Monthly Archive: March 2013

Sunday

31

March 2013

6

COMMENTS

Brunch at Frog n Snail

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of brunch. Au ChevalTrenchermen and GT Fish & Oyster are just a few that I’ve blogged about, but Chicago has no shortage of fab brunch spots and I’m trying to work my way through as many as I can! With Spring slowly brightening things up around here it’ll be no time at all before patios are open and we’re able to enjoy a sparkly mimosa under the warm Chicago sun. Until then, I’ll happily take a spicy Bloody Mary indoors and call it a day!

Frog n Snail

This weekend I visited Frog n Snail in East Lakeview with 2 of my girlfriends. If you’re a Top Chef fan, you may remember Dale Levitski from Season 3. Frog n Snail is Dale’s latest venture.

Frog n Snail

The space has a clean, modern feel with the warm wood and frog and snail statues keeping it comfortable.  After enjoying a tasty Bloody Mary, we ordered Mimosa Bubble Service, just because it was such a fun concept. They bring out a bottle of bubbly (we opted for the house bubbles, why spend more when you’re going to be mixing) along with a small carafe of oj and 3 small bowls of syrups-blueberry, passion fruit, and (I believe) hibiscus. Then you mix away to create your own perfect mimosa! At our table the passion fruit was definitely the most popular!

Frog n Snail

Along with our bubbles we enjoyed an order of the Lithuanian Bacon Buns with Whipped Vanilla Butter. I’m half Lithuanian and have yet to come across a bacon bun I didn’t like-these were no exception. Warm, buttery, and full of bacon-what’s not to love?!

Frog n Snail

With a menu full of mouth-watering options it was very difficult to make a decision, but eventually we settled on the 4 dishes we would share. First up we had the Duck Hash Benedict and the Shrimp n Polenta. The Duck Hash Benedict is served on banana bread and topped with brown butter hollandaise. I would never think that banana bread would pair well with duck and hollandaise but it did-and it was fantastic! It definitely took some restraint to keep us from licking the plate when we were done!

Frog n Snail

The Shrimp n Polenta is usually Shrimp n Grits, but they were out of grits and made a substitute. I don’t know what the grits taste like but the creamy cheddar polenta was awesome. There were just so many delicious flavors going on in this dish and when you add in the beautifully poached egg and the tender shrimp you’ve got an easy win.

Frog n Snail

Frog n Snail

Our next two dishes were the Croque Madame and the Nutella Crepes. The crepes were a nice sweet addition to our meal, but unfortunately not a stand out. The Croque Madame on the other hand-holy cheesy goodness! Hands down, the best thing to happen to me this weekend! The crispy ring of cheddar around the sandwich is like no sandwich I’ve ever eaten before. If you’ve ever eaten Pequod’s pizza…it’s like the caramelized cheese along the crust, only way better! Pictures do not do it justice!

Frog n Snail

Frog n Snail

Frog n Snail

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this brunch experience at Frog n Snail. Just a few weeks ago their burger graced the cover of Time Out Chicago’s burger issue and it was a beauty! Since we skipped the burger on this visit that obviously means I’ll be returning to see for myself what all the fuss is about!

Frog n Snail

 

Wednesday

20

March 2013

1

COMMENTS

Two

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Have you heard of Two, the farm-to-table restaurant that opened on the near West Side last August?  It wasn’t on my radar until I met fellow blogger Erin from the Daily E and Color My Styled at the Chicago Blogger Network Oscar party earlier this month. Of course the topic turned to food and she told me about this great restaurant on W. Grand that she had just visited and highly recommended. The very next day I made a reservation and a few weeks later Mike and I were enjoying a fantastic dinner with friends at TWO.

TWO Chicago

As soon as we arrived we were warmly welcomed and seated by Yamandu, the owner. Immediately we noticed all the character packed into this small space. The meat cleavers hung behind the bar and the reclaimed wood throughout give you a glimpse of what they’re all about-in a nutshell, quality ingredients sourced from small Midwestern farms used create a seasonal menu of delicious dishes. Throw in fantastic service and some strong, tasty cocktails and this, my friends, is the place to be!

TWO Chicago

First things first we started with cocktails. I opted for the Blood Orange Marg-a tasty twist on the standard margarita. I could drink a lot of these (although I might regret it the next day).  Mike went for Brasky’s Revenge-a Templeton Rye cocktail poured over a coffee ice cube. As the ice cube melts the flavor profile of the drink changes-it took a lot of restraint on Mike’s part to let it melt! The boys also sampled a few microbrews while the ladies opted for a second round of cocktails with the Wet Hound. A combination of a Greyhound and a Mojito, this was by far my favorite drink of the night. Grapefruit and mint is definitely a winning combo!

TWO Chicago cocktails

TWO Chicago cocktails

As soon as our drink orders were place we dove into the dinner menu. Similar to my thoughts on Siena Tavern, I think the ideal group size for Two is 4 people. The plates are smaller and meant to be shared-we found they were the perfect portion for a group of 4 to split and each get a taste while maximizing the number of different dishes you can try. Whatever your group size, the staff at Two will go above and beyond to accommodate you. One of the desserts we ordered only came with 3 pieces and they suggested adding an additional piece so everyone got their own. Outstanding service was definitely a theme of the night-Yamandu even took me out back to see their smoker after I asked if they smoked their own meats!

