This Chicago dining guide for local fare just highlights some of my favorite spots. If you are serious foodie like me and are spending the day in Chicago, I recommend adding these to your list to check out while visiting. Most of these places fill up quickly so it is best to get your reservation in at least a few days ahead of time if not weeks before dining.
Click on the restaurants link for directions, hours and menu information
The Farmhouse Chicago, Stuffed French Toast
This locally owned cafe is located a few minutes from downtown but feels like an old rustic small town cafe you might find in the middle of Iowa. The decor will take you back to your Grandma’s childhood kitchen with antique furnishings and appliances placed throughout the space. Dishes are prepared using local and seasonal ingredients from area producers as well as the restaurants owners farm.
Must try: Stuffed French Toast with extra syrup
Lunch: Fronterra Grill
Frontera Grill Sopecitos Rancheros
Fronterra Grill owned by Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, is always on my list when visiting the windy city. The elevated Mexican fare is like non other. Rick is passionate about using produce and meats from local farms. The flavor combinations he uses in his dishes set Fronterra Grill apart from any other Mexican restaurants I have tried.
Must try: Sopecitos Rancheros
Snack: Garret’s Popcorn Shop
A visit to Chicago is not complete without a visit to the iconic Garrett’s Popcorn Shop. Once in the door the caramel corn aroma will have your mouth watering. I prefer the Almond Caramel Crisp, but the Garrett Mix that combines sweet Caramel Crisp with savory Cheese Corn is the most popular.
Must try: Garret’s Mix
Dinner: The Girl and The Goat
The Girl and The Goat
Get your reservation in early for The Girl and The Goat owned by celebrity chef Stephanie Izzard. The dishes are served family style, which make them ideal for sharing. Most come in the “small plate” format so it is ideal to go with a group to try a variety of things. The restaurant serves only dinner and opens at 4:30 pm. This makes a great spot if you are need of dining late as it does not close until 11 pm Sunday – Thursday and 12 am Friday and Saturday.
Must try: Chickpea Fritter
The Girl and The Goat, Chickpea Fritter
The pizza crust at Pizzeria Locale is perfectly crispy and chewy thanks to the unique wood-fired oven used in the restaurant.
This method of cooking ensures the classic Neapolitan style pizza found in Italy.
Pizzeria Locale is the brainchild of Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey, who own Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. The name Frasca comes from Italy where Frascas are what Italians call their neighborhood restaurants.
With the success of Frasca, Patterson and Stuckey opened Pizzeria Locale next door to Frasca and it became a successful full service restaurant as well. With the help of friend Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle, they figured out how to make it a fast casual concept while still preserving the old-world flavor.
Kansas City has benefitted from the success of the local Boulder chain as they have expanded by opening three locations in the KC metro. Two are in Overland Park and the other is in KC close to Waldo.
There a few secrets to getting the perfect Neapolitan style pizza in just minutes and the first starts with the pizza crust.
I was lucky enough to attend a dough making class at the135th Street location in Overland Park and had a blast.
Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson was there himself teaching us the tips and tricks to the perfect dough.
You will want to plan ahead for pizza night as once the dough is made it needs to sit overnight. You can find the pizza crust recipe here.
If you want to make homemade pizza but just don’t have the time to make made-from-scratch dough, just give the Pizzeria Locale that is closest to you a call and tell them you want some dough balls. They will hook you up with fresh pizza dough. If you get your dough to go, get your favorite pizza toppings together and follow steps 11 through 16.
I highly recommend grabbing some Nutella and take a stab at recreating their Nutella dessert pizza. It is so good!
The second secret to the amazing pizza at Pizzeria Locale is using top quality ingredients. They even have in house slicer that slices fresh prosciutto to order.
There are classic pizzas on the menu to order and mine is the spicy chicken, But with fresh basil, tomatoes, mozzarella and other fresh veggies and meats your choices are endless, allowing you to build your perfect pie!
Pizzeria Locale Menu
Lastly is the oven and method of baking. To achieve the wood-fired brick oven bake in just minutes, takes Pizzeria Locale’s state-of-the-art oven, engineered specifically for them. It simulates the cooking experience of old-world Italy, but in a way that meets the needs of a fast casual concept restaurant.
Pizzeria Locale’s Oven
The oven works by sending your made-to-order pizza on a journey around a center flame on a rotating hearth. This bakes the pizza on all sides and in three and a half minutes, your pizza is done!
