L’ours Bakery + Eatlay Chicago- Biata

I was off on Valentine’s Day this year and had the perfect day! It started with a coffee at L’OURS BAKERY COFFEE. Definitely a cute coffee shop centrally located in Little Italy. It was pretty large, great work space for those who want to study or work from home.

Later that night I finally got to go to a popup restaurant at Eatlay Chicago called Biata. The restaurant concept was the Italian Alps: MELTED CHEESES AND WARM WINES! I was pretty much in heaven during dinner!

The decor and ambiance was beautiful, super cozy and warm, literally felt like we were in a cabin.

The warm wine was yummy! I didn’t think I would be a fan of warm wine, but I was quiet pleased with it. The cheese/ food was absolutely amazing. It was very rich and CHEESY but that’s my favorite, so I wasn’t complaining.

Desert wasn’t an option after a meal like that, I was way to full to have anything else! Definitely a great experience!

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etta

While my cousin was in town from Seattle we all decided to have family dinner at etta. I had been wanting to try this place for a while now so I was super excited to go! The restaurant is located in Bucktown, so it’s a further trip for us, but well worth it!

The minute we walked in, we loved it. It was very aesthetically pleasing. We had 9:45pm reservations, but it was packed when we walked in so had to wait. However they were nice enough to give us complimentary champagne while waiting for our table.

We started with the fire-baked focaccia served with ricotta honey & truffle, and the spicy meatballs and ricotta pillows (2 orders) which I would highly recommend! Then we followed up with 3 pastas, 2 pizzas and 2 proteins for the 6 of us. The menu is intended to be family style, so it’s a great place to go with a larger group! I think it was safe to say we ordered too much food.

Everything came out as it was ready, and it was fresh and tasted amazing. They timed it well in the kitchen, we had exactly enough time to enjoy each plate before the next one came out. I think that this may be a summer date night spot in the near future.

Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert but the dessert menu looked very good.

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The Violet Hour + Pub Royale

We always love to plan elaborate date nights, and we try to hit up as many spots as we can in one night. This time we decided to start at The Violet Hour. A speakeasy I have always wanted to go to. A friend had mentioned that it is quite inside, but it was surprisingly loud that evening, there was even loud music music playing!

Our next stop was dinner, we went to Pub Royale since it was in the same neighborhood as Violet Hour. They had good Indian food as well as Indian fusion food at the restaurant.

We started with an order with the vegetable samosas and the lamb dumplings.

For dinner we split the Pub Royale burger. It was a pretty good burger with spicy pickles and masala aioli.

The desert menu had chai tea dulce de leche donut holes, so naturally we had to order it, also one of the more popular drinks on the menu was a dressed up Hamm’s, which was an interesting twist on beer.

We had a successful date night to say the least!

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Aba

Mediterranean food is probably one of my favorite cuisines and I was so excited to find this spot over the summer. Aba is a hidden gem, you have to take a random elevator up to the restaurant and you don’t know what to expect until you get to the top. Walking in, it was absolutely beautiful. Even though it was summer it was chilly in the evening and we wanted to sit inside. The rooftop was even nicer then the inside. The restaurant was aesthetically pleasing so I loved it the minute we walked in! 

Loved all the green plants inside! 

We had gone out prior to dinner for some drinks, but the drinks here were very good. They were fresh and unique. I definitely want to go back just for the drinks one day.

The food was amazing to say the least. We actually over ordered and ended up taking the kabobs home. I can’t wait to come back and try the rest of the menu.

PSA: they have heated domes on their rooftop during the winter!

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Villains Chicago

We are always on a mission to eat “the best burger ever”, so the day we moved into our new apartment, we went to a bar down the street that had a burger on their menu. Walking into Villains, we already loved it. Very cool ambiance, LOVE THE BEER WALL. The only thing they are missing is a patio. I wasn’t feeling a burger so I ordered a grilled cheese, which came with tater tots. My friend  ordered the Villains Burger (North Country Bacon, Hooks Cheddar, Pickles, Red Onion, Beef Fat Mayo & Fries). We were actually pretty disappointed in the burger. It was a thick dry patty, and lacked the flavors we expected. On the other had, the grilled cheese was pretty good, and come on, who doesn’t like tater tots? Over all I think we would definitely come back here, but we would order beer and get a charcuterie plate instead of a burger.

Update: we can’t come back, they recently closed! 😦

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London House Rooftop

London House Rooftop

Can’t believe it is already fall! My favorite thing about summers in Chicago are all the beautiful rooftops around the city! One of my all time favorites has always been London House Rooftop. It is a great spot in the middle of the city with an AMAZING VIEW. You can see the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile all from one place!

