The Hampton Social

I went to a place that has seemed to be widely revered in the Chicago restaurant scene called The Hampton Social.  Located on Hubbard and New Orleans, The Hampton Social is a fun spot that has a very beachy feel in the center of an urban city.

the-hampton-social

(via trip advisor)

If I focused on decor and ambiance alone, The Hampton Social blew me away. Walking into the restaurant I felt like I had gone back in time to my family vacations growing up. Maybe it was luck, but during my experience a live musician played amazing covers of all of my early 90’s favorites (I’m talking Drops of Jupiter and Hootie & The Blowfish, people!!).

2016-08-07_10-52-55

The oceanic vibes took my mind out of the city and into a state of relaxation that my anxious self doesn’t get to experience too often.

2016-08-07_11-01-21

I went with what I felt would be a safe dish because I was afraid to ruin my experience and chose the biscuits and gravy off of the brunch menu. I’m a sucker for a good cheddar biscuit, but I’m afraid to say that I was not a fan of the gravy. Very rarely do I run into an order of B&G that I don’t like but that’s exactly what happened here. On the other hand, my pineapple mimosa and side of fresh fruit was fabulous.

Whether it was a poor choice on my part or bad batch of biscuits and gravy, I was definitely not a fan. But that would not stop me from going back. The Hampton Social has a decent sized bar area that I am sure I will be hanging around in the future.

My suggestion to you- don’t let my experience steer you away from the place. Go to The Hampton Social for Happy Hour just to experience the atmosphere, because it makes it well worth it!

I give The Hampton Social 6/10.

 

Amorino- Gelato Al Naturale

Readers with a sweet tooth- be wary! This post may cause the immediate need for a sugary fix. Amorino is an international gelato franchise that focuses on providing the gelato of your dreams, and from my experience, I think they’re doing a pretty good job. Amorino was started in 2002 by Cristiano Sereni and Paulo Benassi, two childhood friends that decided to strive to create fresh and organic products on a large scale.

2016-07-09_14-33-37

 

Most of the locations providing sweet treats are concentrated in Europe, but Amorino’s presence in North America consists of 11 locations, as well.

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 1.55.05 PM.png

(via: http://www.amorino.com/us/city/chicago.70.html)

Chicago has two Amorino locations found on N Michigan Ave. in the Water Tower Mall as well as on N State Street (I experienced the location off of State Street). In true gelato fashion, Amorino provides different options such as Cono (cone), Coppa (cup) and gelato bambino (kid-sized portions).

2016-07-09_14-41-53

When crafting your gelato, whether you choose a cono or coppa, Amorino allows you to have as many flavors as you’d like. With so many options to choose from, I decided to stick to a chocolate theme. The center of my cone was the sorbet al cioccolato bio (chocolate), then a layer of tiramisu and lastly, a layer of biscotti.

A common choice is to add a macaroon as the center of your treat. I was under the assumption that when you bought a cono a choice of macaroon was provided as the center, but it is extra!

Amorino is not only deliciously refreshing, the unique products keep a regular stream of customers coming through their doors.

I give Amorino 10/10.

 

Expat

Summer pop-ups are just one of the things that makes Chicago the best place to be in the summertime.  Expat is located on N. Green Street in the West Loop.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-56-29-am

(photo via @expatongreen)

A fun sidewalk cafe, Expat is great for an afternoon in the sunshine with fresh seafood and drinks.  While their food is to die for, it is true to small plate fashion.  Stop by for lunch or happy hour and the portions will suffice, but I don’t suggest going on an empty stomach or if you’re looking for a three course meal.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-58-16-am

(photo via @expatongreen)

I stopped by for lunch and had the sopressata sandwich on fresh bread, house butter spread and sliced meat from the meat market next door, Green Street Smoked Meats.

2016-08-03_12-32-13

But the food is not what draws Chicagoans in it is their boozy snowcones. Yes, you read that right.  Just another reason why Expat is the perfect happy hour for the afternoon heat.  Pictured below are the Rosé and Watermelon-ade.  Super fun idea to add a little variation to your happy hour.  They are a little sweet, so you’ve been warned!

