food

Eating my way through Chicago: Haute Eats, Haute Travel

delicious cheese stuffed peppers at RPM Italian

delicious cheese stuffed peppers at RPM Italian

Wow, that sounds gluttonous doesn’t it…

I’ll qualify this post by saying this was my birthday week in Chicago, but also by saying I love the Chicago food scene.  I hit up some amazing restaurants during my last trip out there, and had to share some of the haute eats with you!

First night dinner – RPM Italian

This was a kick-off the weekend dinner, and RPM provides quite a scene to do it.  I wasn’t sure if I was in a restaurant or a club, with the crowds, packed bar and constant carding (thank you age gods).  We were seated in the bar area in a nice large booth, perfect for people watching and enjoying the meal.  We had lots of goodies, from the table treat – cheese stuffed peppers above – to the ricotta spread, to several pastas and risottos we tried. Overall, it was a fun meal at a lively venue, but not my favorite of the week.  Maybe because I am less of a pasta person in general.

pastas galore at RPM Italian

pastas galore at RPM Italian

delicious ricotta at RPM Italian

delicious ricotta at RPM Italian

 

Day 2 Breakfast – Stan’s Donuts

This was an unexpected treat, some post workout donuts from Stans (super healthy, right).  We grabbed some, including the maple cinnamon pretzel roll, and the bacon maple bar, to bring back home. Not ignoring the delicious Molly’s cupcakes we ate, but those were for a sweet treat later in the evening (my favorite was the red velvet with cream cheese frosting).

sweet bday treats - famous Stan's Donuts and Molly's Cupcakes

sweet bday treats – famous Stan’s Donuts and Molly’s Cupcakes

 

Day 2 Brunch – Siena Tavern

I am a Top Chef junkie, so nabbing a table for a big brunch group at Siena Tavern was amazing.  One of the restaurants of fan favorite Fabio Vivani, this spot is a lively and open space, perfect for adults and kids on a Saturday morning.  We tried a bunch of things, from the salads, to the fries with sage and parmesan (yummy, even though I am not a fries person), as well as brussel sprouts, eggs dishes, pizza and pancakes.  (Just about everything it would seem)  My favorites were the brussel sprouts and the cheese pizza, but my almond pancakes weren’t half bad either.  Check out some of the highlights below.

eggs benedict special at Siena Tavern

eggs benedict special at Siena Tavern

almond pancakes at Siena Tavern

almond pancakes at Siena Tavern

yummy pizza and brussels at Siena Tavern

yummy pizza  and farro salad at Siena Tavern

 

Day 2 Dinner – Boka

We classed it up a bit for dinner, with a trip to the newly reopened Boka.  After hearing rave reviews from a friend, I had to check it out.  We dined on some delicious gnudi as an appetizer, every salad on the menu (loved the asparagus with green goddess dressing) and I had halibut for dinner (a bit buttery for me sadly).  The final treat was some chocolate, salty, raspberry delight, which I was happy to indulge in. Forgot to snap a lot of pics, cause we were focused on chatting and celebrating, but it was a lovely dinner.

sweet treat at Boka

sweet treat at Boka

 

Day 2 Night Out – Untitled

Indulged on many of my favorite cocktail there, the Cucumber Vodka Gimlet (the best way I can order a limey, cucumbery, vodkay drink).  Delicious, and dangerous.

cucumber limey vodkay drink from another spot - just for inspiration

cucumber limey vodkay drink from another spot – just for inspiration

Day 3 – Brunch/Afternoon Snack

Stopped in to Goddess and the Grocer for a lovely veggie and green goddess sandwich to help recover.  No photo taken on this day, but this is what it looks like on their website.  Dinner was homemade salad and some red wine love.

photo credit - goddessandthegrocer.com

photo credit – goddessandthegrocer.com

 

Day 4 Dinner – Summer House

California meets Chicago at Summer House, which is exactly what the doctor ordered after some major eating all weekend.  The cuisine is super light, fresh and delicious, and the seating is like an outdoor patio but indoors (cause it’s Chicago after all).  We had the japanese eggplant (amazing) and the roasted cauliflower, ahi tuna mini-tostadas, and the veggie tacos (heaven on a plate).  This may rack up as mu favorite meal of the trip!

countdown to summer at Summer House

countdown to summer at Summer House

ahi tuna mini-tostadas

ahi tuna mini-tostadas

veggie tacos - so amazing

veggie tacos – so amazing

 

Day 5 Lunch – Little Goat

Another Top Cheffer!  And a local favorite, Stephanie Izard kicked off the the famous Girl and the Goat, and then came back with Little Goat.  It’s diner food at it’s best, with lots of breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings.  I had the shrimp and grits (love southern food) and my friend Jeff had the french toast with fried chicken bites hidden on the plate.  Totally delicious!

shrimp and grits at Little Goat

shrimp and grits at Little Goat

Jeff about to devour the French Toast at Little Goat

Jeff about to devour the French Toast at Little Goat

 

Day 5 Dinner – Adobo Grill 

For the last meal, we headed to Adobo Grill, for some Mexican-style comfort food.  Located in Old Town, its a cute little spot, with a lot of great eats.  I had some spicy margaritas, fresh guacamole, Adobo salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette and tamarind chicken tacos. We ended the meal with a final sweet treat, tres leeches cake (quite appropriate since I went off dairy the next day – but that is for another post).

