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 #33 – Pump Room

The Pump Room at Public Chicago, has been on my to do list since the beginning of the year, and I was so glad to check it  off my list with Nate and our college friends Brian and Kelly.

Brian and Kelly recently moved to the burbs, and asked us if we wanted to get together for dinner in the city. The pressure was on, as I wanted to make a good decision since they were making the effort to come see us. After a delicious—and filling—dinner at Chicago Q (one of my favorites for barbecue), the night was still young, so we figured we’d grab a drink before heading home. I believe Kelly suggested the Pump Room, and it was like she read my mind. It was a nice cool Chicago evening (we’ve been having a lot of them lately—I love it), so we walked over to the historic Pump Room.

Now, I should mention, the Pump Room first opened in 1938, and used to be a see-and-be-seen-place by celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Better Davis, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Clark Gable, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn—should I keep going? The restaurant and bar reopened in Fall 2011, and has been getting great reviews ever since.

When we walked in, we were on a mission to find some seating. As we looked for chairs, it was hard not to get distracted by the beautiful interior design of the restaurant and hotel. We walked through the bar, the library, the coffee bar, and into the screening room, where Breakfast at Tiffany’s was playing. After cozying into the big, comfy sofas, we decided we needed to relocate or else we’d fall asleep (because it was so relaxing—not boring!). We were lucky to get a table after a short wait in the bar. We had a view of the restaurant, and I have to geek out and tell you the modern circular lighting in there is gorgeous. The gold curved wall behind the bar was also a glamorous touch.

Although I didn’t eat (and I didn’t get a good look at the plates either…darn), I did have room for a cocktail, which was a grown-up version of a summertime: Vodka Thyme Lemonade with Belvedere Citron vodka, fresh lemon, thyme, and soda. It was refreshing with a bite, which I enjoyed. The sprig of thyme in the glass gave it a little sophistication too.

Our table was perfect, and the noise level around 8 or 9 pm was lively, yet easy to carry on a conversation (much appreciated!). The tables of customers were very eclectic—from an out-of-town couple on their cell phones to an anxious younger guy waiting for his date.

I really enjoyed this spot, and would like to return for another round at the bar and dinner (small plates featuring a farm-to-table concept). Maybe you’ll join me?

Pump Room
1301 North State Parkway
Gold Coast

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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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