Hi.

My name is Catherine Courtney and I am a Nashville Native with a penchant for culinary creativity and epic travel adventures.  I'll admit... I also have a slight obsession with handbags. 

Finding the Sweet Spot in Chicago

Finding the Sweet Spot in Chicago

Those of you who know me realize that I have quite a fondness for Chicago. Arctic freezing temperatures, inches of snow and canceled flights can't stop this girl, and yes I realize that is just December- April.

Regardless, I fell in love with Chicago years before I developed my passion for food. Each trip I have a tendency to revisit my favorites, the ones I know that can't and won't let me down.  Isn't that the struggle with trying new places?  While it's always exciting to try something new, there is always a sense of hesitation at first.  What if Pequod's pizza isn't as great as Giordano's? You want me to try the Shake Shack when Au Cheval is a few minutes away?  

This last trip to Chicago was a little different for me. While I visited a few of my favorites, I had the opportunity to check out a few new places that have been popping on my radar for quite some time.  No, Sweet Mandy B's, I did not forget about you or your chocolate pudding, how could I?  But I did have a chance to pop into two new places that will cure your sweet tooth and hit your sweet spot for sure: Public House and BomboBar. 

Public House and BomboBar are all under the Dineamic Group which boasts some of the tastiest restaurants in Chicago.  We decided to pop in out of the cold and check out Public House for a late lunch. Clearly, the time didn't matter because the restaurant was swarming with patrons.  We found a couple of seats at the bar and started checking out the menu. SO MANY OPTIONS! Being in the mood for some comfort food, we decided to order the fried cheese curds (because we all know cheese curds are in a class by themselves) Belgian White Mussel bowl (yes, I have been craving these since Brussels) and to top it off a Vanilla Stout Cake shake.  When a milkshake in Chicago gets talked about in Nashville, you know you need to investigate, which is exactly what I did.  We had a leisurely lunch at the bar enjoying all of the delicious food. Oh, I almost overlooked the fact that the Public House has a ridiculous selection of beer on tap.  Lucky for me, I was able to get a Great Lakes Christmas Ale ..Public House for the win! You can't get this beer in Nashville and the Christmas Ale is my fav!  

So let's move on to the sweet spot of the meal, the Vanilla Stout Cake Shake.  This masterpiece included JP Casper White Stout, Vanilla Ice Cream topped with the most gorg piece of Confetti Buttercream Cake.  After I took about a million pictures of this masterpiece, I jumped right into the vanilla goodness... HOLY SHAKE!  It was unreal! I swear if I had more time and more room in my tummy, I would have ordered all three options. 

  Vanilla Stout Cake Shake  @  Public House  - Chicago, Il

Vanilla Stout Cake Shake @ Public House - Chicago, Il

Clearly, we had to wait a few days before we had anything else as sugary and sinful as the cake shake, but it didn't take us long.  Braving the bone-chilling wind, we made our way to BomboBar/ Bar Siena for Sunday brunch. I was so bundled up, I walked right past the BomboBar window the first time around.  We decided that it would be best to have something a little savory compliment the sugar binge that was about to ensue.  We posted up at Bar Siena and ordered a Bloody Mary, a perfect start to our Sunday.  All I could think about was warming up with a cup of hot chocolate, which is exactly what I did. I immediately asked for the Bombobar menu and starting perusing my options.  First things first, I needed to thaw out. What better way than with a mug of S'mores Hot Chocolate

  S'mores Hot Chocolate :  Milk Chocolate, Toasted Marshmallow Fluff, Chocolate Biscotti and   Doughtnut

S'mores Hot Chocolate: Milk Chocolate, Toasted Marshmallow Fluff, Chocolate Biscotti and Doughtnut

Clearly, this is not the Swiss Miss imitation hot chocolate that most of us find in our office break rooms at work. This was the real deal. The marshmallow fluff was enough to make this girl swoon, but I couldn't stop there.  Bombolini's anyone?  Talk about sinful!  After changing my mind about fifty times, I decided to go with the following: Salted Caramel, Nutella Cream, and S'mores ( Duh! What goes better with S'mores hot chocolate!) Such a fun little interactive treat allowing guests to "squeeze" as much filling in each bomboloni as they want. Yes!  While I enjoyed all three flavors, my favorite was the Salted Caramel.  Highly recommend! 

Next time you find yourself in Chicago, make sure both of these "sweet spots" are on your radar.  You don't want to miss out! 

 From left to right: Nutella Cream, Salted Caramel, and S'mores

From left to right: Nutella Cream, Salted Caramel, and S'mores

Bringing a little Napa Valley to Chicago:  The French Laundry @ Next Restaurant

Bringing a little Napa Valley to Chicago: The French Laundry @ Next Restaurant

One More for the Road...Bon Voyage Mad Platter!

One More for the Road...Bon Voyage Mad Platter!