Love and Food in the Big D

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Great Chicago Binge of 2011 (Day 2) - Dinner at The Publican, Avec and Girl & The Goat

As we began our trek to our FIRST dinner of the night...our poor, tired and aching feet FOOLED us into thinking that perhaps we had walked enough throughout the day to work off our dinner BEFORE we had even made it to the restaurant.  Little did we realize that as the night wore down and we finally made it to our last stop of the evening, NO AMOUNT of walking could've ever worked off ALL. THIS. FOOD.  No amount at all.  Good news is, we had consumed enough calories to sustain us if the world happened to come crumbling around us and we had to survive for months on our stomach eating itself from the inside out.  OH yeah... we ate THAT much.   Albeit yummy.. our inability to actually STOP took us to the edge...

First Stop:  The Publican
(Taken from their website) - Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Brian Huston crafted an eclectic menu inspired by simple farmhouse fare in a space evocative of a European beer hall. Featuring pork and fish/seafood preparations, the menu is best described by Kahan and Huston as “pristine product, simply prepared,” an approach to food Kahan has long espoused in all of his kitchens.

A round of beers to start us out..

Kusshi Oysters

Beets - Ricotta, Parmesan, Red Onion and Lemon

Walleye "fish fry" - Castelvetrano Olives, Cucumbers, Radishes and Parmesan Aioli

Lamb Neck Sugo with herb pappardelle and pickled squash

Pork Belly - Watermelon Radishes, Delicata Squash

Bread Pudding - Toasted Coconut, Almonds and Coconut Ice Cream

Next Stop:  Avec  (Same Chef as The Publican and Blackbird nearby)
Thankfully this little pit stop was just for a taste of some appetizers and maybe a drink to waste away the time before our next stop at Girl and The Goat.  ;) 

View from our seat at the bar..

Chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce

Spaghetti squash crostini with parmesan saffron cream and watercress

Last Stop:  Girl & The Goat
If you've ever watched Top Chef on Bravo, you'll surely recognize Chef Stephanie Izard, winner of Top Chef, Season Four. 

(Taken from Wikipedia) Stephanie Izard's restaurant Girl and The Goat, has received local and national press, including four out of five stars from Time Out Chicago and three out of four from Chicago Tribune. It was also the subject of Saveur magazine’s first-ever restaurant review, which dubbed Girl and the Goat “America’s Best New Restaurant.” Girl and the Goat was also nominated for the 2011 James Beard Best New Restaurant Award, right around the time Stephanie was named one of Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs.

Oh yeah.. it absolutely says, "Oven Roasted Pig Face".. and Oh YES, we ordered it.  Are you surprised?  ;) 
Chad was sold just on the name.. I, on the other hand...was more curious than anything else. 

Oh yeah and we also ordered the Pan Fried Duck Tongues with Shitake Mushrooms, Pickled Watermelon Rind, Chili Oil and Coriander 
I actually can't believe I WILLING ate these things.. and GASP, it was actually REALLY GOOD?!?!?!...Who knew I'd ever be so adventurous!?!

Seared Nantucket Bay Scallops, squash, bok choy, goat xo sauce and pizza poofs.. yup, that's what the menu said.. PIZZA POOFS!

Sauteed green beans, fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews
So simple, yet soooooo yummy!  :)

And last but certainly not least...
Wood oven roasted pig face - sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro and potato stix
Actually tasted like breakfast sausage, egg and crispy hashbrowns.. except BETTER...and luckily it didn't LOOK like a pig's face, at all!  :) 

So long little guy... you were a tasty little fellow.. ;) 

Time to WALK...or CRAWL rather, back to our hotel.. Wheel barrow anyone?  Anyone??  Please... anyone??  ;)  B.L.O.A.T.E.D!! 

The Great Chicago Binge of 2011 (Day 2) - Navy Pier, Millennium Park & The John Hancock Observatory

Waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed, we hit the ground running on this Sunday morning with a tentative schedule for the day.  We're usually go-with-the-flow type people when it comes to our Kelley Adventures so we had a general idea of what we wanted to hit..but no real plan besides that.  Our first stop after heading south from our hotel was... The Navy Pier.  :) 

Being a far cry from the MASS of people we dealt with the night before... the walk to the Pier was quiet and relaxing..even with the blistering wind hitting our faces along the way.  Guess everyone decided it would be best to sleep in on this somewhat gloomy but very "holiday feeling" winter-like morning.  :)  We loved it! 

Stay inside and snuggle weather that's for sure.. ;)
Except...we had things to SEE!!  ONWARD!!  ;) 

Statue commemorating Bob Newhart's role as Dr. Robert Hartley outside the Navy Pier entrance. 

And this statue of these creepy looking kids playing a weird backwards ring-around-the-rosie type game..

Spotting the Hancock Building from amongst the trees..

The winds were CRAZY out here!

I wish you could tell how nuts the water looked..

The sun, trying to break through the clouds..

While inside the atrium at the Pier, we stopped for a morning snack..
(the plan was to keep the morning and lunch time eating to a minimum so we could handle the TWO dinners we had planned that night..;) 

Mmmmmm... better than I expected.. at least I thought so.  Chad just thought it tasted like regular popcorn.  hehehe... 

Walking along the waters edge to our next stop.. Millennium Park! 

The water looked crazy blue.. almost like a pool

This little quacker about to jump in with this friends.. I tried to wait around for him to do it..but.. Chad was on a mission at this point.  ;) 

Almost there..

The pedestrian bridge designed by Frank Gehry that led us to Millenium Park

The Silver BEAN known as Cloud Gate

Having fun trying to think of the best way to capture our reflections..

Kisses to myself maybe??  ;)

hahahaha.. loving this one of Chad. 

hahahaha.. I have no idea what kind of faces we were trying to make..

Ooooooo...pretty... :)

Walking back to our neck of the woods..

Time for another Chicago MUST
A Downtown Dog with mutant, but TASTY green relish.  ;) 

Why was this relish SO GREEN?!?!?!

The Water Tower during the day...
 Followed by panoramic views (AGAIN, this time during the day) from the Hancock Observation Deck..

View down to the Navy Pier

View towards Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower)

View up Lake Shore Drive..

I'm pretty sure this was looking out towards Wrigley Field.. somewhere out there..

Time to head back to the hotel to rest our poor and incredibly aching toes-ies ;) before heading out for our Binge-fest Dinners later this evening..or afternoon, I should say.