Category Archives: seafood

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.

David Burke’s Primehouse for Chicago Restaurant Week

For those that have not heard about restaurant week, participating restaurants offer three course lunch or dinner at a discounted price that makes expensive restaurants affordable to the normal person. You can get pretty good deals on meals especially at the top restaurants, where an equivalent meal would cost double or triple the Restaurant Week amount. I am not such a big fan of Restaurant Week as my friends are. I just don’t think Restaurant Week meals are worth it especially since they limit your choices for appetizers, entrees, and desserts to a couple. Sometimes picking from the menu, at some restaurants, would just be a little bit more expensive, but you would get exactly what you want. Plus a lot of restaurants have lunch specials that seem like a better deal than the restaurant week deals. Nevertheless I went and tried out David Burke’s Primehouse for Restaurant Week.

David Burke’s Primehouse

After reading Yelp reviews raving about this place, I had high hopes for the steaks here. Since it’s a primehouse, I had to try out their steaks. Here is my Restaurant Week lunch adventure at David Burke’s Primehouse.

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For the appetizer I got the Surf and Turf Dumplings – lobster with black olive, caper hollandaise & lamb with harissa aioli. I thought the presentation of the dumplings was really beautiful. The lobster dumplings are pictured on the left, and the lamb dumplings are pictured on the right. The lobster dumplings look like the Chinese soup dumplings! The lamb dumplings look like cake pops, but only dumplings pops! How creative! Now for the taste the lamb dumplings tasted too gamey for me. The lobster dumplings were okay, but the cream cheese overpowered the lobster taste. Overall the appetizer plate was just mediocre. It looked a lot better than it tasted.

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For the entree I got the Classic Filet Mignon. It was perfectly medium. I loved the steak! It was slightly crispy on the outside and so tender on the inside. I was in steak heaven. My friend noted that my filet mignon looked a lot like a pan seared scallop. A scallop filet mignon?

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The entree came with sides of basil whipped potatoes and herb roasted mushrooms. I loved both of the sides. The potatoes were so light and fluffy. I am a huge fans of mushrooms, and these caramelized mushrooms were so great! These sides went really well with the steak.

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This was a set dessert plate for Restaurant Week – mini prime cake, cheesecake lollipop, and Jove’s homemade ice cream. The cake was really great – marshmallow cream, chocolate mousse, and chocolate cake on the bottom.  I didn’t realize that the cake pop was cheesecake. I am use to eating the cake batter cake pops, and this cheesecake cake pop just wasn’t as good. I loved the ice cream though. It tasted so fresh!

Overall this Restaurant Week lunch was okay. I loved the steak, but I could have done without the Surf and Turf dumplings and the Cheesecake Lollipop. This is my issue with Restaurant Week. Sometimes some of the dishes are a hit and the others are a miss. Until the next Restaurant Week meal.

The First Time

It’s always better the first time around – more exciting, more memorable, more fun. That first time you try out that new restaurant, and it then becomes your favorite. That first time you take a mouthful of the ramen, and the springiness of the noodles and the richness of the broth is forever ingrained in your food memories. That first time you meet someone new over a meal, and time just flies like the conversation is endless. When the second time comes around, it is less exciting. You know what to expect, you discovered most of what is new about the person, the place, the thing. It is that uncertainty, whether it will truly be as good as everyone says it is or be a complete disappointment, that makes the first time so great. Treasure the first time, savor the moment, because it will only happen once.

These are my first moments at the following restaurants in Chicago. Even though the food may be the same the second time around, it will never exactly feel or taste the same as the very first time.

Vinci – Lincoln Park

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I came here with my sister to use a Groupon deal that I bought a while ago. $20 for $40 to spend at an Italian restaurant, count me in! I got the Spinach pappardelle – hand-made spinach pappardelle with roast duck, mushrooms, ovendried tomatoes, truffle oil, parmigiano. I loved the noodles. It definitely tasted very fresh. The slight chewiness and springiness of the noodles were perfect. The meal was great, and we even got a table right next to the window. A lot of the guests at Vinci that night were there for a pre-show dinner. I wish I knew about this show that was going on, because I would have liked to go.

