Restaurant of the Week: Fifty/50 Club Chicago

The Fifty/50 most likely needs very little introduction for those that call Chicago home, but for those that are new to the area, or just visiting then this is a must TRY!

I stepped into Fifty/50 for the first three weeks ago and thought for sure that I would never return, (I went on a Saturday night, more about that later) but a friend of mind went in to grab lunch the following week and wouldn’t stop talking about how amazing the food was. Great place for yummy grub!

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Restaurant of The Week: Big Star

IMG_2204When I moved to Chicago two years ago people constantly bombarded me with all things Chicago, as if I would somehow vanish into thin air if I didn’t try Chicago deep-dish pizza. Over time I started to realize that many of the places that had been recommended to me were places that were well known throughout the city, which doesn’t always mean that the food is the best in the city. From past experience I’ve found that it’s places off the beaten path that will surprise you most. After only a few months of living in Chicago I had been up to my neck in places that people recommended, so when a friend told me how amazing Big Star was, I just added it to the long list of “great restaurants that I just have to try.”

IMG_2194Over time I’ve heard more and more people talk about how fantastic Big star is, but for some reason I was still unconvinced. I’ve walked past the restaurant on several occasions and have seen endless amounts of people waiting to order at the walk up window, but still this didn’t convince me that it was worth trying. Anytime that my friends and I go out in the wicker pack area they like to finish off the night with a trip to Big Star. In the past I’ve always made an excuse as to why I wasn’t going to eat, but this time my friend Felipe didn’t let me off the hook. After much deliberation I didn’t decided to try the Taco De Panza (pork belly). I figured that I would have one taco and then never have to deal with my friends pestering me about trying the tacos. But to my surprise the $3 taco was amazing!  Right away my friends could see the look of satisfaction on my face, and they seemed to have the look of “I told you so on their faces”. Rather than waiting around for them to tell me what I figured was just minutes away from coming out of one of their mouth, I decided to head back to the window. This time I ordered two Taco De Pescado (fish taco). Again, with every bite I felt as if I was  tasting a little piece of heaven. Within a few seconds both tacos were gone! I could help feeling like I had been missing out this whole time. I hope that you don’t! Leave a comment telling us what you think about Big Star

Restaurant of the Week: Smoque BBQ

smoque bbq

The weather here in Chicago has been up and down for the majority of the winter. Two weeks ago the temperature reached 60 degrees. For the entire day all I could think about was summer time here in the city and all the wonderful things that come along with that remarkable time of year. Yup! I’m talking about North Avenue beach, running along the lake, the endless amount of street festivals, and last but not least barbecue!  The first place that came to mind, as I took a trip done memory lane was Smoque’s BBQ. Smoque BBQ is located at 3800 North Pulaski in a small brick building. Two summers ago a few friends and I set out to find the very best barbecue in the city. We visited about seven barbecue restaurants and even went to Ribfest

smoque-bbq-02searching for that perfect BBQ flavor. We were all very satisfied with many of the barbecue restaurants that we visited, but still felt as if we had yet to find the best in the city. My friend Josh was talking to a co-worker the week following Ribfest and was encouraged to take a trip to Smoque BBQ. Once Josh told me about this place, I knew that going the very next weekend was a must. Once we walked up to the restaurant I noticed a line of people wrapped around the side of the building. Complete shock is the best way to describe my feelings after seeing the long line. We jumped in line to start what seemed like a never-ending wait. During the entire wait, the fantastic aroma that was oozing from the restaurant teased us.  About forty minutes later we were finally able to order our food. By this time I was so hungry that everything on the menu was screaming EAT ME! I ended up getting a full slab of St. Louis Style ribs, mac and cheese, and brisket chili. The ribs were very meaty and filled with a tremendous burst of savory flavor, the mac and cheese was baked to perfection with just the right amount of cheese. All of my friends looked to be enjoying their meals just as much as me, which made it that much better. After finishing our meals, each of us agreed that Smoque’s BBQ was by far the best that we’ve had since starting on our quest. You would think that after the amount of barbecue we consumed up to that point that we wouldn’t eat anymore for the rest of the summer.  Well think again! We went back the very next weekend.  Leave a comment telling us about your experience at Smoque’s.

