Gilt Bar, Chicago

Are you sick of hearing about my trip to Chicago yet? This is the last post, I’m promise!

For Alex‘s birthday dinner (a day early, we had some serious day drinking to do on her actual birthday), I treated her to a fantastic meal at Gilt Bar. I can’t take any credit for picking the restaurant, that was all Alex. Girlfriend knows her Chi-Town hot-spots.

Gilt Bar has a very dark and sexy ambiance. At first it felt almost too dark and sexy but I was pleasantly surprised to find each table had a soft spotlight shining down from the ceiling. A very clever way to keep the venue dark but allow diners to see one another while really showcasing the food.

The best thing about dining with my dear friend Alex is that we have very similar palates. Because of that, we can always order items to share.

After settling on a bottle of Pinot Noir, we dove into the menu. We decided to order a starter, two entrees, and two sides, all to share.

To start we ordered from the “On Toast” section of the menu. There were a lot of delicious sounding options but we decided to go with the most basic, sweet balsamic, roasted garlic and olive oil.

sweet balsamic roasted garlic & olive oil

This dish was just beyond. I wanted to bathe in the sauce, sweet but not too tarte and just enough roasted garlic. Simple and amazing. I may have to make an attempt this dish at home.

Since we are both serious meat and potatoes kind of gals, we ordered the beef pot roast and a side of smashed potatoes. We are also suckers for anything with truffles so the truffle pasta was a no-brainer. To round out the meal with some veggies, we ordered the brussels sprouts as a side.

spoon tender beef pot roast with red wine & glazed root vegetables

smashed potatoes with roasted garlic & chicken jus

caramelized brussels sprouts, pork belly, maple & parmesan

(truffle pasta not pictured, sorry!)

Each dish was so rich and decadent, between the two of us we were only able to eat about half of each dish. Perhaps we over-indulged a bit on the bread. This wasn’t a bad thing though. It meant we had the perfect amount of leftovers to munch on after Alex’s birthday festivities the next day. Everything was just as delicious the second time around.

Ann Sather, Chicago

When I’m spending the day gallivanting around Chicago with Alex, a big, hearty breakfast is very necessary. Before tackling our to-do and to-see lists last Friday, we stopped by Belmont location of Ann Sather for brunch.

At this charming, Swedish cafe slash diner, you can get a generous breakfast with amazing sides and a coffee, for less than $10. It could be that I’m jaded by prices on the East Coast, but this is a steal.

I ordered bacon & eggs, while Alex ordered a breakfast wrap. Between the two of us we spilt a total of four (yes, four!) sides; we each received two with our order. Ann Sather is known for their cinnamon rolls, we couldn’t not order them! We also also ordered toast, hash browns and fruit.

Service was fast and friendly. Definitely a delicious stop to make on a trip to Chicago. Be sure to order the cinnamon rolls, just look at how delectable they are!

BHLDN, Chicago

If you are engaged, a bridesmaid or just wedding and event obsessed, Anthropologie’s bridal store BHLDN is just simply heaven.

"chandelier" at BHLDN

I spent last weekend visiting my amazing friend Alex for her birthday and she was kind enough to let me sneak in some wedding dress shopping at the newest BHLDN store in Chicago. Ok, she wasn’t “kind enough,” she was absolutely elated to be going wedding dress shopping with me, she is a bridesmaid after all.

BHLDN is exactly what you’d expect from an Anthropologie owned bridal store. Two levels of unique dresses (for both brides and bridesmaids), highly curated decor and a-mah-zing dressing rooms.

BHLDN - Dresses

This was my first wedding dress shopping trip and it really could not have been better. I was very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect or what I was supposed to do but my bridal stylist, Mindi, was amazing. She made both Alex and I feel at ease right away. Probably had something to do with the sparkling wine and macaroons.

Bubbly & Macaroons

The wedding dresses at BHLDN are definitely very unique and most of them fit a very certain bride, theme or venue. I did find one that I loved and will possibly revisit at some point.

And one last thing to know: BHLDN stylists do not work on commission but if you do visit either of their stores (Houston or Chicago) and later want to order a dress, call the store to order. As Mindi pointed out, if everyone ordered online they wouldn’t need stores. And if there weren’t stores like this, well I’d just be sad.