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

#tbt Favorite Things Gift Exchange, Part 2

You may recall my friends and I have an annual themed gift exchange every year, and this year was no exception! The theme was favorite things last year, and we decided to continue the theme this year because we loved it!

Last time my favorite things were Voluspa candles and Clinique chubby sticks, both from Nordstrom. I guess my favorite things haven’t really changed this year because I gave Simpatico hobnail glass candles in Reindeer and some hard candies I picked up in France (which are actually made in Italy and can be bought here. #touristfail).

My gifts were well received, but the fun part is always seeing what ideas others come up with! Everyone gets three gifts (we pick names out of a bowl). I received a Venti Starbucks travel cup with a gift card (already used the cup, saving the card!) from Bridget, ingredients for Lauren’s favorite grilled cheese sandwich, and a wonderful Rosy Rings Fireside-scented candle and Lollia perfume from Natalie. Other awesome gifts included a movie gift set, complete with movie tickets, wine juice boxes, and popcorn; sphere ice molds; and more delicious Seda France candles.

The other “present” that was new to me was Lauren’s selfie stick! Seriously, it’s so fun and hilarious once everyone starts having a few cocktails. I’ve included a sampling of our best photos for your amusement!

Another year, another wonderful exchange hosted by Bridget. I secretly hope we continue with the theme next year because I love sharing my favorites (I will do something different than candles, I swear!), and receiving my besties’ favorite things, too.

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Week #24 – Farmhouse Tavern

My time has been pretty occupied lately with work and apartment hunting, so I was desperate for some time with my girls. Lauren, Tara, and I decided Farmhouse Tavern was the best place for our meet up!

Right when you walk in, you are greeted with friendly hostesses, but also an incredibly warm décor. Think: wire light fixtures, recycled tin tiles, saturated stained wood, tea lights in small mason jars, chalkboards with barn scenes…should I keep going? The farm feel brought me right back to Knoxville, where Nate is from. My home away from home.

It’s important to note that Farmhouse features local (from the Midwest) and seasonal fare, which is something I really appreciate. As I get older (okay, grandma…), I try to know what I’m eating and where my food is coming from. There’s nothing like eating beef from a butcher you know and eggs from the chickens outside.

We sat upstairs in a cozy corner near the bar. Our servers—Emma and Sam—were attentive and kind. I always love servers who offers suggestions, and when Emma recommended The Swing (Deaths Door Gin, Lime Juice, Simple, Cucumber, and Parsley), I gladly took her up on it. (They have a very extensive drink list.) I didn’t know if I’m a gin fan or not, but this drink was tart, yet refreshing. Good pick!

We started with a flatbread of red onion jam, goat cheese, arugula, and currants on a thin, whole-wheat crust. Melted in my mouth.

I then moved on to the fish and chips, another hit. The presentation of the fries and fish together in a paper cone was playful and fun. I was a little hesitant about the malted mustard seed, but it was such an unexpected delicious addition to the dish. The girls had burgers, grass-fed beef and veggie, with smoked gouda and blue cheese, respectively. Is your mouth watering yet? Just wait.

We finished up with lavender angel food cake, honey vanilla bean yogurt, macerated strawberries, raspberry powder, and heirloom oat crumble. Because the ingredients were mostly dry, the strawberries really brought everything together. The added crunch factor was a bonus, for sure.

My meal was about $35 (with tip), which I think is a great deal in Chicago for a cocktail, appetizer, main course, and dessert. I left Farmhouse full both in my stomach and my heart. Just what I needed!

Farmhouse Tavern
228 West Chicago Avenue
River North/Near North Side

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