Why Go: The BBQ is the very best! Employees are friendly.

Recommendations: Try to get there early, get the St. Louis Style Ribs, and its BYOB:)

Bar of the Week: Untitled Chicago

untitledGrowing up there was always this part of me that wish I ‘d been born in the 30’s or 40’s. Looking back on it now, I think it’s safe to say; that the reason for this desire of mine can be contributes to my grandmother. My grandmother loved Nick at Nite! We spent a great deal of time bonding over shows like, I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy, and Bewitched. I was completely fascinated with how simple life seemed during that time period. The world that was parade in the sitcoms that I mentioned, didn’t account for the type of things that were actually going on in the United States when many of those shows were on the air. But as a kid I tried (to no avail) to convince my grandmother that times were so much easier back then. Needless to say, once I started taking history classes it became very clear to me that my grandmother was absolutely correct.  However, anytime that the chance arises for me to enjoy movies, music, or stories from the era, I take full advantage of it.

untitled 2A few months ago my friend decided that celebrating her birthday at Untitled was something that she couldn’t live without doing. Untitled  is a Speak easy, so my enter 20’s was tingling inside. Just in case you are wondering what a Speak Easy is, I’ll help you out. During the Prohibition Era there were secret bars setup around the city that sold alcohol, this includes anything from basements to warehouse. From the moment that we walked into Untitled, I was completely amazed by the atmosphere. There was a live band playing music from the 30’s and 40’s, and Charlie Chaplin movies playing on a huge television. The bartenders wore uniforms that you would expect a bartender from that era to wear, which made for an even more exciting experience. The best part about this place is the endless amount of whiskey to choose from. And if you don’t know much about fine whiskey, then the bartenders are very knowledgeable  and had no problem answering all of the ridiculous  questions that me and my friends asked. The menu features a wide array of small plates, which worked out well for my group. By the end of the night it was clear that Untitled had won all of us over and made one little birthday girl very happy. Have recommendations?  Go ahead… Leave a comment

Why Go:  Amazing selection of whiskey, great atmosphere, and perfect for dates.

Recommendations:  Go on the weekends otherwise it’s more of a restaurant setting,  Try the Pork Belly Confit, and the doors are unmarked so try not to miss the place.  

   -Cheers-

Restaurant of the week: Del Seoul

IMG_2009Today my friend Felipe and I decided to check out Del Seoul. For the past month Felipe has insisted that we go. According to Felipe, “this place has some of the best shrimp tacos that he’s ever had.” I couldn’t decide if he truly believed that, due in part to the fact that he’s from Miami, and the seafood down there is remarkable! Either way I knew the only way that he would stop talking about it is if I went at least once. People often over emphasize how great things are  when they are the first to jump onboard. For example, I find the New MySpace to be extremely cool and have told all my friends about how awesome the new design is. As a result my friends made fun of me and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a great deal of creditably, when it comes to social media. However, regardless of the negative reactions from friends about MySpace, I still believe it to be a great tool, and will continue to kick and scream until they at least check it out.

IMG_2004Now that I’ve thrown in a plug for the New MySpace, I’ll get back to Del Seoul. Del Seoul is tucked away in Lincoln Park at 2568 North Clark Street.  The first thing that stuck out after arriving was the size and feel of the restaurant. At first glance Del Seoul may not seem like the type of place that you would just wonder into and expect a delicious meal, but after entering the restaurant, I quickly realized that it wasn’t at all what I first judged it to be. The cashier was very helpful and didn’t rush me even though it took me about ten minutes to decide on what I came there for in the first place. Shrimp Tacos! The cashier also suggested that I try the fish tacos, and let me just say, when it comes to fish tacos it doesn’t get much better than that. The interior of the restaurant is extremely clean and well put together, very spacious, and the menu was simple, but filled with fantastic options. And just in case you’re wondering about the shrimp tacos, Felipe was dead on! I’ll definitely be making a special trip back to Del Seoul in the very near future. Hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Have a place that you think we should check out? Leave a comment.

