Sunday Dinner at Bon Appétit’s Best New Restuarant – Mi Tocaya in Logan Square

Mi Tocaya is a cozy corner neighborhood restaurant with genuinely friendly service,  decorated in colorful tile with new takes on classic Mexican dishes from around the country. Family. Friends. Food. is their motto and it does feel like you are going to your friend’s house for dinner and drinks that happens to be an extraordinary chef.

Yes, they do have a burrito on the menu as well as tacos so those that don’t want to stray outside of their comfort zone will be happy here as well.

I was there for their Sunday Dinner, a scaled down version of the weeknight menu with new family plates.

The Antojitos (Mexican street food) starter was a beautifully presented elote. Just enough spice , minus the mayonnaise, and perfect amount of cheese so you can save room for everything else.

For the Familiries (family style plates) we had the Fried Chicken & Churros and the Cochinita Pibil – Yucatan style pork. As indicated these are ideal for sharing. The fried chicken was crispy with a nice touch of micro greens and sweet from the churros.

Best to make reservations, they do take walk-ins but get their early and budget time for a wait. ¡Buen provecho!
Mi Tocaya Reposado Margarita Chicago

 

 

 

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel – Michigan Avenue

Chicago Athletic Hotel Michigan Avenue

Built in 1890 as an athletic club, now a popular hotel and home to one of the best rooftop terrace views at Cindy’s, Cherry Circle Room restaurant, a huge game room and 8-seat bar Milk Room there is no shortage of things to do. Shake Shack is on the first floor as well.

Sip Cocktails in Hidden Underground Station | Cahoots, London

Cahoots Katherine Hepburn & White Cloves of Dover London

“Cahoots, where the spirits run high and drinks never run dry.” Secure your reservation, memorize the password and make your way to this secret-ish underground station with a 1940s vibe in London. Once you receive the go ahead, head down the stairs and step back in time to a world of debauchery and fun. Cahoots is a unique experience, here is a peek into this hush-hush hot spot:

-Reservations are recommended or be prepared to wait in line
-Along with the incredible experience, Cahoots has spectacular service to help you figure which of the over 60 cocktails is for you.
-The food menu, dubbed “Rations”, has enough options to serve as dinner.
-Check out the cheeky posters in the loo.

Cahoots Entrance Kingly Court London

Entrance | Cahoots, London

The Underground station is lined with subway tile, crates for tables, an old subway car section and of course sandbags for fortification – we are in newly post-war London after all.

Grab the newspaper menu and peruse the dozens of drinks while taking in the old-timey music. Wine and champagne are available as well. Some favorites:

White Cloves of Dover: Clove-and-orange-infused Bacardi Carta Oro rum, amontillado sherry, cinnamon syrup, fresh lime, cranberry juice and raspberry

Katherine Hepburn: Earl-Grey-tea-infused Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, Saint Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lime and honey syrup

Gracie Fields: Ketel One Vodka, rose liqueur, home-made rhubarb-rose-peppercorn syrup with Prosecco foam

White Cloves of Dover | Cahoots, London

White Cloves of Dover |Cahoots, London

Rations: Meat + Pickles, Bangers + Roasties, Smoked Almonds

Cheers!

Cahoots Mind The Gap Kingly Court London

Dinner and Drinks at Celeste – River North

Celeste Chicago Confit of Pork Shoulder

Celeste if four floors of exciting elegance. The Bar on the first floor has cocktails in a glamorous bar. The Deco room on the second floor is modeled after 1920′s supper clubs complete with gold and chandeliers. The third floor is reserved for private parties and the 4th is your favorite place in the summer, the Rooftop with views of the skyline.

Attention to detail from decor, service, food down to some of the best music I have heard in a restaurant in ages. Think chill house and electronic tracks by Miguel Migs, Kamp! and Nightmares On Wax.

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Tasting at Adamus Lounge in the Silversmith Hotel – The Loop, Chicago

Adamus Chicago Communal Table

Adamus Communal Table

The Adamus Lounge opened this summer in the newly renovated Silversmith Hotel in the Loop and it is a beauty. Playing off the Jewelers Row District theme the interior has diamond table tops, jewel cut tables and large cut glass sconces. The place oozes glamour.
I was invited to a tasting on Monday and was greeted with a cocktail and a sampling of appetizers. The drinks are mixed with skill and care so take note you will not receive your drink right away. All the syrups are made in-house and the juices are fresh squeezed. Worth the wait the Cantaloupe Basil Refresher is vodka based and served with fresh cantaloupe, basil and lime juice. Yes, it was refreshing and not too sweet. I had a sip of the Bourbon Punch and I didn’t taste a hint of bourbon and loved it (not a bourbon drinker). This is probably due to thepomegranite, fresh lemon and orange juice.

