Little Goat Could Be A Reason Chicago is My Kind of Town (and everybody else’s)

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So you know how Vesper tells James Bond in Casino Royale that “there are dinner jackets and then there ARE dinner jackets”… well if you don’t get the reference I forgive you, but I have that movie memorized due to the multiple viewings and staring at Daniel Craig sessions…I digress. Anyway what she means is that not all dinner jackets are the same. So when it comes to describing Little Goat Diner…there are diners, and then there are diners…and drive-ins and dives? No – sorry Guy Fieri – your show is just meh to me – you will never be Bourdain – and that NYT review of your Times Square restaurant..I can’t even. 

Now onto Little Goat. So, after a night of debaucherous halloween activity at a costume party with a DJ…well basically a grown up bar mitzvah if we’re being honest…what do you want to eat after this long night? You might be thinking bagel sandwich…which is NOT what I ordered at Little Goat. 

But, my dining companions and food guides to Chicago decided we needed to try a little bit of everything, and while bagel sandwich was not on the list of what we got, one amazing sandwich was, along with a whole lot more.  EXHIBIT A:

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The sandwich in that cluster of food heaven of a photo is a reuben complete with kimchi inside…I took a bite despite my sensitivity to gluten and I was not disappointed…thank god for peer pressure making me eat gluten. (Hey, a bite here and there for taste won’t kill me but literally I only have a bite) 

So what did this gluten-intolerant/sensitive/annoying eater order – only the most gloriously unexpected amazing hangover food…wait for it…SHRIMP AND GRITS! It truly amazes me that I did not discover my love of grits until I went to college and left the “south”. Here are the most amazing shrimp and grits, and totally different than what most expect…no cheese to be found!

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Little Goat packs a whole lotta punch in the flavorful food which is a mix of sweet and savory. On a side note I really love that they call one section of the brunch menu “Cereal Killers” because, like, cereal is so 1999 back in the days of high fructose corn syrup. A bunch of details in this West Loop eatery make it special, but the rude staff at the front are not that pleasant. But, hey, if I had a ton of hungover millennials coming in at the same time demanding a table or sighing when I have to add them to the list, I’d be a little high and mighty too. On the bright side, despite long wait times at Little Goat, the area surrounding the eatery is quaint and the ambience inside and at the Little Goat Bakery next door are wonderful spots to kill time. Even jaunts around West Loop in freezing temps while waiting make that first bite of the reuben worth it. IMG_9324

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820 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 888-3455

The Verdict: Donuts are the New Cupcakes

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SO – Donuts are everywhere. Really donuts are all over the blog-o-sphere, all over Instagram, Facebook, everywhere! They are invading the Internet more than Kim Kardashian’s booty – which means they are truly all over the place.

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Moving on. I would be much happier if donuts “break the internet” rather than Kim Kardashian’s magazine cover.

Donuts are all the rage right now. I think I made that point clear. So to take on this donut trend and see what people really are talking about, I went to Stan’s Donuts in Wicker Park in Chicago.

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“Stan’s is famous” my friends told me when I was visiting them in Chicago at the end of a work trip.

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So, after eating Chicago’s most famous tacos at Blue Star in Wicker Park (honestly on a side note Big Star tacos were probably the best I’ve had – or I was just hungry and cold) my friends and I popped into Stan’s on our walk home. But, no I didn’t get to try Stan’s, the best donuts, after eating the best tacos. They were sold out of the gluten free donut that night…gasp! How could they do such a thing!

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Well it just so happens that we went back to Wicker Park the next night for sushi dinner at Mirai, and we decided to give Stan’s another chance – it was Halloween after all, so they definitely couldn’t sell out of the gluten free donuts on Halloween. And they didn’t! And all my wishes came true!

I tried the gluten free donut of the day and it was so good and it didn’t even have chocolate in it…normally I would consider this donut blasphemy, but I didn’t even miss the chocolate. The old-fashioned pistachio lemon glutenless donut was incredibly satisfying. I mean post-sushi glory at its finest? YES.

unnamed (2)My friends are proud gluten eaters so obviously they went for the peanut butter pocket chocolate donut and the nutella chocolate pocket donut. I even had to have a bite of the peanut butter one – at the risk of getting sick from the gluten – since I knew we were just going to be lounging on the couch after…let me tell you I was NOT disappointed. unnamed (3)

Scrumptious Sushi in Chicago’s Wicker Park

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I truly adore sushi. So, when my friend I was staying with in Chicago asked if I would mind changing our plans from a gastropub type place to sushi, obviously I said I didn’t mind in the slightest. Sushi is to my happiness as an unorganized pantry is to an OCD person. Sushi makes me happy. OCD people are happy when they get to organize shit. I prefer to eat, drink, and be merry. (sushi being the eat of choice more often than not)

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Sushi is honestly one of the best things to come out of Japan. Thank the heavens we became best friends with the Japanese and adopted cultural components from them and allowed Japanese immigrants to come to the U.S. – enter sushi.

Anyhow – I won’t go on to discuss how awesome the Japanese are and how awesome Japan (side note: I am dying to travel to Japan) – this post is about sushi. And sushi shall be discussed.

I have been to Chicago a bunch in the last few years but until this past trip I hadn’t been to Wicker Park. Yes – that is also a movie. 

I love Wicker Park. What a wonderful neighborhood! And Wicker Park also has the best donuts and tacos – need I say more?! STAY TUNED FOR DONUT AND TACO POSTS 🙂

But if you want your mouth to start watering right now you should check out my sushi photos from dining at Mirai in Wicker Park. 

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SAKE SAKE SAKE – no – this place DOES NOT endorse sake bombs. But their sake is the bomb. 

