Chicago Restaurant Week Recommendations 2020

Chicago Restaurant Week Recommendations 2020

Chicago Restaurant Week used to be my favorite week of all the weeks in Chicago because I got to try a bunch of restaurants that I normally wouldn’t because money. Restaurants that normally would cost me $75pp would now only cost me $35 – what a deal. However, in the past years, Chicago Restaurant Week has changed and some restaurants have higher price points than others and it’s hard to figure out what is a good deal and what isn’t and ultimately what restaurants are worth visiting and which aren’t.

I put together my own list of restaurants that I think are worth the effort based on their menus and some based on bang for your buck.

Most Steakhouses

Steakhouses are usually my go-to pick for restaurant week since I know I am going to be getting a good deal especially if the cut of meat on the menu is a good one. This year, a friend and I are going to GT Prime for dinner because we’ve always wanted to try it. Here are some of my other steakhouse faves that I feel like have good offerings this year: Capital Grille, RPM Steak, Prime & Provisions, and Mastro’s Steakhouse.

Cabra

For $48 per person at Cabra, you get four courses with multiple dishes for each course which makes sense because it is a tapas restaurant. I’ve been here for lunch before and the food is just spectacular. Stephanie Izard can do no wrong IMO. Get the goat empanadas and the beef heart skewers.

Dos Urban Cantina 

I haven’t been here in years, but the meal I did have was sensational. The ceviche scallops at Dos Urban Cantina are to die for and their menu is actually really expensive. For only $36 this is a pretty great deal and they have the ceviche scallops on the menu.

Formento’s

Formento’s is one of my all-time favorite restaurants in my neighborhood. The meatballs alone are worth coming here for. Not only do they have a fantastic happy hour, but their Restaurant Week meal is just as great. This meal is also $48 per person but again you get four courses and it includes some of their best menu items like the bucatini, the meatballs, and the chocolate cake!

Galit

I got to try Galit, an amazing new Middle Eastern restaurant in Lakeview, earlier in 2019 and instantly fell in love. They have the actual best falafel I have ever tasted and their salatim plate (dips & pita) was the most amazing thing ever. Both of these things and many more are on their Restaurant Week menu. I highly recommend this place if you can get in and get their Israeli white. It’s sensational.

Bistro Campagne

Lincoln Square is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and Bistro Campagne is one of my family’s favorite restaurants. This menu is only $36 and you can get all my favorite items on their menu: the mussels, steak frites, and pain perdu! If you want to try a new neighborhood, this is def not a menu to miss.

Lonesome Rose

A Logan Square hot spot, I loved my brunch I had here a few years ago. Lonesome Rose’s menu has some great choices – I love it when they give you lots of options to pick from and I would definitely go with the nachos.

Rooh

I am a big fan of this new-ish Indian restaurant Rooh in the West Loop. I went with some friends for a girl’s dinner and we loved everything we had. Their butter chicken (I know, I’m basic) was amazing and is on their Restaurant Week menu.

The Bristol

The Bristol is a classic Chicago farm-to-table restaurant and their menu offers four courses with lots to choose from and I know chicken isn’t usually the “thing” to order when out but their Amish style chicken really is to die for.

December ’19 Outfit Round-Up

December ’19 Outfit Round-Up

Shopping via links is hard so here is an easy way to do it by shopping one blog post of all my featured outfits of December! So in no particular order, here we go!

For reference, I am usually a size 16/18 in dresses, 20 in pants, and almost exclusively a 1X in anything Anthropologie.

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{Jumpsuit: Eshakti geometric jumpsuit, headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband}

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{Jacket: Eloquii moto leather jacket, Top: Jessica London red sequin shell, Jeans: Lane Bryant Tighter Tummy Hi-Rise Skinny Jean in Velvet Dark}

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{Dress: CoEdition Fit & Flare Dress}

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{Top: Shop Chic Soul Plaid top, Leggings: Spanx faux leather leggings, shoes: Target platform wedges}

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{Work out top & leggings: Fabletics, gym shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus sneakers}

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{Overall dress: Black denim overall dress, Top: Polka dot blouse, shoes: Target wedge platform shoes}

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{Top: Jessica London Tie-Front Tunic, leggings: Spanx faux leather leggings, boots: Comfortview Wide Calf black boots}

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{Coat: Old Navy black puffer jacket}

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{Jacket: Chic Soul pullover, Leggings: Universal Standard leggings, sneakers: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus sneakers}

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{Top & Leggings: Fabletics, Sneakers: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus sneakers Bra: Plus Size Compression Nike Sports Bra}

*this sports bra is easily one of the best I have ever had as a plus-size woman

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{Dress: Jessica London beaded jacket dress, Shoes: Comfortview Katiya pumps}

Things To Do in Chicago in the Winter

Things To Do in Chicago in the Winter

Chicago winters are brutal, so here are some activities that keep you warm indoors but also let you have an enjoyable season because we can only binge-watch so many shows during the months of January – April, amirite?

