Category Archives: lounge

Discovering The Purple Pig

A tapas/small plate styled restaurant called The Purple Pig… what’s not to love? I mean the name is The Purple Pig, you HAVE to try this place out. I wonder if they actually serve purple pig dishes? Sounds like something out of a Dr. Seuss book hmm…?

The wait for this place wait is usually about an hour, because it is located right on Michigan Avenue. The wait for a table for two was just 30 minutes. I came here on a weekday, so the wait was substantially less than weekends. We were seated right on the patio which was just wonderful, because the night was warm and breezy. Perfect for outdoor eating, lounging, and wining.

The Purple Pig – Near North Side

Don’t worry they don’t actually serve purple pigs, but they do serve scrumptious pork based small dishes. I shared three dishes with my friend and half a bottle of wine. Though the plates may be small they were packed with flavor and perfectly cooked.

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We started off with the Roasted Bone Marrow with Herbs. The bone marrow was delicious. Tasted like I was just consuming fats, but hey that’s okay. You have to live a little right? My arteries will survive. You scoop the bone marrow off of the bone and spread it on the perfectly toasted bread. The creaminess of the bone marrow on the crispy bread was delicious!

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Up next the “JLT” Pork Jowl, Tomato, Frisee & Fried Duck Egg or pork cheek! It was fried to perfection and so crispy and smooth. Put an egg on anything, and it becomes 100x better. This was a great dish. I loved the combination of everything together.

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The Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes was so tender. I cut into the pork shoulder, and it beautifully fell apart. The meat was tender and soft. The mashed potatoes were perfectly whipped. I loved the gravy it was served with. It complemented the pork shoulder and the mashed potatoes really well.

The Purple Pig was a great place for dining out on a warm, breezy Chicago weekday. I will have to come back to try the other dishes this place has to offer.

Eve’s Cafe – Old Town

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Usually I am sitting at home typing away on my laptop writing my newest blog post. Today my friend and I met up at Eve’s Cafe in Old Town to plan our upcoming NYC trip. What a cute cafe! I got the tomato basil soup. The bowl and the plate were so adorable. It certainly matched the romanticism decor in the cafe. Now on to continue planning my NYC trip, a city filled with adventures. On our to do list in NYC – roof top bars, ramen restaurants, art museums, Central Park lounging, and lots of big city living.

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“Are you still blogging?”

These last couple of days I’ve been asked by a several friends whether I was still blogging. Guess I have faithful readers out there! I sat there trying to figure out a reason to give them why this blog has been abandoned for a couple of months. I thought well… maybe I have become too busy with work, but that is not a good excuse. Busy yes, but you can always make time for something you feel passionate about. Maybe I just haven’t been eating out enough? That is completely absurd, because I’ve had some pretty tasty dishes these past couple of months. I guess the only reason left is I just became lazy. Lazy with old age I suppose.  So here I am blogging, hoping that this will continue into the summer.

Summer has finally arrived in Chicago. It felt like winter lingered on forever. I am glad the Winter season has passed, because there is nothing better than summertime in Chicago. It’s finally beach time, patio time, outdoor chilling time. Which in my opinion are all the best types of time.

Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar – Bridgeport, Chicago

My friends and I finally wandered over to the Bridgeport neighborhood bar called Maria’s Packaged Good and Community Bar. This bar has become my new favorite bar with delicious one of a kind cocktails, large selection of beers, a patio, friendly patrons, a speak easy dark vibe. What is not to love? Totally my kind of bar.

The inside is dark and moody with ventriloquist dolls sitting on the top shelves. Old fashioned beer cans align the wall as decor. A  little creepy once you notice them, but I think it fits in appropriately with the general vibe of this place.

I ordered the Hornswagglers High Tea which was made with Earl Grey infused Van Gogh Vodka, Filbert’s Cream Soda, and a lemon wedge. I was quite surprised after the first sip, because this cocktail tasted amazingly very much like Earl Grey Tea. I’ve tried Early Grey infused cocktails and foods before, and I have always been a little disappointed in the lack of flavors. This cocktails was the exception. Maybe I’ll just have to replace my regular morning cup of Earl Grey with this cocktail. Kidding.