TWO Chicago

We ordered 7 dishes and 2 desserts for our group of 4. First up were the Duck Fat Potato Croquettes served with a chili aioli and topped with parmesan cheese. Yes, these were as good as they sound. Crunchy, fried goodness on the outside and smooth, creamy potatoes on the inside…get. in. my. belly. (They did, and they were awesome.)

TWO Chicago Duck Fat Croquettes

Next up we had the Red Wine Braised Beef Cheek and the P.E.I Mussels. The beef cheek was topped with homemade ricotta cheese, apple, and chives and served with crostini. The crostini was a bit over-grilled but top it with the tender, flavorful beef cheek and all is right in the world. The mussels were swimming in a lovely white wine sauce that we happily sopped up with more slices of grilled baguette until the bowl was dry.

TWO Chicago

TWO Chicago mussels

Next were the Sea Scallops and Roasted Bone Marrow. The scallops were perfectly cooked, served on roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes and topped with crispy coppa. The marrow was rich and delicious and was served with a 5 hour bacon jam that I could eat by the spoonful. This is the 2nd time Mike has had bone marrow now and I think he may be hooked!

TWO Chicago scallops

TWO Chicago bone marrow

Our final 2 non-dessert dishes were the pastas, and these were definitely my favorites of the bunch. The first was a homemade cavatelli with pork neck and sausage gravy and herb whipped ricotta. This “gravy” was sooo good (their gravy=a thick meat sauce to me). It was so flavorful and topped with the whipped ricotta it was just a really great dish.

TWO Chicago pasta

Our second pasta dish was the Duck Egg Pasta with duck confit, duck skin cracklins, scallions, and parmesan. Duck, duck….and more duck! (You were ready for goose, weren’t you?) This dish was equally as delicious as the cavatelli but so different, in a very good way. The noodles were perfectly buttery and the dish actually felt light, like I might enjoy it on a patio on a spring day, if we ever end up seeing one of those around here. Everything just worked so well together, including the duck skin cracklins which I think may be my new favorite thing-partly just because I like the word “cracklins”!

TWO Chicago pasta

Finally we made it too dessert. Yamandu clued us in to the fact that they make their own ice creams so we definitely had to try those. We also ordered the Homemade Pretzel Donuts based on his recommendation as well. The ice cream was exactly what you’d expect from homemade ice cream- a whole lot of creamy goodness. They had banana, butterfinger, and chocolate/coffee flavors-my favorites were the butterfinger and the chocolate/coffee. The pretzel donuts were warm and sugary, filled with a little chocolate and served with a warm chocolate drink for dipping-they made for a very sweet ending.

TWO Chicago ice cream

TWO Chicago donuts

 

Friday

15

March 2013

1

COMMENTS

Spring Is In The Air!

Written by , Posted in Beauty

For the last week or so I’ve been protesting the cold, gloomy weather we’re experiencing here in Chicago and have been getting ready for Spring! Here are a few of my springtime necessities…. Spring

1. See ya later alligator! Before you know it warmer weather will be upon us and that means we’ll be showing (and seeing) a lot more skin. Nobody likes the splotchy look of self-tanner that has been applied to scaly, parched skin so it’s time to start kicking up the skin regimen, ladies! My new favorite all-over body moisturizer is Origins Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream. The energizing ginger scent would be enough to sell me on this one and when you add in the silky texture and the way it just seems to melt into the skin…we’ve got a keeper!

2. Dust off your piggies. If you, like me, tend to let regular pedicures fall to the wayside once the thick socks and snow boots get pulled out then it’s time to get into the salon and get yourself a pedicure. Let them slough, scrub, and file away until your feet are feeling as soft as a baby’s bottom. Try a pretty pastel polish that’s perfect for Spring like Essie’s Mint Candy Apple or OPI’s You’re Such a BudaPest.

3. Treat yo self! We’ve covered body, we’ve covered feet…now let’s talk about face. I recently had my first ever facial with Kim at Absolute Precision Skincare in Chicago and it was such an awesome treat. It was so relaxing and my skin felt FANTASTIC afterwards! If a full facial just doesn’t fit into your budget right now, some salons offer less involved “express” facials at a lower price point that could be an option. I’ve been maintaining my post-facial glow with Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant (every morning), my trusty Clarisonic (every other day since my skin is a little on the sensitive side), and Kate Sommerville’s ExfoliKate (every week or every other week for a more intense exfoliation).

4. Bring on the color! Pack up your winter wardrobe that consists of 50 shades of grey and venture out into the rainbow. Creamy pastels and vibrant brights are everywhere right now. I’ve picked up these Gap jeans in Mint green, these Old Navy Jeans in a bright red, this yellow Banana Republic statement necklace, and this blouse in a bright coral from Akira.

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