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Bring on the Gluttony a/k/a It’s Chicago Restaurant Week!

March 2, 2012

So what have I been up to the last 6 months other than not writing on this blog?  Oh well, let’s see.  Oh yes, there was that one time about a month ago when I got HIT BY A CAR.  Not like I was in a car and then it was hit by another car.  I was walking… and a car hit my body.  I really like to lead with that to freak people out.  And I did actually get hit, roll up on the hood, and then  hit the ground much to my horror and, more importantly, my embarrassment.  But in the end I was left with a very sore tailbone, a really great story, and fortunately, no emotional or physical scars.  


Really the most major impact this has had on my life is that my doctor told me to lay off power yoga until I heal, which has in turn caused me to have a lot more time to cook delicious food and consume most likely 1,000s of extra calories and no outlet to burn those calories.  Cue a fall off the diet-wagon of epic proportions.  This has only been compounded by my recent interest in fatty foods that I never really paid much attention to in life but now seem irresistible (i.e. post Superbowl combination of Italian sub and pizza).   

This is all to say:  I need to turn this fat train around and soon.  So I gave myself a good (and disgusted) look in the mirror the other day and said Mel, starting March 1st, you need to get your shit together.  Get back at that yoga.  Start going back to your healthy cookbooks.  Stop going through white flour by the ton.  And so it was done.  As of March 1st, I am a new woman. 

Thankfully, when I made this resolution it was only February 19th.  So I still had over a week to continue on with my gluttonous ways.  Did you seriously think I was going to go on a diet during one of the greatest weeks to be a Chicagoan?  I am, of course, referring to Restaurant Week.  For those of you poor souls that do not know about this glorious week in February, I pity you.  Restaurant Week is a week span when some of the greatest Chicago restaurants offer prix fixe menus for $22, $33, and $44 a person.  Since most of these places are going to run you more like $75-150/person on a typical evening, this week offers meal steals, especially for certain young lawyers facing mountains of debt. 

A few weeks back when the list of participating restaurants and their menus came out I had grand plans to go to 5 or 6 restaurants during the week, but, alas, worries of my thinning wallet and my thickening waistline only allowed for 2 visits (oh and one of them wasn’t technically participating in Restaurant Week but at this place you take the reservation when you can get it).  Here are my thoughts on each and yes I neglected to take pictures.  I was going to say “I forgot to take pictures” but that is not true.  Nothing says “I couldn’t afford to come here unless it is Restaurant Week” more than snapping pictures of each course with your iPhone (not to say I haven’t done that before, my iPhone photo gallery is a veritable scrapbook of Chicago’s restaurants’ best dishes). 

MercaditoThis place did not even make the initial list of…. Ok so if you have not been here…Alright I just realized something.  I don’t like writing restaurant reviews, especially when I loved the place and nothing notable or shocking or dangerous happened.  We showed up, we had mexican goodness, we broke out.  The guacamole was lovely; the ceviche and tacos, delightful; the flan, a dream.  I am certainly not going to sit here and think of more synonyms for delicious or nitpick the deets (“the water was too icy, the chairs held me up too well”… I am talking to you Yelpers.)  Suffice it to say:  You should go to here. 

 Girl and the Goat:  What can I say about this place that has not already been said?  Well I have rambled on for enough time building up for this review so I might as well say something.  Here goes: 

4 (the number of months we had to wait to get into this place- in all fairness this was extended slightly due to the fact I threw myself in front of a moving vehicle the day before our initial reservation)

10 (p.m. that is, the time of our reservation on a Thursday night. Yes, this time is usually reserved for sleeping not eating Pig’s Face… yes its a real dish and yes we had it)

0 (the number of time I saw Stephanie Izard that night)

7 (the number of people in our party)

2-3 (the number of plates our server suggested to order per person- much to the chagrin of the small plates/sharing hater, Great Criticizer).

3-4 (the number of plates per person we actually ordered)

57 (the approximate number of different meats and strange ingredients having a party in my stomach the rest of the night)

In short, it was freaking AWESOME.  Even with the 4 month wait, the post bedtime reservation, and the pork belly/pretzel bread/goat empanada/duck tongue/grilled octopus coma I slipped into afterwards, I must say this was probably my best meal in Chicago to date.  That is to say, my best meal in life to date (you think there are better places to eat than in Chi-town? Well if there are I do not go to those place).

For those of you who need visual confirmation of my gluttonous February, check out these pics of my adventures in Lasagna Bolognese (AND check out my guide here and that website in general if you want to lose a whole day of your life, it’s THAT addicting):


Stay tuned for some much needed healthy cooking in March, including my first experience with a CSA (a/k/a Community Support Agriculture a/k/a  delivery of  fresh locally grown produce to my house!)

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