TopGolf Swing Suite 

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Don’t dismiss the TopGolf Swing Suite just because you just aren’t that into sports. This luxury simulation sports bar is literally for everyone. There is a multitude of games that aren’t golf-related that you can play on the simulator like zombie dodgeball, soccer, baseball, and even carnival games. I took my dad’s family for our annual holiday party last week and it was a huge hit with kids and adults. Another reason I love this place are the food and drinks. I’ve been to TopGolf out in the suburbs and the food is good don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t Aster Hall level delicious. Aster Hall is a food hall in the 900 Shops on Michigan and they have actual Small Cheval burgers! The elote and the pizza are also delicious and it can all be catered for your private party at the Swing Suite. It’s also a casual bar so you can just pop in for a drink before or after shopping!

Time Out Market 

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A personal favorite pastime of mine is just eating and drinking. In the summer it’s easy to bop around to different places to eat and drink, but in the winter it’s too cold to go even one block which is why my favorite new place is Time Out Market Chicago. Any food hall might do in a pinch, but this place stands out because of the amount of seating and the abundance of options there are. You could come for lunch, drink, stay for dinner, and then have dessert. Come with LOTS of friends so you can try one of everything, but my favorites are the dumplings by Urbanbelly and the brussel sprouts by Band of Boehmia.

Block 37 + Hot Tix 

I love going to the theater, but it can get expensive so hitting up a Hot Tix booth is something my family and I do pretty frequently when we are visiting other cities. Luckily, Chicago has one right on the first floor of Block 37 on State Street and this holiday season my dad and I used the booth to get tickets to a show at the Goodman Theatre which is right across the street! They have tickets to all sorts of shows though including things on the north side of the city so it’s worth checking out for deeply discounted tickets!

Igloo/Winter Cabana Rentals 

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I did one of these for my birthday a few years back, but heated plastic igloos have become the hottest thing of winter 2020. You can find them at the following places and you’ll have to contact them for pricing but we paid $200 + a minimum spend threshold based on how many people were in the igloo for two hours when I did it at iO Rooftop at the Godfrey: Barcocina, City Winery on the RiverWalk, iO Rooftop at the Godfrey, and Hotel Zachary.

Sassy’s Book Club: Top Favorite Books of 2019

Sassy’s Book Club: Top Favorite Books of 2019

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I read 30 books total this year, which did not hit my ultimate goal of 35 books total (damn!), but was up 5 books from last year so that’s a big improvement. Progress – I’ll take it! Last year, I didn’t do a book recap of my faves from 2018. Not sure why, but let’s just chalk it up to sheer laziness. However, here is a recap of all my favorite books from 2016-2017 if you’re looking for more inspiration.

And below are some of my fave reads from 2019. Not all of these books were written this year FYI. I just read them this year. And fun fact – all the authors are female which feels very fitting. I also linked them all on my Amazon shopping list if you want to buy them!

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

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The brilliance of this book is hard to describe. It covers so many issues in such an eloquent way that it just astounded me. The book centers around the 3 sisters in the Butler family – Althea, Violet, and Lillian – and each chapter is told from each of their perspectives. Althea and her husband have just been put in jail, and Violet and Lillian are dealing with the aftermath including their two daughters. Incarceration, eating disorders, overachievement as fulfillment, social acceptance are just some of the themes this book deals with. All the sisters are so vastly different too you truly feel like you enter a new world with each chapter. This wins for my book of the year and in my opinion, is a must-read.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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Let me start with saying this is going to be made into a show for Hulu in 2020, so if you are someone who likes to read the book FIRST do so stat. This book is about two teens growing up in the 2010s, Connell and Marianne, who have literally nothing in common but have been brought together outside of their normal school setting because Connell’s mother is Marianne’s housekeeper. What happens next is a story that will feel very familiar and frustrating to any millennials. I know it brought out those feelings for me.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane 