I noticed on the beer menu there was a craft beer that I have tried when I was at the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, MI just a couple weeks ago. I had to try it again. The Founders Old Curmudgeon, an aged ale, was as smooth and dreamy as I remembered it to be.  I am a fan of bitter tasting foods, and this beer had a bitter, almost dark chocolate taste to it with a sweet bite at the end.

Overall my friends and I had a great time at Maria’s. The crowd was super friendly and easy going. I was up at the bar counter trying to order my Founders Old Curmudgeon when the guy next to me asked what I was drinking. I told him the #10, and he ended up putting it on his tab since the bar was quite crowded. I told him he didn’t have to do that, and he responded with a very nonchalant “Well I don’t have to do a lot of things”. This place is definitely filled with hipsters, but not your pretentious Northside hipsters. Easy going, friendly Southside hipsters.   I will definitely be back here!

Food Memories in the Making

Lately I’ve been coming to terms with my twenties, realizing I only get to be in my twenties once. Once you turn thirty it is all over. I’m joking of course, but it is in your twenties when you participate in self-discoveries, make mistakes, get into ridiculous situations, and laugh about it all in a couple of years with your friends. The conversations will start off with “Remember the time when…”, and the memories will flutter back just as vivid as day they were made. What is life without memories, without stories and shared experiences that bring people closer.

I believe that it is truly those memories, both the good and the bad, that really make people who they are today. I told my friend that I love listening to people’s problems, and she told me if a stranger heard that he would probably think I am a little nuts. The truth is I like to listen to people’s problems, because I am interested in knowing what events and life stories make people who they are. Though I would think that someone in their twenties have had less to experience than someone much older, I still enjoy listening to my fellow twenty-somethings. Perhaps they should call the twenties the age of listening, reminiscing, and making memories.

Now what has this twenty-something year old been up to? Let’s take a look!

Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club – Boystown, Chicago

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My friend invited me here for her sister’s birthday. My friend who took me here is always raving about this place, and I just had to check it out for myself. It is quite a fun lounge in Boystown, LGBT central in Chicago. This lounge is known for their hourly Diva shows when their Diva of the night comes out to impersonates female artists like Madonna, Cher, Pink. They lip sync while dancing ferociously to the songs. The night I went Sunny Dee-Light was performing. Pictured is her impersonating Pink.

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The drinks here are so fun. This one is called I Kissed a Girl.  It even came with a glow stick and rock candy. For a girly drink, it doesn’t get better than that.

This place is super fun for a group of girl friends. Singing the night away with the Divas while sipping the tasty, girly drinks makes for a fun girls’ night out.

Nana’s Organic –  Bridgeport, Chicago

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I am a huge fan of brunch. Unfortunately with my evening nursing work schedule, I don’t get to enjoy brunch that often. When I do, I love to visit this local place in Bridgeport. This is my second time here at this local eatery known for their fresh, organic foods. I got the breakfast sandwich with chicken sausage, potatoes and greens. Again it was simply delicious! The best part of the sandwich was definitely the English muffin. I have never tasted an English muffin as fresh as this one before. It was soft, but still appropriately crunchy from being toasted to perfection. What a great way to start the day!

Ahjoomah’s Apron – Chinatown, Chicago

This place just recently opened up in Chinatown. It is the first Korean restaurant to open up in Chinatown, and being a fan of Korean food I needed to try it. We walked in, and the decor looked really modern. Large pictures of Korean dishes on the wall with descriptions of the history and making of the dish. I think the feel they were going for is healthy, authentic Korean food, and with the decor they really nailed it.

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We tried the seafood pancake. This was my favorite dish of the night. I loved the slight spiciness of the pancake. Kind of like a more doughy version of an American omelette.

