February Is Chicago’s North Shore Restaurant Month

Now that the secret’s out, this mama wants to talk about…what else…food!

Did you know that Chicago’s North Shore suburbs doesn’t just have Restaurant Week, it has Restaurant Month.

Now, I lived in Glenview for five years after college/before the Second City. (Nate was going to law school in Milwaukee, I was working in Lincolnshire…) I very much loved my time living there, and my parents are still there, so we visit quite Glenview and the surrounding burbs often.

So, in addition to sharing these awesome Restaurant Month deals (just print these certificates and bring them with you!), I also wanted to share some of my recommendations:

Bravo! Cucina Italiana in Glenview: Very family friendly, good for groups!

Corner Bakery Cafe in Skokie: If you’re brave enough to shop Old Orchard in this cold weather, warm up with a cup of soup or enjoy a salad (my favorite is the Asian Wonton Salad) here.

Farmhouse Evanston: I’ve been to the Chicago and Evanston locations for brunch and dinner and loved both. The farm-to-table concept is dear to my heart, and I love to support restaurants like Farmhouse. Haven’t had a bad meal yet!

Flat Top Grill in Evanston: The first location of the chain that I ever went to, and I love the make-your-own soup/salad/stir fry/etc. concept here. And have you tried the naan? It’s pretty delicious! Extra points for being very lactose intolerant/vegetarian/vegan friendly.

Francesca’s North in Nortbrook: This Italian restaurant is exceptional for any occasion, from private parties to date night. The food is outstanding–should not be missed!

Maggiano’s in Skokie: Part of the Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant Group, Maggiano’s has something for everyone. I’ve been to many of the chain’s locations for wedding rehearsal dinners, baby showers, or just a night out. The food is consistently great, and I enjoy the family-style service that creates a more homey vibe.

Pizano’s in Glenview: I remember when “Oprah’s Favorite Pizza” opened in the burbs. I’ve been a few times, and it’s pretty good! This restaurant is always busy, and kid-friendly, too.

Superdawg Drive-In in Wheeling: Now, I must say, it’s not the original location, but the Superdawg and fries doesn’t disappoint no matter where you go. I’m also LOVING their hamburgers…I mean Superburger!

Tuscany in Wheeling: My sister’s wedding shower was here. I’ve been here for Mother’s Day…and Valentine’s Day. The roasted garlic appetizer that’s brought to your table when you sit down is amazing. The minestrone is great. The pastas are delicious. I haven’t been in awhile–more reason to go back!

Where I want to go:

Burger Fi in Glenview: I’ve heard good things from both family and friends. Add it to my must-try list!

Pinstripes in Northbrook: If I told you how close this bowling and bocci restaurant was to my parents’, you, too, would wonder why I’ve never been here yet! Who wants to go for a bowling game and stay for food?

Roka Akor in Skokie: This hot spot opened at Old Orchard not too long ago, and I know my parents are loving it. I know there’s one downtown, but nice to have an option by them, too, for when we visit for dinner.

There’s not much time! Hope you take advantage of Restaurant Month–I know I will!

Family Night at Dimo’s Pizza

After my co-worker and friend Erica and I recently got our hair done at Mane Chicago (Thanks, Lauren!), we met up with her husband and adorable son, Milo, for some Dimo’s Pizza. Erica, a vegan, has been raving about it forever (they always have vegan options available), so I needed to finally see how good the pizza was for myself.

We walked in a Thursday evening to a duo setting up to perform, and a short line to order (this is a double win in my book!). The slices are prepared for you to choose from, and then they heat it up for you and it’s ready to be eaten. The problem is…there are so many choices! I had a flashback to Hot Doug’s, where I chose some non-adventurous menu items, and didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. So I went outside my comfort zone (and my diet), and ordered a slice that sounded cozy and a carb overload: Mac and Cheese Pizza! It’s Milo’s favorite, so that was a plus, too.

I wasn’t sure about my order until I took a bite…and then another and another. You really don’t know what to think before that bite, but it’s mouthwateringly delicious. Erica suggested some BBQ sauce on top (I’m already off the wagon, might as well do it up!), and it was so good. So good that I pushed my limits and got another slice (probably why I passed out from a food coma shortly after I got home).

I should mention that while we were enjoying our pizza, the duo was killing it with hits from Britney Spears, Sia, and others, and we were playing a great game of Sorry (you can check out board games while you’re there). It was such a great time–I need to go back!

So grateful to the B’s for letting me crash family night and enjoy some tasty pizza. Until we meet again!

Dimo’s Pizza
1615 North Damen
Wicker Park

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Week #46 – Estrella Negra

So we already know how much I love Mexican food (as seen this week with my visit to Masa Azul), and I don’t think I’ve mentioned in the past 46 weeks how much I also love the WTTW show Check, Please!. This show is such a good resource for Chicagoans in search of that perfect gem that they might not have found otherwise. Enter Estrella Negra.

Nate and I watched the Check, Please! episode featuring Estrella Negra days before my birthday and decided to celebrate at the BYOB Mexican spot on Fullerton. The food looked delicious (it received high praise from the guests that week), the atmosphere was cool, and I think Nate knew I’d want to go somewhere new so I could share the experience.

We arrived on a cold fall night, and they had our table ready. The restaurant is decorated in design that looks like Dia de los Muertos art, and everything from the walls to the tables are covered with the eclectic décor.

I cannot say enough good things about how awesome our waiter was. He could not have been nicer and more attentive. He gave us time to make decisions, checked on us often, and friendly. When I’d mentioned we saw the restaurant on the show, he said that it very busy the weekend before (which is always great to hear!).

We brought our own wine, which we paired with out-of-this-world nachos (there was nothing left on the plate…nothing); spicy pozole soup that came with our meals; and I had pork tamales while Nate had enchiladas with mango. Everything was perfectly seasoned, and the portions were generous (I took one of three tamales home). The best part about all of the food was that it felt very homemade, like something your grandmother would make. But a lot of the menu items had a modern twist, like goat cheese (an added benefit for me!).

Another plus about Estrella Negra? Our bill. For all of that food it was about $30…total. We decided we have to come back again with our friends, to share the excellent food and hospitality with our friends.

Estrella Negra
2346 West Fullerton
Bucktown

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Need to catch up on my Restaurant Week? Check out: