October 28, 2009

Travel / Adventures – Hot Chocolate Restaurant [October 27, 2009]

Posted in Restaurants, Travel & Adventures at 4:33 pm by Heather

Hot Chocolate

1747 N Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-1747

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A girlfriend of mine and I went here last night to catch up, and I am so glad we decided on Hot Chocolate.

First – make sure to call and make reservations; if we hadn’t we might not have gotten a table since the place was packed.  Surprising for a rainy Tuesday night (although the 1/2 price wine might have had something to do with that)

The service we had was excellent – my friend is pregnant and misses alcohol so she asked the waiter to have the bartender whip up something mocktaily, and was very pleased with the results.  I had the cold chocolate, which was okay – if a bit bitter.

We both ordered the Frisee salad, and I must say that is was one of the best salads I’ve ever had – the flavors melded so beautifully, and my friend agreed.

For dinner, I got the mac and cheese, and it was more on the runny side than what you expect from Kraft, but it was fantastic – you just eat it with a spoon instead of a fork.  The portion was relatively small, but I could have just eaten half of it as it was so filling and delicious.

For dessert, I got the mexican hot chocolate, and mused aloud to my waitress that I wish I could get a half order of the donuts, because there was no way I was going to eat the whole thing.  She said “let me see what I can do” and came back with a half order which was two donuts and I still could only eat one.

But, awesomely enough, she offered to-go cups for our hot chocolate (which was WONDERFUL), and a to go box for my dessert.

I will definitely be back here again, and it’s officially one of my favorite restaurants in the city.


September 7, 2009

Spring Restaurant [September 1, 2009]

Posted in 101 in 1001, Restaurants at 9:30 am by Heather

On Tuesday night, my friends generally go out for Beer Tuesday, and I occasionally join them.  However, since Julie wanted to join us to drop off some tickets that I was the middle man for, and Beth isn’t drinking these days so we decided to start off my 101 in 1001 with a bang and head for a new restaurant.

Beth has her own list of “Restaurants to try”, and  Spring was one of them.  It’s located 3 blocks from the Damen blue line stop in Bucktown/Wicker park, and has gotten rave reviews for its seafood.

I wish I’d gotten a shot of the outside, but it’s in this rather industrial-ish section of the neighborhood, slightly away from the “regular” Wicker Park area.

I got there earlier than everyone else, and sat at the bar and had a very nice Pinot Noir while waiting for Julie and Beth to show up.  The ambiance is short on lighting – everything is very dim, which is why I had to take the menu home to actually get a decent picture of it. 

I had thought to get the sweet corn soup, but after Beth and I interrogated the waiter, I had decided on the lemongrass soup, which the waiter said was “so good you’ll be updating your facebook status about it”, and the Barramundi.  The restaurant was also having a tasting menu, which had the soup and a different preparation of Barramundi, and based on the waiter’s recommendation, I went with the one on the menu instead of the tasting.

I didn’t go wrong; the soup was divine, and the fish was delectable, although the dumplings weren’t quite what I expected, it was tasty.

The chef also sent out a wee soup tasting which was a shot of coconut curry potato type soup, and whilst we passed on dessert, we also got a lagniappe of a basil mint hot chocolate (shot sized) which was very delightful as well.

More pictures from Spring [Click on any picture to see more detail]:

coconut curry soup lemongrass soup
Julie’s sugar snap pea salad Australian Barramundi