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

Keep in mind that since Expat is a sidewalk pop-up, there is no indoor seating.  If the weather is bad maybe consider checking out Expat another day.

Expat gets 9/10.

3 Arts Club Cafe

The 3 Arts Club Cafe is one of the popular new restaurant spots in Chicago.  Located in the center of the new Restoration Hardware in Gold Coast, 3 Arts Club provides an outdoorsy feel that is enjoyable year-round.

3-Arts-Club-Cafe-Aerial-1-e1450882533575.jpg

(photo via http://3artsclubcafe.com)

The 3 Arts Club is one of the most beautiful venues I have ever seen.  With glass ceilings and notable chandeliers the whole place sparkles in the way that makes you feel like you’re dreaming.

20151008_chicago_04

(photo via http://3artsclubcafe.com)

A downside to note is that you cannot make reservations.  When you plan on going to Restoration Hardware make sure you factor in time to wait a little bit.  If you’re on a tight schedule I wouldn’t suggest planning on trying to squeeze in a meal at 3 Arts Club.  When I went I waited a little under an hour.  One hundred percent worth the wait, just be prepared!  The outdoor furniture, large center fountain and shrubbery gives the feel that you are outdoors with all the perks of still being inside.

restoration-hardware-chicago-showroom-atrium-jpgmaxw400q100cb20151019023425cci_ts20151005115830

(photo via chicagobusiness.com)

When I went we ordered the Truffle Grilled Cheese. Unbeknownst to us, this is their most popular menu option and I can see why.  Absolutely delicious.

2016-08-05_13-22-21

We also went with the arugula salad topped with grapes, aged goat cheese and a citrus vinaigrette.  A decent size salad, and perfectly light.  If you’re looking for a refreshing dish go with the salad.

truffle grilled cheese and argula salad

Beautiful and exquisite, The 3 Arts Club Cafe deserves all the hype and much more.

10/10.

 

The Eastman Egg Company

Good morning foodies!

Today’s post is going to be done in a breakfast fashion.  A place called The Eastman Egg Company is located on N Wacker Drive that provides Chicagoland with quick and delicious breakfast options offered from 6AM to 2PM.  So my fellow breakfast fanatics this place is right up your alley!

img_0658

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so it makes sense that someone decided to put extra effort into the creation of a quick place to grab something early in the AM for those hustling and bustling in the Chicago area.  The Eastman Egg Co. uses all locally sourced products.  Their eggs and meats come from Slagel Family Farm located in Fairbury, IL (all natural, hormone free, and humanely raised) while their bread is baked fresh daily at Red Hen Bread in Chicago with no additives or preservatives.  And if that isn’t enough for you, all of their granola and sauces are made from scratch as well.

On the morning that I went to The Eastman Egg Co. I went with The Slider described as one cage-free egg with white cheddar on a house-made biscuit.  I added the Slagel pork sausage as well for a little protein.  I also had a side of breakfast potatoes and tried their house coffee.

img_0657

The sandwich was delicious and surprisingly quick!  You have the choice of three sauces you can add (house-made salsa verde, house-made “hot-ish sauce”d and the Bonne Mamam Blackberry Jam).  I did not add any sauces, but I bet this sandwich would’ve been a perfect pair with the salsa verde.

As for the potatoes I was not a fan.  If you haven’t picked up on this yet I am usually an avid advocate for any kind of potato no matter how it is cooked, but not today.  The potatoes themselves were okay, but I personally was not a fan of the seasoning on them.

img_0659

If you are wanting a good quick breakfast stop by The Eastman Egg Co. on your way to work.  As you can see above, the establishment is on the smaller side, so if you are looking for somewhere to sit for just a moment to eat your breakfast Eastman can work for you, but be prepared to take it to go because there could be nowhere for you to sit if they are especially busy.

The Eastman Egg Company is just one of the many Chicago establishments that adds a little variety when it comes to eating in the Windy City.  8/10

Bohemian House

On State and Illinois Street in downtown Chicago is a restaurant serving authentic Bohemian cuisine called Bohemian House (or BoHo).

