Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chicago: Sharing Time

Small dishes for the entire table to share are becoming the new social way to eat and drink!  Spain has been doing this for much longer than the states and I am glad we finally opened up to the idea because tapas are so much fun!

Thursday night at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, Bailey and I enjoyed 2 pitchers of sangria and tapas while we waited for Christi to get back from school.  We started with the Pintxos Platter of 6 bite sized tapas to share.  This was the perfect sample platter.  Then we ordered the bacon wrapped dates, goat cheese baked in tomato sauce, and scallops on spaghetti squash.  Finally ended the night, with a free dessert, Thanks Yelp!, of dessert pintxos.  These were awesome, small bites of sweet treats, including profiteroles, strawberry rhubarb sorbet, crema catalana, fruit pound cake, marcona almond tart, and a spanish brownie! This place is definitely one of my Chicago Favorites!!!

Chicago is famous for their happy hours. All the professionals downtown finish work and are excited for a drink to start the weekend.  Friday afternoon, after a long day at "work" shopping, we retired to Hub 51 for some drinks.  One of Christi's friends joined us and the 4 of us finished 2 pitches of cocktails.  Cheers to Vacation and Chicago.  One disappointment was the Happy Hour deals, in Santa Barbara HH means great deals on drinks and appetizers, this was not the case in Chicago.   

The Purple Pig, a very popular restaurant in Chicago right off the Magnificent Mile known for their Mediterranean small plates.  Our two favorite dishes here were the chicken skewers with tzatziki, I told you I love it, and the meatball sliders.  As a huge fan of bone marrow I insisted we ordered the bone marrow smear here too.  Unfortunately, it was not at the level of deliciousness Andrew and I experienced at Julienne.  This one was a bit more clumpy and not as savory.  I can't say I wanted to order another.  We also ordered a potato salad and fried pigs ear, which were both okay, but was very oily, oh yes, we are at a Mediterranean restaurant.  Aside from the food being hit or miss, the service was horrible!  I hate to say this but the worst service we received all weekend, I don't think it was all the servers, but ours was rude and gave us no attention.  I really wanted to write much better things about this place.

On Monday afternoon as Bailey and I sadly waited for our departure time, we stopped at Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless for some margaritas and food.  We ordered the fully dressed guacamole and it was pretty damn good, guac with bacon, toasted pepitas, sun-dried tomatoes, spicy roasted peppers, and queso cotija-fresco! Yes, FULLY DRESSED!  I also ordered their Taqueria salad with Chipotle chicken for the 4 hour plane ride home.  Good decision compared to airplane food. 

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