BOURBON PUNCH & CANTALOUPE BASIL REFRESHER

BOURBON PUNCH & CANTALOUPE BASIL REFRESHER

A taste of the Yellow Tomato Gazpacho served with celery and fennel relish, Hass avocado, citrus crème fraîche is perfect for a light summer bite. The Broiled Wianno Oyster was a rich bite with Pernod Creamed Spinach, smoked bacon and gremolata. Last and definitely not least, the Lobster Croquette was rich and full of flavor and texture with crunchy corn, smooth gravy and roasted shallots.

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Brunch at Nico Osteria – Gold Coast

Nico Osteria BarLocated in the Thompson Hotel Nico Osteria is a restaurant that pays attention to detail. From the perfectly lit dining room, open kitchen, just rustic enough appeal for an osteria to the beautiful tile floor and great service.  Not a surprise as this is a One Off Hospitality Group restaurant (think Avec, Blackbird, Publican, The Violet Hour). Just being in the space was wonderful although I suspect brunch is much more laid back than dinner.

The rustic Italian dishes are seafood focused – whole fish, mussels and crudo. The brunch menu continues this theme with lobster, oyster, crab and clams. I inquired about tea and our server came over to “discuss” what I would like. I appreciated the thought that he put into finding just the right tea for me. We settled on wonderful almond tea, the green almondine.

Another suggestion we took was the Meyer lemon mimosa. There are times I feel it is a shame to ruin perfectly good champagne with juice but the freshness of the juice complemented the sweetness of the bubbly.

Nico Osteria Meyer Lemon MimosaAlong with the requisite latte order we were ready to dig into brunch.

Nico Osteria LattePastry Chef Amanda Rockman delivers a warm flaky Cornetti (croissant) served plain, ham and provolone or chocolate.

Nico Osteria Individual CornettiThe escarole and gem lettuce salad is equal parts fresh and crunchy and richly decadent with a drizzling of creamy dressing and chunks of avocado coupled with chopped cara cara orange, slices of spicy pepper and topped off with Sicilian pistachios.

Nico Osteria Escarole and gem lettuce saladThe fluffy soft-scrambled eggs were perfectly creamy. The caper topped  peperonata was served with toasted focaccia chock full of green olives along side a healthy serving of prosciutto.

Nico Osteria Soft-scrambled eggs  I fell in love with the focaccia, here’s a close-up:

Nico Osteria FocacciaThe Salone Nicco right off the dining room looks like the perfect spot for a quick cocktail or night-cap. I will be returning soon to experience the dinner side of things.

Serious Meat at Theresa – Munich, Germany

Image via theresa-restaurant.com

Image via theresa-restaurant.com

Theresa is a bustling trendy steak house on theressienstrasse in Munich. For a high-end restaurant the vibe was comfortable and I really felt at home there. I mean, there is a bowling alley in the basement. The restaurant was full and everyone looked like they were having fun, I know I was.

The menu changes regularly and features meat from Spain and Germany served medium with herb-butter. You can choose your meat table side or off the menu starting from 150 grams and up. Below is what 250 grams looks like. Continue reading

Getting Fancy at Henri – The Loop

Henri WindowsIt’s been a long time since I’ve gone out to eat on Valentine’s Day and Henri is the perfect place for those that enjoy the perks of fine dining without the uptight vibe.  Huge front windows grant an amazing view of Millennium Park while the decor feels rich and decadent yet inviting.

Henri Dining Room 1Thick leather bar stools line the front bar lending a relaxed feel of the room while pristine white table clothes, light green velvet and leather chairs and booths sit perfectly under crystal chandeliers. I believe it was faux but it may have been real leather that lined the walls of the bathroom. Nice touch.

Henri Dining RoomService is excellently choreographed so you’re never left long waiting for anything but no one is bothering you when they shouldn’t be.

The Valentine’s menu was a choice of a prix fixe four course or grand tasting with nine courses. We choose the four course and were more than satisfied with taste, presentation and portion.

First Course: Continue reading