I was out-of-town on a 10-day trip to Nashville and DC this month, yet I still had the chance to try out some awesome places and attend cool events. Read on:
Kings Bowl– Ok guys, this place is awesome and a must-visit! What I thought was probably just a standard, run-of-the-mill bowling alley, turned out to be an ultra-hip, fun, foodie destination. Most bowling alleys I’ve been to serve seemingly regular bar food, but Kings Bowl offers an elevated, delicious and long menu of options that were outstanding. Even for this veggie girl, there were so many choices, which was so unexpected. I was really impressed with the variety and uniqueness with options like the kung pao fried cauliflower appetizer to the Mediterranean sampler platter to the mac ‘n cheese bites, all of which were vegetarian. And, make sure to save room for dessert like the ridiculously huge Peanut Butter Cup Sundae which has vanilla ice cream topped with warm peanut butter sauce, chocolate sauce and mini peanut butter cups. We jokingly asked if we could spend the night because we were too full to move. Ok, maybe we weren’t joking. All I know is that next time I visit Kings Bowl, I will bowl first and then eat because I’m 100% sure I will be indulging in all of their amazing culinary options and will probably be too full to move again.
A Taste For Change– I was honored to be asked to join the host committee to help promote the Shriver Center’s benefit, A Taste For Change. This wonderful organization aids in advancing justice and opportunity for people living in poverty and I was happy to help support such a great cause. The evening was held at an awesome space called Salvage One, which is a very unique event space in Fulton Market District. There were over 20 local restaurants serving up some unbelievable bites ranging from Piece Pizza to Heaven on Seven to Bang Bang Pie. One of my favorites of the night was Taco in a Bag which served a little different spin on their Reverse Coney option. This one had tortilla chips topped with three bean coney sauce, pepper jack cheese, yellow mustard cream sauce, green onions and oyster crackers. So yummy and I definitely need to go check out Taco In a Bag’s storefront in Lincoln Square.
Evanston Food Tour– Being the foodie that I am, you probably won’t believe me when I tell you that I’ve actually never been on a food tour before. I know, shocking, right?! Thank goodness that has finally changed. Thanks to my friend Soo of Fab Food Chicago, I got to join several other foodie friends for an awesome evening in Evanston trying out local establishments. We visited Cupitol Coffee & Eatery, Taco Diablo, Patisserie Coralie, Found and Whiskey Thief Tavern. Soo mentioned to all of us at the beginning of the food tour to pace ourselves at each place since we were going to be sampling a lot. Of course I did not listen and was pretty much stuffed after the stop #2 at Taco Diablo, and we still had three more places to go! And then we got to Patisserie Coralie and I discovered probably the BEST pain au chocolat I’ve ever had in the Chicagoland area and everything was a blur after that. I literally could not stop eating that amazing chocolate croissant in all of its flaky, buttery goodness. It was so good that I brought one home to eat the next morning for breakfast and I safeguarded that pastry the rest of the evening like it was my child or something. I was admittedly a little ridiculous, but seriously, once you try one of these croissants, you’ll fully understand my crazy that came out. Don’t underestimate Evanston, there are some unbelievable eats to be found. Now go get that chocolate croissant ASAP.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba– One of the first restaurants I ever went to in Chicago was Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. In addition to it’s absolutely delicious Spanish tapas and sangria, this place will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know they offered brunch. But, now that I know, I’ll be back, and often at that. Thanks to Anna de Codorniu sparkling wine, I had the chance to experience a yummy brunch paired with cava. I mean really, does it get better than that? I think not! And, I just have to give a special shout out to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba’s short stack of pancakes. First of all, they are the cutest little silver dollar pancakes ever. Secondly, they were warm, fluffy and already doused in maple syrup. Thirdly, the mini stack is only $2. That’s less than a cup of coffee anywhere these days! I actually can not disclose how many orders of these amazing pancakes we had, but let’s just say, it was A LOT. And every time the waitress walked by, we put in another order. Maybe you can ballpark the number now.
‘Malice In Wonderland’ at the dana hotel– Every since I was a kid, I have loved Halloween. It’s actually very nostalgic for me because my parents would switch off each year on who took me out trick-or-treating and then to my school Halloween party, and who stayed at home to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. Now as an adult, I carry on my Halloween tradition, but in a very different way (ha ha)! This year I had the privilege of attending an unbelievable party at Vertigo at the dana hotel. From the second you walked into the first floor entrance of Vertigo, you were transformed into the world of Alice in Wonderland, being greeted by Alice herself with a welcome drink, traveling down the rabbit hole and encountering other characters from the story, even the Mad Hatter himself. I was beyond impressed with the decorations, all the dressed up characters and more so, the unbelievable tea party that awaited us. Mini sandwiches cut into the shapes of a suit of cards, pastries made into actual cards, beautifully decorated cake pops and so much more. Not to mention the pristine tea sets with perfect tea cups. Let’s just say, #mindblown! Vertigo always knows how to throw some great parties, but I’m not sure how they will top this one (although I’m sure they will figure out a way)! Maybe next year I’ll pay back my parents for all those years they took me out on Halloween and I’ll take them to the amazing party that awaits at Vertigo. I feel like I owe them for their commitment to making all of my Halloweens so memorable.
Please Note: While I was invited to these events, all opinions are my own.