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A Vegan, Gluten Free, Almost Too Healthy Heaven in Philly

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Pardon the delay in writing this post. I couldn’t let this one get away but not only did I visit this place once on my 2.5 day jaunt to Philadelphia to visit a friend, but twice. As a gluten free member of society, P.S. & Co. rocks my socks off. Some gluten free members of society are truly terrible, but I assure you that I am not one of those people…think of me as Zooey Deschanel of gluten free living – strolling gleefully through gluten free life and not forcing my gluten free eating on others. 

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Anyways…. P.S. & Co. is an amazing little cafe meets grab-on-the-go bakery right near Rittenhouse Square in Philly. My friends that I was in Philly with – one of them lives there currently – love to do what we call “shop and bop”. So P.S. & Co. fit perfectly in the “shop and bop” plans. After a nice long day of walking to the Philadelphia Art Museum and getting our inner nerds on, and then walking all the way back to Rittenhouse, it was time for an early dinner and snack pick-me-ups before our night party plans.

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Everything – absolutely everything – in P.S. & Co. is gluten free. And none for Gretchen Weiners. Rejoice. To see all the healthy snacks and amazing gfree and vegan sweets we ate, see below images with descriptions:

IMG_8719Seriously such good sweets. The cookie is a snickerdoodle sandwich of peanut butter and snickerdoodle cookies with sea salt on top and salted caramel in the middle. BOOM. DECADENT. The macaroon next to it is a spicy Mexican chocolate coconut macaroon. Arriba, abajo…gimme this now. 

IMG_8718Wonderful vegetable nori roll – WASABI puh-lease 🙂

IMG_8715Ingredients (100% organic): Lime, mint, lemongrass, spring/filtered water

Juice plus my favorite flower = happiness in an urban cafe

I WANT TO DRINK THIS JUICE ALL DAY ERRYDAY – IT IS A SPA DAY FOR THE SENSES #HALLELUJAH 

Gluten Free Granola Gluttony

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So as you know by now – I have gone gluten free. I know, I know, so many people are into this right now…kids these days. But I really have a medical issue with gluten (not a celiac but a sensitivity) so you can’t do any of the following if this is your first time learning this fact 1. eye roll 2. gasp 3. unfollow blog 4. say something under your breath about gluten free people…I will find out. 

OK – let’s get back to it then, granola gluttony is kind of a problem for me. Relax all you Michelle Obama lovers out there with her healthy eating campaign…I don’t mean actual gluttony…just like a healthy relationship with gluten free granola that can sometimes seem gluttonous. 

My favorite ways to eat granola include with a scoop of peanut butter or almond butter (currently obsessed with barney butter) but I also like granola (if it is actually good granola) by itself.

Certain granolas taste best with almond milk – I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk and normally buy Blue Diamond brand. Right now I am really into a new gfree granola Kind Raspberry Clusters with Chia…so tasty! The almond milk combo is pretty gush-worthy.  Especially since a bunch of the gluten free granolas out there are so, well, free…of everything – including flavor.  Here’s my current gluttonous obsession granola wise:

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The Best Birthday Dinner (and friends) That Anyone Could Have…Yes That’s From The Hangover

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So, I entered the quote/unquote real world on Tuesday. My launch into adulthood (Kidding, I have been an adult since I was 18, right?) was pretty wonderful seeing as I ended my 26th birthday surrounded by some pretty cool people, eating some pretty tasty food. And of course we started off with some “adult beverages”. After all, I am now a full grown, completely self-sufficient, most responsible adult now…as Cher from Clueless likes to say…As If. 

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We dined at Moxie Kitchen and Cocktails, the highly anticipated Tom Gray restaurant that is hit and miss according to many.

I really only have good experiences here, so I cannot complain.

Hence – I chose Moxie for my birthday dinner location. And it was incredibly lovely. I mean, it is pretty hard to go wrong with scallops on top of cheese grits in a lobster bisque reduction. But really, if what I just described sounds bad to you, then please, stop following this blog. 

We started with deviled eggs. But not just any deviled eggs. A group of chicken-topped, red pepper-topped, smoked salmon and dill topped, and BLT topped deviled eggs. Truly devilish. 

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OH – you want to see a photo of those scallops I described? Well, here you go. And again, if these don’t sound appealing to you…then well “I can’t”…I mean because I ate every. single. bite. of these. 

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A Restaurant that Specializes in Desserts? Sign me up. Mexico City for the win.

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Polanco is a part residential, part business district in Mexico City. It is pretty posh if you say such things. Not gonna lie, every time I hear people use the word “posh” it is hard to think of anything but the Spice Girls. I just can’t help it that I was a young girl in the 90s, and sadly, yes, I saw Spice World in theaters…like opening day. 

I visited La Villa de Guadalupe in the morning and then went on down to Porfirios to meet my cousins for an awesome lunch. Too bad they had to go back to work after- we could’ve hit up the martini list. 

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Anyways – this post is really about food presentation…because the presentation of the food – but mainly the dessert- is insane at this place. So Porfirios is the place I’m talking about…and it is well, a special place. It is trendy, new Mexican, but it is also a spot that is frequented by politicians and the typical male, cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking businessman. Nevertheless, if you are a nice, normal, non-political female, you can still have a great lunch here – a power one.

OK – the food presentation here is unlike anything I have seen. I mean they bring a literal mini version of a churro cart to be placed on top of the table. And they bring an ice cream cart with the actual ice cream frozen in individual spots to scoop out from…I mean this is literal “Fat American” heaven. Top it off with a coca-cola light? DEFINITELY calls for a siesta afterwards.

HERE – see some photos of the amazing dessert presentations in Mexico City at Porfirios:

(unfortunately The East Coast Food Blogger had to eat around the gluten parts of dessert…NBD.)

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YUM – AM I RIGHT?

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