The New Camera Is In!

Finally...my new camera is in!  This is now my 5th Nikon camera in the last 6 years.  Wow, that's a lot!  One of those cameras I lost on the airplane, so really I've gone through 4 upgrades.  This new one should hold up for a few years, I'm hoping.  Well, I've tested it out and the image above is the result of my all day tinkering.  Thank you all for being patient with my less than impressive photos the last couple of months and probably another few posts till I get the settings right.  I did sell my last lens and upgraded to a new one as well.  I'm excited, can't wait to take some photos!

Last Dinner at Ada St 1664

We found Ada through our server Sara from Little Goat.  She highly recommended it and she was so sweet and helpful to arrange dinner reservations for us the same evening.  Who does that?  No one!  She heard we were not having such great luck with food in Chicago and made it her mission to change that for us.  It's people like her and the people at Ada that really care about local food that make the culinary scene so exciting.  They really wowed us and helped end our trip on a super high note!

Anyways, back to Ada...when we arrived, from the hostess, gm, executive chef, and our servers we were really treated with such great care.  They were all so great!  About the restaurant, the building, man it is super cool.  We loved the atmosphere!  An urban, outdoorsy, creative, and festive environment, we loved it!  I could not capture through photos the wonderful vibe it had, but it was urban cool.

On food, with the help of our server we ordered the Shiseto Peppers, Gnocchi, Pork Ribs, Steak Tartar (not sure on spelling), and we added the Bacon Salad changed to feta cheese, Linguine, Pretzel bun ala mode dessert and Chef Zoe sent us the Octopus and Chocolate Grenache dessert.  We loved how creative and how much love was put in the food.  We especially loved the Ribs, but everything was so good, super delicious!  Our mouths were overjoyed with orgamic pleasure, enjoying each bite.  We knew it was going to be another one of those nights where we would be uncomfortably stuffed, and we were.   Service was excellent!  A definite must try!  

Brunch at Little Goat (Chicago)

Oh my!  I didn't think it was possible after 2 full days of eating and being un-wowed by the culinary scene in Chicago.  So after changing my search strategy to just high ratings, not necessarily the most reviews on Yelp, I came across Little Goat, which looks really cute and they do get high marks, but not necessarily the most reviews...so we make our way...

It's a little further than the places we have been going to in the downtown area.  We finally start to walk up and I get a good feeling at just the way the street it's situated on.  We walk in and wow, it's so cute!  I love it!  It's got this retro earthy feel...lots of character!  That's what I've been missing on our trip.  I mean we liked RPM, but it didn't have much character.  We sit in a cute little 2 seater booth and the server, our wonderful Sara, greets us.  She helps us through the menu, Matt is being healthy and boring so he makes his own omelette and I follow her suggestion and get the Prathas Burrito (indian flatbread . sunny side eggs . avocado-bean salad . chili pepper sauce . sheep's milk cheddar), $13 and I also get one Sourdough pancake.  I was a little apprehensive about the burrito, but man when it came out and I tasted it, wow, it was exactly what I wanted!  It was tasty, creative, but actually tasted somewhat healthy too.  It wasn't too heavy.  But, most importantly it was delicious!  And when I finished that, I had the Sourdough pancake...no joke, best pancake I've ever had!  It wasn't doughy, but kind of spongey with subtly crispy edges, mm...so good!  I gave Matt a try and he agreed, it was pretty good.  Goodness, please go visit Little Goat if you haven't, it such a cute place and the food is so awesome!  Love all the character in the food and atmosphere!  And our sever Sara...she was super awesome and helped us with our dinner plans!  Her suggestions were Ada, the Winchester, Kuma, and a few other places.  We tried Ada and she was right, super awesome restaurant, again character in food and atmosphere!  I want to put this restaurant in my pocket and take it with me to Houston!  Obviously a must try!  

Food In Between...

RPM and our last day of great eats, were the okay restaurants that got a significantly high amount of reviews and ratings, which we didn't agree so much.  We thought they were all ok and  they included Quarino, Wildberry Pancakes, Portillo's Hot Dogs and Sunda.  We still had a good time, but they weren't the most impressive of the bunch.

