Terra & Vine

Yesterday was busy, and I got to spend it with a few of my faves. 

After lots of time with my little girl, I headed out on a rainy day to Terra & Vine, a rustic Italian-Mediterranean restaurant in in downtown Evanston, to celebrate one of my oldest friends.

Google Maps failed me so I was the last to arrive, but I liked what I saw when I walked in: a friendly hostess, a gorgeously-designed restaurant, and my friends chatting happily.

But I have to confess a secret: I took two photos during lunch. Two. One of the massive pull apart cinnamon roll we had for our first course,


 and my beautiful Italian Cobb Salad (no cheese, champagne vinaigrette dressing instead of creamy Italian). 


Bonus: In the first photo, you can see the sweetly-detailed glass that my Diet Coke came in. If you know where I can find those, I will buy you a coffee. I mean it. I need those glasses. (Sidenote: I have a glassware addiction. It makes moving often difficult…)

Ok, ok, back to T&V. I gave up cow’s milk (except butter) for lent, so I appreciated the substitutions on my salad (didn’t eat the cream cheese frosting either). On that note, our waiter was so nice, attentive, and a hoot. A real character. I appreciated his energy, and his eye on my Diet Coke for refills.

Back to the food. Delicious. I would have showed some restraint on that cinnamon roll if it didn’t smell so good. And the waiter recommended it, so how could we say no?

And even though I made changes to the Italian Cobb Salad, I thought it was pretty stellar, too. I liked the presentation of rows of toppings–every bite was unique. The quality of the ingredients and the freshness was very obvious, too. I enjoyed it almost as much as catching up with my friends.

There is something so filling about spending time with friends. Especially sans little humans. I love my EJ, but she needs to practice the art of dining out. (Rule #1: Stay seated unless you need to use the restroom. Speaking of which T&V’s was pretty and clean, which to me means a lot.)

The question for me is always, would I go back? Yes, for sure. It’s a great meet up spot for friends and young families. They just started offering brunch and lunch, and I can also vouch that the avocado toast looked so tasty!!! The veggie sandwich, too, but lots of bread. Oh, and the fries aren’t bad either…

I’ll also return because I need to scope out that exotic black-and-white tile and those glasses again, too. See you soon, Terra & Vine!

mom’s night out: girl & the goat

Hope is one of my best friends at work. We work really closely together, we talk just about every day, and she makes me laugh harder than many people can. The only problem? She lives 2,120 miles away in Portland, Oregon, and I only get to see her a few times a year. 

She was in town this week for work, and it was the best to be able to say “good morning” and razz her in person. She also kept spoiling me with Mindy’s Hot Chocolate pastries from the Revival Food Hall. Diet starts after the Super Bowl?

On Thursday we planned to go to dinner, with Au Cheval in mind. Upon arrival (around 5:20 pm), frozen from the frigid temperature, the wait was an hour to an hour and twenty minutes (the cheeseburger IS one of a kind, I can vouch for it). But we decided to hustle across Randolph to Girl & the Goat. Immediate seating at the bar was perfect; Hope was excited because she’d been wanting to dine here!

It was my third time at Girl & the Goat (post-wedding and pre-baby, I loved to live it up), and it was exactly how I remembered it. The beautiful decor with exotic details and textures, the hustle of a good wait staff, the delicious smells of high-quality and innovative dishes, the beautiful craft cocktails waiting to be sipped…should I keep going?

I asked for a dairy-free menu (Stephanie Izard is very accommodating to those of us with food allergies and intolerances at all of her restaurants, much appreciated), to balance out my meal and make sure I didn’t overdo it. It’s hard for me to show restraint to gouda bread with smoked lard butter and romesco. So I didn’t.

I also had the Boondock Saints cocktail (a tasty chilled Hot Toddy), a glass of still rosé, braised beef tongue, grilled cuddlefish, the famous sautéed green beans, and the most decadent and fantastic crumpets I’ve ever tasted in my life (served with goat liver mousse, rosemary pickles, grapefruit preserves, and persimmon marmalade, of course). 

This meal was out…of…this…world. It is so hard for me to justify a meal like this now, but I can’t tell you the last time I had a foodie dinner. It felt nice to enjoy a well-cooked (understatement) meal with Hope, and have time outside of work to catch up and be silly. Those meals and moments are priceless. Xo

5 Food Spots I Can’t Wait to Visit This Summer

Now that the sun is shining and the weather is balmy, it’s about time I plan our summer in the city!

Any chance to get outside for some alfresco dining is a must. Whether it’s eating at a vendor’s booth or in a romantic courtyard, I’m in.

Here is a list just five of the oldies (and some new spots, too!) that I can’t wait to visit:

Now the question is: who is going to join us?!?