Week #38 – Davanti Enoteca

My apologies that my posts have been so late in the week, but there are reasons, I swear. You’ll have a better sense of what’s going on at the end of this post. (Oh, sounds juicy, because it is!)

Little did I know that this meal with our good friends Brad and Sandra was going to be my last meal before one of the busiest and most exciting weeks of my life.

I’ve heard of Davanti Enoteca from friends before, and I was excited when Sandra suggested it. Nate and I arrived a few minutes early (that’s a first) and had some cocktails (prosecco for the lady and red wine for her man) before our friends arrived and we were seated. I should mention that the decor in this restaurant is romantic, but comfortable, like you’ve been going here forever.

We sat down and the waiter was lucky because we were starving. The restaurant serves small plates, so we ordered a little bit of everything: pizza and salads and seafood (I tried octopus!) and meat and more. I have to tell you, this creamy polenta dish we ordered with short ribs was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while (and you know how often we go out!). The savory goodness just melted in your mouth. Even if that was the only thing I enjoyed–which it wasn’t–I’d return just for that plate.

We were able to eat pretty much everything, but didn’t leave room for dessert. Next time…I promise!

So, what happened the next day? We got our bundle of joy: George, a French Bulldog puppy who has stolen my heart. Photos to come soon!

But that’s not all. Brad and Sandra surprised us less than a week later and joined us on our trip to Jackson Hole! (Even more pics to come!)

Stay tuned, friends…

Davanti Enoteca
1359 West Taylor
University Village

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Week #11 – McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park

My ice skating skills are not the greatest…but that doesn’t stop me from having a good time!

I purchased a Groupon (I’m a sucker for the deals!) a while back, in hopes that Nate and I could go ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park on a romantic date for two. I envisioned a cold, snowy day, bundled up in hats and scarves, holding hands, drinking hot chocolate…you get the picture. Well, in my true Groupon purchase fashion, I waited until the last minute to use the thing and my husband made it clear that he would rather not go ice skating. Fail.

Lucky for me, my gal pal Sandra, who accompanied me to Slurping Turtle, Ada Street, and The Boarding House, joined me for a little afternoon skate recently. We decided to go right after work, and it was our best decision by far. There was no line to rent skates (it’s a notoriously long line, I guess), and we got right on the ice! Now, the last time I remember ice skating was back in 5th grade, when all my girlfriends and I would head to Oakton Ice Rink to meet up with the boys. I was a little rusty, to say the least.

We decided to go slow and take five laps at a time, soaking in the beautiful Chicago architecture that feels like it’s at your fingertips, all while trying to stay coordinated and not get mowed over by show offs and others who, like myself, were a bit challenged on the ice.

I’ve got to tell you: the people watching at ice rinks is awesome. Young new couples, several skaters who are out in the middle of the ice trying to show you they’ve still got it, a girl speed skating by herself with her hands full of shopping bags—you name it, we probably saw it. A young couple approached Sandra and me and asked us to take their photo. It that seemed like they just started dating, so I made them kiss while I snapped the photo. Do you remember those first photos you took with your guy/gal when you just started dating? I remember mine was with Nate and his twin brother Aaron at a bar in Champaign where we went to college (Gully’s, for those who are familiar!). I remember how giddy Nate and I looked in that photo. Ahh, young love.

Getting back on topic, Sandra and I skated for about 35 minutes, then decided to head up by the Bean for a photography session. It was perfect timing because the Zamboni came on the ice right as we turned in our skates so we had to get off the ice anyway. It was a nice night (a.k.a. not freezing and windy), so we spent a little time taking selfies, photographing shots of the Bean and the city, and our fellow skaters below us on the ice.

As I rode the #20 bus home with a Starbucks hot chocolate (with soy milk, no whip) in hand, I realized how lucky we are to have these great outdoor activities that the city puts on. I can’t wait for festival season—and warm weather!—to arrive.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink (closed for the season)
Michigan Avenue & Washington Avenue
The Loop/Millennium Park

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Week #4 – The Boarding House

I have been a Check, Please! fan for years now, so when Sandra told me we had reservations at The Boarding House after Ada Street last Friday, I was pretty excited. (My sister-in-law Melissa also recommended it earlier that week!) I was even more impressed when we walked up to the three-story building at 720 N. Wells and fell in love with the beautiful façade.

I read about the fantastic wine glass chandelier in the bar on the first floor and had seen it online (get a tour of the Boarding House here, but it’s much grander in person. I was distracted, however, by the fact that Ms. Alpana Singh was at the host stand when we arrived! She whisked us downstairs to the basement Cellar, where the wine cellar, another bar area, and seating were available. Our table was centrally located, and I was so excited to soak in all of the action.

Our waitress Sloan really helped to make our experience unforgettable. She was kind, informative, and attentive. I started out with a glass of Rosato champagne (when in doubt, pick the first thing on the menu!), Sandra also had a glass of bubbly, and the boys split a bottle of J. Christopher Pinot Noir (see the wine list here). Their wine was so smooth, they were drinking it like water. Sandra and I loved our champagne selections so much, we decided to get a bottle from The Boarding House’s “Our Top Wines of the Moment List”, an assortment of wines and champagnes that are on special.

I have to admit something to you too: while in the Cellar, I never stopped dancing in my seat. Or belting lyrics at the top of my lungs, for that matter. (I was that girl.) The music in the Cellar is an eclectic mix of 80s & 90s pop that is to die for.

Hours passed by quickly, and we left The Boarding House around 12:30 a.m. We had the best time, and even stopped to chat with Alpana on our way out. (Bonus!)

I’m sad to hear that after this next season she will no longer be the host of Check, Please!, but I’m confident that The Boarding House of River North, is and will be a gem to visit for years to come.

The Boarding House
720 N. Wells
River North

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