A Squared: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Grilled Corn Panzanella

Every once in a while, I hit a recipe home run. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but this dish is one of the best that I have made in a long time. I'm so excited to share this summery recipe with you!

This panzanella recipe is inspired by a meal that I had recently at Francesca's Forno in Wicker Park. I was having dinner there with my friend Alexis and we split this grilled corn and bread salad before our pasta entrees arrived. I could have just kept eating this salad for my whole meal-- it was that good. The taste of the charred corn and bread against the sweetness of the tomatoes and basil tossed in a light vinaigrette was a totally balanced flavor combination. The flavors were light and bright. It just tasted like summer.

I went home that night and jotted down what I thought the salad components might be and decided that I would try to recreate it the following week for dinner. The result was a relatively easy summer side dish that both Alex and I really enjoyed. I was skeptical about how the leftovers would keep (worried about the soggy bread factor), but I packed it up and took it to work for lunch the next day and it held up really well.


  • 2 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced in half widthwise
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Pecorino Romano, for serving

Preheat the grill to medium heat.  Drizzle the corn lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the corn for about 12 minutes until grill marks appear, turning to make sure they grill evenly.  Remove from heat and allow them to cool enough to handle.  Cut the corn off the cobs and discard cobs.

Meanwhile, drizzle the cut sides of the ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Place bread cut side down on the grill until slightly charred and grill marks appears, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the bread to cool enough to handle. Once cooled, rub the grilled side of each piece of bread with the cut garlic cloves. Once totally cooled, cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes.

Add corn and bread cubes to a large bowl along with tomatoes, onions, and basil.

In a small bowl or cruet, whisk together vinegar and next 4 ingredients through honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour half of the dressing over the corn and bread mixture and stir gently to combine. Continue to stir in more dressing to taste. You may not need to use all of it, depending on how much the bread absorbs. The bread should be moist and soft, but not soaked and mushy.

Serve cold or at room temperature with grated Pecorino Romano.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Fulton River District Edition

So, last week I told you a little bit about some of the West Loop restaurants that we have been visiting lately. The West Loop is known around Chicago as being the hub for the city's hottest new restaurants, but just north east of that area is a quieter neighborhood that is small, but home to several restaurants-- and some renowned ones at that. And surprise-- it's the neighborhood that I have called home for almost 4 years now! Even after living here for that long though, I haven't ventured into some of the hottest food spots in the Fulton River District until recently... and now I get to tell you all about it. Here's the lowdown on the new, old, good, and bad in Chicago's Fulton River District:

Trattoria Isabella
Fulton River District

Isabella is a real hidden gem of a restaurant-- especially in the summertime. They have a spacious and romantic outdoor patio tucked away in a quieter corner of the neighborhood. It is the perfect place for a laidback date night or for catching up with friends. We have dined here several times and only once inside the restaurant-- the patio seating is too good to pass up! The food here is great too. Big portions of both classic and modern Italian dishes. Alex almost orders pizza here and he and my dad have ordered the beef carpaccio a few times too (I'm not a fan, in general). I am a sucker for their pasta dishes and have tried several of them. I always go back to their rigatoni alla vodka-- the sauce is the perfect balance of tangy tomato with just a touch of cream. This time around I also tried a summer insalata de fagioli: a salad of blanched green beans, tomatoes, and red onion topped with bleu cheese and vinaigrette.
Trattoria Isabella on Urbanspoon

Saigon Sisters
Fulton River District

Saigon Sisters is a super modern and intimate little restaurant and their specialty is Vietnamese cuisine. They began their business in the nearby French Market as a banh mi sandwich stall and then gained so much momentum there that they opened the full service restaurant two blocks away. Alex and I are a bit picky about Asian food (neither of us eats sushi... we really are a perfect match), but this place has received such great reviews that when I found a Bloomspot deal for dinner here, I couldn't pass it up. So glad that I didn't! We started by sharing the pork belly banh bao (which my Instagram followers pointed out looks like a monkey-- top left). The belly was soft and salty and paired with pickled onions, it was a delicious starter. We also shared a special seared scallop spring roll. It was simple, fresh, and packed with whole scallops. For entrees, Alex got ambitious and ordered the beef pho which included oxtail and a veal heart. It must have been good since he finished it! I ordered a special entree: Shrimp with clear noodles, cabbage, and onions in a surprisingly spicy sauce. Saigon Sisters is pricier, but it's really good quality Asian food in a laidback atmosphere, which can be hard to find. I want to come back for lunch and try out the banh mi menu-- so many options and they all look great!
Saigon Sisters on Urbanspoon

