But DON’T be alarmed! Recommendations will come back when they can, but for now, I am going to be on a thrifty budget because…WE ARE GOING TO NEW ZEALAND FOR OUR HONEYMOON!!! If you can’t tell, I am MORE than excited, but that does mean my budget has to adjust to accomodate for more savings. And THAT is why I haven’t posted in a couple weeks because I wanted to give these recommendations the delicious time and credit they deserve! Also, keep an eye out for a new Cooking with Alex (yes, the name did change, but more on that in the next post), and a brand new Cooking with Friends: Chicago Edition! So strap in everyone, there’s a lot coming at you, including a long line of meals that won’t break your bank. So buckle up buddies, and get ready to drool over ALL the photos!!!! <3
Over the last couple of weeks, I have gone venturing in the Chicago area for some more delicious finds, and one such place was back at Daisies for dinner and boy oh boy have I utterly MISSED this food! I’m serious you guys, if you live in the Chicago area, GO TO DAISIES! It’ll be the best money you’ve ever spent and I highly recommend sharing each plate among the table so everyone can try some of everything (which means you can order more and everyone leaves happy)!
I also had the opportunity to try a couple more restaurants downtown, which doesn’t happen very often, and wanted to share those as well, so this week is all about recommendations and I’m going to start with the other restaurants I got to explore before discussing Daisies!
The Purple Pig – 500 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
If you haven’t heard to been to The Purple Pig, then you are missing out! I’ve only been one other time before now, but let me tell you, the food is INSANELY good! Farm to table-esque, simple, and flavorful, this place has a sharing is caring mentality, sticking all dishes smack dab in the middle of the table for all to enjoy, which I honestly think is how ALL places should be, but I’m one of those “Oo, that looks good, can I try it?” diners, so sharing is my favorite way to eat! Oh, and with it being right along the Chicago River, you’ve got some pretty cool views as well! The last time I came, I tried their chicken kabob and greek cornbread, and the chicken was SO good that I decided to get it again, as well as trying their lentil salad! The chicken is still tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, and flavorful all the way through, not to mention that the lentil salad was fresh and hearty! They don’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait a little bit for a table if you’re only able to go around dinner time, BUT they do serve wine and cocktails outside, so the wait isn’t all that bad.
True Food Kitchen – 1 W Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60654
For all my vegetarian readers, this is the place for you! While yes, they do serve meat, True Food is more centrally focused on treating and elevating vegetables to the next level, and honestly, I didn’t miss the meat AT ALL! This was another light meal for us, so two small plates to share, and the two we chose I could totally eat every day…thank goodness I don’t work downtown or I’d actually go broke. The miso glazed eggplant was incredibly tender and savory, which was an added plus for me because I don’t particularly like eggplant. The star of our meal, however, was the edamame dumplings which had an almost ravioli quality to them! The pureed edamame was smooth and sweet, the dumplings tender, and the sauce just the perfect amount of salty and earthy. It was SO SO GOOD! So I’m going back asap to eat them again…#noshame. Oh and the raspberry crumble was sooooo worth the indulgence! DELICIOUS!
Siena Tavern – 51 W Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Alright brunch goers, I have a need to go for you! Now, I’m not a big breakfast fan, and I don’t eat cooked eggs in any large amount anyway, but what I love the most about Siena was that they not only brought you a brunch menu (which I totally could have ordered from), they brought a lunch menu too (which I did order from)! I did try a bite of the Zucchini Blossom and Goat Cheese omelet, which was incredibly fluffy and soft, and I think the zucchini blossom (my favorite thing to stuff with goats cheese and fry by the way!) added a really lovely fresh and sweet note to the eggs! I, on the other hand, went with a more lunch heavy fare of chilled corn soup and a side of caramelized Brussel sprouts! It was the perfect amount of food to keep me going till around dinner time, and I even had some left over sprouts to munch on in the afternoon, but that soup was absolutely killer! Creamy and velvety, sweet, tangy, and just a slight kick of spice! Plus it was 100% showcasing the freshness of the corn itself, which I appreciated!
Daisies Restaurant – 2523 W Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
Okay, now, the piece de resistance! I can’t get over how good this place is. It’s not even fair because if I had to choose between Daisies and somewhere new, I’d pick Daisies…which is why more often than not, we make actual plans to go so we can consider all the other fantastic places Chicago has to offer. We have to keep it fair after all!
Starters: Carrot Rilletts, Heirloom Butternut Salad, & Sunchoke Latke. The rilletts was, I think, the most surprising dish because Frankie ordered it with the thought that it would be similar to the carrot spread that Mon Ami Gabi serves with their table bread (another of our favorite return spots, but only for special occassions like Valentine’s day or our Anniversary). And while it didn’t have the same preparation, it was still a beautiful dish that we both enjoyed very much: soft, sweet, salty, bitter (from vinegar), and the little addition of horseradish gave it a really delightful kick of heat! And the garnish of dill, which I never really like because I don’t like dill, was the right amount of freshness to brighten the whole plate up, but an A+ dish for sure!
The heirloom butternut salad, a favorite, I can’t get over how light, how fresh, how flavorful it is, and the vinagarette is just out of this world good! I wouldn’t let our waitress tried to take it away when there was still some left…I was just waiting on the rest of the meal to arrive before I polished it off. #cleanplateclub #worthit Note: This is a seasonal dish, so once they change up their menu, I don’t know if this will stay, go, or come back if it does go, SO GO SOON BEFORE IT’S GONE!!!
Sunchoke Latke: This dish was one that we weren’t expecting and enjoyed thoroughly, and by that I mean…WOW. The latke was juicy and succulent, with just a hint of meatiness from the fish (which you couldn’t tell had fish in it at all), and the salad on top was the perfect way to break up the slight oily quality of the latke! Well done Daisies on that one!
Main Meal: Pierogi, Linguine, Cavatelli (special). The Pierogi’s were INCREDIBLY tender, light, soft in the middle, but still crispy on the outside! The mussels in the dish add a really refreshing pop of briny salt that really breaks up the richness of the potatoes, not that they were rich in a bad way, but it brought balance for sure. The cavatelli special (with braised pork shoulder) was as it was described: pot roast on a plate. It was luscious, rich, a little on the heavy side, but the meat was juicy and tender! I did wish there was a little more salt/pepper to break up the heaviness of the meat in the dish because the flavor was a little overpowering.
For me, the linguine was the biggest surprise! Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard me say it before, but I’m not the biggest fan of eggs…but I think because I stay away from most cooked and raw eggs, I wasn’t expecting the egg to be so…velvety. In no way could I tell there was a raw egg mixed in with the pasta! Another rich, yet oddly light (that’s the homemade pasta for you!) dish that was just the right amount of cheesey, salty, and fresh! And that egg made it. Seriously, mix that sucker all up in it and eat away! So good!
And there you have it! The last recommendations post for a little while as I get my savings and trip planning started! And don’t worry, there will be MANY posts and pictures of our trip for all of you to oogle at! That and some amazing meals we will no doubt get to experience! Until later this week, when I will be revealing the first Cooking With Friends: Chicago Edition post that features what Alex and I were going to make, and then (per usual for me) changed our minds and did something completely different (no spoilers this time!). But I promise, it’s going to be SO worth the wait (literally, and figuratively, but you’ll get what I mean when we go live). Until then my lovelies! — Cooking Maggie