West Loop – Squeezing it all in!

Standard

On our last day in Chicago, our flight didn’t leave until 4:30pm. So we had some more exploring to do! We checked out of our hotel with our little carry-on bags, thinking we would take the “L” to the West Loop area. But on second glance, it was only a 35-minute walk and it was a beautiful day! And we had plenty of time. {For the record, Rob was a gentleman and carried my duffle bag along with his backpack.}

We were meeting up with Beth {aka Biz} from My Bizzy Kitchen at The Little Goat!

FullSizeRender

I had “The Goat” restaurants on my Chicago restaurant wishlist and Biz suggested Monday would be a great time to have brunch. And she was right. Rob and I arrived a little early and had to do a double take. Sitting on the outside patio of the diner was Stephanie Izard, the winner and first female named Top Chef, who opened this restaurant. I whispered such to Rob. He recognized her, too, even though I don’t think he was yet watching Top Chef during that season. Celebrity Sighting #2! {#1 in this post.}

I told Rob that we are going to have to be sure to tell Biz when she arrived. But she beat us to it! And… she was a little more courageous to ask to have a picture with her!

I’ve been following My Bizzy Kitchen for a while now. I’m not sure how I found Biz, but I somehow just felt connected. While the blog is about her Bizzy Kitchen {duh} and the many fantastic recipes she’s continuously creating; she also shares a lot going on in her life on a daily basis – and tells it like it is! I was completely heartbroken when I learned that her husband passed away a year ago December. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes, to lose your husband in your forties, when he was only in his fifties.

But Biz presses on… She’s now quit a job she didn’t love and is pursuing all interests. I love this attitude. I felt like we knew each other before meeting her; but after meeting her in person, I can tell how she gets things done. This woman is full speed ahead!

She and I share a love of great food {I mean, she comments on my restaurant posts on the regular and doesn’t even live in the Twin Cities!} and snowmen {although I think she has a bit more of an obsession!} While she and Rob share a love of all things Reuben. I think it’s sweet that she says she thinks of Rob whenever she is about to try a raved about burger! At one point in our conversation, she apologized to Rob for swearing so much. {But in a sorry-I’m-not-sorry kind of way. Tee hee.} Rob laughed. Later, he told me he thought she’d fit right in with us if she lived in Mpls!

But back to the Little Goat Diner

 

Personally, I think Rob and Biz got the most boring meals… 🙂

Biz had a long day ahead of her in downtown Chicago, so she started with a balanced healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon {not pictured: fruit cup & hot sauce – but not together!}. I’ll cut her some slack for that one. 🙂 Rob, per his habit of late, ordered two sides: sausage links and hashbrowns. On separate occasions, he stated:

“This is the best sausage I’ve ever had!”

“These are the best hash browns I’ve ever had!”

I loved everything goat-themed… from the plates, to the coffee mugs, to the glasses… So cute!

IMG_6626

But no, I wasn’t adventurous enough to order goat. I’ve never had it; so I think it would be best for me to taste it first. But, I was eyeing a dish that Biz had mentioned people tell her they like at this resto:

THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO CHINA - $14.00 sesame cheddar biscuit. sunny eggs. szechuan pork sausage. chili garlic chive sauce. blackberries

THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO CHINA – sesame cheddar biscuit. sunny eggs. szechuan pork sausage. chili garlic chive sauce. blackberries – $14

Dear God was this crazy good! I liked the sweet and savory combo with the blackberries and the spice in the sausage and sauce. But I could only eat half of this! After that breakfast, I wasn’t sure if there was any way we could fit an Au Cheval burger into the mix for Rob before our flight that day.

Thanks, Biz, for taking the time out to come to downtown Chicago to meet up with us! We have a little somethin’ Minnesotan comin’ your way…

~

When we parted ways, Biz was going to get her first passport {I’m so excited for her about this!}… It was about 10:45am.

There was already a line at Au Cheval, located at the end of the block…

IMG_6640

Neither of us could even think about eating there; but we still wanted to check a box or two in the West Loop. We popped into a meat shop {We were in the former meat packing district!} since Rob loves shopping for beef sticks. Unfortunately, this establishment only sold raw/not processed meat, so out we went.

On the corner of West Randolph sat Haymarket Pub & Brewery. I hadn’t remembered seeing this on any best of lists or guidebooks; but it didn’t matter. We weren’t in it for the food. Maybe we’d see what sytles of beer they had to offer and grab a pint.

IMG_6642

Haymarket gets its name from the Haymarket Affair of 1886. The memorial sculpture of which, is located just blocks away. These are the beers we chose. I bet you can tell which one is mine and which one is Rob’s!

IMG_6643

Defender American Stout & Mathias Imperial American IPA 

Read the descriptions. I love how the IPA was named. Very appropriate…

IMG_6641

And because they offer 4-ouncers for just $1.75, I just had to try the Red Sock Monkey Tart Cherry Wheat in honor of my nephew.IMG_6644

To be quite honest, that first beer did not go down very well. It tasted just fine, but I think I was just too full for it. It took me a lonnnngggg time to drink it. The Tart Cherry Wheat was a little more easy-drinking for me that day and I quite honestly ordered it only because they offered it in such a small glass!

It wasn’t until about 1pm that Rob and I considered going over to Au Cheval for their infamous burger, agreeing that we would split it – if  we could get inAfter checking in with the host and letting him know that we were happy to sit at the bar, I found out that only the seats at the end were open seating.

IMG_6646

The host even seats people at the bar. I mean, why not?! They are busy enough! He said to hang tight. It would just be a couple of minutes because he had a few couples cashing out… Before we knew it, we were at the bar…
IMG_6649…watching the most incredible entertainment… of burger-making and assembly that we’ve ever seen!

IMG_6647

Just imagine the heat coming off that grill! There is a broiler up top where the buns are toasted, too. They work in batches. First, one guy rattles off the orders to the three chefs behind the bar. His job seems to consist of just that and wiping down plates for perfect presentation. Here is the station where he calls out the new orders to the three chefs behind the bar.

IMG_6660

From what we gathered, each chef memorizes his/her part and repeats it back. Then they scurry around putting everything together! They all seemed to be having fun working together.

IMG_6659

For the record, this is the cheese used on Au Cheval burgers:

It was such a fun show to watch from our front-and-center seats!

Although cheeseburgers seemed to be the staple, there is much, much more to this menu:

IMG_6648

We also saw salmon, salads, hash and eggs being made. Still, mostly burgers. Oh… and fries. We loved watching them season everything, too! Tossing the fries, sprinkling chives on the fried eggs. There was no bartender waiting on us. We had an actual server, who took our order behind us.

IMG_6651

And then, our perfection arrived.

And trust me, by 1:30, my appetite was back. We get why this is an OMG burger. Those fries are underrated, too… and served with mayo!!!! Splitting this burger and fries was the perfect amount. We got our final dose of food and entertainment in Chicago all wrapped in one.

Where’s your favorite place to be entertained while you dine?

More posts on Chicago:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Advertisements

2 responses »

  1. Just catching up on my blog reading this morning – it was so great meeting both of you, and I agree, if I lived there, I could see us checking out new beers and burgers around town! And you are correct, it was like meeting an old friend for the first time.

    Awesome recap of your Chicago weekend!

  2. Pingback: Quebec City: Breweries & Brunch | Season It Already!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s