Category Archives: Chicago

Restaurant for Two: Angelo’s Wine Bar

Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. My gal pal, Karen, and I hit up Angelo’s Wine Bar in Albany Park. 

More than your average Italian restaurant, Angelo’s Wine Bar takes traditional fare and bulks it up with subtle, unique, and fruity flavors. The dinner menu features four sections, including appetizers, pizza, pasta, and per la tavola – small plates perfect for sharing (think tapas or dim sum).

The menu has so many options that it was hard to choose just four to sample! First on deck was the Burrata Mostarda antipasti. Thick chunks of burrata mozzarella sat atop a fruit mostarda (an Italian condiment made of chunky, candied fruit) and was topped with salted cashews. The appetizer was served with olive bread made for dipping. I happily eat burrata whenever it’s on the menu with sweet fruit and this dish did not disappoint.

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Restaurant for Two: Michael Jordan’s Steak House

Did you know that May is National Burger Month? Michael Jordan’s Steak House in River North is celebrating! With 31 different burgers – 1 for each day of the month – you can try at least a few more burgers before month’s end.

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While the 3 burgers I ate have already passed their “special day”, you’re lucky enough that they are staple menu items that’ll be featured on a rotating basis. No matter when you go or what burger you order, the meat patty will be juicy and cooked with just the right amount of pink. You’ll see mini burgers in my pics since I was here for a review, but you’ll get the real deal when you order.

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Restaurant for Two: Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. John is a foodie, so we made a date night out of it. 

From start to finish, our meal at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille in Oak Brook was delightful. The service was impeccable; everyone – the hostess, our waiter, the Nutty D’Angelo maker (see below for video) – was polite, friendly, and willing to answer any questions we had. Starting right at dinner time, the lights were turned way down low to set the mood, the wine wall was fully stocked, and the pianist was crooning jazz.

Because we were there for a tasting for this review, John and I were served multiple dishes that were sized down so we could fit it all in. Please note that dishes are smaller in these pictures than they will be when served to you!

Our first course was served with a mini martini trio; the drinks menu offers nearly a dozen options for you to add to the trio. We were treated with Perry’s new Smoky Rita (Hornita’s Black Barrel tequila, fresh-pressed lime juice and agave nectar, with a habanero rim); the Mango Passion Fizz (mango passion Belvedere vodka, peach liquour, fresh-pressed lemon & lime juice, Chandon brut champagne); and the Mai Tai (two types of rum and fresh lime juice with a hibiscus rim and edible orchid).

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Restaurant for Two: Ixcateco Grill, Brunch Edition

Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. Thanks to John for joining me at Ixcateco! I’ve eaten dinner at Ixcateco and was lucky enough to try brunch recently as well. Check out my review on their dinner, too!

Ixcateco Grill in the Albany Park neighborhood presents authentic Southern Mexican cuisine. Chef Anselmo Ramirez uses fresh, locally-sourced organic or sustainably-raised ingredients as often as possible. This BYOB restaurant is packed for dinner every weekend, but the brunch crowd was scarce and not because the food isn’t great. Brunch service at Ixcateco is new, so I expect that people will come.  It’s not located in the most convenient area, but the fresh ingredients, friendly service, and innovative cuisine make it worth the trek.

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Restaurant for Two: Knife

Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. This time around, I joined a group of fellow writers for lunch at Knife. 

Knife, located in Lincoln Square, offers guests contemporary twists on traditional steakhouse offerings. “We want to take the essence of a classic dish and re-create it in a unique way,” said Executive Chef Timothy Cottini. Under Cottini’s purview, both Knife and its sister Lincoln Square restaurant, Fork, use ingredients that are quality, locally-sourced, and seasonal.

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Below is a list of the dishes I tried at Knife. While it’s a small smattering of the many sophistically-prepared options on the menu, I highly recommend everything I ate. Since the dishes were also visually stunning, this review is more of a photo journal of the meal than I usual do. While more expensive than my usual fare, the quality is apparent and the taste is on-point.

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24 Hours in Chicago: Near Southside

Whether you’re stopping through Chicago on a long layover or driving through on the way to a nearby state, there will definitely be more than enough to keep you busy. Below is a list of how to have a rockin’ time in the Windy City for 24 hours with options depending on what you want to get out of your experience. Despite choosing some touristy things you just can’t miss, I’ve also added a resident-twist to it. 

This post features the Near Southside of Chicago, including Northerly Island, Chinatown, Pilsen and Douglas Park. Public transportation is not as easy to get around here, so rent a car or Divvy bike, use the CTA bus system or make Uber your bestie. This post is the 2nd part in a series about spending one day in Chicago; the first was a post on the Loop & River North.

Morning

Breakfast + Walk

Northerly Island – One of the newest parks in the city, Northerly Island features 91 acres of grass, flowers and trees – a real commodity in the urbanity of Chicago. Pop into a grocery store before you arrive to pick up breakfast items for a picnic on the lawn. Enjoy a stroll along the nature path, walk north along the waterfront or drink in views of the boats and skyline along the marina-front path.

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