Guac and chips - half-eaten ;) - at Adobo Grill

Guac and chips – half-eaten 😉 – at Adobo Grill

spicey margarita at Adobo Grill

spicy margarita at Adobo Grill

Tres Leches Cake at Adobo Grill

Tres Leches Cake at Adobo Grill

 

Whew – that was a lot of haute eats!  Can’t wait to go back to Chicago and check out some new (for me) spots like Japonais by Morimoto (fresh tofu anyone), Schwa, and others…and revisit some Chicago Faves like ING, Balena, Quartino, and others.

Hope this is haute inspiration for your next Chicago trip!

 

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Special Treat for my Readers – 30% off on Blue Apron Meals: Haute Eats

Still wondering what to cook for dinner?  If you read my recent post about My Week of Trying Blue Apron Meals, you know I was a fan of the meal delivery service that you prepare yourself.  Well as a special treat, Blue Apron is offering my readers 30% off their first week’s delivery!  Just use the code blueapron.com/lehauteeye042014 to access this deal!

Here are some pics of my yummy Blue Apron week…as a little Tuesday food-spiration.  Have a haute week everyone!

 

meal 1 - tofu fajitas with guacamole and sour cream

meal 1 – tofu fajitas with guacamole and sour cream

meal 2 - roasted fennel with fresh linguine and lemon ricotta

meal 2 – roasted fennel with fresh linguine and lemon ricotta

meal 3 - chickpea "chile" soup with m'smen bread

meal 3 – chickpea “chile” soup with m’s men bread and my own brown rice

 

 

The Haute List – Looking Back at 2012

2012 marked the beginning of le haute eye, but we are excited to share our list of the “hautest” trends, food, drinks and more for the year!

 

Haute Fashion

There were so many amazing trends in 2012, but the ones which stood out to the le haute eye team were the ones which stole the show time and time again…

Peplum- This skirted skirt really shown this year, and provided figure friendly accents to skirts of all length.  Everyone was rocking a peplum, including Lady Gaga, which let’s you know it was a trend with staying power.

Lady-gaga-peplum-dress

photo from style.mtv.com

Leather Accents – Leather made a comeback in a big way, but mostly as an accent rather than a solo act.  You can expect to see much more of this, as many designers are pushing this trend into spring, as I heard at a NYC Zara recently.  

Zara_leatherLeather_peplum

photos from Zara.com


 

Haute Spots

Adventure trips were on my list this year, here are a few favorites.

Iceland – This is an adventure junkie heaven, in winter or summer, Iceland has a ton to offer!  I loved the blue lagoon, and especially enjoyed the vast and seemingly desolate scenes.  I would love to go back for another adventure, and hope to finally see the Northern Lights.

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Belmopan, Belize – Belize is not just for couples, but is a great spot to visit for an adventure or to relax in the jungle.  I stayed at the Sleeping Giant Lodge (https://lehauteeye.com/sleeping-giant-lodge-in-belmopan-belize-is-a) and had the most memorable, personal, and adventurous experience with friends.

 

 

Haute Eats

Magic/Miracle Berries – One of my best food experiences of 2012 involved Miracle Berries, a berry from Africa with the amazing ability to turn sour tastes into sweet treats.  The low shelf life of this fruit makes it only available in powder or tablet form, which may seem odd to some, but it’s a flavor experience worth every bite.  Many restaurants in Chicago use Miracle berries, like ING (one of my faves), and I even use them when drinking a regualar old vodka, soda and lime, turning it into a lemonade-like treat.

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photo from Amazon.com

 

Haute Drinks

Cucumber Drinks – Everywhere I went, cucumber abounded this year, from mixes with Elderflower, to simple Cucumber Martinis, this versatile fruit lent well to so many great drinks in 2012.

Cucumber

photo from diyhealth.com

 

Burbon-based Cockatails/Mixology Drinks – These drinks throwback to the old days of drinking, like they did in the 20s, with bitters and potions making a comeback.  Spots like Hawthorne in Boston and Swig in San Francisco, made finding these drinks a cool experience, and have many coming back for more.  

 

Haute Reads

A few of my top books/series of the year were pretty obvious, but need to be listed none-the-less:

The Hunger Games Trilogy – This young adult trilogy captivated me and many an audience, and the follow-up movie made waves as well.  Following Katniss through the Hunger Games made us all feel a bit better about our life challenges.  A must read for anyone looking for adventure, drama, and a book which speaks about society

Hunger

The Dovekeepers or anything by Alice Hoffman – I was recently introduced to Alice Hoffman’s work, and I am hooked.  Dovekeepers is my favorite of the historical fiction work from Hoffman, and is a deep and intense story of love and loss, set in the old world Middle East.

 

2012 had much more to offer, but this sampling reminds me of all the great things I experienced this year, and makes 2013 all the more exciting!  Wishing you all a safe, prosperous, and Happy New Year!