IMG_0570.jpg

I’m going to be completely honest and say that I had no idea what type of food was served at BoHo when I made the reservation.  I made the reservation based solely off of the interior and didn’t really pay attention to what was served.  BoHo looked fun and different so I thought I’d give it a shot and I’m so glad that I did.  When I went back through my photos from that evening I felt that they really didn’t do it justice so I’ve attached some photos from their website below.

static1.squarespace.jpg

063915_001.jpg

(Above: photos via bohochicago.com)

Due to my lack of knowledge of the menu, my friends and I decided to each order an appetizer that was a little out of our comfort zone and split them between all of us.

Below is the smoked golden trout spread with pickled celery, trout roe (caviar) and butter crackers.  This spread was light but pretty sweet as well with the pickled celery on top.  I was nervous about this one and would say that it was probably my least favorite out of the four.

IMG_0560.jpg

Next, is my personal favorite the asparagus toast. Served on whole grain with goat cheese, honey and egg yolk, this dish was packed with so much flavor.  The combination of the goat cheese and the honey gave a sweet and savory taste that hit the spot.  I was tempted to order another toast at the end because I enjoyed it so much.

IMG_0561.jpg

Below is the beef cheek pierogi topped with roasted carrots, pickled onions and sour cream.  I absolutely loved this one. This was my first time having a pierogi and they were delicious!
IMG_0562.jpg
Last of the starters is the Hungarian lángos described as fried potato bread, chive sour cream, aged gouda and dill.  LOVED this dish.  This was probably my second favorite.  The potato bread added a little twist to what you would normally think of cheesy bread.
IMG_0564.jpg
Ranking them in order I would probably say:
  1. Asparagus Toast
  2. Hungarian Langos
  3. Beef Cheek Pierogi
  4. Smoke Golden Trout
For dessert, we had the dark chocolate custard with candied hazelnuts, salted caramel ice cream, butterscotch and cocoa tuile and the strawberry paczki described as a traditional Polish doughnut with whipped creme fraiche, almond streusel and lemon-poppyseed ice cream.  I am always a sucker for anything lemon-poppyseed so I adored the ice cream.  I’m not the biggest dark chocolate fan so if I had to choose between the two I would definitely say the paczki is the way to go!
IMG_0568.jpg
(Dark Chocolate Custard)
IMG_0567.jpg
(Strawberry Paczki)
I give Bohemian House a 10/10.  An accidentally adventurous meal turned out to be one of my favorite memories from my summer in the city.

Rockit Bar and Grill

At 22 W Hubbard Street in River North is Rockit Bar and Grill.  Rockit has recently undergone a renovation that gives a sleek and stylish vibe with white granite bartop and all black interior.  Rockit is known for their wide variety of craft beers found on tap and their delicious bites.  With the new renovation came the development of the upstairs lounge perfect for the Chicago night scene.

rdm14.jpg

(photo via rockitbarandgrill.com)

One of Rockit’s infamous dishes is the “Rockit Pocket” which is a crispy wrap filled with meat, cheese and caramelized unions.  It’s like a fancy hot pocket, but 10 times more delicious.  Our waitress told us that a lot of people come in for the drinks and just get a few orders of the Rockit Pockets for their meal and I don’t blame them!

img_0410

I ordered the Black Angus Burger served with the standard fixings on a pretzel bun and added avocado.  If I would’ve known the size of the burger I would not have added anything to it.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the patty itself was two inches thick.  As tasty as it was, the size made it impossible to eat.  I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and say that if I hadn’t added the avocado to it I would’ve been able to eat it like a normal human but I don’t think it would have made a difference.  Cutting the burger in half didn’t even make it easier.  I ended up having to cut it into pieces and eat it looking like a complete idiot.  Delicious? Yes.  Worth the trouble? I’m still deciding, but everything else I had was great.

IMG_0412.jpg

Rockit has a really fun craft cocktail menu as well.  I ordered the “Bad Reputation”  made with Belvedere Vodka, Plantation Pineapple, Cranberry, Giffard Peche, Lemon and Egg White.  They also added a nice little touch and put a vampire on the top!

img_0411

I can’t speak for the night scene upstairs, but dinner-wise Rockit Bar and Grill was amazing!

Rockit Bar and Grill: 9/10