07 September 2016

piazza bella.

the babe's first birthday was a few weeks ago ... between the rainy weather & the last minute things we had to do for his party the next day, we couldn't have the fun birthday day that i was planning in my mind. but luckily, we were able to do our first birthday dinner out as a family in our new hood ...

one thing i love about roscoe village is that the restaurants don't get as packed as the ones in southport corridor. so at 5pm, i was able to take a quick glance at open table & see that piazza bella had a 5:15pm reservation open. i snatched that up & off we went.

the about : "whether you are seeking a romantic dinner for two or a grand reception & everything in between, piazza bella offers a superb dining experience." in our case, a speed-eating dinner for three (you never know how long a baby will sit still for ... luckily, he nommed on breadsticks the whole time.)

here's what i had ...

piazza pasta prefirita :
bucatini pasta with basil & garlic tomato sauce.
sometimes the worst photographs = the tastiest meals. 
this looks like something i threw together in 5 minutes, but tasted heavenly. i expected to get pizza for dinner (pizzas are not vegan there, wah) ... but i was kind of happy i got to devour a bowl of pasta instead. i tried to give some to the baby, but he just threw his noodles on the floor. typical.

piazza bella is definitely going to be a new go-to neighborhood spot for us ... super kid friendly, super tasty food, super crisp bubbly. into it!

--
piazza bella
2114 w. roscoe street
chicago, il 60618

31 August 2016

the boarding house.

guys, this was a hard one. i'm giving fair warning that this post might seem like i'm bashing the boarding house ... i'm not. i just had such high expectations & everything fell flat for me. ugh, here we go.

josh & i celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary last month ... per usual, i was unable to decide what i wanted to do or where i wanted to go eat, so josh decided to plan a surprise. please note, i hate to be surprised. i like to know everything... so josh was forced to deal with me asking for hints for a week until he finally relented & told me we were headed to alpana singh's the boarding house in river north for din. yay!

before i dive into the food, i'm just going to say that my inability to find a good description online of the actual restaurant / menu is a sign of things to come. per the facebook page, it's "a restaurant & wine bar located at wells & superior." per the website, "the menu features a mix of small, medium, large, & shared plates." what? 

i went into the meal knowing they had a separate vegetarian menu, so i had high hopes. here's what i had ...


carrot salad :
i can't find this on their online menus anymore, so must be out of season now ... i love a plate of roasted/grilled/sautéed/etc. carrots ... but for some reason, i was shocked when these came out cold. 

soy-glazed vegetables :
zucchini ribbons, julienned carrots, peppers, garlic & sugar snap peas.
okaaay. when a restaurant has a whole separate vegetarian menu & the vegan option is just soy-glazed veggies, we have an issue. our server tried to "make the dish a little more unctuous" (direct quote) since he could tell i was a bit disappointed with this option ... but the chef's response to that was adding some cauliflower. (i originally asked for the cauliflower puree that comes with the mushroom ragout, but it wasn't vegan.) let's be honest, this was fine. that's it.

black cherry sorbet (gratis) :
i did appreciate the free anniversary sorbet they threw in. it was delish. 

it's been about a month since we went here. so while i tried for the "distance makes the heart grow fonder" path of writing this post, it didn't work. i'm actually a little more worked up about it than i should be. here's what i know ...

1. they're under no obligation to have a fantastic vegan option ... but given the vegetarian menu, i just expected it!
2. josh's meal was incredible & he loved every bite.

who else has been here & what did you think? i'd love to hear!

--
the boarding house
720 n. wells
chicago, il 60654

07 August 2016

grocery edition : vegan mac & cheese.

if you could list out the top three questions that vegans get asked, what would that include?

i think ...

1. do you get enough protein?
2. don't you miss chocolate?
3. don't you miss cheese?

listen, i don't miss cheese. but i'm not going to lie, i miss mac & cheese. such delicious, filling comfort food ... hard not to miss it. but lucky for us, unlike vegans of generations ago -- we've got vegan mac & cheese options a plenty available for our consumption.

so i made my way over to vegan heaven (aka whole foods) & picked a few options. here's what i got ...

daiya :
remember when we were kids & we'd say "first is the worst" ...? i decided to apply that principle here. this wasn't terrible (unlike the daiya white alfredo box or whatever, which was truly inedible), but it wasn't great. this one is trying to be like velveeta mac ... #fail on that front.

earth balance :
like the daiya wants to be velveeta, this one wants to be kraft. not going to lie, it's pretty damn good. my level of excitement when this first came out was sky high ... met / exceeded expectations. 
pro tip -- skip the v. milk & add extra v. butter. 

soul vegan :
my faveeee. reminds me of homemade mac & cheese ... i like to add some seasonings & crushed red pepper for a li'l kick (not pictured). if i see this when i'm at whole foods, i pretty much have to get it. it's that good. it comes from the people who brought us vegan now & the original soul vegetarian. so you can trust it's god. (that was a typo, but i decided to leave it.)

welp, there you have it. let me know your favorite grocery vegan mac & cheeses ... always down to try more!

31 July 2016

kitsch'n.

i've been trying to explore the places in our new hood, roscoe village. the top of the pack, you ask? kitsch'n, located right on roscoe near damen.

seeing as kitsch'n is "chicago's cult favorite comfort food & brunch destination," i was pretty pumped to try it out.

here's what i had ...

tofu scramble :
light & flavorful seasoned tofu sautéed w/ evoo, spinach, broccoli, roasted peppers, scallions, garlic & a drizzle of fresh basil pesto. 
here's the deal. the flavors, great. but this just wasn't a tofu scramble. when you're expecting a tofu scramble, you want a tofu scramble. also, i just feel like usually, a tofu dish like this would come with toast? potatoes? like how an egg scramble would come? ... nope. this was just this. what you see is what i got. 

kitsch'n is a roscoe village staple ... i've believe they've been here for close to 20 years. so clearly, this is a me problem. let's be honest. any place that has legit vegan options is a place we need to give a second chance. plus, le baby enjoyed his french toast sticks, so there's that. we'll be back!

--
kitsch'n
2005 w. roscoe st.
chicago, il 60618