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We tried the Pan Broiled Salted Mackerel. I’m not a really big fan of mackerel, but this was quite flavorful. It was pan fried so the exterior was crunchy, capturing the flavors of the fish on the soft inside.

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Of course we needed to try one of the Korean beefs, and we settled on Bulgolgi. I thought the beef was tender and flavorful with the bulgolgi sauces. Nothing spectacular, but still good.

Overall this place was okay. I’ve had better Korean foods, but I did really enjoy the very modern yet still authentic atmosphere of Ahjoomah’s Apron.

Now off to make more twenty-something year old memories! If only my work schedule didn’t get in the way… Oh the life of a twenty-something year old.

Ambiance

My friends always associate the word ambiance with me, and that is the very essence of me. Foodifyme wordpress readers might notice that I frequently use the word ambiance in my food blogs to describe an atmosphere that elevates the dining experience.

from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

am-bi-ence noun \ˈam-bē-ən(t)s, ˈäm-bē-än(t)s\: a feeling or mood associated with a particular place, person, or thing: ATMOSPHERE

It is spelled two ways, ambience and ambiance, with the original spelling derived from the French word ambiance.

I fully believe that when eating out it should not only be about the food, but the experience in itself, although this is a highly contested issue among my friends. The experience of being seated surrounded by a new place that takes you to another era, another world, another universe. That experience you cannot get from dining in your our dining room or at friend’s place no matter how good the food may be. It’s just not the same. The food and mood of the restaurant go hand in hand to make a one of a kind experience for any foody!

If a restaurant has just okay food, sometimes the ambiance makes up for just mediocre food. The best restaurant on the other hand offers both quality food and an inviting, unique atmosphere that creates a certain mood to the entire experience.  A lot my favorite places that I frequent have this mysterious, secretive quality to them equipped with moody, dim lighting and aged, vintage decor. This ambiance provides a breathtaking experience that becomes unforgettable.

Here are the recent places I’ve been to.  Note some of these pictures are taken from the lounge’s website.

The Violet Hour – Wicker Park, Chicago

A speakeasy tucked away in a the most hipster neighborhood in Chicago, Wicker Park.

This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.” – Bernard DeVoto “The Hour”

This quote perfectly summarizes the essence of The Violet Hour. A dimly lit lounge with modern decor that exudes a certain magical, coolness about it. The entrance is not as secretive as the other speakeasies I have been to. Instead of taking your number and calling you when your table is ready, they make everyone wait outside until there is an open table for your party. Thus there is a very noticeably long line outside of what would normally be an unsuspicious door. Kind of gives away the best part of going to a speakeasy, finding it.

The Violet Hour has a set of house rules associated with the speakeasy. The most amusing one is their last rule:

“And finally, please do not bring anyone to The Violet Hour that you wouldn’t bring to your mother’s house for Sunday dinner.”

Please keep the unclassiness outside of the The Violet Hour!

The long ceiling to floor curtains create an illusion of magic, kind of reminds of the land of Narnia. When you enter into the Violet Hour, you pass through two sets of these ceiling to floor velvet curtains. What’s behind the curtain? Well let’s see.

Unlike the other speak easies, the Violet Hour has a more modern theme than the usual rustic, old fashioned, vintage theme. The high back chairs complement the long velvet curtains along with the very dim, moody lighting.

I ordered two drinks here. The drinks are a bit pricey coming in at $14 a drink, but at a place like this you are not only paying for high quality drinks, but the chance to lounge at the Violet Hour. Pictured is The Lay of the Land, a gin based drink. I also got the Gates of Paradise, a vodka based apple cider drink.

Lay of the Land – Letherbee, Lemon, Strawberry Preserve, Green Chartreuse

Gates of Paradise – Zubrowka, Apple Cider, Ginger Syrup, Lemon, Blackberry

The Gates of Paradise was definitely my favorite. The combination of all of those ingredients made for one delicious drink.  Overall it is a bit loud for a speak easy since they play music in the background. Other than the noise level and the lack of mysteriousness surrounding the entrance, the Violet Hour is definitely worth a visit. Their menu changes every season, so I will have to go back soon to try the Gates of Paradise again!