Blue Agave
Fulton River District

Blue Agave is one of the only spots for Mexican food in the Fulton River District. The space is huge and very cool and the prices are reasonable, but the food is just sort of average. Recently we went in for drinks and appetizers at the bar. The guacamole sampler and the nachos were both good, but tasted like they would at any run of the mill Mexican chain restaurant. With two really good Mexican places like de cero and Taco Joint in nearby neighborhoods, I would rather take a bit of a walk to find a better meal.
Blue Agave on Urbanspoon

Little Goat Bread
Fulton River District

Are you sick of me gushing about Stephanie Izard's restaurants? Well sorry, it's that time again! Like Little Goat Diner is the cheaper and more casual little sister to Girl & The Goat, Little Goat Bread is to Little Goat Diner. This stall in Chicago's French Market has a simple menu of sandwiches, sides, pastries, and beverages-- all with Stephanie Izard's creative twist. You can even buy Stephanie's rubs, sauces, and Goat-themed swag like mugs and shirts here too.

The sandwiches are served on freshly baked bread and are named things like The Turkey and The Beef, for instance. These are the sandwiches that Alex and I ordered, respectively, and we both loved them. The Turkey is served with a crazy but delicious mix of chimichurri, hummus, pickled peppers, potato sticks, and garlic mayo. Alex's The Beef included kimchi, horseradish, and pickles. Oh, all of the sandwiches are also served in really cheeky wrapping as well.

I also ordered a side of the broccoli salad, of which I wasn't such a fan. The rich and soft chocolate cookie more than made up for it.
Little Goat Bread on Urbanspoon

The Publican
West Loop / Fulton River District

After many years of waiting for the "right" occasion to dine at the Publican, we were finally presented with one when my brother-in-law was in town recently. Even living in Dallas, he had heard great things about the Publican so we decided to take him here for a belated birthday dinner. What an excellent decision this was, if I do say so myself.

Dinner at the Publican was one of the best meals I have had in Chicago. The atmosphere is surprisingly casual with long communal-style dining tables that lend perfectly to the Publican's farm-to-table/beer hall theme. Patrick was excited about going because of the extensive and eclectic selection of craft beers they serve. As for food, the Publican is a meat lover's paradise-- known especially for their oysters and their pork dishes. Even as someone who could really take or leave meat most of the time, this meal was really amazing.

The food here is all intended for sharing. We ordered several dishes to share, beginning with a few appetizers: the Daily Pickle, a plate of various pickled vegetables (including cauliflower, which was my favorite), a Taste of Three Hams-- a selection of serrano ham, prosciutto, and country ham served with bread and butter, and the Publican's famous pork rinds. Truthfully, I am not big fan of pork rinds so these weren't my favorites, but I had to try them since we were there. The boys seemed to like them though! The Three Hams was much more my speed-- really good quality, salty, and perfect with the crusty bread.

Taste of Three Hams

For entrees, Alex opted for the country ribs (which is actually pork shoulder) served along with some delicious grilled peaches. Patrick chose the pork belly served with littleneck clams, which was cooked perfectly and almost falling apart. I went with the half farm chicken and it was amazing-- the boys agreed (thankfully they helped, since it was huge). The chicken is roasted and full of flavor and served with frites and summer sausage on the side. I would order it again in a heartbeat. It was so good. Not pictured here, we also ordered a side of sweet peppers with burrata (which was amazing) and we split the angel food cake for dessert.

