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.

(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!!


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.


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.


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: Etn.o Village Grill

I love a good hamburger.  I’m always on the hunt for the next best burger and after my trip to Etn.o I might have found my current favorite.  From the outside, Etn.o Village Grill looks pretty passe.  Aside from the cow on the roof (which is a great touch), the building seems a bit out of place compared to its surroundings but as soon as you walk in you’re taken in by the wonderful aroma of some all-American burgers and fries.

Etn.o Village Grill
Etn.o Village Grill

After staring at the menu for far longer than anyone should I decided to indulge in their burger of the week.  A 1/2 pound patty nestled between what I can only assume was a house-made bun complete with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and Boursin cheese spread.  I don’t know about you, but I never thought to spread Boursin on a hamburger.  After this experience I think I want it on all of my burgers.  It was DIVINE.

Etn.o Village Grill

The burger was plenty of food for me so chose to forgo a side order of french fries.  I did, however, steal a couple fries from my sweet friend Cody and I can attest to their deliciousness.  The salt to fry ratio was spot on!

Etn.o Village Grill

Speaking for the burgers alone, this is my new favorite.  If you factor in the fries, it’s still in second place behind Kuma’s Korner.  Something about Kuma’s fries makes them the best french fries I’ve ever eaten.  Do you have a favorite burger place?  What makes it stand out above the rest?