First Meal at RPM Italian (Chicago)

Our first restaurant in Chicago this trip!  It was a good choice.  We enjoyed all the food, but that Burrata, best dish hands down!  Mama DePandi's spaghetti add meatball was good and the Carbonara was good, but I still think Houston's Coppa's Carbonara is the best I've had.  But RPM's Carbonara was a close second.  The restaurant is super nice, very modern and gorgeous.  Great introduction into Chicago's culinary scene!  We enjoyed it!

Hello Chicago!

I forget how nice Chicago is...I've been once before and it's where I fell in love with gourmet popcorn, Garrett's.  This beautiful city, I'm getting reacquainted with, but Matt's first time.  We'll be here a few days to enjoy city life before we head over to Traverse City for some lake time.  Just a few photos of our 3 days here in this great city!  All the individual places will be in the next posts.

MF Sushi (Museum District)

I know you're thinking to yourself, when are you going to get your camera?  And to that I say, soon.  I sold my camera a couple of months ago so I'm sorry that you are subjected to photos off my iphone, but I promise, soon.

Now, the reason why I am blogging is to share about the good news of MF Sushi!  I know their architect, same as the architect and builder of Triniti.  Nice.  I love that backdrop of the orient behind the sushi chefs.  As Matt noticed, the sushi bar area looked different from what you're used to...no glass partition between the chefs and the patrons.  It looks like all their ingredients are built into the counterop bar.  

Now to the food!  I typically like clean, simple, sushi, sashimi will do thank you.  And I don't typically go for all the pizazzy stuff...but at MF Sushi, their signatures nigiri is the best!  I would pass on the ginger salad and mochi ice cream, just stick to the sushi.  Sorry, I can't find their menu online else I would tell you what we ordered, but pretty much most of the nigiri items, expensive but super delicious!  Our server was really great, but also forgot his name.  I definitely liked the new digs, always love their food, great option for high end sushi!

Mercantile (Montrose)

I saw this shop a week ago while in the area showing houses.  It sounded vaguely familiar, but I hadn't heard much about it.  Today, I make it a point to visit.  Quiet little place.  Not the cutest place visually, but it'll do for a quiet place.  It has such a great location, but the interior needs some work.  The barista is nice.  He pours me a coffee, only $2.00 which is nice.  The coffee is actually pretty good.  I'm tired of bad coffee, not to mention names...ahem Blacksmith, ahem Siphon.  I like the big oak trees out in front.  I guess the important thing is the coffee is good and I like the location.  

Revisiting Holley's (Midtown)

The first and last time I went to Holley's I really liked everything I had.  This time I had the oysters, which I forgot to take a shot of.  They were all from the upper east coast and Canada.  We also had the wedge salad, I had the grouper, Matt had the Texas Wagyu Bacon Burger, mm mm mm....by the way, I can't remember the last time I had a burger.  Ever since I've been seeing a nutritionist, it's been really hard for me to eat a burger.  I think I have had it once, but 2 years later, this is the burger I wanted to eat if I were going to eat a burger...mm mm mm...

And the coconut cake...mm....everything was so good!  My only complaint was the stale crackers.  That's a good thing, if that is my only complaint.  One of my favorite seafood restaurants!  

Revisiting Underbelly (Montrose)

I have only been to Underbelly once before, so to finish off Matt's birthday we decided to revisit Underbelly.  We sat in a different dining room this time, the big, open, main space, it was nice.  I was just reminded how nice this restaurant was and how I should come here more often.  I was a little embarrassed at my dress as we were not intending to go to Underbelly, a big white t-shirt, cut off shorts and some Chacos...I looked like a tree hugger.  But, they didn't seem to care, they sat us at the community table right in front of the kitchen where we could see Chris Shepherd very close up.   

