Friday night we went to Quartino. And it was OK. The meal was shared plates and some were delicious - veal meatballs, yes please. But the rest we good, but not superb. The atmosphere on the other hand was great. It was a noisy place, but everyone was having a good time. We had heard great things about it, so it is a place I would try again, but maybe order some different things. On Saturday we went to lunch at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. Amazing Mexican food. We started with the queso fundito (found the recipe - WIN) which might have been my favorite thing. It was not the white goopy cheese you get at the cheap Mexican place down the street. It had stuff in it. Like peppers. And he served it with homemade corn tortillas. Definitely would go again.
But the crowning glory of our culinary tour was dinner on Saturday night. We went to a restaurant that had just opened, Girl & The Goat. Normally, there is no way we could have gotten in with the last minute planning of our trip, but my cousin had coincidentally made a reservation for Saturday night and she let us tag along.
The restaurant is owned by Stephanie Izard who won Top Chef a few years back and she is very creative with her menu. I was a bit apprehensive when I previewed the menu on the website, but after the first round of food, I trusted her completely. This meal was also shared plates and everything we had was divine. We had everything from the bread and vegetables to the fancier meat items and all of it was amazing. I would try and elaborate on what she did to all of the food, but I have no idea. She has a great spot in the West Loop and next time anyone goes to Chicago, I will recommend they call ASAP and try and get in to Girl & The Goat. And she adapts her menu to what she can get at the Farmer's market, so next time I go back, the menu will be completely different. Can't wait. Of course I stalked her when I got home, and she posts tons of recipes on her website...I'll be checking those out soon!
Before we hit the road on Sunday morning, we went to The Publican for brunch and it was really good, but I was so full from the weekend and still dreaming about Girl & The Goat, I feel like I did not enjoy it to it's full potential. But their bacon was like an inch thick and maple braised. That was good. Really good. Overall, great new restaurants and it might entice me a try a few new places next time I am up there! I did miss my good french classics, so one of those might get squeezed back in as well. Too much food for too little time. Alas.