Did anyone else have a really good week this week? The previous one was a little rough, not gonna lie, so I was really happy to have this week be on the upswing.
I started out with a taste test at Dos Toros, a new competitor in fast-casual Mexican food. I loved it the first time I went, so I was stoked to be back again with Chicagogrammers this time. Something to know about Dos Toros is that they make everything from scratch. Like literally everything. The staff gets there at 7 am every day (even though they don’t open ’til 11) to make it all. This guac was AMAZING, one of the best I’ve ever had. I would honestly pick this up for a party or something because it tasted so fresh and yummy!
The burrito was the real winner though. With cheese baked onto the tortilla before you add all the toppings, this avocado and Mexican rice filled goodness is the perfect dinner choice if you’re really hungry. I couldn’t even finish the other half so I saved it for the next day. Yesterday was the opening day for their second location in Chicago, with $1 entrees (guac included). If you guys went, let me know what you got. I’ll definitely be going back soon!
Since going to Beatnik last week, Katie, my cousin Kylie, and I wanted to try their sister brand: Celeste! This River North relative is a bit smaller than Beatnik, but to tell you the truth we liked Celeste better. They weren’t shy of chandeliers, as expected, and the vibe was very relaxing and easy with standing marble tables and comfy couches surrounded by jungles of plants. The staff and the people who just happened to be there were all super nice too. Just a couple helpful hints: this part of the bar is on the 4th floor (not the 2nd like we thought 😂) and it’s standing room only. When you see an open table or couch, sprint to claim it. We got a table but didn’t realize at first that the couches were free reign – we thought people had reserved them! Oh well, next time!
Celeste had a sweet happy hour deal of $8 ’til 8pm so we tried a couple different options. Katie got the Silent Treatment (not pictured) which has matcha, gin, absinthe, dry curaçao, orgeat, and a smoked lime which had a nice little bite. I tried the Faithful Mistress with gin, malbec, lavender, peach, lemon and topped with a foamy layer of egg white and a mint leaf. I loooooved this one you guys. Like, it was probably one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. All the ingredients were up my alley so it was pretty hard for me not to enjoy it, but hey I know what I like! Katie even ended up getting one of her own after and ranted and raved about it!
The last one I got was Pinky Ring, a vodka & pomegranate rosé combo with lime, orange bitters, vanilla and ginger. As I said before, I liked both drinks. This one was very refreshing and perfect for the hot day. It was similar to a vodka cranberry but better! I would order both of these again and next time try their bites (we didn’t realize ’til the end of the night that they had them, oops). If you need a little garden escape during the summer, come here!
Something quick I want to mention here, the “cardigan”, shawl, duster, kimono, what have you that I’m wearing is actually a dress!! You might remember seeing the dress on Insta in my Nashville pictures, and no your eyes are not deceiving you, it is that dress! Quick story – when I was contemplating on buying this dress, I noticed that you could wear it multiple ways. Opened up as a shawl, as it’s meant to be worth (all buttoned up dress with the sash), and even tying the sash up and making it off the shoulder! You could even take the sash off and wear it as a headband or as another belt with other outfits! So that sold me on this piece, I’ll be doing another post about it later with all the different ways to wear it so stay tuned.
Next, I took a quick trip to a Chicago icon with the fam: Superdawg! This old school drive in has been around since 1948 and almost every single piece of the spot is original from when they first opened (they make sure to do the upkeep every so often so it stays that way). They have great hot dogs (peep the Tarzan and Jane mascots on top, which also represent Flaurie and Maurie, the founding husband and wife of the establishment), milkshakes, fries, you name it – all the diner classics! What’s so cool is that you could walk up there in the hut to order or there’s a machine at each parking space where you signal the food to be brought to your car. So cool, right? If you want to try a piece of history in the name of good food, this one is a hidden gem!
We’re down to the last couple spots here and I think you’re going to recognize this one. It’s Barrio! After coming here for Restaurant Week a few months ago, I had been meaning to come back for their brunch. Spoiler: it did not disappoint! My friend Nikki was in from out of town and we love brunch so I knew this would be a great excuse to try it out. Thankfully it was nice out so instead of sitting inside (though it’s very pretty!) we opted to sit on the corner patio.
Confession: I have never had bottomless mimosas before. I know I know, how could I right? Nikki and I and the rest of the group all went in on their $25 mimosa deal and our waiter hooked us up big time. Usually, you just get a couple juices but he was nice enough to get us the whole rainbow of them. They are, in order, pineapple, guava, blood orange, peach, and orange juice. I tried all but the pineapple and they were great!
Ok, but be honest, you wanted to hear about the champagne. We got our champagne in wine glasses, not flutes, so they definitely don’t skimp on it! Between the five of us we had two rounds and it was plenty, as bottomless goes until 3 plus another shout out to our waiter for continually topping us off – you the real MVP.
The menu was really hard to decide on – everything sounded so good! I ended up getting the chilaquiles with the pork belly carnitas, though the carnitas are extra you should get them. So filling and savory, perfect to balance all the champagne. The chips had a nice crunch, the cheese was melty and blended nicely with the meat and the eggs gave a nice gooey texture to the whole dish. In short, I was one happy girl.
Ok, one last shout out to our waiter again (last one I swear) because he got us these “cinnamon toast crunch” shots with Rumchata and cinnamon – perfect sweetness to cut the savory meal I just had. This is my favorite kind of shot so again, very happy here. I will 100% come back here for brunch again because we couldn’t have asked for better service and the meal matched it. Who’s coming with??
To walk off our brunch, we headed to the classic “Bean” aka Cloud Gate for a few pics. Then we went to the Purple Pig, another spot I had been meaning to try. It was very crowded so we sat at the bar. I got a great Chianti Classico, which was perfect. Kylie and I split a truffle salami board to pair with it first. Unfortunately, I didn’t taste any truffle at all so I would say to skip this one. However, when we tried the Pecorino cheese board, it made up for it! I want to try more wine bars like this – such a fun atmosphere and who doesn’t love a great charcuterie board to go with a glass of wine? Such a great way to spend the day!
That’s it for now – I’m so happy that warm weather is officially back in Chicago. How would you spend a day out? I need ideas!
Local Spots I Checked Out: Dos Toros, Celeste, Superdawg, Barrio, Purple Pig
Events I’m Looking Forward To: Holt’s Spring Cocktail Menu Blogger Event, Apogee with Jordin, Mother’s Day, Ravinia Restaurant Opening
See you in the next post!