The Bedford – Wicker Park, Chicago

Seems like all the hip places are in Wicker Park! The Bedford is a restaurant/lounge located underground in what use to be a bank.

Pictured above is a peak at some of the dining area seating. Also pictured on the left is one of the two entrances into the bank vault!

Here I am with my friend in front of the bank vault doors. We didn’t get seating inside the bank vault, but I would love to lounge in the bank vault next time.

This is what the inside of the bank vault looks like. Notice all of the authentic bank drawers lining the walls. How many people could say they sipped a cocktail inside a bank vault?

I wasn’t too hungry, so I just had a drink at The Bedford. They had their own version of  the Dark and Stormy called Darker and Stormier, the drink on the left. This drink was more on the heavier side.  No wonder it was darker and stormier than a regular dark and stormy! Look at all that rum. 

Darker & Stormier – Dark Rum, Allspice, ROOT Liqueur, Jamaican Bitters, Lime, Ginger Beer

There’s something so very special about lounging inside an authentic bank. The next time I come I will make sure to get seated inside the bank vault!

Gilt Bar – River North, Chicago

Finally venturing outside of Wicker Park to River North. Gilt Bar is a small dish (think of tapas) styled restaurant with a full bar serving classy cocktails and range of liqueurs.

The lighting inside this restaurant is whimsically beautiful. Lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, lit with a warm glow from the visible filaments inside the lightbulbs. A gorgeous cascading, web-like ceiling lamp in the center of the room. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of all of lighting.

Here is a picture that captures the warm, alluring charm about Gilt Bar. I took this without flash on my phone. I think it came out pretty well!

A lot of people have been raving about their Truffle Pasta, so I just had to try it for myself. It was definitely a unique dish. It is a little bit too heavy if you were to have it by itself. The creamy sauce it came with was so strong that I started feeling a little sick towards the end. I loved the pasta. You can definitely taste that it was hand made that day. Overall I think this plate is better when shared with someone else.

I got a side of the Blackened Cauliflower to balance out the heaviness in the Truffle Pasta. I have never had cauliflower like this before. It seems like they roasted the cauliflower giving it a slightly crunchy exterior with a hint of smokiness. It was served in a weak vinaigrette sauce and vinagrette onions. Gilt Bar did a very good job in dressing up the cauliflower.

My friend and I both ordered the Pimm’s Cup, a classic summer drink made with the UK liquor Pimm. It had just the right amount of sweetness and kick from the ginger beer.

Pimm’s Cup –  pimm’s, lemon, ginger beer

The thing that made all three of these experiences exquisite and memorable is the unique atmosphere that they provided. Each of them slightly different. A modern styled speakeasy, a restaurant inside a bank vault, and a restaurant, bar with the best ambiance lighting. Ambiance really does make a difference. The next time you dine out make an effort to notice what type of atmosphere the place has. For me there is nothing better than sipping a delicious, classy cocktail in a warmly lit lounge with a couple of good friends. Makes for a fantastic night!

Goodbye DC, Till We Meet Again

Being away from Chicago, and back to the comfort of my college city. It felt like I was at home away from home. The familiar faces, familiar shops, familiar environment and culture. I absorbed it all like a sponge with pure joy. Enveloped in comfort, in familiarity. When I was in college at Georgetown University, I had a to-do list of things I wanted to do before I graduated. I didn’t get a chance to do a lot of it with school work, internships, and job searching. All on top of the anxiety of graduating and entering the real world. I finally got the chance to do the things on my to-do adventure, and I couldn’t have been happier. Check out what I’ve been up to.

Phillips Collection – Dupont Circle, Washington, DC 

Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint

I always wanted to check out the Phillips Collection. It is known for being a lot smaller than your usual art museum, but small doesn’t always mean bad. The Phillips Collection was small in a very intimate way. The art was housed in three houses that were connected. As you walked through the Phillips Collection it seemed like you were walking through someone’s home. Chairs and benches everywhere, long hallways leading to other room, intricately detailed staircases that led to other galleries. The place was such a great escape from the urban life of the Dupont Circle neighborhood surrounding the Phillips collection.

