Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Girl and the Goat

Ok, here's the skinny on this highly coveted Chicago restaurant spot.
Located in the West Loop in the Randolph Restaurant Corridor. 
Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard.
Not sure if you remember, but she beat Richard Blais...
who just won Top Chef All-Stars.

I attempted to book reservations (at the "three months out" allotted time)
on Open Table for our anniversary to no avail.
I then, on a whim, attempted to see what was available around my birthday.
Tuesday at 4:45pm, the day after, is what we got.
But I shun that reservation not!

Inside, the place looks like something out of a Restoration Hardware catalog.
Background music included the likes of Tom Petty and MGMT.

The menu is divided into three categories:
Vegetable, Fish, Meat.
They're known for their adventurous side,
(Read:  pig's face and skewered lamb heart)
but even a vegan could find something delectable to nosh on here.

Plates are on the smaller side and are meant to be shared.
I groove on this philosophy because it means I get to sample more grub.
And sharing is caring.
However, a party of 3 or 4 is ideal for this type of feasting,
in my opinion (not to mention easier on the wallet).
Even though the hubbs and I can pack away a fair amount of food,
you always leave wishing you got to try such-and-such.
(I'm lookin' at you, Publican pork rinds!)

A variety of craft beers, cocktails, and wine are also highlighted, 
in addition to creative, baked-fresh-daily bread concoctions.

We arrived, to my surprise, to be greeted with a big "Happy Birthday"
and were whisked away to the best seat in the house...

...a two-top facing right into the kitchen!
We're talking up close and personal.

First name basis with all the chefs.  Yeeeeaaah buddy.
With Ms.  Izard standing immediately to our right,
overseeing every dish before it came out.


After much Yelp research, here's what we went with...

roasted cauliflower . pickled peppers . pine nuts . mint
chickpeas fritters . eggplant-tomatillo caponata . crave brother's mozzarella
pan roasted wild striped bass . brandade . heirlooms . sea beans . truffle-poblano vinaigrette
grilled pork ribs . tomatillo-mushroom slaw . grilled scallion vinaigrette
kalbi style beef ribs . corn coblettes . charred okra
wood fired walter's chicken . yuzu harissa . fried pickles . kohlrabi . grilled naan
"not campbell's": broccoli cheddar bread with mushroom soup butter and tomato soup aioli
chocolate bouchon with chocolate gelato and goosberries

Everything was honestly SO GOOD.  Pork ribs possibly my favorite?
Best meal I've had in a long time. 
And the dining experience was like none other!
And the beef ribs were complimentary from hangin' with the chefs all night.

Not sure how we lucked out? But I'm sure glad we did.
Some cool dudes - shootin' the shit & giving us the scoop on cooking techniques.
I'm pretty sure I could now re-create the cauliflower dish.
If I had another stomach (or two), I would have loved to try more!
(Namely, the green beans, squash blossom rangoon,
soft shell crab, goat belly,and pork fat fried doughnuts.)
Perhaps another time.

Sorry I didn't snap more pics...
I was busy having TOO. MUCH. FUN.

If you're in the Chi, you gotta give this one a try.
Definitely worth the wait!

~Photos via Girl and the Goat and by b~

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bust a move

Well not exactly that kind of "bust".
Nor this one:

Today's accessory features the  bust.
Bust:  noun

a sculptured, painted, drawn, or engraved representation of the upper part of the human figure, especially a portrait or sculpture showing only the head and shoulders of the subject.


I'm always looking for fun ways to accessorize the home.

Styled bookshelves! LOVE you.

It reminds me of all of our travel and all the awesome museums we've visited.
A little of bit of historic glam, if you will.
Look!  Here's my favorite one...
Alex the Great and Alex the Stinkiest inside the British Museum. ;)

Now I just need to "bust it" on over to Home Goods or the flee market 
to find me the perfect one!

~Images via Elements of Style~

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birthday in review

This card, by Kara, really set the tone of the evening.
(Great photo shop of me and the Girls.  Circa my 26th b-day.
Still looks about right.)

Which brings us to the soundtrack for remainder of the post:
(The show started in 1982, so it fits the theme in so many ways.)

Alex and Matt picked out beautiful "golden" flowers to decorate the crib:

I got to rock this fun, fitting, gold wristlet from my MIL for the occasion:

Nail color = Dim Sum Plum by OPI:

We then moved things d-town to the Chicago Marriott Mag Mile
home to many festive occasions in my life,
(read: bachelorette party and Alex's 30th)
with sweet vistas of the skyline and lake,

complete with "golden" decor that also made it's way to The Southern. :)
Here is my favorite birthday present, by the way...

We then hit up Piece Pizza
where we watched the Brewers kick the Cubs ass,
and ate scrumptious pizza pies and downed pitchers of cold beer...
my favorite being the white pizza with chicken-bacon-fresh tomatoes.
Bacon + Pizza = To die.

