The lovely folks over at opentable.com asked if I would write a post about some of my fave local spots to hit up in Chicago. I was excited to do so because I do use OpenTable constantly (who wants to wait!) and it meant I got to eat, eat, and then eat some more. I thought it would be fun to build the blog post around brunch, lunch, and dinner, the three best parts of any day.
I love how sunny and bright the restaurant is in the morning, you cannot not be happy ordering brunch here. The BYOB will also help with your happy.
I don’t think I’ve ever gone to Mixteco and not ordered an appetizer. They’re all so dang good. On this particular morning we ordered the Empanadas de Flor de Calabaze for our app, which is a turnover filled with squash blossoms, tomatoes, onion, oaxacan cheese and epazote. It’s also served with a delicious avocado tomatillo salsa and is a must-try.
Dave ordered the Huevos ala Diabla, which is two poached eggs served in corn masa boats with black beans, tomatillo habanero sauce, grilled steak, sour cream and queso fresco. He said it was perfectly spicy and the steak was tender and cooked perfectly. I was too busy inhaling my meal to even try a bite of his!
I ordered the Chilaquiles Verdes which is corn tortillas simmered in tomatillo-serrano sauce topped with sour cream, queso fresco, onions and cilantro along with black beans and scrambled eggs. I shouldn’t have to convince you how good this is, just get at this.
Since I work in the River North area, I have bounced all around looking for great lunch spots. I’ve ended up at Farmhouse for several lunches and have loved every bite. I like the atmosphere because it’s good for groups, but also good for solo lunches where you can pop a squat at the bar and read your Stephen King book in peace. What? It’s how I relax.
They have great burgers, and don’t even get me started on the cheese curds. But recently I ordered their grilled cheese which is made with Wisconsin cheddar and munster, is served on traditional boule bread and comes with a side of malted tomato soup. It. Was. Epic. I’m not sure I’ll go there and order anything else.
Lunch game on point.
For those that follow this blog, y’all know I am into seafood. We go to Maine almost every year and eat the freshest, most drool-worthy seafood, so I’d say I’m pretty picky in terms of eating seafood in the Midwest. When Opentable.com reached out, I knew immediately what my dinner place would be – GT Fish and Oyster!
You’ve got to start with a cocktail, I’ve had most of them and they are STRONG and delicious. This is the Sasha Fizz, which is Finn’s Gin, thyme, lavender, egg white and lemon. So refreshing and perfect for the upcoming summer I hope eventually happens in Chicago.
Onto my favorite part – the oysters. I know these are an acquired taste and texture. In fact, when my friend Maddi took me to try my first oyster ever, my exact quote was “these taste like the bottom of a boat.” Well, I’ve started to crave that salty, sea-water, boaty flavor! I’m addicted! I love how all of the different kinds have different flavor, hence why we ordered two of each that were featured. I could have eaten so many more.
Next up I saw the “GT Deviled Egg” on the menu and had to give it a go. It’s smoked salmon and green garlic that comes with a shot of caraway liqueur. It had such a unique flavor, it was one of those great dishes that you just kept wanting more of because you’ve never had anything like it before.
Then we were onto the Nettle Gnocchi with shrimp and burrata. This plate right here is why I go out to eat. The homemade gnocchi was rich and cooked perfectly. The shrimp was tender and the burrata was like eating little bites of fluffy, creamy heaven. Perfect dish.
Oh did I say that last one was a perfect dish? Well, this one is too. This is the steamed branzino with carrot, mizuna and black garlic. The fish was delectable. When we took the first bites, Dave and I looked into each other’s eyes like wolves protecting our young. We didn’t want to share.
And for the last hoorah, we ordered the fish and chips because its one of our favorites. It’s beer battered cod, with a dill pickle remoulade, steak fries, and malt vinegar. The fish is perfectly crispy and flaky and the sauce is something I absolutely want to try to replicate at home.