Spicy Chicken Pizza
I was in Italy a few months ago and had my share of pizza. I have to say, the pizza at Pizzeria Locale is just as good as some I had in Florence and Pisa.
If you have not had the chance to check it out, I encourage you to stop in and create you perfect pie. Then take a stab at pizza night at home using their fabulous crust recipe.
Locations in KC include:
11875 W. 95TH STREET, OVERLAND PARK, KS
11AM-10PM DAILY (913) 438-9262
6455 W. 135TH STREET, OVERLAND PARK, KS
11AM-10PM DAILY (913) 851-5975
505 W. 75TH ST, KANSAS CITY, MO
11AM-10PM DAILY (816) 523-1161
In Good Taste,
The Pharmacist will see you now at Dockum and is sure to cure what ails you with a special hand crafted elixir. Dockum is Wichita’s only underground speakeasy in the area that I know of and has whetted my appetite for the craft cocktails I have grown to love in Kansa City.
Prior to moving to Wichita I would frequent my nieces speakeasy The W in Lee’s Summit, Missouri which is part of the KC metro area. I of course am biased, due to the nature of the owners but have found that the Dockum here in Wichita is wonderful at creating amazing craft cocktails as well and am so glad to have a new place to hang out.
I absolutely love craft cocktails as they are made with fresh ingredients and premium liquors allowing the real flavors to shine. No sugary mixes allowed! I urge you to gather some friends and spend an evening at Dockum. Not only will you have amazing drinks and a great time, you will be supporting a local Wichita business! If you happen to be in KC make a reservation at The W and tell them Aunt Sharmy sent you!
The history of Dockum dates back to 1958 where Dockum Drug Store was located on the main level of what is now the Ambassador Hotel. Dockum is now located in the basement of the Ambassador Hotel and the only sign that it exists the RX symbol on the staircase.
Photo Credit: @DockumWichita Instagram
As you make your way down the stairs it is clear that this in no ordinary bar. Though no password is required to get in, you will have to knock on the solid wood door that will stand between you and hand crafted elixirs. Once in, the pharmacist can offer you the perfect remedy to cure what ails you.
I have found the the El Kabaong is the best remedy for my current condition. This concoction features Don Q Coconut Rum, Aloe, Pineapple Cream and Habanero Syrup. The sweet combination of the pineapple and coconut gives me the feeling of being by the ocean enjoying a tropical breeze while watching the palm trees sway.
El Kabong Cocktail
Although, the Peruvian Princess featuring Barsol Pisco, Fig Syrup, Lemon, Rosemary, Foam and Cardamom Bitters is not quite as sweet as the El Kabong it pairs well with the Dockums house-made onion dip and potato crisps when the script is suggested you take with food.
The orange essence and real smoke flavor from the Old Smokin’ Cody is an intoxicating adventure for both taste and smell featuring Cody Road Rye, Cracked Pepper, Cherry Balsamic Shrub, Angostura Bitters and Orange Bitters.
There are quite a few other prescriptions to choose from so you are sure to find a cure for whatever is causing you trouble. If it must be taken with food, in addition to the onion dip and crisps, there are some other small plate options featuring charcuterie, roasted nuts, olives and lebna with pita.
Prior to being the Amabassador Hotel or Dockum Drug Store the building was home to the Union National Bank and in the basement where this speakeasy is located, you will find the original brick walls and the banks vault giving the Dockum a sleek and rustic feel. Candle lit tables and the dark wood bar add to ambiance of stepping back in time. The Vault as it is called, adds a little sexiness to the space and can and be reserved for small parties wishing for a more intimate private setting.
Photo Credit: @DockumWichita Instagram
Reservations are not required unless you are reserving The Vault but there are a few rules you must follow. Seats at the bar are on a first come, first serve bases and as the patient you must have patience, as your elixir is quite labor intensive to make and may take some time. There are some other rules to follow when consuming you elixir at Dockum including no ball caps, do not disturb others, discreet cell phone use and of course, taking two and calling them in the morning.
The New Winter Menu is now available at Bonefish Grill and I’ve got $25 towards your meal to giveaway for you to try it!
I recently had the chance to use one of the $25 Bonefish cards to check out the new menu and I have to say that although it is only usable on food items, I recommend you splurge a little and get the new Winter White Cosmo! It is so delicious. My girlfriend and I met for lunch and started the meal with a couple of these beauties.