Then we moved down the street and took over the rooftop deck of The Southern.
Weather was perfect with a cool breeze, and the drinks kept a-comin'.
It was SO GREAT to see family and friends from college and work!
One more round of "Happy Birthday" was sung
with these delicious homemade cupcakes to follow:

"Better Than Sex" Cupcakes...
Quick recipe:
Bake up your favorite boxed mix of chocolate cupcakes.  (I dig Devil's Food or Dark Chocolate.  I then substitute leftover cooled coffee for the water, and add chocolate and vanilla extracts to the batter.)

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes with a wooden skewer.  Microwave one can of sweetened condensed milk along with 3 scoops of caramel sauce for 30 seconds.  Spoon over cupcakes.  Twice.  (This makes these babies uber moist and delicious!)  Top with chopped toffee bits.

Make your favorite vanilla buttercream, then stir in two more scoops of caramel sauce, and frost away.
You've got chocolate caramel cupcakes,
topped caramel buttercream, toffee and chocolate sprinkles.  YUM!

Thanks to everyone for coming out to help me celebrate,
for the thoughtful and amazing gifts,
but even more for your gift of friendship over the years!

And a HUGE thank you to my very best friend
for throwing me such a fantastic party.

Love you so stinkin' much.

Cheers to my next 29th birthday!
(Because I'm never getting any older than this.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Here's to a lazy Sunday,
donned in p.j.'s, hopefully full of lots of H20, greasy food, and HBO!  

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate!

~Image via bits of truth~

Saturday, August 27, 2011

All that glitters is gold

Happy GOLDEN me!
(albeit a couple of days premature)

Looking forward to ringing in the last year of my twenties,
with my best friends and family this weekend.

The hog roast with all the fixin's at Lillie Q's in Wicker Park got scrapped (jerks!)
for delish Piece Pizza and beerssssssss,
followed by yummy drinks at a private rooftop cabana at The Southern
with all my favorites!
I am one lucky birthday girl!

Cheers to being 29 and feelin' fine!
Deets to come...

~Image via little bits of lovely~

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday tête-à-tête

 TGIF tête-à-tête
from none other than the fabulous Amy Poehler herself:

Happy {Birthday} Weekend!

~Image via hip hip gin gin~

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday in text

I just finished reading this:
(I know, I know! So behind the times, but give me a break, I'm in grad school!)

It was very cute and entertaining!

Now, I can't wait to start this:

So that I can go see the movie...which has been getting RAVE reviews.
I love Emma Stone!
(well, sans the Marlboro man voice.)

Have you read any good books lately?

~Images via

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I heart you

How adorable are these by boe pieces?

I think that ring would especially look sweet on my right middle finger.

Just sayin'.

~Images via by boe~

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waterfront perfection

Wouldn't it sure be easy to enjoy these last balmy
end-of-summer nights
if your house looked like this?


Infinity pools, perfect landscaping, amazing views....
In the meantime, I'll just keep dreamin'!

~Images via Sunsurfer~

Monday, August 22, 2011

Google autocomplete

Welcome to the immature and inappropriate post of the week!
(If you're easily offended, I advise you to stop reading NOW.)

Here's the huzz enjoying his time playing with the Google autocomplete feature.

He was truly beside himself!

Some of the funny findings...

"Your feet smell like corn chips."
"Your feet smell like vinegar."
"Your farts aren't manly."
"Fart stink really bad."
"Burp smells like fart."
"Your face looks like a cauliflower."
"Your pits smell like onions."
"Your breath smells like an old lady fart."
"Your vagina smells like doody."

It's the simple pleasures in life, isn't it?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Foster the People

I'm officially on the bandwagon.
These dudes have such a laid back beat.
I find it to be the perfect background music while doing things like
cleaning my toilet, web browsing, and sunning thy buns.
It sounds like 1960's surf music.  
Makes me feel like a regular old Cali girl, right here in the Chi.

(Seriously though, these guys kinda look like extras on The Hills, no?
Frankie? Jenn Bunny? Is that you?)

Can you dig?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ten year class reunion

Holy buckets, I feel old.
I can't believe it's my ten year high school reunion!
It's alarming how fast that came up.

Back in La Crosse, WI for a wedding and some Aquinas Blugold festivities.

I leave you with a quote.
(It was posted beneath my photo in my senior yearbook.)

Looking back at the person I've become and
all that has transpired in my life over the last 10 years,
from college to marriage to travels and beyond,
I still feel that it holds true in my life today...

Cheers to the next 10!
~ xo

~Images via AHS and Saying Images~

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fanciful Friday

Feeling particularly fond of my boo today!

TGIF, people!
Home to Wisconsin for a wild wedding weekend with my some of my favorites.
Hope you're spending the weekend with those "someones" you love!

~Photos by b & Quotes via bits of truth~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pop, drop, and locket

I heart these lockets by Belkina.
Simple and elegant.

I can't decide which color I like the best.
I do know for a fact, however, that I like the idea of pairing them.
I've always found it so romantic and lovely to keep close ones near your heart.

Which one's your favorite?

~Images via Belkina~