Week #46 – Three Dots and a Dash

Because I’ve been to a bunch of new restaurants lately, I decided to put them all together in what I like to call Second City Gal Restaurant Week!

First up, my visit to Three Dots and a Dash. I heard a lot about this place and saw enticing pics of tropical drinks on Instagram, and I had to find a way to get here. When my cousin mentioned she wanted to go, too, I knew she’d make it happen for us. We made a night out of it with dinner followed by Three Dots.

Let me tell you, this place is unexpected tropical fun! To get there, you follow a blue-lit alley on Hubbard to a door with a small sign. Prepare to wait if you don’t have a reservation–in the words of Zoolander, this place is “so hot right now.”

Down a blue-lit flight of stairs you’ll go, surrounded by skulls and a giant tiki-type statue. Check in at the host stand, where you’ll be seated either in a small, dark lounge room or the vibrant, loud tiki bar.

We were seated first in the lounge, but switched to the tiki bar to be where the action is! After a mix up with our seating, we were given the Zombie Punch, a sharing drink that gave everyone at the table a kick to start us off.

While we enjoyed the Zombie Punch, I ordered a Jungle Bird, but ended up exchanging it because it was quite strong for this lightweight. Note: some of the rums are aged in whiskey barrels, so they’re much stronger and have a different taste than you might think. Our waitress kindly let me switch that drink for a Pago Pago, which was much more my speed with rum, chartreuse, pineapple, and lime. We ordered another sharing drink, Planter’s Punch, to top it off too!

I have to add a few more details about the drinks. Each cocktail is inspired by a place and time (for example, the Jungle Bird is from Aviary Bar in Kuala Lumpur circa 1978). There are also skulls on the menu by cocktails that are extra strong, so order accordingly! And all souvenir mugs are available for purchase. (You may be tempted…I was!) Check out the drink menu here.

I can’t write this post without talking about the ambiance. It truly feels like you’re on vacation, complete with decor and awesome reggae and tropical music. I couldn’t stop dancing–that’s a good sign! (My family could admit otherwise…)

If you need a vacation, head to Three Dots and a Dash. Aloha!

Three Dots and a Dash
435 North Clark
Near North Side

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Week #23 – “Breakup at a Wedding” Movie Screening & Miller’s Pub

A handful of my friends are moving back to Chicago this summer, including Ali, my good friend from college, and her husband Adam. Ali and I met freshman year through our sorority, and lived together our senior year at U of I—needless to say, we’ve been through a lot.

Ali has lived and worked in NYC as an actress since we graduated from college, and although I visit New York often, it just got hard to see each other. So I was pretty excited when she messaged me on Facebook to announce her move!

We reunited over sushi last week, and I’m happy to say it was just like old times. When she asked me to come to the screening of her new feature film, Breakup at a WeddingI couldn’t wait to support her. Watch the trailer here! Having planned my wedding less than two years ago I was pretty intrigued by the title…ha!

We went to DePaul University’s CDM Theatre, where Ali and her co-star Mary Grill (she also appears on The Mindy Project) were hosting the screening. The movie features a bunch of hilarious young actors Ali’s been working with for years. With a small budget and 12 days of filming near JFK Airport, they were able to make a laugh-out-loud, heartfelt film.

Here’s the scoop: The night before her wedding, the bride-to-be (Ali!) decides she doesn’t want to married, but convinces her fiancé to go through the motions on their wedding day (except for signing the marriage certificate part). The groom hopes a present at the wedding with change Ali’s mind. Does it? (This is the part where you go to the website and pre-order the movie that comes out on June 18th if you want, hint hint.)

Seeing Ali larger than life on the silver screen for the first time was surreal. I’m so proud of her and her friends for the awesome film they made, and I’m glad we saw it in a theater. It’s pretty cool to hear people laughing at your friend’s jokes—especially when your friend is on screen.

I should also mention that at the screening, I also met Ali’s husband Adam and saw one of our sorority sisters, Stacey, who I haven’t seen since college (many years, people)!

After we snapped some photos at DePaul (Ali’s dad even brought his own red carpet!), we headed over to Miller’s Pub (another new spot) for a celebratory cocktail or two (a Midwest Mule and a wheat beer for me). This place felt so old-school Chicago, like the décor (with it’s street signs and Chicago memorabilia), the bartenders (in white shirts with black vests), and the people (a solo man next to us has been coming since the early ’90s) haven’t changed in years. There’s comfort in the familiar, and this was a great place to get together with old friends, and new, in my beloved city of Chicago.

Cheers, Ali!

Breakup at a Wedding
Release Date: June 18, 2013

Miller’s Pub
134 S. Wabash
The Loop

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Week #22 – Mah Jongg Event at the Chicago History Museum

Our friend Megs, who took me around the Chicago History Museum earlier this year, invited Nate and me to an event to play Mah Jongg…what the heck is that? After getting clarification that it’s a Chinese tile game that Jewish women began to play in the early part of the 20th century, I was in. Nate loves to beat me mercilessly at games, so I knew he’d particularly get a kick out of it. I especially wanted to go because the name of the event was “Memories, Martinis, and ‘Mahj”. How could I refuse?

By the time we arrived, the games were in full swing. You could tell the people playing were pretty serious, so I knew early on that I’d be a spectator at this event and not a participant. Not to mention the fact that there are 136 tiles with different Chinese symbols and numbers in the set, and there’s a guide book needed to play. (I now know why they offered an info session!) So we headed over to the photo booth (woo!) to start out the night.

The photo booth, which was a photographer taking photos, was fun because of the props. Nate was a great sport and dressed up in a tie, hat, and 50s glasses! The full-size photos were ready later in the evening, and were a great keepsake from the event.

After photos, we grabbed a cocktail. I believe mine was called the Red Dragon (cosmopolitan) and Nate got a Manhattan (I forget the name!). Very tasty! There was also a spread of Jewish appetizers, followed by sweets and tea and coffee.

We hung out for a while…mingling, chatting with our fellow partygoers, learning trivia about Jewish Chicago, reading the Mah Jongg memories in the scrapbook they were putting together at the event, and…waiting for the raffle. If there’s one thing I love more than photo booths, it’s raffles! I earned a raffle ticket for my “50s-style dress”, and was excited to possibly win some swag: mugs, tote bags, and even a new Mah Jongg set. Did I win? YES! What did I win? Free parking to return to the Museum, which I’m excited to use. I’d really like to bring my nieces and Nate’s nieces to the Museum to learn more about my great city.

The Chicago History Museum has a ton of really cool events happening all the time, so make sure to check them out!

Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark
Old Town

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