We ordered through our server, forget her name, Asian lady....she was super great.  We enjoyed her peppy and pleasant personality.  She helped us order, we for sure got the Korean Rice Cakes, she helped us with the Market Vegetable dish (which we really liked, but a tad too much on the soy sauce, but still overall good),  We also ordered the Tomato Salad, which we really liked, nice and fresh.  We went with our own pick for the Butcher's cut steak dish, which I thought was a little salty, but Matt really liked.  We probably should've gone with her suggestion and went with the Snapper.

So I had mentioned how close we were sitting from Chris Shepherd and surprisingly he sent over a free dish, the Chicken with foot, and beans and meat dish.  It was pretty good, we really appreciated how nice that was of him to do that.  But goodness...between that extra dish and the Fried Pie, oh man...we were so stuffed.  You think we would just not eat all of each dish, but it's hard because each dish isn't that big so you feel it's so wasteful and not to mention it's all just so good.  I can't remember the last time I was that full, I literally looked like I was 4 months preganant!  Next time, I'll try to be better...keyword, "try".  I really should come back here more often, the hardest part, not overeat!  One tip, skip the Fried Pie and definitely get the Vinegar Pie, so unexpectedly good!

Queen Vic

This is the Queens House Salad add Tandoori Chicken Tikka, $12.00 and I tried the Hibiscus Pommegranate Lemonade, $5. Other than the fact that the salad had a hefty portion of dressing, it was pretty good!

Ruggles Black Desserts

Oh my!  Carrot Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, and Oreo Cheesecake...I tried them all and the Strawberry Shortcake was the best, in my opinion.  This is not gourmet stuff, just good, big Texas sized desserts to fill the bellies.  Not the best place for a good cappuccino either, but I find most places don't really know how to make a cappuccino. Coffee might be a better choice.  There dessert tray is a little excessive.  I think it has 40 desserts on it.  Anyways, it was alright.  Service was good.

Aka Sushi Lunch

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I just realized I haven't blogged at all about my go to sushi place!  I forget to mention places I frequent.  Well, like I mentioned previously,  I have been trying to make better choices when out for eats because of both my trainer and nutrionist.  My go to sushi restaurant is Aka Sushi on W. Alabama.  They have a great lunch special that includes a roll, 3 pieces of nigiri and soup and salad, $13!  I usually get tuna and avocado for my roll and the peppercorn tuna nigiri.  It's easy, everything I like and comes all in one deal with this super great price and my pleases my nutritionist and trainer!

So I've been on this sort of mission to try all the sushi restaurants in town for a great lunch special.  But, let me mention, I will not try just any sushi restaurant.  I'm super duper picky when it comes to sushi.  I didn't grow up eating sushi, long story, but basically, I most only visit sushi restaurants that have a good reputation.  

Soma Sushi Lunch (Washington Corridor)

So, you know lately I've been seeing a trainer and now he's in my ear on a weekly basis about my diet so I've been really trying to tighten up my eating.  That means, going out has to be better in line with my nutrition plan, so I've been visitng sushi more frequently than I have been in the last 2 years.  Other than Uchi, my favorite go to sushi restaurant is Aka Sushi on W. Alabama.  They have a great lunch special that includes a roll, 3 pieces of nigiri and soup and salad, $13...not bad!  I usually get tuna and avocado for my roll and the peppercorn tuna nigiri.  

Then for a friend's birthday I visited Kata Robata, her choice.  I hadn't been there since they first opened.  I posted about that visit about 2 posts ago.  Again, great experience, but that was a dinner meal.  We ordered the Chef's Sashimi plate.  I thought the sushi there was great too, but will have to visit for lunch to compare apples to apples.  This time, I visited Soma Sushi on Washington.  Jodie and I decided to try the Ramen, which was fine, not the best I've had.  Our server was great, he gave great suggestions on how to get what I wanted.  I basically customized the roll and made a tuna and avocado roll, flipped inside out, for bigger pieces, his suggestion.  Then got tuna sashimi and 2 peppercorn tuna nigiri.  I thought the sushi quality on the nigiri and in the rolls did not taste very good.  However, the tuna sashimi was excellent.  I didn't really care for the atmosphere...it as very "boot and pants and boots and pants"...that's my version of club music.