I’m so excited for this week to start because I’m going to Nashville! Yay!! This will be my third time (!) and it’s honestly one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited so I can’t wait to show you guys some of my favorite spots as well as a few new ones. I’ve been looking back at my old trips here trying to downsize my must-see list so if you have any recommendations – let me know!
..Back to last week, I tried out something new I’ve never made before – burgers! But not the kind you’re thinking of: a tuna burger. I got them from Trader Joe’s just to see how they’d go since I love fish and thought I could do a little “sushi” burger with them. I whipped up a little homemade sriracha aioli to drizzle on the buns and over the burger and also topped the burger with half of an avocado too. It was really tasty!! I would definitely make these again.
To all my fellow Chicagoans, there was a special day celebrating one of our favorites: the 55th anniversary of Portillo’s! To ring in the new year, the restaurant was offering .55 cent slices of chocolate cake so I had to partake along with a hot dog and some fries. Yum!
While doing some research for a future blog post, I ended up trying out 3 Greens Market (not to be confused with Green Street Smoked Meats) right across the street from one of my favorites, The Hampton Social. I had been meaning to check this place out and had no idea it was a coffee shop. They also have pastries, a hot bar & salad bar, and…wait for it…Small Cheval burgers!! I was so excited because I had never had one (nor Au Cheval’s) so of course I had to see what all the hype was about. I don’t really like burgers unless they have a lot of cool toppings on them like guacamole or something so I wasn’t sure how this was gonna go, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Not a drop of the sauce or grease even dropped on to the plate – it was probably the best burger I’ve ever had (I added bacon) and so yummy! Their sauce on top is what made it and I would definitely put it on my fries as well as chicken tenders or any other snack/sandwich so if anyone knows if I can buy that somewhere, help a girl out. As for the 3 Greens space itself, I really liked working here. The wifi had no issues, there were some groups who talked here and there but not noisy, and the music was really good as well. Highly recommend for those who can work anywhere.
In the theme of trying out things I wouldn’t normally go out of my way for, steak is another food that I don’t order often (can you tell I’m not a big red meat fan?). However, I did want to gain some knowledge on it and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try different kinds to find out which ones are worth it so I was super excited to try out Chicago Chop House, a 120-year-old steakhouse in the city for a steak education. I’ve been to Gibson’s once before but got the lobster (oops) so this will technically be my first steakhouse experience.
Before we dive in, here’s a little background on the restaurant.
As mentioned above, they are 120 years old – the third oldest steakhouse in the city behind Gene and Georgetti (1st) in the 1940s and Morton’s (2nd), though Morton’s is now a chain so it’s hard to control their quality. Chicago Chop House is the only Irish American steakhouse against its competitors and started by Henry Norton; before that, it was an apartment complex that hosted gypsy families and tarot card readers. There’s actually a little 8-year-old girl named Florence who died here so it’s a little haunted too.
There are 1400 photos on each floor including a wall of every single Chicago mayor in history minus Rahm Emanuel (they’re working on it) – not even museums have this many! They also have a wall of different retailers like Mr. Marshall Field as well as Sears and many others.
As for the meat, they cut it all in-house and only serve prime – the highest grade (top 2%). For those who don’t know, the levels in order from best to worst are prime (can’t buy at the grocery store, very expensive so only a select few restaurants actually serve it), choice (cheaper steakhouses and sometimes the store), and select (the most common one, can find it pretty much anywhere). We tried 4 different types of 28 days aged steak: dry, prime, wet, and wagyu (Mishima). The only one I wasn’t a huge fan of was the dry aged and my favorite was the wagyu since it was super juicy and tender.
We were given all kinds of sides to go with the meat. My favorite was the truffle mac and cheese, which yes I love my truffle but not much of a mac and cheese fan so I was surprised that this was so good. The crust was the best part. The mushrooms and the potatoes were great as well and we capped it off with a slice of chocolate cake.
Something new that’s still under construction is their soon-to-be-opened roof top – such a great view of River North from here! They’re calling it the “steak speakeasy” and are opening a patio on the ground as a secret garden to get both levels too. I’ll be sure to head back when those are fully opened so stay tuned!
Just before we left, we got to tour their wine rooms – so cool to see their collections, some bottles were as old as 1975! That’s older than me!! We also got car service for the ride home, no Uber needed. So perfect!
You’ve heard me talk about this next spot before, and there’s a good reason why because it’s so good: Holt’s. Holt’s is a great little spot with amazing pizza, this time we kept it low key with some gooey cheese curds and cocktails. We tried one of the seasonal options, the Game of Throne themed “Jon Snow” an apple version of a Moscow Mule – yum! I can’t wait til their spring cocktail list comes out.
Last but not least, I had brunch with one of my besties, Maddie at Blue Door Kitchen and Garden. After checking out their other location in Lincoln Park, I had been meaning to give this one a go next.
The decor was very similar but the menu here was a little more inventive. Maddie and I had never had beignets before so we decided to try them – so delicious! No wonder everyone loves them. To pair with it, I got the Strawberry Rhubarb mimosa because why not. It was somewhere in between a bellini and a mimosa and how are these not an option everywhere?
I was having a tough time deciding on what to eat so the waiter offered the special: waffles with a blueberry mousse and blueberry compote on top. This was quite sweet so I wish I would have ordered a savory side along with it too.
Local Spots I Checked Out: Portillo’s, 3 Greens Market, Chicago Chop House, Holts, Blue Door Kitchen and Garden
Events I’m Looking Forward To: Yard House Happy Hour?, Influencer Marketing Seminar with Oak Street Social, Nashville Trip, Sassy Confetti Jewelry Party with Stella & Dot, Exploring the Logan Square Bar Scene, Brunch Bites River North?
See you in the next post!