Hank’s Oyster Bar – Dupont Circle, Washington, DC 

Tuna Dip

I met up with my college roommate here for happy hour. I am a huge fan of happy hour, because of the cheap foods and cheap drinks. Best hour of the day! We got a tuna dip to share.

happy hour oysters

As well as $1 raw oysters! YUM! They offered three different types of oysters from various areas on the east coast. They tasted quite fresh!

Washington National Cathedral – Washington, DC

National Cathedral

The National Cathedral was even bigger than I imagined it to be. A huge cathedral with lots of grassy surrounding areas including a mini garden. I wandered around the cathedral in what seemed like a never ending maze with secret tunnels leading to mysterious places. Felt a little bit like Hogwarts from Harry Potter! Or what I imagined it would be like.

I loved all of the stained glass windows in the National Cathedral. It was gorgeous to see the light penetrating the glass in an array of colors.

Kafe Leopold – Georgetown, Washington, DC

Fruit Tart

My favorite cafe in DC is Kafe Leopold. I have blogged about this cafe twice already. The thing I love about Kafe Leopold is the European atmosphere. Feels like I am transported away from America to a little city in Europe. Tucked away on M street, let’s hope this place stays in DC forever. I will be coming back to this place every time I visit Chicago. We got a fruit tart to share for dessert. The fruits were fresh, the custard was just the right amount of creaminess and richness, and the crust was flaky without being too hard. Another great dessert from Kafe Leopold.

Amnesty International Protest – Glover Park, Washington, DC

Amnesty International protesters outside of the Russian Embassy

I was walking around near Georgetown, and saw a group of Amnesty International protesters outside of the Russian Embassy. They are protesting the injustice experienced by three female members of a Russian band that publicly protested against President Vladimir Putin in Russia who are now jailed and put on trial. I found out after doing some research about this incident that the band is called Pussy Riot which makes for interesting posters.

Oya – Chinatown, Washington, DC 

We had a girls’ night at Oya, a Asian-fusion restaurant, complete with cocktails, wine, and small appetizer dishes. The inside of Oya was amazing. A dimly lit dining area with a fresh white color scheme. The back wall was adorned with white fake flowers and fountains. It felt so glamorous inside. Perfect for a girls’ night out. I got the ginger based cocktail. I love ginger based drinks, and this one was great. A cocktail with a strong ginger kick.

I got the shrimp and grits for my small dish. It was tasty! Shrimp and grits done asian-fusion style. It was interesting to taste the combination of a normally southern dish with Asian flavors. The shrimps were flavorful, and cooked perfectly.

The Reef – Adams Morgan, Washington, DC

in The Reef

We went to The Reef in Adams Morgan afterwards. A bar with large aquariums and tropical fishes. How cool is that?

Visiting DC was a great trip, but it’s good to be home. It’s good to be home in Chicago.

The Gibson

Long hiatus away from blogging, and it feels good to write these food blogs again. The college life of a senior consisting of school work, nursing clinical, and job applications have slowly taken over my life. But a little over a month till graduation!

One of my favorite hobbies is visiting speak easy styled bars which is quite a nice hobby to have! David and I visited The Gibson located on U street in Washington, DC. This is the third speak easy styled bar we have been to which I guess makes us speak easy bar experts!

The Gibson

2009 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20003
Neighborhood: U Street Corridor

marks the door to The Gibson

The entrance The Gibson is completely hidden. We walked right pass the door only to doubleback when we realized we passed the address. We walk up to this door marked as 2009 which is the correct address to The Gibson. Good thing I checked out The Gibson on Yelp before we went. I only knew that the door was the entrance to The Gibson, because of the doorbell pictured above which I saw on Yelp.