The white cranberry juice cocktail is studded with real red cranberries that add a festive touch for the holidays. Not to mention those little gems soak up some of the drinks goodness which makes the entire cocktail edible.
When it came time to decide to have another or not, my girlfriend admitted that if she did it would most likely turn her into a day drinker so we decided to move on to the main course.
With the both of us not being huge seafood fans we went for salads.
I chose the Florida Cobb Salad with wood-grilled chicken, avocado, mango, tomatoes, Blue cheese and citrus herb vinaigrette. My girlfriend ordered the Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad with roasted corn, black beans, Feta, grape tomatoes, red onion and cilantro lime vinaigrette. When she asked the waitress if chicken could be used instead of shrimp the answer was an astounding yes.
The salads were fresh and delicious. I loved how the mango on the Florida Cobb is sweet and pairs nicely with the salty blue cheese.
I am also pleased to tell you that the amazing Swordfish and Pumpkin Ravioli is still available. We got an order of this to share, sans the swordfish. You can read about how amazingly delicious it is here.
The staff, food and service at Bonefish Grill is spot on and the is the perfect place to meet for ladies who lunch or really just anybody wanting a great lunch or dinner!
In addition to that fabulous Winter White Cosmo, the New Winter Menu features delights like NEW Lobster, Crab & Artichoke Dip with sweet lobster, lump crab and house-made tortilla chips and succulent Fresh Oscar Mahi Mahi. The wood-grilled fresh Mahi Mahi is topped with jumbo lump crab, freshly steamed asparagus and lemon butter.
With dishes indulgent enough to make any celebration spectacular, Bonefish Grill’s Winter Menu also includes Misoyaki Chilean Sea Bass grilled over oak, then topped with misoyaki marinade and pickled ginger relish, on a bed of sautéed spinach, mushrooms and jasmine rice.
Enjoy pairing these dishes with the tasty Wiinter White Cosmo, featuring Reyka Vodka, Cointreau, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, white cranberry juice and fresh lime juice – handcrafted to order.
Guests can end their meal on a sweet note with seasonal Chocolate Crème Brulé, an indulgent twist on a classic dessert made in-house with a splash of delicious Grand Marnier.
If your looking for holiday gifts in addition to a great meal, receive a $10 Bonus Card for every $50 purchased in gift cards now through December 31. Plus, enjoy Free Gift Card Personalization with a greeting card and Free Standard Shipping when you purchase online, or pick them up at your local Bonefish Grill.
To score the $25 towards your meal at Bonefish Grill, just comment below on what New Winter Menu item you want to try. Is is the Winter White Cosmo, The Mahi Mahi, Chilean Sea Bass, Lobster, Crab and Artichoke Dip or Chocolate Crème Brulé?
Contest is open for one week and will end Midnight, Sunday, December 18. Winner will be chosen using random.org and notified via email.
If your a seafood lover, then you will love the giveaway for a $25 gift card to Bonefish Grill to try their new fall menu. Heck, even if you don’t care much for seafood, like myself you will still want this gift card to try out the new Fall Apple Martini and Pumpkin Cream Brûlée along with other menu items that feature chicken, pork and steak.
Bonefish Grill Apple Martini
I was graciously sent a gift card courtesy of Bonefish Grill to try the new menu and the timing could not have been any better. My parents were in visiting from out of town and my daughter was home for the weekend from college so it was a lovely night out and also gave us a chance to try a variety of the dishes.
My husband went for the new swordfish and pumpkin ravioli dish which was quite good. I rarely eat seafood but knew I had to try a bite and to my surprise it was quite mild and almost reminded me of a pork chop. While one bite of the swordfish was enough for me, I could have eaten all of the pumpkin ravioli that was on the plate! The ravioli are filled with a tasty pumpkin filling and topped with crispy onions, crumbled feta and butter. The filling was slightly sweet and paired quite nicely with the salty feta.
Bonefish Grill Swordfish Pumpkin Ravioli
Never having salmon as a child growing up in a household where mom does not cook fish, my daughter has learned through having it elsewhere that she really likes salmon. So whenever she gets the chance to order salmon, she is thrilled and the new cedar plank bourbon salmon dish did not disappoint her. I cannot comment on how it tasted as I did not have any but the presentation looked great. The maple and bourbon glaze on top of the fish was perfectly caramelized and I would love to create that glaze for some chicken sometime.