I have heard that as good as dinner is here, that brunch is even better. I guess that's going on my To Eat list too!
The Publican on Urbanspoon
Country Ribs
Half Chicken
Pork Belly

Monday, July 29, 2013

Top 10 Items on My Birthday Wishlist

So, I just realized last week that I have a birthday coming up soon... like, really soon. In just shy of 3 weeks I will be turning 29. I don't feel like I'm that old, but then I start to think about it and go "Yikes, I am almost 30!"

Truthfully, I'm not that terrified about it. The looming new decade is a bit intimidating, but I know that 29 and then my thirties are going to bring a lot of great things with them-- a home of our own, babies, puppies... it will be good!

As we plug away saving for all of those things, I've made a little wishlist of the things that I would love to be shopping for if I wasn't budgeting. Some of them are pipe dreams and some are just things that I have been holding off on purchasing. But, if you're looking to do a little shopping for me this year, here's what I have been coveting lately...

Top 10 Items on my Birthday Wishlist

1. Longchamp foldable tote - Honestly, I have wanted one of these bags since college. Back then it was more of a status symbol, but now it's more of a stylish yet functional need for all of the business travel I have been doing lately. I'd love to lug all of my materials around in this bag.

2. Ray-Ban Aviators - I have never owned a pair of decent sunglasses. I'm a devoted aviator wearer and would love to finally have a pair that will hold up a little longer than the cheaper versions I normally rock.

3. Jack Rogers leather sandals - I requested a pair of these last year and have still been on too strict of a budget to buy them for myself!

4. Banana Republic colorblock sheath - How cute and classic is this dress? I'd love it for work, bridal showers, or a summer date night. 

5. Banana Republic foldover purse - I have been wanting a brightly colored statement bag for going out. The color and size of this one (along with the simple design) is exactly what I want.

6. Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Black - After I got an iPhone a few years ago I rarely used my digital camera for anything because, frankly, the iPhone photos were a better quality. Now that this blog has become such a big part of my life and with babies on the horizon in the next few years (and the photo opps that accompany them), I think it may be time to upgrade.

7. Weeknights with Giada Cookbook - I have worn out my existing Giada cookbook collection and I am pretty sure this is the only one I do not own. It would complete my set!

8. Vitamix Cia Professional Series Blender, Onyx - This is a pricey blender. I do not expect anyone to buy it for me. But, I still want it.

9. Franco Sarto patent leather shoes - A purely practical want. My work wardrobe is made up of way more navy than black. It's my go to neutral. I need some new work shoes to go with it all.

10. Banana Republic sleeveless lace top - I love this top. It's preppy, feminine, and versatile. I could wear it under a jacket for work or with jeans for date night. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Finds: Beef Skewers with Cherry Tomatoes and Parsley Sauce

That Giada never lets me down.

For the second week in a row, this Friday Find recipe comes from my favorite chef Giada de Laurentiis. This recipe can be found in Giada at Home. Are you familiar with this cookbook? It's one of her more recent books and they recipes in it are less traditionally Italian and are more fresh Californian with an Italian twist.

This meal was a big hit with my husband-- the biggest in a while, for sure. The combination of the rich grilled steak and the sweet blistered tomatoes is perfect. The parsley sauce is tangy and herbaceous (I love that word) and works really well in Giada's marinade/serving sauce combo. Alex gobbled it up and said the meal reminded him the carne asade with chimichurri that he orders every time we go to his favorite Mexican restaurant-- just less Mexican, more Italian.

Since this recipe is super flavorful, I kept the side dish simple. I sauteed shallots and garlic in a little olive oil at the bottom of a saucepan, then added dry brown rice and reduced fat/sodium beef broth in lieu of water. It's very little work, but it gives great flavor to the rice and is a perfect compliment to a more complex beef entree like this one.

  • 3 cups fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. beef fillet, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • Canola oil, for greasing the grill
  • 40 cherry tomatoes (about 2 pints) *Make sure you use cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes can be too small and delicate and will burst and shrivel up quickly.

