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.

Easy Dinner: Thrown Together Pasta

At the end of the week, I usually have a few random ingredients leftover that need to be used as soon as possible. I’m also usually pretty tired of spend a lot of time cooking. Insert a thrown together pasta and I can use up some veggies before they go bad and put together a quick meal. I had some penne, broccoli, pancetta and marinara sauce at home, so this is what was thrown together.

Meg’s Thrown Together Pasta (servings – 2 entree portions, time – approx. 25 min)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta (or whatever you have leftover)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets (no stem)
  • 1/2 cup pancetta
  • Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large sauce pan, cook pancetta until lightly crisp and remove from pan.
  3. Once pancetta is removed from pan, cook onion for approx. 5 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 2 mins.
  4. Add pasta sauce and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add broccoli and cook covered for a few minutes until broccoli is cooked through.
  6. Combine sauce mixture and pasta, mix well.
  7. Divide into two bowls, top with pancetta and parmesan cheese.

For more servings, add a cup of pasta of each serving, add more veggies and increase pasta sauce.