Why Go: Some of the best tacos in the city, and very friendly waiting staff.

Recommendations:  Get the Fish Tacos, Shrimp Tacos, or Kalbi beef tacos.

A Taste to Remember

wormholeA few weeks ago I decided to purchase a coffeepot because I’ve been spending an absurd amount of money at Starbucks and could no longer justify doing so. There is nothing like a venti size triple gingerbread latte upside down, but I was sure that I would learn to love coffee made from home.

Of course the only way that I would completely enjoy homemade coffee is if the coffeepot was top of the line. Since I knew absolutely nothing about coffee pots the first thing that I did was look at reviews online. If you get a second, type coffee pots in to the Google search bar and you’ll quickly realize just how difficult this process was for me. Anyhow, after a few hours I narrowed it to the one that I decided to purchase.Making coffee at home is a great way to save money, and in most instances you can get the same quality as Starbucks offer.
coffee cupA week ago I met a friend for coffee at my favorite coffee shop, The WormHole. I’ve gone to The WormHole  a few times a month for at least two years  before buying my cool new coffee pot and consider it one of the best coffee shops in the city. Everything about this place will remind you of the 80’s. There is an old school television with a Nintendo hooked up to keep you hanging around for hours, a ton of cool 80’s posters on the walls and I’m sure you’ll truly enjoy the DeLorean that’s parked right inside the shop. All of the things that I just mentioned are great, but I’ve intentionally saved the best for last, which is the amazingly tasty  coffee! I wish I could go on some long rant about the type of beans that are used, but there is no need for that… Just take my word for it. If you’re walking down Milwaukee Ave and find yourself in need of a pick me up, stop into The WormHole Coffee shop. Good Luck! And Feel Free to leave a comment telling everyone about your experience or recommendations for us.

Why Go:  Excellent coffee at a great price, Nintendo games for days, and fantastic enviroment

Recommendtion: Get the Coo Coo Puffs!

Shopping, Shopping, and More Shopping!

Chicago shoppingIn America shopping has become away of life. Break up with your boyfriend? And  your girlfriends take you shopping for that awesome dress, that you’ll be wearing out later that night to help you get over him. You’re a guy that’s sick of being average? Well Nordstrom will help you “redefine” yourself.

I’ll never forget the first time I stepped foot in Shady Brook Mall. I know what you’re thinking, “Where in the world is Shady Brook Mall?” Well Shady Brook Mall is about 500 miles south of Chicago in a small town called Columbia Tennessee. Yup, At 10 years old I set out to be the most fashionable kid in the 6th grade. That year, A ridiculous amount of my time  was spent looking through fashion magazines, and trying to convenience my mother that I would not survive without buying something from the mall. She always promised me that I wouldn’t lose a leg. Guess she was right!

Fast forward 18 years and lo and behold! I’m still crazy about fashion. Anytime I’m having a bad day, a trip down Michigan Ave. usually puts thing back into prospective. My girlfriend is just as crazy about fashion as me. The only difference between me and her, is the fact that she refuses to pay full price for clothes unless she absolutely loves a certain item.  This past summer she came across Chicago Premium Outlet and was dying to go! Reluctantly, I agreed to go with her.

Chicago Premium Outlet is located at 1650 Premium Outlets Boulevard Aurora, IL 60502. It took about 40 minutes to get there, mall pic
but to my surprise, it was well worth it. The little 6th grade boy that thought he couldn’t survive without buying something from the mall was just dying to get out. The thing that I loved most about Chicago Premium Outlet is that all you can always find what you’re looking for and more times than not you’ll have no problem finding things in the size that you prefer, which was one of the biggest reasons why I never thought to shop at a outlet mall. After hour of shopping, we no longer had enough hands to carry all our bag, so we decided to call it a day. We’ve been back countless times since that first trip in the over the summer and I’ve always seemed to find something that I just had to have. I’m hoping that you’ll have just has much luck here as I do. P.S. Save Some stuff for me!

Why Go: Excellent selection of stores to choice from, Safe, and great deals.

Recommendations: Its best to get there early because parking can be a pain.