Wasabi – Logan Square

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My friend invited me here, because her friend from NYC was visiting Chicago for the week. I am a huge fan of ramen restaurants if you haven’t noticed already, and I was excited about trying another ramen place in Chicago. I’ve had some pretty excellent ramen in NYC, but none that have really stood out to me in Chicago. This place was excellent. As good as or even better than the places in NYC. I loved it! I got the Tonkotsu Ramen – egg noodle, rich pork broth, berkshire pork cheek, soft boiled egg, marinated bamboo shoot, scallion, sesame, kikurage mushroom. The thing that makes or breaks a bowl of ramen is the broth, and this broth was spectacular. I was tempted to drink all of the broth after I finished my noodles! I loved the richness of the broth. The ingredients in the ramen were also quite tasty. The soft boiled egg, which isn’t quite as runny as a poached egg, but not quite as solid as a hard boiled egg, was the perfect texture for the ramen. 

The Girl and the Goat – West Loop

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My friends have been raving about this place for a while, and I finally got to try it. This restaurant owned by a Top Chef contestant is known for having one of the best foods in Chicago. I had high expectations for this place, and I was not disappointed. The small plates are meant to be shared, but my friends and I weren’t too hungry. We each ordered one dish. I ordered the scallops served with squash, onions, and other ingredients. The scallops were so soft. I took the first bite, and I couldn’t believe what I was eating. These are the best scallop I ever had! I hope the next time I go, the scallops will be as good as I remembered it being.

Cafe Iberico – River North

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I came here to meet up with a Georgetown friend who just recently moved to Chicago for his job. I am so excited more fellow Georgetown Hoyas are here in the city! Cafe Iberico is a Spanish tapas restaurant. The highlight of the meal in my opinion was the Iberico Styled Paella – chicken, pork, and rice baked in a pan with saffron sauce. All of the flavors from the meat and seafood infused into the rice making a fragrant and delicious dish. I could eat this for lunch any day!

My firsts with all four of these restaurants were spectacular. I don’t know what the second time will be like, but I hope if I return again it will be good as the first time.

 

 

Happy Hour is the Happiest Hour of the Day

This happy hour came a day too early. I just received my Registered Nurse (RN) license number today, so now I am officially a Registered Nurse. Carmen, RN! Having a license makes things so much more real and that much more official. I can introduce myself as a RN now. Yesterday I went to a happy hour downtown at Devon Seafood Grill with some of my girlfriends. Lots of catching up over delicious drinks and tasty seafood appetizers. Felt like a scene out of Sex and the City where Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha caught up over some drinks and food. Happy hour just sets up such a good atmosphere for catching up with friends. With good food, good drinks, and good company happy hour is truly the happiest hour of the day!

Devon Seafood Grille Happy Hour – Near North Side, Chicago

The happy hour special here starts at 4PM and ends at 7PM. The happy hour specials include $6.50 martinis that are different for everyday of the week. There are $6 and $7 appetizer dishes along with $1 raw oysters. I love seafood, and this happy hour is perfect for any seafood lover.

biscuit/scone

You know how most restaurants serve you complimentary bread, Devon Seafood Grill serves you biscuits. It tasted more like a scone than a biscuit. It wasn’t as flaky and buttery as your average biscuit, but it was still tasty. The waiter served it straight from the baking pan, so you know that it is fresh.

with my Chocolate Martini

I came on Tuesday, so the happy hour martinis were chocolate and espresso martini. I was in a chocolate-y mood, and decided on the chocolate one. It tasted like an extremely milky, alcoholic, cold hot chocolate. The combination of all the flavors together made for a great martini. You can still taste the bite of the vanilla vodka, but combined with the godiva chocolate liqueur, cream, and chocolate syrup it created an adult cold, hot chocolate.

lobster tamale

My friend ordered the lobster tamale, and I got to try a little bit of it. It is more like a corn tamale with lobster sauce over it. I was expecting there to be lobster inside the tamale like any other tamales. It was kind of a disappointment seeing that the lobster was on and not in the tamale. The tamale was pretty good! I loved the sauce that came with the lobster. It tasted like thick lobster bisque. YUM! The combination of the lobster, tamale, and the lobster sauce made for a really great tamale.

Lobster Roll

I ordered the lobster roll. The lobster was just all right. I thought that there could have been better flavoring to bring out the flavors of the lobster. The bun on the other hand was great! It was buttered and perfectly toasted. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The fries that came with the rolls were excellent as well. Seasoned with what tasted like Old Bay. The fries were fried to perfection. I just wished it came with more fries than a teeny tiny espresso cup packed with fries.

Chipotle Shrimp

My friend said this dish was just mediocre. I don’t think the combination of a cheese sauce with shrimp is that appetizing. I always thought of shrimp as more of a light food that should be paired with light sauces. The Chipotle cheese sauce tasted good, but maybe not the best pairing with shrimp.

I love happy hours! More happy hours to come!