Just before Memorial Day weekend, I started off with a last minute event with Beyond Meat, Sōmrus Liqueur (an Indian version of Bailey’s but no chemicals and made with natural herbs and spices), and the Dolls from Once Upon a Dollhouse at Taste 222. We got to try all kinds of drinks like this Mango Colada with Sōmrus’ Mango Cream Liqueur, Malibu Pineapple, coconut cream, and then a dehydrated pineapple as the garnish! Very creamy and tropical, I’m not a big fan of Malibu & coconut so this one wasn’t my favorite.
We also got to try sausages from Beyond Meat – the only plant-based one on the market. It was really good, taste-wise it wasn’t much different from a regular sausage so I would definitely try this again!
Next was the Enlightened Squirrel (pink) with regular Sōmrus liqueur, crème de noyaux and crème de cacao with grated nutmeg on top; along with the Lovely Lassi (yellow) with the mango Sōmrus liqueur, aged rum, vanilla greek yogurt, mango puree, fresh orange juice, and topped with a mint leaf and cumin. Both were, again, very milky and creamy but had a little bit of spice so as not to be overly sweet. I liked the Lovely Lassi a little more since the mint really shined in that one!
Now, this last one was my favorite of the bunch and is actually a drink you can order at the venue all the time too! It’s called the Crystal Stowaway and it’s made with the Sōmrus crystal liqueur, aged rum, banana chai tea, pineapple & cranberry bitters, and topped with a rosemary sprig and a slice of banana. I really liked this one, it was a bit stronger than the rest but it had a lot of flavor too. If you love bananas (and I mean real bananas not some artificial flavoring of bananas), you’ll love this!
After a few days, I hopped over to Lincoln Park for the day to work until going to an event later that night (more on that in a minute). For lunch, I stopped by Holy Taco, a small little spot I’ve passed by a few times while going to Alice & Wonder.
It was really tasty actually!! I looooved their chips and guac, the chips were similar to the ones I had at OG’s last week that I raved about…so airy yet crunchy! The guac was super creamy too and I liked that it was very simple with just avocado, cilantro, and lime. As for the tacos, I got the shrimp, chorizo, and barbacoa tacos – all very filling and delicious. In terms of rank, I’d say chorizo was my favorite with its juicy texture and flavor followed by the shrimp (fish tacos are my favorite), and then the barbacoa. Great place for a quick lunch break if you need it since it wasn’t really crowded and they were very quick.
A great discovery I found while returning back to work is that Sweet Mandy B’s, the bakery that I’ve mentioned before about great cookies and other sweet treats, has wifi!! This might be a little dangerous for this sweet-toothed blogger, but I was so happy to add a new place I could get work done that’s not just a Starbucks (love you but need a change of scenery sometimes). This time, I decided to go for one of famous cupcakes.
I tried their cookie monster one with cookie dough flavored frosting and..wait for it..an actual cookie baked inside!! Being the cookie fan that I am, I was not disappointed – definitely going to make this one of my regular city work spots for sure!
As for the event I was waiting for, it’s…the BYOBabe + Chicago Food Authority Collab at Home Slice Wheel House!! So what is BYOBabe, you ask? I literally found it the week or so before the event and so glad I did! It’s a supportive collective of gals that want to “be their own babe” aka lady bosses with side hustles and girl power all around. All the girls I talked to were so sweet, it was so interesting to hear how they found this group and why they decided to join. Now who is Chicago Food Authority? For all the foodies out there, Sam’s account is a dream! She shares all the best spots for food, drinks, desserts, you name it in the city – plus she just started a more personal account called So Simply Sam. She was so nice in person and, being a follower for a while, I was happy to finally meet the girl behind the Instagram! As for Home Slice, I’ve been once before but it definitely wasn’t like this! Decked out to be like a vintage campsite, everywhere you look there’s another hidden detail like the recently moved air stream toward the back of the patio and the neon pizza quote right as you walk in. Everything I tried I loved – from the hummus plate & cheesy bread (yum) to the pizza and dessert.
Not usually a pepper fan as you guys know, however these jalapeño poppers were actually not too spicy so I really liked these!
DREAMING of this cheesy bread – so gooey and delicious!
Now comes the dessert…guys definitely DO NOT skip this! Both desserts made the inner child in me so happy. I really loved the fruity pebbles ice cream sandwich – the fruitiness of the cereal mixed with the ice cream paired so nicely. I also loved the discovery that the cookie dough balls were covered with yet another cookie..crushed Oreos!!
With all this food, I am sad to report that I was too full to try many pizzas but the ones I did try and love were, in order, The Knife & Forkner (BBQ sauce, chicken, bacon, red onions, and all kinds of cheese) and Zephy (Portabella mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, mozzarella, provolone & spinach/ricotta sauce).
Coming into the weekend, I stopped by Randolph Street Market to see an amazing author I had met a few weeks ago, Emily Belden, at Co-Optim for their West Loop event. I started reading her newly launched (in March) novel called Hot Mess – the one I told you guys about where the character gets stuck in a bad restaurant investment and has to either open it herself or lose her money. It’s also based on the West Loop too! So far, I love it!! There are so many restaurant references and foodie blogger jokes – it’s the perfect pool read. Once I finish it, I’ll let you guys know!
This next place is one I’ve been meaning to check out ever since it opened but just hadn’t come across yet. Meet Bonci, the Roman pizza chain hailing from Italy…and Chicago has the only location outside the eternal city. Pretty cool right?? As expected, this authentic spot did not disappoint and took me back to my Florence days when I would go to the Central Market (Mercato Centrale) near my apartment and grab a slice to go! When you come in, the pizza is priced by weight and they cut it to the size you want so you can have as little or as much as you need. This also makes for a great way to sample a few flavors over just one which is what I did.
Before the pizza, I started with some arancini (fried rice balls with melted cheese and marinara sauce among other toppings inside). I loved these overseas so I knew I had to have one as soon as I saw it. The manager recommended the ragú one with meat and it was amazing! I would 100% get that again with it’s crunchy yet melt in your mouth saltiness.
For the pizza, I got three different kinds (in order from the top): prosciutto and mozzarella with rosemary, burrata with njuda (meat), potatoes and mint, and gorgonzola with pear. I liked them all but my favorite was the prosciutto with the rosemary giving great flavor to the pizza. I also really liked the njuda on the burrata one – that particular meat has become very popular on menus lately so next time I see it I’ll try it again because it too had a standout flavor (very salty and rich).
I didn’t try it (next time!) but I was happy to see that they have gelato here. Since coming back to the US, I haven’t really found a place that has gelato that measures up so I’d be interested to see if Bonci’s does.
Last but not least, keeping in the gelato/ice cream theme (it’s summer duh!), my family and I love Chocolate Ice Cream Shoppe – a Wisconsin based shop that loads you with free samples so you can try different flavors before you choose a win. It’s also a very eclectic place too with disco balls and colored lights along with rotating mannequins in the window. I tried a new-to-me flavor called Heaps of Love..and oh was it good. Think of every great chocolate based topping and this is it: oreos, cookie dough, chocolate swirl, caramel swirl, brownie bites, you name it! More to come on this spot since we’ll be back again.
Local Spots I Checked Out: Taste 222, Holy Taco, Sweet Mandy B’s, Home Slice Wheel House, Randolph Street Market, Bonci, Chocolate Ice Cream Shoppe
Events I’m Looking Forward To: Rosé Party at the Gwen, Refinery 29 + Rimmel London Party, Co-Optim + Chanel Launch Party, Denver Trip + Drake Concert
See you in the next post!