101 Goals Update – The Places I’ve Eaten

It’s been a few months since I started tackling my list of 101 goals.  I’m still working on rounding out that list but I’m making progress on goals that have already been set.  One of my goals was to eat at 50 new restaurants and for a girl who loves to eat, this actually wasn’t as much of a challenge as I thought it would be.  Part of me feels like I should set that goal to a loftier number but I’ll leave it where it is and adjust in a future list of goals.  I thought it would be fun to recap my favorites from the first 25 and, if you live in Phoenix, recommend that you run (don’t walk) to try them out.

clever-koi
(Pork ramen from Clever Koi. Best ever.)
  1. My favorite new restaurant of the year has got to be Clever Koi.  I’ve been twice in the past few weeks and I have a feeling I’ll be back pretty frequently.  The menu is full of extremely well-executed Asian cuisine and I cannot get enough of it.  My favorite dishes so far are the Steak “Cobb” Bibimbap and the Pork Ramen.
  2. Stealing the number two spot is Southport Grocery and Cafe in Chicago.  I finally had the chance to visit this sweet spot when I was in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend earlier this year.  I ordered their Southport Cuban and I’m confident that the meat on that sandwich is among the best-prepared I’ve ever had in my life.
  3. Coming in at three we’ve got Richardsons.  My dad hails from New Mexico so I grew up on green chili-centric comfort food.  Richardson’s and The Rokerij serve up New Mexican classics that give my childhood favorites a run for their money.  You really can’t go wrong here but one of my favorite dishes is the Carne Adovada.  Bonus if you’re young and broke – the food here comes in giant, amazing portions and could easily last you a few meals as leftovers.
  4. For a really unique spot, I’m throwing number four out to Nobuo at Teeter House.  I’m a little bit weird about eating meat and generally like things to be well done because too much pink makes me squeamish but the coconut curry lamb at Nobuo is REAL pink and REAL good.  This is a pretty pricy meal but worth every penny for a special occasion.
  5. For an excellent cup of coffee and rounding out my list at number five, I’m giving it up for 32 Shea.  I got a rosemary honey latte and now I think about it all the time.  I love a place that makes their own syrups and if 32 Shea was closer to me, I think I’d live there.

I’m loving trying so many new places and branching out from my normal path.  When I knock out the other 25 I’ll recap with the top 5 from the second half of this goal!!

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Floriole

When I was living in Chicago, I discovered the amazing bakery Floriole.  Sadly, I didn’t happen upon this gem until a few months before I moved but once I found it I was completely smitten.

floriole-2

Their pastries are beautiful, there is almost always a hum of happy energy coursing through the guests, and they serve their tea in these amazing tea pots that remind me of french press for tea people.  When I was in town last weekend, I found time to stop in twice and soak up one of my favorite places in the city.  I spent a few glorious hours flipping through magazines during my first trip and caught up with one of my favorite friends the next day.  I wish we had a spot like this in Phoenix.

floriole-1

If you find the time to stop in, I recommend any of their teas and a croissant!  I’m certain you can’t go wrong with any of their beautiful pastries, sometimes a classic is all you need.

Floriole – Chicago, IL
1220 West Webster Ave.

Eating Chicago: Milk & Honey

How many times have I sung the praises of this Wicker Park restaurant?  Obviously not enough because I’m going to talk about it again.  This restaurant is so, so delicious.  I finally had the opportunity to go for brunch and was not disappointed.  My sweet friend Alex, her sister Lauren, and her cousin Henry accompanied me and graciously allowed me to take pictures of their food when it came.

Ordered:

  • Lox
  • Waffles topped with nectarine and strawberries
  • Huevos rancheros
  • BBQ chicken burrito with sweet potato chips

I’m going to try to recreate my huevos rancheros as soon as possible.  I love that they were prepared in a casserole dish and the way the black beans were nestled under the eggs and salsa.  Everyone else enjoyed their meal as well and our only complaint was with the slightly rude wait staff.  Almost everyone we dealt with was curt with us and seemed irritated to be answering questions/taking orders/etc.  This is the first time I’ve really experienced the rude service so I’ll chalk it up to a bad day and leave it be.

I’ll be in Chicago for the rest of the week and I’m hoping to experience some new restaurants so I can share with all of you.  I love trying new things! I hope that you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend (those of you in the states, anyway). How did you celebrate?! I’ll be sharing more from my trip throughout the week.

xoxo

Mal

A Cooking Class at the Chopping Block

What grows together goes together

The day I left Chicago I took one last cooking class at The Chopping Block. This was my third class with them and I cannot sing their accolades enough–they’re just wonderful. This class was titled “What Grows Together Goes Together” and focused on seasonal veggies that taste great together.

We cooked up a risotto with peas, parmesan, and saffron along with some rhubarb cupcakes, a roast chicken, and some bacon-wrapped asparagus. Everything tasted heavenly but my favorite dish BY FAR was the cupcakes. Rhubarb isn’t too common in Arizona so I’m hoping I can find some to recreate them.

What grows together goes together
What grows together goes together
What grows together goes together
I’m back in Phoenix and hoping to take some more cooking classes here. Does anyone know of a good recreational cooking school I should try? If you’re looking for something unique to fill your time try a cooking class. It’s so much fun. My sweet friends Kieran and Megan joined me and we had a blast!!
What grows together goes together

xoxo
Mal

The Great Gatsby and the Best Sandwich in the World

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have an undying love for sandwiches. Almost all of my favorite restaurants serve sandwiches but I rarely make them myself. Some of the magic is just taken away from a homemade sandwich…

Having said that, I think it’s also important for you to know that I spend a lot of my time and money on eating sandwiches from my favorite restaurants. One restaurant that makes truly extraordinary sandwiches is Bourgeois Pig.

I’ve eaten here countless times in the past and generally drag all visitors there to eat with me as well. I’ve thought long and hard about what makes these sandwiches so exquisite and I really can’t choose just one part. Everything from the names (many are named after classic books) to the atmosphere (feels like a quaint home and has a fabulous patio) contributes to the deliciousness of the food served at Bourgeois Pig.

Let me describe for you, The Great Gatsby.
Bourgeois Pig
The bread is fresh and has this incredible texture and flavor–lightly toasted to give you a bit of crunch. But that’s just the beginning. Take the first bite of the sandwich and you’re hit with a burst of flavor! Gooey, melted cheese stretching across spinach, turkey, and tomatoes. To give the sandwich an extra flavor dimension, it is slathered with pesto and a hint of mayo. But it gets better! The sandwich is finished off with sliced avocado and crumbled bacon. Seriously, this sandwich is HEAVEN.

I made my roommate go with me and now it’s become our roommate date place. We go, get two Great Gatsby sandwiches, and chat about life. It’s honestly some of the only quality time we ever spend together and it’s awesome.

Bourgeois Pig

Do you have a special restaurant where you go to catch up with your friends? I love food traditions :)!