Thursday, September 22, 2011

Warming Up at Hot Chocolate

Luke and I always like to celebrate birthdays with a special night out. This year has been no exception. We celebrated my birthday last month at Chicago q, a "modern urban BBQ experience," with mouth-watering ribs and the best honey cornbread I've ever had.

Yesterday, we celebrated Luke's birthday in a similarly fine fashion. We ventured north on Damen to Hot Chocolate, a beautiful restaurant specializing in American contemporary cuisine and--you guessed it--desserts. Owner Mindy Segal has been honored by the James Beard Foundation several times, and we knew we were in for a real treat.

We started with mussels, but these were not your everyday fare. Rather, they were made with bacon, shallots, cream and PBR. A hipster's dream. Next, I enjoyed a beautifully prepared flank steak. But I must admit, I was thinking of hot chocolate and desserts the entire time.

After toiling over several hot chocolate options--all of which sounded delectable--I finally decided on the Medium hot chocolate: milk chocolate with a touch of dark chocolate and caramel. It was served with a cube of marshmallow on the side, which I promptly submerged, delicately of course, into my mug of goodness.

Courtesy: Popsugar Chicago
As if that wasn't enough, dessert arrived! Normally, I am not the biggest fan of sorbet at a restaurant (when so many other delicious options present themselves). But it came highly recommended by the server, and I'm so glad we listened. The four flavors--nectarine, concord grape, cantelope, and apple--all tasted exactly like the fruit. I don't know how they do it. And for a more decadent choice, we got a red velvet cake taht was flavored with raspberries to create the red color (no food coloring here!).

To put it simply, I was in heaven. And I'll be back.

In the mean time, I will attempt to recreate Mindy's Banana Brioche Monkey Bread, a recipe that she shared on Martha Stewart in 2010.

Stay tuned for the results!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Settling in...

I have officially been in Chicago for over a month. Wow. Given that I spent much of August traveling around seeing family and friends in Wisconsin, I am finally starting to feel like we are settling in to our new apartment and our new city. 

Chicago is such a great city. It has a big city atmosphere downtown, but you can find a much slower pace in the outer neighborhoods. We are living in Wicker Park, and I couldn't be happier with our decision to live here. Bonus: you can get to the beach in minutes.

Now that we are actually here, I will be making my way around, discovering all the hidden gems. Stay tuned for exciting updates!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One Fine Afternoon in Door County

One afternoon, Luke and I were planning to hit up Appleton's "cheap seats" movie theater to catch up on some movies that everyone has seen but me (will I ever see Bridesmaids??) when it occurred to me that such a beautiful day should not be wasted in a movie theater. So instead we packed up the car and headed north.

I hadn't been to the beautiful destination that is Door County in four long years--it was one of the last things I did before moving to New York--and Luke hadn't been there since his good ol' days at Jellystone Campground. It was about time we made the trip.

His parents decided to join us, and we all voted for a pitstop at the Door Peninsula Winery before we reached Fish Creek. After a few tastings, we decided on the seasonal Hallowine!

Next we made our way through gorgeous Peninsula State Park and dipped our toes in the water.

Later, we headed over to Pelletier's for their infamous fish bowl, per my mom's recommendation.

The fish were caught earlier that day and were about to be our dinner.

Into the cauldron they go.

And then...BOIL OVER!

Our first boil over was quite a delicious success! We'll be back, hopefully sooner rather than later this time.