I opened the door, and we were magically transported into an entirely different world compared to the U Street Corridor. U Street Corridor is known for its rich  history as the cultural center for the African American community. While U street was bustling with young people ready for a night out, inside the doors of The Gibson was a dimly lit environment of slow paced classy chilling.

inside of The Gibson

The Gibson had the mandatory qualities of a speak easy styled bar: dim lights, candles, delicious drinks, and a prohibition era feel. I thought that the decor of the room was a bit lacking. Additional whimsical decor would have given The Gibson a more speak easy styled feel.

Tequila cocktail

I got a tequila based drink. It was delicious, and such a pretty color too.

I don’t remember what David got, but it was delicious. Note the tilt of the drink in the glass possibly caused by a tilt of the table or the entire floor. Is this an intentional speak easy styled lopsidedness? Kidding…

Overall The Gibson was really great. I loved the relaxing atmosphere of the place, but compared to Angel’s Share and Raines Law Room this place was not as great.

Stars: 4.5/5

SAX

It’s Restaurant Week in Washington, DC, and my friend Holly and I decided to check this French restaurant out. A play on words if you casually change the middle letter with waitresses in corsets, red velvet everywhere, dimly lit room,  a stage with interpretative burlesque dancing. This place a modern version of Moulin Rouge in the middle of downtown DC.

Sorry about the slightly blurry pictures. I didn’t want to use my flash in SAX. That would totally ruin the SAX appeal of the place.

It’s not hard to figure out the SAX appeal” – Washington Post

SAX 

734 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

the inside of SAX

It was like dining at the Moulin Rouge. The velvet ropes, gold doors, hidden dining area since SAX is unmarked from the outside. There was even a red carpet and red ropes surrounding the entrances. Talk about making a dramatic entrance. Holly and I agreed that this place reminded us a lot of a lavish lounge where Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl would hang around. A restaurant that teases you in a wonderland of mysterious fantasies in what seems like an underground world that tickles your every senses.

The part that amazed me the most was the burlesque dance shows that came on every 20 minutes or so. The dancing was a lot more classier and tasteful than I expected which I appreciated. Dancers in intricate costumes  coming onto the glass walled stage with masks on their faces, sheer sheets of fabric that elegantly flowed through the stage as the dancers moved about. The dances were mesmerizing, and we both paused our conversation and the eating to watch the shows. Holly noted that it would have been bad if they had shows on throughout our dinner without pauses in between, because then we would just be watching the shows all throughout our dinner. No eating, no talking, just shows.

Now onto the food. It was restaurant week in DC which makes dinners at pricey places like SAX affordable to poor college students like us. During restaurant week restaurants offer 3 course meals for $35. A normal 4 course meal at SAX is $65. $35 compared to $65 is a lot more doable. The meals usually come with an appetizer, entree, and dessert. You get to pick from about 3-5 different choices on a prix fixed menu.

American Wagyu Beef Sliders

American Wagyu Beef Sliders – Fenugreek gouda, ba ba bleu, cheddar, green tomatoes, relish

Both of us started out with the American Wagyu Beef Sliders. The sliders were really good. Out of the 3 courses that I had for my dinner this was my favorite. The bun was perfectly toasted so that it was crispy. The actual beef patty was grilled to perfection. Cooked till medium rare. The beef was tender with a rich combination of all the cheeses. There is just something about eating tiny foods that makes it tastes better. The sliders were tiny, but perfectly sized.

We got different entrees. I got the Scottish Salmon, and Holly got the Braised Short Ribs.

Scottish Salmon

Scottish Salmon – sweet potato, cauliflower, raisins, sage, hazelnut brown butter.

The Salmon was good. Sometimes when you eat cooked salmon it is overcooked and the salmon itself is dry and just not good. This salmon was perfectly cooked. I cut into it with a knife and the salmon easily broke off. It came with cauliflower and sweet potato. I really liked the sweet potato squares. The sweetness of the sweet potato went really well with the salmon. I really enjoyed the hazelnut brown butter. The butter was very evident in the vegetables and was very delicious.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs – pommes puree, cippolini onion, parsley pistou, marjoram, red wine sauce

Holly got the Braised Beef Short Ribs. I tried a little bit of her short ribs. It was extremely tender and moist. Cooked to perfection. She really liked the sauce that came with the short ribs.

