Happy New Year everyone! As you might have noticed, I took a small hiatus from blogging to start off 2017… Part of the reason is that I was getting a bit burnt out at the end of the last year, which was actually quite eventful.
The biggest news in my life is that I finally finished my PhD! It was a long, six-and-a-half years journey, and I’m more than ready to start the next stage of my life. Which brings me to these past few months of job-searching, which, while not super time-consuming, is definitely an energy drain. I’ve also been traveling more than before (if you follow my Instagram, I shared quite a few photos from my winter trip to Seattle, Whistler, and Vancouver with three fantastic people), hungry for new sights and experiences. All in all, I suppose that I’m trying to find a new rhythm and routine, so I decided to take a break from the blog for a bit. Thank you for being understanding <3
I’ll be back to writing San Diego restaurant posts soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some photos from a trip that I took to Chicago last year. It was an early graduation celebration trip (okay, technically late since I was planning to graduate in August but dragged it out ’til December instead), with the highlight of the trip being Alinea, which has been at the top of my restaurant wish list for years. The Alinea meal will be documented in a separate post – but we also ate very well for the other 2 days that we were in the Windy City. Here are some highlights.
I couldn’t snag reservations to the famous Girl & the Goat by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, but we were able to eat at Little Goat Diner, her casual eatery. The menu featured classic diner fare, but with a twist on the flavor and/or ingredients that made each dish unique.
This Little Piggy Went to China [$14]
Sesame cheddar biscuit, sunny eggs, Szechuan pork sausage, chili garlic chive sauce, gooseberries. I had a really hard time deciding what to order – everything sounded so delicious! Finally, though, I settled on Little Goat’s take on a classic breakfast sandwich, which was absolutely delicious. The biscuit was buttery and flaky, and the sausage patty was seasoned with Szechuan peppercorns and chili peppers, which added a spicy and slightly numbing sensation and paired perfectly well with the chili garlic sauce.
Goat Almighty Burger [$20]
Goat burger, braised beef, BBQ pork, pickled jalapenos, salsa verde, onion rings, cheddar. J chose this “Goat Almighty”, which definitely shocked us when it arrived! We didn’t even know how to begin eating this monstrous burger. In the end, we enjoyed the goat patty but felt that there was simply too much going on. Still, though, I was quite impressed with the flavors here and would definitely want to try Girl & the Goat next time I’m in town.
Little Goat Diner
820 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Of course, we had to have deep dish pizza in Chicago. I visited Giordano’s during my previous visit to Chicago and wanted to try the other deep-dish big name, Lou Malnati’s. The wait on the Friday night was pretty crazy, but it was worth it. I had a personal pizza with spinach and Italian sausage and really loved it. While Giordano’s features a stuffed crust, Lou Malnati’s is more traditional, and I must say that I preferred the latter version. The tomato sauce had a nice balance between sweet, acidic, and salty. I still crave deep-dish every time I think about this.
The “Lou” [$9.95/personal pizza]
Spinach mix, mushrooms, and sliced roma tomatoes covered with a blend of mozzarella, romano, and cheddar cheeses on garlic Buttercrust. The ingredients were simple but made quite a delicious pizza. They ship their pizzas frozen all over the country, and I am seriously considering ordering one (or… several).
Locations throughout Chicago (see website)
In case you’re wondering why we only had such a small pizza for dinner, it’s because I had more food plans! J is a big chocolate lover, so a visit to the famous Mindy’s Hot Chocolate was a must. Everything on the menu seemed delicious, so we actually ended up ordering THREE desserts – which, yes, we did eventually (sort of) regret. But we finished everything… which also we sort of regretted. Sort of.
Dark Chocolate Gateau [$13]
We immediately decided on this dark chocolate gateau (more like brownie), served with crispy cocoa nibs, raspberries, and a scoop of raspberry sorbet. Even though I’m not a raspberry fan, I love dark chocolate. This brownie was rich and decadent, a perfect balance of bitter and sweet, and I even enjoyed it with the raspberry sauce, which added a lightening touch of acidity.
Panna Cotta [$13]
The panna cotta was served with burnt butterscotch, shortbread crumbles, and a berry compote. I actually wasn’t a big fan of the burnt butterscotch, but the panna cotta itself had a lovely, creamy texture.
Of course, we had to try one of the hot chocolates here, and settled on the “affogato” – dark hot chocolate with a scoop of coffee cocoa nib ice cream. The hot chocolate was so decadent and delicious – I really wanted another! It was a neat little twist on the affogato, which is normally espresso with ice cream, but in this case, the ice cream was the coffee component. Even though we were stuffed beyond ourselves after desserts here, it was definitely worth it in my opinion, hehe.
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate
1747 N. Damien Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for part 2!