Chicago Happenings – April Recap

Truth be told, I hit a wall in April. I also started an 8-week business communications class, so my usual writing time for the blog was overtaken with reading and homework assignments. I promise to be better this month because I definitely felt the void of writing. My mojo is back! With that, I did of course still go to some great events and tastings:

Gino's East Pilsen

Gino’s East Pilsen

Gino’s East Pilsen – The popular Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant opened a sister location in Mexico City last year. It was such a hit in Mexico City that a sister of the sister restaurant opened in early April in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. With a menu reflective of what’s offered at the Mexico City location, there are unique dishes to check out at the Gino’s East in Pilsen. Some of the vegetarian items I tried out included the guacamole and chips, esquites (a warm dip of grilled sweet corn, serrano, epazote, spicy mayo, cotija cheese and lime served with chips) and the Nopal Vegetarian pizza (cactus, pickled onion, mushroom, potato, mozzarella and pizza sauce). It was cool to try something different and of course, wash it all down with a delicious margarita. Make your way to Pilsen to try out this unique Gino’s East.

Bernie's Lunch & Supper

Bernie’s Lunch & Supper

Bernie’s Lunch & Supper– I was excited to finally try out this awesome River North restaurant after seeing so many great Instagram pictures of the yummy looking food and beautiful drinks. I loved the modern interior and vibe of Bernie’s Lunch & Supper, which was packed on a random Tuesday night for dinner. Definitely a hot spot! As for the food, I was definitely a fan. Two of my favorite dishes were the carrot and avocado salad (fresh and grilled carrots, avocado, romesco, almonds, grilled scallions and spinach with a delicious hidden sauce on the bottom) as well as the falafel plate with charred eggplant, hummus, feta and sliced cucumber served with some warm house made naan bread. I also thoroughly enjoyed the drink named Hygge (lsolut Elyx Alsolut Elyx Vodka, Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry Meletti Amaro, Orgeat, Lemon) which was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. And, I just recently found out Bernie’s has an awesome rooftop patio. I’m definitely adding this in the rotation of rooftops to hit up this summer. You in?

SteakBar Chicago

SteakBar Chicago

SteakBar – Yes, I fully realize the irony of The Vegetarian Tourist going to a place called the SteakBar. But, you know me…I love getting sneak peek’s at new restaurants before they open to the public. The soft opening party was a fun time perusing this new Old Town spot. I liked the feel of the place and even tried a couple delicious vegetarian bites (the truffle mac and cheese as well as the avocado bibb salad which was sort of like really good guacamole in a lettuce cup). But, what I was most impressed by were the draft cocktail options. I wasn’t really expecting much since I didn’t think a pre-made drink coming out of a tap would be that good. I was honestly blown away at how awesome these cocktails were and impressed to say the least! The Old Town Punch (vodka, aperol, st germain, lemon) was my favorite. If you find yourself in Old Town, it’s definitely worth a stop, especially for a draft cocktail.

Savage Bingo - Headquarters Beercade

Savage Bingo – Headquarters Beercade

Savage Bingo at Headquarters Beercade– Alright, I had no idea what I really signed up for when I agreed to go to Savage Bingo at Headquarters Beercade in Lakeview. I just saw the word Bingo and the option to win prizes like Lollapalooza tickets or an iPad Air, and I was sold! Honestly, it’s kind of hard to describe exactly what Savage Bingo is…it really can only be experienced. Think great music with a DJ, fun drink options and an announcer that will pick on participants and embarrass them in front of everyone if they call out Bingo but don’t actually have Bingo! There are also varied formats for the Bingo rounds including the speed round (where the numbers are read off so insanely fast it’s beyond impossible to keep up) to the final round where you must get every square filled on your card. Oh, and the announcer is not at all PC and quite belligerent actually, which makes for a riot of a time. I was equal parts laughing and equal parts scared throughout the evening worrying the whole time that he was going to pick on me! If you are looking for something fun and unique to do on a Wednesday night, go check it out. You might come home a big winner with an awesome prize!

Midwest Rum Festival

Midwest Rum Festival

Midwest Rum Festival – This past weekend I had the chance to attend the Midwest Rum Festival. It was the perfect weekend to spend indoors for the fest since it was cold and rainy. Sponsored by, this event included everything from tasting new rums, to attending brand seminars, to enjoying great music and some fun snacks. My friends and I had a blast sampling some great rum-based cocktails and even trying some rum straight without mixers. We were each given a card which was like a passport to get hole punched at each station which made for some fun to try to visit each vendor. Admittedly, we just couldn’t do it as it was just too much for us (wimpy, I know)! We should get an “A” for effort though. Last year the fest was in Louisville, KY, so maybe they will try different cities each year? Who knows! But, if it’s back in Chicago, go get your rum sampling on.


Please Note: While I was invited to these events, all opinions are my own.

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