For dessert we really wanted to get different desserts so we could try each others, but we ended up both getting the chocolate cake. It was too tempting. Saxual Chocolate Cake why do you tempt me so?

Saxual Chocolate Cake

Saxual Chocolate Cake – blackout cake, caramelized white chocolate, lemon cream, chocolate mousse

The chocolate cake was delicious! It was Holly’s favorite part of her meal. The chocolate was so rich. It became a little too much for me with the last couple of bites of the cake. I had to take a break from the chocolate cake, and just take a moment to rest my taste buds.

Overall the food was okay. Above average. It was still definitely worth it to check this place out especially for a restaurant week price. I think you come here not for the food, but for the atmosphere. After going to lounges and speak easy styled bars I am a huge fan of these mysterious, dreamy places. The thing I love about these places is the secretness about it. The dim lights. The moody ambiance. The idea that only you know about it. A mystery to the rest of the world.

greetings from the modern moulin rouge

Stars – 4/5

Rodan

Rodan an asian fusion bar/lounge located in Wicker Park. I have been here twice. Once after a Secret Santa event, and then again on NYE.

Rodan

1530 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

The drinks here are unique. The cocktails on their menu are all Asian inspired. Lychee martinins, ginger hibiscus margaritas, and the list goes on. Check out the inspiring cocktail menu right here.

http://rodanchicago.com/default/?page_id=100

I have tried both the Lychee Martini and the Horse Feathers, and both of them were delicious. The Lychee Martini was great. The infusion of lychee juices really added a perfect sweetness to the martini.

Lychee Martini – vodka, lychee juice, pineapple juice, lychee fruit

Horse Feathers for NYE with Rekha

Cocktail - Horse Feathers

My favorite would be the Horse Feathers. One of my all time favorite drinks. In it is Jim Beam Rye whiskey and gingerbeer. I never had gingerbeer before, but boy do I love it. I usually don’t like beer, but gingerbeer is special. Has a zingy, spicy kick to it. The mix of the whiskey, lemon, gingerbeer, and angostura bitters together in one cocktail is quite something. Seems simple enough to make. Perhaps I will try making it myself one day.

Horse Feathers – jim beam rye, fresh lemon, gingerbeer, angostura bitters

the sleek interior of Rodan - taken from yelp

The drinks are delicious. The atmosphere is amazing. The very dim lighting. Simple and modern decor with a projection screen against the back wall screening black and white videos. The entire inside screams hipster-ville. There are booths to the left and couch seating on the right. The waiters are sharply dressed in black. One with a mad bushy beard, another with a bowl cut haircut. The people in the bar were stylish and chic. They looked like they were in their upper 20s. A very chill, carefree interior.

I want to make this my go to place. You know in How I Met Your Mother where they all head to that one bar and laugh and talk about their lives? I want Rodan to be the one for me.

Stars – 5/5

Tabard Inn

I went here with my dear friend Soo one weekday night. I have heard so many good things about this place and finally decided to go check out the bar.

Tabard Inn 

1739 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Upon walking in it was as if I walked into somebody’s house in Dupont Circle. The interior is very warm and welcoming with a wooden theme. It was as if I stumbled upon another speakeasy styled bar. A secret place in the metropolitan area of Dupont Circle. Shhh… don’t tell anyone.

Read my blogpost about Angel’s Share, a speakeasy in NYC – https://foodifyme.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/angels-share/

We came to Tabard Inn to try their drinks. The bar area is located between the lounge area and the restaurant seating. You can either order drinks at the bar and bring them over to lounge or order the drinks at the lounge. We ordered the drinks at the bar, because we didn’t know you could order drinks from the lounge. The bar was pretty crowded mostly with 30-something year olds, but there were also a good amount of 40-something and 50-something. Definitely an older crowd which was nice to see coming from a college campus. A classy, sophisticated lounge atmosphere.