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At its core, this book is a love story. You follow Kate and Peter from birth. They grow up as neighbors – both children of NYC cops – and they strike up a quick friendship that is tested over and over again throughout the 40-year arc we follow them on. It’s an explosive arc and tackles the common topic of what forgiveness looks like for different people. A lot of this book felt comfortable to me since it deals with Irish Catholics (a topic I know a good bit about), but the explosive moment that shapes both these families’ lives is massive and leads to such great drama and questions for all parties involved. Highly recommend.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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At first, I had a hard time reading this book since it is written like a manuscript of a documentary. Keeping track of who is who was a little rough since this is about a rock band of 7 people so there are lots of characters. This book is set in the 1970s during the height of rock and roll and about a socialite, Daisy Jones, who joins a rock band and they hit peak fame. Now, a team of documentarians is doing a biopic on the band in the present time. It’s interesting to hear different perspectives and questions whose view is true or not. This is a quick read and well done.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

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It took a little bit for me to get into this book, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. This book is set in Chicago (the author went to Northwestern), so I personally loved knowing street names and the bars and restaurants she mentioned. But, that’s not that important to the storyline. The book itself is set in during the AIDS epidemic and follows two stories – one of Yale, a gay man watching his friends suffer and pass away as the disease ravages Boystown, and Fiona, the sister of Yale’s best friend who has just passed away. Fiona’s story is told 30 years in the future and it is almost hard to follow why this story is important to the one in the past, but it is. It’s like unraveling a mystery of how these stories connect, and the end result is fantastic. FYI this was optioned by Amy Poehler and is also being made into a TV show.

A Sassy Guide to Delafield, WI

A Sassy Guide to Delafield, WI

If you’ve ever wanted to live in a Hallmark film, well I have the perfect town for you to visit. Delafield, Wisconsin is located in the Lake Country of Wisconsin (which they won’t let you forget – there are lots of items you can buy that proclaim you are a Real Housewife of Lake Country!) and only a two and a half-hour drive from downtown Chicago. It’s almost equally between Milwaukee and Madison give or take 10 minutes so it’s a great getaway for most cities in Wisconsin too!

My friends and I love doing little weekends away with each other so we decided to explore Lake Country and the small town of Delafield for a short autumn weekend in November. We left on Friday night and got to the hotel a little after 10pm since we stopped for dinner outside of Milwaukee.

So remember when I said this town is basically a Hallmark film set? Well, that’s true. It’s super quaint, cute, homey and all decorated for the season. However, that’s where the comparisons end. Most Hallmark-Esque towns might not be very modern. I, for one, automatically think of old-timey bed and breakfasts, outdated diners, and antiquated buildings, but Delafield is modern and has a lot of updated amenities. One of those being the hotel we stayed at The Delafield Hotel.

The Delafield Hotel is a luxury hotel with a great blend of cozy and modern features. The lobby has a masculine lodge feel, but still feels bright and welcoming. The rooms are roomy, cozy, but still have modern touches like Kohler rain showers (I DIE!) and fun artwork. The hotel also houses its own restaurant – I.d.– and is next door to a massive fitness center, be Fitness, that the hotel guests are allowed to use during their stay. We were actually blown away by the hospitality here (everyone is SO nice) as well as the space being so fresh and modern. This hotel could easily be in the heart of Chicago.

On our first night, we opted to stay in and just watch TV (lots of channels btw including On Demand!) and woke up early the next day to go to brunch at Belfre Kitchen. They call themselves a neighborhood gathering spot and we’d have to agree – we went back twice for brunch and then some appetizers before dinner and were impressed with both. Their space is airy, modern, and built-in a former church. It has a very cool vibe and the menu is very unique. For instance, we each got one of their mimosa flights which came with different juices and the choices were things like rhubarb, prickly pear, and pomegranate in addition to typical juices like orange and peach.

After brunch, we did some shopping around town. Our favorite store being Element Style. It had all the cute, cozy items you need for the season. Each of us bought something here like gloves and sweaters. Some other places we’d recommend to stop in: Next Door, Bliss Boutique and the cute antique store next to Angelina’s restaurant.

That evening, we went to I.d. for dinner and again were blown away. The caliber of food they had was high and reminded me of some of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Milwaukee and Chicago. Our favorite dishes were Nashville Hot Chicken Wedge, Beet Gnocchi in a sheep cheese fondue, and the Chorizo Verde Meatballs. I can’t say that anything was not good though! You could literally order anything on this menu and be impressed – like you can’t go wrong with amazing truffle fries!

If you’re looking for nightlife, this town isn’t really it. Sorry, Delafield! But I think they know that. Our hotel had an amazing bar that had live music and we could have easily stayed there for more drinks, but we decided to go to the other bar in town Revere’s for a more relaxed vibe. They have a game room in the basement too with darts, pool, and Golden Tee. They also have Photo Hunt (nude version only please – if you know what I mean please leave a comment below!). We stayed way too long. Most people had already left, but that’s our MO. Like I said before, everyone in this town is beyond nice and we made friends with the bartenders and were having a grand ole time. Pro Tip: this town is like New Orleans so you can drink on the street. We are large fan of roadies so this was one of our fave things about Delafield!

