Week #28 – The Bristol

My sister and nieces were recently in town for the past 3.5 weeks, which brought me to the burbs a lot (I miss them!). Needless to say, this Second City Gal majorly compensated this week with three nights-worth of new events (two restaurants and a concert). It’s a marathon, not a sprint, people! So here’s #1: The Bristol.

Nate and I couldn’t make it to our friend Jill’s kayaking party last Saturday (we had my niece Julia’s first birthday at Oberweis Dairy!), so Jill and I made plans to go out for dinner with our hubbies. Jill chose The Bristol, and a good choice it was!

I made a reservation for Wednesday at 7:30 pm, and it was pleasantly mellow when we walked it. The front windows were open to let the fresh, cool air of a beautiful summer night in, and the lights were dimmed to perfection.

I went to the restaurant with an idea of what I wanted to eat (lactose intolerants have to preview before arrival), but the cocktail menu caught me off guard. The drink combinations all sounded interesting to me, so I opted for the Ring the Belle (leblon cachaca, chartreuse, lime juice, honey syrup, fee’s peach), which was refreshing and delicious. Nate had the Lazy Suzanna (a bourbon drink), Jeremy stuck with Moscow Mules (my usual staple in that perfect copper cup), and Jill had a Dark and Stormy (looked pretty and tasted good!).

The Bristol is a shared plates restaurant with an eclectic menu of seasonal foods from Midwest farmers (here’s the menu). When we ordered our food, our waitress—who was very nice and attentive, by the way—suggested we get a bunch of starters, two pastas, and two main dishes. We opted for the apple salad, pork loin, cheese board, chitarra pasta, half chicken, and hanger steak. Oh yeah, and the duck fat fries! I think my favorites were the apple salad, the duck fat fries, the cocoa cardona goat’s milk cheese with this amazing marmalade pairing, and the chicken, which came with this perfectly salty spaetzle.

With this amount of food for four people we were all full, so we opted to skip dessert. When our waitress brought out four mouthwatering homemade Nutter Butter cookies and a candle for Jill, it was the perfect way to end a perfect dinner.

The Bristol
2152 N. Damen
Bucktown

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Week #12 – Piece Brewery & Pizzeria

Everyone and their mother has had a piece at Piece, so this was a no-brainer to pay a little visit to this beloved pizzeria for the blog!

Nate and I doubled with Lindsey & Matt for an early dinner because it is infamously packed—early was a good call, and it was pretty calm, actually. I especially liked all of the twinkle lights and the pinball game near our table.

Nate and Matt ordered two of their award-winning house beers (who knew they brew their own beer!), and Lindsey ordered a glass of wine. The waitress helped me choose a Hitachino Nest White Ale, based on my love for Blue Moon and wheat beers. It was pretty tasty, and the cute owl on the label was an extra bonus.

Now it was time to choose our pizzas. Piece is New Haven-style pizza—Connecticut has it’s own style of pizza?! New Haven pizza traditionally has a generous amount of red sauce topped with garlic, extra parmesan, and olive oil.

After reviewing our options carefully, we decided on two large pizzas, one pepperoni pizza with red sauce (Matt’s go-to!) and one pizza with white sauce with two halves of different toppings. But which toppings? We went with the waitress’s recs: bacon and clam pizza on white sauce (they are famous for it), and sausage and basil.

The larges are like extra larges, perfect for sharing and having leftovers to heat up the next day. I also liked that the pizzas were big ovals cut into small triangles, allowing you to try more slices.

My first Piece? The pepperoni and it was a delicious, safe way to start. Then I went for a piece of the sausage and basil, which was my hands-down favorite! The sausage wasn’t too greasy, and the basil gave it a nice element of freshness. Ok, two for two.

Then came the bacon and clam pizza, which came with a side of lemons. I squeezed on my lemon, and I’ve got to admit, it’s just not for me. I’m really glad I tried it though. (Clams on pizza is VERY adventurous for me!)

So would I go back to Piece? In a heartbeat—I’m already craving the sausage and basil pizza again! I’d also like to try one of their house-brewed drafts next time. I’m glad that I can now be another voice in the crowd of people who enjoy Piece.

Peace, Piece!

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
1927 West North Avenue
Bucktown

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