The Perfect Winter Lunch at Urbanbelly

We all know this winter has been unusually awful, so it’s good to find meals and recipes that make you feel warm and cozy as the snow falls and the wind blows. Enter Urbanbelly.

Nate suggested this little gem after our visit to the Chicago Auto Show last week, and it was excellent. Urbanbelly just joined our neighborhood months ago, housed in the same building as bellyQ on Randolph Street.

We walked in, and were warmly greeted by a host/waiter standing behind an order counter. He told us to take our time browsing the menu. We decide to sit and one of the restaurant’s communal tables to decide what to order.

Nate returned to the front to order. We opted for three pieces of pork and cilantro dumplings that are pork pot stickers with soy-balsamic sauce and pickled cabbage. The sauce made these pot stickers–hands down. I added more sauce that was on the table to enjoy.

Next for me was the Urbanbelly Ramen: Ramen noodles with braised pork belly, mushrooms, and egg. The pork belly melted in my mouth. The broth was flavorful with a kick. Nate had the Shrimp Udon Soup: thick Japanese noodles with shrimp, fish cakes, bok choy, and mushrooms. From the number of pepper flecks in his soup and the amount of water we drank, I’d say his had some heat!

I finished my meal by enjoying a small kettle of Jasmine tea–delicious. Nate tried it and loved it, too.

Delicious food, stellar service and close by? We will definitely be back for more. (Hopefully the temperatures warm up soon!)

1400 W. Randolph
West Loop

Urban Belly
1400 West Randolph Street
West Loop








Week #46 – Little Goat

Well, maybe you thought my Restaurant Week was over, but I needed to go out with a bang. Hello, Little Goat.

For months, it was killing me that I had not yet been to the latest restaurant of one of my favorite chefs: Stephanie Izard. (More Top Chef love!) Girl & the Goat is one of the best restaurants in the city, not to mention both spots are THREE blocks from our place! So today was the day we finally went with our friends Brad and Sandra.

Nate and I walked in and there was a photo booth. Awesome. It was 9 a.m. and the wait was brief. Double awesome.

We sat down in a cozy booth in what truly is a hip diner. I loved the wallpaper, the retro lighting, that you could see the cooks in the kitchen…I loved it all.

Looking at the menu had me drooling (A whole section dedicated to potatoes? Yes, please!), and I opted for coffee, corned beef hash with poached eggs, and a cinnamon roll for the table. I’m still drooling thinking about it…

The hash was so cozy and filling, I could only make it through half. I tried some of Sandra’s apple pancakes, and they were so delicious with buttermilk butter and oatmeal crumble on top. And the boys ordered a French Toast dish with chicken and fresh strawberries on top of eggs. The perfect combo of sweet and savory. The cinnamon bun was the perfect end to my meal, leaving me so stuffed I had to take a nap after breakfast.

Will I go back? I want to go tomorrow!!! I need to now have lunch and dinner here, and then breakfast again. Oh, Nate, I think I just found our new go-to spot. Check it off the to do list!

Little Goat
820 West Randolph
West Loop





Week #43 – Pork Chop

During my freshman year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I lived in Scott Hall (Six Pack is the best!) and quickly made friends with Linda, Molly, Stefanie, Laura, and Alexis. Julie and I lived together during that year, and knew each other since middle school. We made some unforgettable memories that year, and remained close throughout college.

We recently reunited at Molly’s wedding, and my dinner at PorkChop with Julie, Laura, and Stef was our first chance to sit down and catch up. Stef was moving back to her hometown of Winnebago in just a few days…better late than never, right?

Located on Randolph St. in the West Loop, PorkChop is a BBQ joint with a bit darker twist. The decor included saws hanging from the ceiling, taxidermy animal busts on the wall, and dark wood.

Many of us ordered hard cider to drink, and I ordered a pulled pork sandwich for my meal. Our waitress wasn’t the most prompt, but it didn’t matter because we had lots to discuss! Boyfriends, family, babies, moving–a lot happens in eight years!

Everyone was pleased–and stuffed!–from their meals, and I was able to say goodbye to Stef before she moved. Wishing you lots of joy and success in Bago, Stef!

PorkChop Chicago
941 West Randolph Street
West Loop