Half Eaten

SLURP, SLURP…CAN YOU GUESS WHERE I WENT TO DINNER LAST NIGHT?

That’s right, I checked out Slurping Turtle and it was a deliciously, messy good time! I have wanted to check this place out ever since it opened (maybe a month or more ago? not really sure when, but it was pretty recent) and I can see what all the hype is about. As usual, I will let the photos speak for themselves.

I started the night off with a cosmo-like drink, I now forget the name, but there was pomegranate in it.

Crispy Curry Croquets: If you like curry and spicy, fried food, then this is definitely for you! Delish!

Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms: Bursting with bacon flavor, this is a bacon-lovers dream!

Duck Fat Fried Chicken: These were so good that I forgot to take a picture until half way through. Crispy on the outside, the duck fat gave these tender, white meat, bites outstanding flavor.

Pork Belly Snacks: These little snacks just melt in your mouth. I recommend putting the salad on top of the meat for extra flavor!

Chiyan Pon: This was our favorite soup of the two! Fried noodles, mixed vegetables, and stir fry shrimp, scallops, and calamari. Don’t be intimidate by all the fish, the sauce over powers any fishy flavor. I highly recommend this dish!

Shoyu Ramen: Egg Noodle, Soy Broth, Braised Pork Shoulder, Naruto, and Bamboo Shoots. While my friends didn’t like the soup as much, I thought it was great! The ramen egg noodles were perfect for slurping, the broth was very simple and complimented the pork shoulder and vegetables extremely well!

I have been thinking about the dessert all day. We tried the Green Tea and Coconut Cream Puffs – OMG! The puffs were the size of baseballs and oozing with cream (not whipped cream). The outside of the puffs had a little crisp to them that added a wood grilled type flavor. Do NOT leave without eating these! BTW there were three of us and four appetizers, two bowls of soup, and dessert was more than enough.

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GIRLS NIGHT AT MAUDE’S LIQOUR BAR: A FOODIE NIGHT OUT

With all my friends in town for the holidays it is only fitting that we have a girl’s night out and, as the only one living in Chicago, it was my job to find the restaurant. After no deliberation at all, I chose Maude’s Liquor Bar (an easy choice after reading about it in almost every Chicago publication). After circling Randolph Street, we found ourselves standing in front of what looked like a large blacked out garage door, but actually turned out to be Maude’s – do not be afraid to enter! The inside was not much brighter, but that didn’t stop us from having a great night! Using the candlelight at the table we ordered an assortment of fine French fare, which I must say, definitely competes with the real stuff! Unfortunately, it was so dark I couldn’t take any pictures; so you will just have to trust my descriptions. The menu is organized for sharing: Salads & Tartines, Traditional French, and Almost French.

To Start: We ordered Pommes Frites and French Onion Fondue. Both were phenomenal! The Pommes Frites were perfectly crisp and the garlic aioli was the perfect accoutrement – exploding with rich, creamy garlic goodness. The French Onion Fondue was exactly how the waitress described it, like French onion soup without the broth, and comes with a warm baguette for dipping. The onions and cheese melted together perfectly to give a melt-in-your-mouth French onion explosion!

Second Course: For our next course we all split Sautéed Mushrooms, Blackened Brussels Sprouts and a Roast Farm Chicken. The vegetables were both extremely flavorful; while the Roast Farm Chicken was supremely tender and left us wanting more.

Third Course: Yes, there is more! A Bib Salad and Sausage of the Day, which was a 50/50 Pork and Beef mix. At first we all made fun of the friend that wanted the Bib Lettuce, who wants to order a plate of lettuce? Well, I do now! The sherry dressing was light and the perfect way to cleanse the palate before our sausage. The mustard wasn’t too spicy and the grilled savoy cabbage was a little sweet, a little salty and A LOT of delicious!

Okay, fourth and final course: Crème Brulee and Chocolate Mousse. Ahhhhmazing! The Crème Brulee was just your normal Crème Brulee. The Chocolate Mousse on the other hand, was one of the BEST creations to ever hit my taste buds. Topped with whipped cream, shaved chocolate pieces and I believe a hint of salt. If you’ve ever had a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks it was like that except whipped, creamier, and better!! We all attempted to lick the bowl clean.

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TABLE FIFTY-TWO SOUTHERN SUPPER: SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY AT ITS FINEST

I have family that lives in the South – Birmingham, Alabama to be exact. We don’t visit them often, but when we do, it is something to write home about! I remember the first time we went down there. We had been driving for about 12 hours when my aunt called, wondering if we were hungry and wanted food ready when we arrived – we said YES thinking she was going to make us a frozen pizza. Upon our arrival, there was a gigantic bowl of potato chips, fruit, and five (not just one) different types of sandwiches cut up into perfect little triangles. The next morning was even more extravagant! My aunt had prepared homemade sweet rolls, sweet tea, bacon, ham, sausage, three different styles of eggs and toast. I remember thinking that weekend ‘this is what true southern hospitality feels like.’ And this same feeling came back to me during my Southern Supper meal at Table Fifty-Two this past week. A recent addition to Tables’ menu, their Southern Supper, which changes each day, is offered every Tuesday through Thursday for $35 per person from 5 – 6 PM. While an early time slot, the early bird definitely gets the worm or the best Southern hospitality you can find in Chicago.