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The next morning, we woke up and hung out in our insanely comfortable beds while recapping our evening and then drove home but not before we stopped to get some Spotted Cow to take home with us. If you know, then you know.

Jim’s Guide to a Perfect Chicago Christmas

Jim’s Guide to a Perfect Chicago Christmas

Last December, I wrote a Chicago holiday activity guide of all the things I love to do around Christmas and this year to spice things up, I invited my dad – who you guys know as Jim – to write give his own top list of things to do for the season. So below is a list of all the things you should do with your own Dapper Dad (or mom or friend or uncle or whomever!) when the time allows:

1. Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park followed by drinks at Offshore at Navy Pier. 

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This ice skating rink is particularly fun because like the city of Chicago explains it “it’s a multi-sensory experience”. It goes in a circle but has tiny hills and sharper turns so it’s more of a ride than going in one pace around an ice rink for an hour. Not too far away is Navy Pier’s newest bar Offshore. It is the nation’s largest rooftop bar and it has a roof so it’s got the views without the cold weather. I have also heard that they have dressed it up for the holidays!

2. Caroling at the Bean followed by drinks at Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. 

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Every Friday from now until Christmas, there is Christmas caroling at the at Cloud Gate aka The Bean. Local choirs lead the singing and everyone gets a songbook at the event. The Bean is conveniently located across the street from Chicago Athletic Association Hotel which houses Cindy’s – another awesome rooftop that has great views, outdoor fires, and inside seating.

3. Drive around to see the Christmas lights of Sauganash.

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The neighborhood of Sauganash in Chicago is known for its holiday decorations. Take a drive around the neighborhood and end your night at Fondue Stube for some traditional melted cheese and bread. My parents had one of their first dates here!

4. Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a holiday concert. 

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The CSO does holiday concerts all month long, but the most fun ones (in my opinion!) are the themed ones. The Harry Potter concert was Thanksgiving weekend, but the Home Alone one is coming up soon!

5. A Loyola Ramblers game.

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Not sure how this one snuck in here, but I am guessing Jim wants us to all go to a game with him now that he is a fair-weather fan lol.  In all fairness, he is an alum and this is where he met my mom so we will let it stay on the list.

November ’19 Outfit Round-Up

November ’19 Outfit Round-Up

Shopping via links is hard. Trust me, I am also a human who likes to buy from people she is influenced by on the Internet. So in attempts to make it easier to shop my outfits, I am instituting a new monthly blog post where I do a round-up of all my outfits from the month so you can easily shop them from your browser. So in no particular order, here we go!

For reference, I am usually a size 16/18 in dresses, 20 in pants, and almost exclusively a 1X in anything Anthropologie.

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what is art?

{ jacket: Jessica London faux fur jacket, booties: Comfortview Henley booties, dress: old Forever 21, but linking a similar dress from Torrid}

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i want a hot dog real bad

{top: Anthropologie Mallory ruffled blouse, headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband, black jeggings: Sanctuary classic leggings, shoes: Target platform wedges}

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comfy cozies

{top: Chic Soul slouchy tunic, leggings: Universal Standard core leggings, slippers: Lands’ End shearling slippers}

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eshakti

{headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband, dress: Eshakti ruffle floral cotton dress, shoes: Target booties}

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fabletics

{entire work out outfit: Fabletics}

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glam casual

{hat: red beanie,  jacket: Jessica London 3-in-1 puffer, top: Jessica London metallic shirt, black jeggings: Sanctuary classic leggings, booties: Comfortview Henley booties}

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holiday look

{barrettes: Quarters & Caviar pearl & geometric barrettes, sweater: Jessica London faux fur-trim sweater, boots: Ivana Wide-Calf Boot by Comfortview}

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my winter in FL look

{headband: Ann Taylor velvet knotted headband, dress: Anthropologie ruffled tunic dress by Rossi}

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car not included

{top: confetti chenille sweater, skirt: GibsonLook pink pleated skirt, shoes: velvet flats – these are old and from the Gap, but I found some cute ones from DSW that are similar}

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swingin’ into the holidays

{headband: Anthropologie Lauren knotted headband, jumpsuit: Eshakti stripe matte jumpsuit}

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bye fall

{top: Amazon Relipop loose sweater, pants: Old Navy pixie pants in leopard, shoes: Target platform wedges}