Bonefish Grill Cedar Plank Bourbon Salmon
I went for the lamb chops. Although, I love lamb I rarely cook it at home so it is always a treat to get it when I see it on a menu. The lamb was tender and the garlic mashed potatoes paired perfectly. One thing I really like about Bonefish Grill is the ability to choose the sides you want. If your watching carbs it is nice to have quite a few vegetable choices like asparagus, steamed broccoli, sautéed spinach and green beans or if you happen to be carb loading you can go for both the au-gratin potatoes and garlic mash and maybe even some fries!
Bonefish Grill Lamp Chops
Speaking of au-gratin potatoes, my dad ordered the pork chop and got those yummy cheesy potatoes along side. Being the foodie that I am and of course wanting to tell you about the dishes it is my job to try a bite of everyones dish and I have to say the pork chop was tender and juicy.
Bonefish Grill Pork Chop
My mom ordered Lily’s chicken which is a tender chicken breast with goat cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts and a lemon basil sauce. I don’t know who Lily is but I am glad she shares my love of goat cheese. This dish was my second choice if I had not got the lamb chops, so I was glad that my mom ordered it. iI was tasty as well and the creamy goat cheese paired with the spinach and artichoke reminded me of an elevated version of a spinach and artichoke dip.
Bonefish Grill Lily’s Chicken
My husband and daughter took advantage of the Dine and Discover menu where two can dine for $50 which is a special going on right now. This includes an appetizer of their famous bang bang shrimp to share, 2 entrees off of the new fall menu and dessert! I do not know what they put in the creamy spicy sauce that tops the bang bang shrimp but I like it!
Dessert included their new pumpkin creme brûlée, which is perfectly fitting for the season. The filling is comparable to that of the classic pumpkin pie and the toasted sugar crust and house-made whip cream adds just the right amount of sweetness. And although, it is now fall, I cannot help myself when it comes to key lime pie and will order it year around. All of the desserts at Bonefish Grill are house-made and the key lime filling is creamy and balanced with being sweet and tart at the same time.
Bonefish Grill Pumpkin Cream Brûlée
Well hopefully I have made you hungry and now is your chance to try Bonefish Grill for yourself by entering to win the $25 gift card! To enter just comment below if you have ever been to Bonefish Grill and what your favorite dish is there. If you can’t wait for the gift card giveaway and want to make a reservation to try the new menu now, visit the Bonefish Grill website.
Contest will end midnight Friday, November 4 and winner will be chosen using random.org. Please be sure to include a valid email with your entry as that is how the winner will be notified. The folks over at Bonefish Grill will then mail out the gift card to the winner. Good luck and Enjoy!
In Good Taste,
Cedar Plank Maple Bourbon Salmon
The new Dine and Discover menu from Bonefish Grill is the best deal in town, where two can dine on a three course dinner for only $50. In celebration of National Seafood Month in October, the new Dine and Discover menu from Bonefish Grill features items from their new fall menu.
This menu is only available for a limited time starting October 4. I’ve got a reservation to try out the new menu later this month so keep an eye out on a post that will describe my experience and a gift card giveaway to Bonefish Grill.
The Dine and Discover menu features a three-course dinner for two priced at $50 featuring a choice of entree, complemented by signature appetizer Bang Bang Shrimp and a delectable dessert to share. Entrees include fall favorite Fresh Swordfish with Pumpkin Ravioli, NEW Wild Snapper & Shrimp, NEW Cedar Plank Maple Bourbon Salmon and regional wood-grilled fish selections.
Fresh Swordfish with Pumpkin Ravioli
To accompany the seasonal dishes, a selection of wines given top 90 point ratings by well-known wine experts are available for $9 per glass to please even the most discerning palates. A 90 point rating indicates that a wine is outstanding and of superior character and style. Guests can enjoy Trapiche “Broquel” Malbec, Charles & Charles Cabernet Blend, Eroica Reisling and King Estate “Signature Collection” Pinot Gris, or choose from handcrafted cocktails including the seasonal Fall Apple and Fresh Pear Martinis, filled with the flavors and aromas of the season.
Fresh Pear Martini
Visit Bonefish Grill online to check out their full menu, find the location nearest to you or make a reservation.
Photos courtesy of Bonefish Grill.