I think any date night that starts on a rooftop is automatically a successful date night.

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3 Arts Club Cafe

I have wanted to go to 3 Arts Club Cafe located inside of Restoration Hardware for a while now. The few times I have tried, the wait time was over a two hours. A friend suggested that we go on a weekday around lunch. Fortunately, NO WAIT TIME!

The food is inspired by Northern California and Mediterranean cuisine and the courtyard seating is beautifully filled with natural sunlight and olive trees. We started the morning off with some flavored ice coffee on draft along with a late brunch. There were so many amazing options on the menu but of course I picked the one that had truffle and cheese: truffle grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread served with fries and garlic aïoli. My friend, on the other hand, chose the breakfast route and ordered the RH scramble: farm eggs, crème frâiche, avocado, chives, Texas toast.

After our wonderful brunch we decided to continue enjoying our day and ordered a bottle of wine. We got a bottle of Riesling: Leitz, Rheingau, Germany, 2016. 3 Arts Club Cafe isn’t only a wonderful brunch spot, but it is also a great spot for drinks.

We had already been at 3 Arts Club Cafe for a few hours are this point, and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon on the rooftop since the weather was beautiful. On our way to the rooftop we stopped and got another draft iced coffee and doughnut. They have doughnuts from Doughnut Vault, which were DELICIOUS! Definitely have to go and try all their flavors soon! On our way out, we walked through all the floors and praised the gorgeous furniture we hope to one day have in our home!

Overall, our day was well spent at RH. We can’t wait to go back!

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A Burger Better then Au Cheval?

When articles came out stating there was a burger in Chicago better then Au Cheval, we had to try it! Many people were claiming that The Loyalist burger was better then the infamous Au Cheval burger. It was time for me to figure out the validity of that myself. The Loyalist is located under Smyth…there is an arrow that directs you exactly to the right spot. We went St. Patty’s Day weekend on Saturday night and ironically there was no wait. We got seated immediately, which was \thrilling because we heard there is usually a line there depending on what time you go. For starters, the ambiance was nice. It was in the basement and there were tall tables, booths and bar seats. The drinks were good too…I ordered a green drink in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. We were so excited for the burger we couldn’t even wait. We ordered the Loyalist cheeseburger and we weren’t disappointed. It was cooked just right, it was nice and juicy and there were caramelized AND raw onions on it. The fries were served with a side of garlic aïoli and vinegar which paired great with the burger. Even though it wasn’t “better then Au Cheval” in my opinion, it was pretty satisfying! I think the two burgers are very different and both amazing in their own ways.

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Brunch @ Beatnik

We picked Beatnik for an anniversary brunch and I was very excited because I had heard about how cool the inside of the restaurant was. The interior was inspired by Bohemian lifestyle and aesthetic sensibility of the 1950s in America and Europe. It truly felt like a Mediterranean farmhouse. We sat in the front half of the restaurant, and there was a lot of natural light. The foods were a fusion between Eastern Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America. We ordered some amazing cocktails and of course we got a burger! We also got a Muffaletta Sandwich which was served on a Arepa Style Bun– which was essentially a masa bun.

After brunch we decided to continue the celebration on the other side of the restaurant at the bar. This side had a completely different vibe. It was beautiful with a lot of greenery. We got another round of cocktails followed by the famous chai cinnamon roll– this was probably one of the best things we have ever tired! It was extremely sweet and rich but worth every bite!

Can’t wait to come back and try the dinner menu! I also want to see the decor at night, must be a completely different vibe.

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Au Cheval Almighty

I can’t believe that I tried my first Au Cheval burger less then a year ago, but now I know what all the hype was about. I truly was missing out, until I finally went last fall, I was told that it was “the best burger ever”. There are some tricks on how to get a table at Au Cheval.

  1. Go with a small group ≤ 4 people
  2. Go on off peak hours, like after 11:30 pm
  3. Go prepared to wait, and be ready to have a drink while waiting– doesn’t make the wait as bad!

I have been fortunate to usually go to Au Cheval with seasoned veterans, and I don’t think I have ever waited over 20 minutes for a table.

I keep it pretty simple at Au Cheval, always ordering the same exact thing. A single burger + the juicy thick cut bacon and an Old Fashioned. This last time, I went outside of the normal order and got fries, which came with a side of mouth watering garlic aïoli sauce– best add on ever!

There was a little hiccup in the burger last winter…they changed their bun and it was very disappointing. Fortunately the OG bun is back and the burger is better then ever!

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