The menu changes every night, but I am sure each night is just as comforting, savory, and mouthwatering as the next!

 

This, my friends, is a Buttermilk, Goat Cheese Biscuit! If you sit at the bar you can watch the cook make them in Table Fifty-Two’s wood fire oven. When I had this biscuit I knew a scrumptious night was ahead of me! 

 

I usually only eat Deviled Eggs on Easter, but the server put it on my plate so I had to eat it! Topped with caramelized fennel and some other delightful ingredients I forget the names of, it was the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

 

This was the first item on the actual menu, Biscuits topped with Country Ham and Strawberry- Plum Jam. The biscuit was warm and fluffy, the ham was thinly sliced – almost identical to prosciutto, and the strawberry- plum jam was the perfect accouterment.

 

After the two biscuits and deviled eggs, I was sure I did not have enough room to eat this whole Chicken Pot Pie – I was wrong. It was love at first bite! The crust was cooked perfectly, leaving a doughy consistency that literally melted in my mouth. The inside was bursting with fresh, white meat chicken and vegetables; while the broth was not too thick, but creamy, hot, and disgustingly addictive. I say disgustingly because if the bowl was not so hot, I would have tried to lick it clean.

 

These are Grills aka Grilled Doughnuts with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Gelato. Almost like a crispy creme doughnut square, smothered in caramel sauce – I’m drooling just thinking about it! It may sound strange that the doughnuts were grilled, but it added a wonderful, earthy flavor; almost like when you toast a waffle and it burns a little.

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DAN MARQUIS WINS TITLE OF EXECUTIVE CHEF ON FOOD NETWORK’S CHEF HUNTER 

Tucked away between the River East Art Center and Navy Pier is a trendy, little (little sounds better, but it is actually quite large) restaurant called Quay . This name may sound familiar to you because it was on last night’s series premier of the Food Network’s Chef Hunter, which is exactly why I was there! When I arrived the restaurant was bustling, but we were able to snag the last table in the bar area. I have heard fantastic things about Quay and was excited to conquer their menu and boy we did not mess around! Check out the pics…

The outstanding staff gave us a bottle of Champagne to start the night off right! Thank you! : ) 

Scrumptious and crispy Fried Calamari! I love Calamari, it’s always my go-to appetizer. This was great, but next time I am definitely trying the Duck Confit Nachos (I didn’t see the bar menu until after we ordered). 

Pumpkin Spice Soup : ) Definitely an interesting soup and it was hard to decipher whether I would have wanted it as a meal or dessert… There’s apple fritter in the center. If you’re adventurous it’s worth trying!

This was definitely my #1 pick of the night! There are three options for the Mac & Cheese. #1: Plain, #2: Chipotle, #3: Pulled Pork. We opted for Chipotle Pulled Pork and what a combo! Definitely filling enough to be it’s own meal and do not be fooled, when Quay says chipotle they mean it! This dish was SPICY, perfectly cheesy, and the pulled pork was an excellent addition. My compliments to Quay for mastering the art of Mac & Cheese! 

Now for the entrees… This is the Lobster BLT! A little overwhelming at first, but definitely a unique sandwich that you do not find too often in Chicago. I probably would have ordered this during lunch over dinner.

This, as I am sure you can tell, is a burger. Delicious, juicy, greasy, typical burger! 

The Mushroom, Truffle Risotto. If you haven’t figured it out already, I L.O.V.E truffles. 

As usual, I got to eating and forgot to take a picture! So here are my half eaten scallops with short rib, potato puree, and spinach. The flavor was amazing and all the components went together very nicely! 

Upside Down Key Lime Pie… enough said? This tasted just like a Key Lime Pie straight out of Miami, FL (where they apparently have the best key lime pies in the world – Adam Johnson)

Enjoyed my pictures? Make sure to check out Quay for yourself! They have a plethora of TV’s for you to sit in the bar and enjoy sports, a dining space for you to enjoy an intimate dinner, or a lounge for sipping cocktails – whatever your prerogative Quay seems to have you covered!

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GOLD COAST ON A BUDGET: LUXBAR

For some reason when it comes to dinner time in the city, I always seem to be in the Gold Coast. While this is definitely the place to be when you’re hungry, it is definitely not the place to be when you’re on a budget. The economical solution would just be footlong sandwich from Subway, but as someone that lives for a great meal I would rather spend a few extra bucks for good food. My solution? LUXBAR! Which I have found to be the most reasonably priced restaurant in the Gold Coast. While the entree selections my not be the ideal choice for those on a tight budget, there are plenty of tempting appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and burgers that won’t wipe you out! Check out the what we order last night:

The delightful, cheesy, Truffle Mac & Cheese side dish from LUXBAR- for just $9.00! 

My boyfriend had the Pulled Pork Sandwich and Fries- for a mere $10.00! Incredibly tender meat with BBQ sauce on a Pretzel Bun…YUM! I obviously had to help him eat the fries too. 

All in all, if you’re in the Gold Coast, on a budget, and value a great meal and exceptional service…LUXBAR is definitely the place for you! Even better is when you catch their sports specials. I happened to come here on a different occasion once and got their Truffle Fries and a basket of Crispy Chicken Tenders for just $10.00… I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

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