In the bowl of the food processor, blend together the parsley, garlic, vinegar, pepper flakes, sugar 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper, until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil and process until incorporated. Spoon half of the sauce into a large zip-locking plastic bag. Spoon the remaining sauce in a small serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Put the beef in the bag with the parsley sauce. Toss well to coat the beef. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Lightly oil the grill pan or the grilling rack with vegetable oil.

Thread the skewers, starting with a cherry tomato, then a cube of beef. Repeat with another cherry tomato and another cube of beef. Continue with the remaining skewers.  Grill the skewers for 2 to 3 minutes on each side (for medium-rare) or until desired doneness. *I grilled them on a grill pan for much longer and still ended up with pink centers. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange the beef skewers on a serving platter. Drizzle with the reserved parsley sauce or serve the sauce on the side as a condiment.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: West Loop Edition

One of my favorite things about Chicago (aside from general awesomeness) is that this is a city that takes its food seriously. I follow Eater Chicago and some of the other big food blogs and it seems like there is a cool new place opening up every day and list of restaurants to try continues to grow.

Chicago's West Loop-- Randolph Street, specifically-- is the culinary hub of the city, where trendy restaurants with noteworthy chefs (like Stephanie Izard's Girl & the Goat and Graham Elliot's G.E.B.) seem to be popping up all the time. As a food lover, I couldn't be happier to live in this neighborhood and in walking distance of all of these fabulous places. In fact, since it has warmed up (and WAY up, recently) we have been dining out and about more frequently in the neighborhood.  Here are a few of my recent restaurant finds in the West Loop...

RM Champagne Salon
West Loop

Food and drink aside, I'm simply in love with the atmosphere of this place. It's like the Secret Garden for people that love cool cocktails. I met up with Kit from The Kittchen here for drinks and snacks after work one night and it was the perfect place for a little girls catch up session. They have an adorable (and spacious) patio and a fancy, yet cozy little French-style restaurant all hidden behind the popular Nellcote restaurant on busy Randolph Street. I had a truly fabulous cocktail: a combo of vodka and prosecco with lemon juice and thyme syrup, garnished with a fresh thyme sprig. It was fresh and summery and the lemon/thyme combination was amazing. I wish I were talented enough to recreate this one! We were originally going to meet for drinks only, but the food around us looked and smelled so good that we decided to order a snack. I'm a sucker for good french fries and the pommes frites here are light and crispy and served with a saffron aioli. I'll be ordering them again next time-- along with a croque madame. Yum!
RM Champagne Salon on Urbanspoon

de cero
West Loop

de cero is an upscale taqueria on trendy Randolph Street. We first had dinner here a few years ago and just went back recently and it was great. I love a restaurant with tasting and a la carte options and de cero has lots. They have 6 different salsas to choose from, but we decided on the pickled jalepeno: it was essentially Mexican giardinera, sour and spicy at the same time. And they have tons of different taco options-- from meat heavy to vegetarian and everything in between. Personally, I'm a big fan of the bacon chorizo & potato taco and also the panko-crusted tilapia. A few other remarks on this place: They have a great selection of margarita flavors-- I ordered a mango con chile and it was sweet and a little smoky. Randomly, the pinto beans and rice side is really good. Typically, I wouldn't order them but one of my dinner companions did and I couldn't stop sneaking bites of it. Skip the guacamole-- it is pricey, small, and wasn't very memorable. For value and taste, I do think that Taco Joint edges de cero out slightly, but the atmosphere here is different and definitely worth a visit if you're on Randolph Street and have a craving for Mexican food.
De Cero on Urbanspoon

Nia Mediterranean
West Loop

For as great as almost every restaurant on Randolph is (and I'm telling you about a few of them in this post), I was surprised at how underwhelming our dinner was. We went on a Friday night and the place was not even half full-- that's usually a sign, right? They serve Mediterranean-style tapas and while the food wasn't bad, it was forgettable. And expensive. Even with a Groupon, the bill was high and neither of us loved anything we ate. Also, we went ahead and ordered a carafe of sangria and this turned out to be a mistake-- it tasted bottled, not freshly made. If you're in the mood for tapas and sangria, head north to Cafe Ba Ba Reeba instead where the food is consistently good.
Nia Mediterranean on Urbanspoon