My Cuzco Mass

I ordered the Cuzco Mass. It was a little strong for my liking. I thought it was going to be a lot sweeter than I thought with the apple cider and cranberry/cardamom syrup, but the allspice dram definitely overpowered everything. The entire cocktail tasted like allspice. Not for me. The drink was very pretty though. A red-orange, pink color with a floating dehydrated apple on the top.

Cuzco Mass –  Macchu Pisco, Apple Cider, Cranberry/Cardamom Syrup, Allspice Dram, Dehydrated Apple

Soo's Old Hickory

Soo got the Old Hickory. She also said her drink was quite strong.

Old Hickory – Dolin Dry & Dolin Rouge Vermouths, Peychaud’s Bitters, Maple Syrup, Orange Twist

Old Hickory on the left and Cuzco Mass on the right - thanks Soo for the picture

I am not such a big fan of the drinks at Tabard Inn, but the atmosphere is just perfect. Comfy couches, chairs, tables to sit and talk for hours. The dim lighting, abundance of comfy couches, and vintage furniture is what gives it a speakeasy feel. I love lounge atmospheres. They are just so conducive to catching up with friends, exchanging stories, and talking about the looming future of a college senior!

I love the atmosphere of Tabard Inn, but the drinks we got were just okay for the price we paid for the cocktails. If I go again perhaps next time my drink will be better.

Stars – 3/5 (need to try more drinks)

Leopold’s Kafe

Carmen here! I came here with my really good friend J.S. after watching Eat, Pray, Love. Eat, Pray, Love is a movie starring Julia Roberts where she travels all throughout Italy living life to the fullest through food, friends, men, new places, and fun. After watching this movie we decided we needed to carpe diem and take advantage of our young college lives. It was 10PM at night, and we wandered Georgetown looking for an open Italian restaurant that would serve us some pasta. We were desperately craving some pasta after watching Julia Roberts devour plates and plates of carby goodness on the screen. J.S. reocmmended Leopold’s Kafe, and that’s where we ended up that night.

Leopold’s Kafe

3318 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Leopold’s Kafe is a German cafe that serves food, coffee, and dessert. Personally I would only go there for the dessert, because the actual food is overpriced and just average. The dessert… oh man! some of the best desserts you will ever taste. They sit ever so tempting behind the glass display as if they are just asking to be eaten. Well I won’t say no to dessert. I won’t say no to Karamell-Grey or Sacher Torte.

Karamell-Grey cake and Macaroons

Karamell-Grey – Belgian dark chocolate cake layered with Earl Grey Tea caramel chocolate ganache.

Sacher Torte – Dark chocolate cake layered with apricot preserves and chocolate glaze.

I like my dark chocolate. I like them less on the sweet side, and more on the richer, chocolaty, bitter side. Yes, that’s the way I like my chocolate cake. Give me some Leopold’s Kafe desserts, and I’ll be your best friend forever. I only say this, because the desserts there are just delicious. The cakes are just the right size. Not too overwhelmingly large like the portions at Serendipity, and not too tiny that after just a couple of bites it just vanishes. The portions really make you appreciate and taste each and every bite to its fullest. The rich flavors melting in your mouth like a warm bubble bath after a long tiring day.

Not only is this a go to place for desserts, but a place that takes you to an entire world outside of Georgetown, outside of U.S. of A., and into a world where lounging and long conversations over tea candles is the norm. A place that just oozes comfort and warmth.

From the street level you might just pass by Leopold’s Kafe without even knowing. That’s because Leopold’s Kafe is not on the street level. You have to take a flight of stairs to get to the entrance of this cafe. Go down these dark, mysterious stairs and you see a fountain surrounded by well lit outdoor seating. Walk inside the cafe and enter into the world of German kafe magic.

Stars 5/5