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!

Week #14 – RL Restaurant

Imagine walking into the charming home of a good friend. The first room you enter is the library and you can instantly tell he has exquisite taste—lots of dark wood, a roaring fire, velvet wallpaper, a zebra mirror over the fireplace with fresh-cut hydrangeas—should I keep going? You’re invited to have a drink at the full bar before dinner, and even though you have to wait a little before you’re seated—it’s not a problem because you’re at your friend’s house.

And your friend is Ralph Lauren.

I’ve wanted to go to RL for years, and for some reason or another, never made it until now. Man, have I been missing out.

As soon as we sat down, it was like a feast for the eyes. I was completely enamored by the décor—there are countless photos and paintings all over the walls. As a former furniture and home writer, I was in heaven. The element of coziness that they’ve established in this restaurant is pretty amazing.

Our waiter couldn’t have been nicer and was extremely attentive the entire evening. We (my friends Bridget and Tara) started with a bottle of Wild Horse Pinot Noir, followed by the oyster special (Bridget), spinach salad (Tara), and shrimp cocktail (me). For our main courses, Bridget ordered short ribs that fell off the bone and melted in your mouth. Per Bridget’s recommendation, Tara and I both ordered cheeseburgers that were pretty big and pretty delicious. (I should mention, too, that RL is managed by the same group who runs Gibson’s, so imagine that level of quality and service in a real-life Ralph Lauren ad.)

We didn’t save room for dessert, but the experience left me full for days. We thought it would be amazing if we could have a standing dinner reservation here we loved it so much, but I’ve also heard the brunch is very good too.

If you enjoy fine décor and want to treat yourself to a delicious, gourmet meal, you must try RL. And don’t forget to shop at the Ralph Lauren home store next door!

RL Restaurant
115 East Chicago Avenue
Gold Coast/Streeterville

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