Little Goat Diner
West Loop

Let's end this post on a truly tasty note: dinner at Little Goat Diner. This is the casual sister restaurant to Stephanie Izard's critically acclaimed Girl & the Goat across the street. It's comforting old fashioned diner food with a gourmet twist. Basically, it's just delicious. Having already been to (and loved) Girl & the Goat I had been anxious to try Little Goat, but the wait is usually pretty long. When my restaurant-loving brother-in-law was in town though, he really wanted to dine at one of Stephanie's restaurants. So, we went headed over on a Sunday around 4:30 and only waited 20 minutes for a table!

Everything on the menu looked so good that our eyes ended up being much bigger than our stomachs... we ordered a LOT of food! We started by sharing an order of fried pickles and onion rings. The onions tasted a little pickled, which was surprising but gave them a taste similar to the fried pickles (which I love). And the breading was super crispy (and not soggy) and they were served with ranch dressing and a mustard dipping sauce. We also ordered some tempura fried mashed potatoes. They were totally weird and tasty all at the same time.

For entrees, Alex knew what he wanted almost immediately: beef ravioli with a side of dinner rolls. Random, right? I just love him.

Patrick and I had a bit more difficulty deciding. I ended up ordering one of the day's specials: a BLT made with avocado, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and a smoky gouda cheese spread. Patrick went for breakfast (they serve it all day long like a good diner should) and ordered their infamous Bullseye French Toast. Are you ready for this? It's thick French toast slices with a fried egg in the center topped with strawberries, fried chicken, and maple syrup. Holy heart attack. Oh, and we shared a side of  their creamy mac and cheese because, why not?

I was super impressed by our meal here. For a buzzy restaurant like this, the prices were reasonable and the atmosphere was super laidback-- loud, casual, kid-friendly even. Just a fun experience. And the food is exactly what you'd expect-- rich and decadent, but interesting and well done. And all around, delicious. I can't wait to come back!
Little Goat Diner on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Italian Turkey Meatballs

My husband is a very good sport. I love to poke fun at him when we are at restaurants or when I ask him for meal requests while planning our weekly dinner menu-- I can count on him ordering or requesting one of maybe 6 different meals (including tacos, pizza, and Buffalo chicken anything, to name a few). What can I say? The man knows what he likes.

Another one of those meals is spaghetti and meatballs. He just can't get enough of this Italian American classic and I rarely oblige. Making meatballs from scratch takes a bit of planning and sometimes I don't feel like I have the time to pull together a spaghetti and meatball dinner and do it justice. However, Alex had a long week of late nights and the office preparing for a big deadline so I figured that giving in and making one of his favorite meals was a good way to lift his spirits. And it worked!

These turkey meatballs are pretty easy to prepare-- just make sure the meat is adequately thawed (this is usually where my lack of planning comes into play) before you get started. After you have cooked them, let them simmer in the sauce for as long as possible... it makes the meatballs tender and gives great flavor to the sauce. These meatballs also freeze well. I only cooked half of this batch and froze the others in a freezer safe zip-locking bag for a future dinner.

  • 1 lb. ground turkey *I use regular ground turkey, not turkey breast. Ground breast is healthier, but very dry.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs *You could also use plain breadcrumbs and sub in 1 Tbs. of dry Italian seasoning or a combo of dry basil, oregano, and parsley
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbs. milk *I use skim (since I always have it on hand) and it works fine
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey and next 8 ingredients through pepper flakes. Add 1 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil to the turkey mixture and mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix.

Using your hands, form into about 16 meatballs.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the canola to the pan and swirl to coat. Add meatballs to the pan and brown, carefully flipping occasionally to brown on all sides.

Once browned, transfer skillet full of meatballs to the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until meatballs are just cooked through.

If you're serving these with marinara sauce and pasta, remove the skillet from the oven and drain most of the fat/oil from the pan. Return skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Add marinara to the skillet and stir to coat the meatballs. Place the lid on the skillet and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over pasta and serve warm.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Day Off...

