Take 12 Trips: January

Well, another month has gone by and I feel like I haven’t had a moment to catch my breath. I’ve had a lot of new experiences but I didn’t actually take a proper trip.

Again.

So, like November, this month is going to be all about my mini-trips and what I did with what (little) free time I had. January’s Take 12 Trips theme is FOOD! What are you supposed to do when it’s -45 degrees outside but eat?

My roommate, that you’ve come to know so well, and I braved the polar vortexes (vortexi?) and did quite a bit of restaraunting around Chicago. Prepare yourselves for some food porn.

Molly’s Cupcakes  |  Lincoln Park

Molly’s is an adorable little diner-style cupcake bakery. They have swings, yes swings, as their counter seating and their cupcakes are filled with delicious surprises. Mine had cookie dough in it. Sarah and I sat on the swings and enjoyed our cupcakes with a glass of milk like the 25-year-old children we are. Next time, I’m definitely going to try the coffee or hot chocolate because it looked simply delectable.

Overall, I’d give Molly’s Cupcakes a 4.5 out of 5.

Casey and Sarah's Cupcake Adventure

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Stout Barrel House & Gallery

stout-bloody-mary-suitcaseySam and Lindsay, two of my best friends and the stars of my trip to Europe this summer, came into town from Michigan and we hit up Stout for brunch and an early Michigan State basketball game.

Stout recently added a Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar. They had a good selection of bloody mixes but more importantly there were condiments-a-plenty. I can never get enough stuffed olives.

As for brunch, they have a pretty good variety but, if you like sweeter breakfast foods like me, you absolutely cannot pass up on the Red Velvet Waffles!

Stout’s Brunch gets a 4.5 out of 5.

Yolk  |  South Loop

Sarah and I trekked to Yolk in about a foot and a half of fresh Chicago snow. #WorthIt

Yolk is a fun breakfast spot that is always filled with brunchers and yummy bacon and coffee smells. They are usually pretty busy but the wait staff keeps the coffee coming and, like most breakfast establishments, your food comes out super fast. We prefer to sit at the counter and oogle at the delicious food as it is prepared.

Yolk gets a 5 out of 5, every time.

Eataly

eataly-pasta-suitcaseyEataly is a new addition to the Chicago foodie scene. It’s unique in that it’s set up like a high-end Italian food court mixed with a specialty grocery store. Does that even make sense?

The first floor is mainly a market.  You can buy produce but you can also walk up to the Nutella bar, panini station, gelato counter and cafe for takeaway items.

The second floor is mini-restaurants and has more deli-counter style shopping where you can watch the chefs create pasta and other various Italian delicacies.  Each restaurant offers a different type of meal. Soups and Salads, Meats, Pastas and Pizzas. There is also a brewery, wine bar and espresso stand. They are all separate so you have to hop around to the different stops if you want more than one type of food. Eataly is definitely overpriced but with food this fresh it’s worth the splurge.

Because of the steep prices, Eataly gets a 4 out of 5.

Moe’s Cantina  |  River North

moes-cantina-suitcaseyAfter some last minute changes to our MSU basketball watching plans and Sarah and I found ourselves at Moe’s Cantina. They have quite a few good-sized TVs and plenty of table, booth and bar seating. It’s not technically a sports bar but management turned on the audio for the game so that was a huge bonus. Cocktail prices were fair and the TVs were on point. Our bartender was amazing and made sure that we were able to drink away the sorrows of MSU’s devastating loss.

Moe’s Cantina gets a Cinco out of Cinco.

Grange Hall Burger Bar

I saved the best for last. We went to Grange Hall Burger Bar because of Chicago’s Restaurant Week promotion. $33 dollars for a cocktail, appetizer, entree, side and dessert. They are known for having farm fresh ingredients that mostly originate from the midwest. IT WAS AMAZING!

My top recommendations are the hand-made potato chips and French onion dip. Obviously, their burgers are ridiculously good. Burger Bar is in their name.  And the onion rings. Oh my gosh. The onion rings. Hand made cream cheese ice cream with homemade red velvet pieces. JUST TO DIE FOR. If my lack of proper sentences and use of ALL CAPS doesn’t convince you, you’ll just have to try this place out for yourself.

Grange Hall gets a HUGE 5 out of 5!

Hand Made Red Velvet Ice Cream. I DIE. #restarauntweek #grangehall #redvelvet

A post shared by Casey (@casey.gee) on

And now I’m off to buy bigger pants.

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