October proved to be another great month and I was so happy to have the chance to attend some really great charity events (and of course try some new restaurants too). Read on:
Jackson Chance Foundation Ping Pong Ball– I was so touched by the mission for this event. In honor of supporting the Jackson Chance Foundation (an organization dedicated to providing support and alleviating transportation expenses to families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)) this annual fundraiser turned up the fun to help families in need. For the third year in a row, attendees had the chance to play in a ping pong tournament, participate in a silent auction and eat some fabulous food. There was even a VIP happy hour sponsored by the Trotter Project where four renowned chefs (Art Smith of Table 52, Phillip Foss of El Ideas, Bill Kim of Urban Belly and Richie Farina, the former chef at Moto), all prepared special dishes and even played in a ping pong tournament against each other. It was such a great time and I loved seeing the chefs really getting into this ping pong match! More than anything, it opened my eyes to the struggles parents of babies in the NICU go through and I want to do more to help the Jackson Chance Foundation as I see and believe in the great work they are doing. Click here if you would like to donate too. And, start practicing your ping pong skills to get ready for next year’s event!
Wood– As you know, I absolutely love trying out new restaurants. And it’s always good when they are outside the four block radius of where I live and work (yes, I fully admit that I live in a little bubble downtown). I was pretty excited to try out the restaurant Wood in the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I loved the ambiance and modern yet sleek interior that was so inviting and cozy. As for the food, there were great vegetarian options available and they even had a separate vegetarian menu printed (bonus points in my book). I tried several items I really enjoyed: starting with the cocktail, the Fiddler and the Flute (zubrowka bison grass vodka, house vanilla simple syrup, pear nectar, lemon, brut champagne) which obviously I loved cause you know I’m obsessed with anything with pear in it. The burrata cheese plate literally stole my heart (house giardiniera, green olives, arugula, buttered toast) and the sauerkraut pierogi (sunchoke, parsnip, radish, crème fraîche, Riesling) was worth writing home about….or even an entire separate blog post about! Definitely check out Wood if you find yourself in Boystown or just want some delicious food and drinks.
Dolce Italian Brunch– So, it should be pretty apparent by now that I’m kind of obsessed with Dolce Italian in the Godfrey Hotel. I’ve previously written about their fabulous secret pizza (read about that here) and today I’m writing about their new brunch service. As I expected, the food was on point as well as the drinks, and the service was impeccable. I tried the breakfast croissant (with the fluffiest egg whites I have ever had and Swiss cheese) that were served with some of the best and crispiest tater tots (I’m the biggest sucker for tater tots). I was already sold with this dish, and then I tried the vanilla waffle topped with a homemade apple, cinnamon and nutmeg compote topped with chantilly creme. Yes, heaven served on a plate. Dolce Italian is just a few blocks from where I live and I can definitely see this becoming my go-to brunch spot. Want to join me?
Taste Of The Nation Chicago– This is the second year in a row I have attended this wonderful event to support a great cause, No Kid Hungry (read about last year’s event here). This organization is working hard to help end childhood hunger in America and making sure kids get the help they need. I love helping support such great missions. This year’s event was again held in the Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier and boasts participation from over 80 of Chicago’s hottest restaurants and mixologists. So many wonderful items to try and sample from! I tried all kinds of great things from fancy mixed cocktails, to pimento mac and cheese to a veggie taco from a food truck and lots of delicious desserts. One of the more unique and tasty items was a root beer float pop from The Wit Hotel. I have never had anything like it before. Anyways, keep your eyes peeled for next year’s Taste of the Nation Chicago as it is an event that should not be missed.
Mixed Greens– Another day, another salad. Not so fast! I have to say I was pretty blown away by the salad I had at Mixed Greens. Honestly, I was just expecting a run-of-the-mill salad place with different topping options and lackluster dressing options. Not only did Mixed Greens have a lot of different salad options, they also have pizza and panini and soup options. And, they were ALL really good! But, let’s get back to the salad. I got the Mexicali (field greens, corn, black beans, white cheddar cheese, plum tomatoes, cilantro, corn chips and honey lime vinaigrette, topped with spicy peanut sauce). So many flavor profiles but what really did it for me was that it was actually spicy. I mean, this salad had a kick to it and I loved it. I am going to claim this as one of the best salads I’ve ever had and I am already planning on going back this weekend. That’s called some serious salad love!
The Local Chicago– I am always reminded that there are hidden gems all around this city when it comes to restaurants. And, being the foodie I am with a pretty good pulse on the scene, there will always be places I have never heard of or been to. The Local Chicago is the perfect example. Tucked away in the Gold Coast, this restaurant is a great comfort food restaurant for a cold evening, which is exactly when I went. Admittedly, the menu is very heavy with meat dishes, but I did find some great vegetarian options to try. The mac and cheese stole the show for me; it was extra creamy, extra cheesy and just so perfect for the cold, windy and rainy night I happened to go in. Comfort food heaven has been found. The restaurant is just a few blocks from where I work and I can totally see myself going back for that delicious mac and cheese soon. Oh, and don’t miss the jalapeno cornbread with maple butter. I mean, that is what dreams are made of…right?
Please Note: While I was invited to these events and restaurants, all opinions are my own.