Hey there, readers! Ever have one of those days where you are just spent? I'm having one today. My brother-in-law Patrick left Chicago last night after an extended weekend visit with us. It was a ton of fun, but I am having a tough time adjusting to reality again and accomplishing everything on my To Do List that I neglected while he was in town.

So, I am taking this Tuesday "off" and will return tomorrow with a yummy What's For Dinner Wednesday post.

I need a little time off after 5 days spent with these two jokesters...

In the meantime, enjoy a few of my favorite recent posts from around the internet and blog world...

A recipe for ricotta pizza with peaches c/o The Law Student's Wife. How summery and delicious does this look?

Have you seen this hilarious Comedy Central video about how women can't accept compliments? It's a bizarre phenomenon, but totally true!

I don't know if I am talented enough to make this, but check out this Smitten Kitchen Hot Fudge Sundae Cake. It looks totally amazing! How impressed would you be if you came over and I had whipped this up?

What's your social media style? Find out on Lemon Stripes!

I'm a Buzzfeed fanatic and they recently shared two lists that really spoke to me: 30 Signs You're Almost 30 (I'm less than a month from 29...) and 49 Things People From Upstate New York Love. I'm not a native, but I spent 5 years at school in Syracuse so these made me giggle. I still love Wegman's!

One of the best blogger recipes I have tried in a while from one of my favorite food blogs: Caprese Chicken Nachos with Marinated Tomatoes from Iowa Girl Eats. Give these a try-- so good!

My good friend Kit over at The Kittchen recently ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund her cookbook The Gourmet Grilled Cheese. Check out her thoughts on using Kickstarter.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Recap: Family Fun & Food Comas

Ooph. Monday. I was not quite ready for you to arrive.

We have had quite the weekend here and I am certainly feeling the effects of it. Alex's brother Patrick was up from Dallas this weekend and we have had so a great time visiting with him. Aside from the fact that he's just a lot of fun, Patrick is a big food and restaurant lover (like me!) and he has an affinity for good/rare beer too. Needless to say, Chicago was the perfect place for him to visit-- and his visit was the perfect reason for us to do a little culinary exploration... and indulging.

Proof that Patrick was here: Exotic beers in our fridge.

We took Patrick to Piece Pizzeria & Brewery on his first night here. It was 90+ degrees out and their AC was broken. Yikes! We still really wanted pizza, so we suffered through it and got by with a plate fan manned by Alex and a trip over to iCream for dessert.

As a belated birthday present to Patrick, we took a much anticipated trip to the Publican for dinner this weekend. I won't divulge too much about the meal (because I plan on telling you more later in a restaurant recap post), but what I will say is that it was one of the best meals I have ever had. Also, even as someone who could usually take or leave meat, this restaurant really puts the emphasis on it and it is really good.

Proof positive: the brothers (below) with mouths full of pork.

One of Patrick's only requests for a weekend activity was to make a trip to the Map Room in Bucktown. This bar serves up over 200 different beers, which represent over 26 different brewing styles. Basically, it was heaven for Patrick.

We introduced Patrick to one of his brother's favorite guilty pleasures: Glazed & Infused doughnuts. That one in front is a blackberry-goat cheese bismark. So good.

On Saturday we went up to Montrose Beach for Alex's company picnic. It was a beautiful day for some architects to let loose on the beach volleyball court. And per usual (and to our delight), the picnic was catered by Smoque-- one of Chicago's best barbecue joints.

And we finished off our weekend by gorging ourselves at Little Goat on Sunday night. After an amazing dinner at Girl & the Goat last year I have been dying to visit Stephanie Izard's diner across the street. Many of Patrick's foodie friends recommended a visit to Girl & the Goat, but since reservations there are few and far between at the last minute we decided on Little Goat instead. And a 20 minute wait on a Sunday evening? Perfect.

I'll be sharing more details on the food later, but here's a little sneak peek into how good it was: Patrick ready to dig into his bullseye french toast.

We're headed to Farmhouse tonight before Patrick's late night flight home... we'll miss having you here, brother!
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