it? If Nella did it, what could have been so bad that a mother would be willing to kill her entire family? The story demonstrates that regardless of where you’re from, your ethnicity and skin tone play a larger role than they should even in the 1980’s when you’d think racism against a mixed-colored girl would be far non-existent.

I suggest reading this story – preferably begin reading at 10am and don’t move until you’re completed probably around dinner time. Trust me, you won’t forget reading this book.

…. My To Do List

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

So, the more I read Travel and Leisure and Food and Wine, the larger my To Do List gets. By “To Do” I mean more along the lines of “Hotels and Restaurants I Need to Visit“, you catch my drift. Here are the top items on my list, enjoy:

 

The Fountainebleu Hotel- Miami, FL

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While I wasn’t around when the Rat Pack was popular, I do know the impact it left on American Society. The Rat Pack inspired hotel, which recently spent MILLIONS of dollars on renovations, is THE hot spot to go to in Miami. Celebrities and wannabes alike flock to this hotel to see what all of the fuss is about. That’s precisely the reason I too, would like to stay there. Ok, so what if I’m not a celeb? I can still feel like one right?

L2O Restaurant, Chicago, IL

b-The-dining-room-at-L-40d793fcf698-1I don’t think there is anything on the menu that is necessarily out of the ordinary, however, it truly is a culinary experience so the critics say. I would love to buy myself a tan JCREW windbreaker/pea coat and head to the windy city for a long weekend. I would immerse myself in the bustling nature of the city just for that weekend, eat some good meals, make up an alias when I meet people and then head back to Boston. 

Delano Hotel, Miami, FL

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Now, I have had dinner/ drinks at The Delano, but I have never stayed there. BIG BIG DIFFERENCE. Let me explain why. I’m the person who goes outside to the pool area after dinner in the dark to look around see what I’m missing by not staying there. Let me explain, the Delano is THE spot to be — for the pool that is. The cabanas/ chairs have to be booked far in advance and come bearing a heavy price tag. I think when I’m a wealthy adult, I will spend some of my play money to buy myself a pool side cabana seat at the Delano. I will come decked out in a light wicker hat, gold stilettos, and a mini poodle. I think it sounds like a great plan, I don’t know what you think, but hey who cares — it’s my fantasy not yours.