February 2015 | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: The Southern

Our brunch at Kanela Breakfast Club set some high expectations, so we knew we had to carefully choose our next place to visit. It goes without saying that we wanted a fantastic meal, but as we were in the midst of an ugly, gloomy, snowy snap, we also wanted somewhere with a homey vibe and good ol' comfort food. In the midst of our search, a fortuitous opportunity to try out the new winter menu at The Southern fell into our hands; as soon as we took a look at the menu, we knew it was the perfect place for our next brunchgasm!

On a blustery Sunday morning, Diana and I headed over to Bucktown for brunch at The Southern, a Southern-inspired spot known for its hearty comfort food and a wide selection of small-batch bourbons, micro-brews, whiskeys, and specialty cocktails. This is a place that takes the laid-back vibe of Southern life to heart, as they describe themselves as "a central gathering place where the tallest order of the day is a cocktail, conversation, and relaxation." Executive Chef Eric Michael began his tenure with The Southern back in the days in which it was a popular fixture in the Chicago food truck scene (serving up some *amazing* mac & cheese). Once they opened the restaurant, Chef Michael worked his way through the kitchen as a line cook and sous chef before being appointed as executive chef.



The NOSH at Block Thirty Seven

The NOSH is a weekly food pop-up food festival that showcases a variety of chefs, restaurants, caterers, bakers, butchers, and food entrepreneurs from Chicago. Similar to the food truck meetups I've frequented, The NOSH brings together a variety of vendors in a communal space in order to offer an array of options from quick bites that can be eaten on the go to full meals. You'll typically find The NOSH popping up at the Logan Square Farmers Market, but luckily for those of you working/living in the Loop, the festival has paired up with Block Thirty Seven for the month of February (the event is even accessible via the Pedway, which means if you're already downtown, you don't even have to go outside and face the nasty weather in order to get your nosh on!).

Every Thursday and Friday, The NOSH sets up its vendor booths on the first floor of Block Thirty Seven (conveniently right around the bend from one of my shopping addictions, Sephora!). As I've mentioned before, I spent seven years working in the Loop - during the summer, there were numerous farmers markets and weekly mini food festivals that offered wonderful lunch options. However, the winter months were brutal - there were so few non-fast food/but still fast options. I would have loved to have been able to zip down the block to get my nosh on (ha! I did it again!).

Last Friday, Mario and I were invited to head downtown and, of course, nosh! The nice thing about the NOSH is that because it's a regular pop-up with a smaller lineup (10 vendors), the crowds are far more manageable than those that are often seen at the food festivals that only run once a year (Diana and I stopped by a crazy food festival last summer in which the lines were at least 40 people deep!). During our time in the heart of the lunchtime crowd, the longest line we had to wait in only had five others in front of us. This is especially nice if you're on your lunch break, as you don't want to have to spend more of your time waiting in lines than actually eating.


Cupcake Decorating at Bru Chicago

A few weeks ago, Diana and I braved the nasty, icy evening for a night of cupcake decorating through the Learning Bar. We used to be monthly class regulars at The Chopping Block, but after our schedules started getting a bit too complicated to keep up, we had to take a step back. While we no longer have our regular commitment, our love of trying new foodie classes hasn't faded, so when the Learning Bar popped up on Groupon we knew it was meant to be! Plus, who can resist a night of cupcakes, especially in the aftermath of one of the worst blizzards to hit Chicago?!



Chicago Eats: Kanela Breakfast Club

If you haven't already figured it out, brunch is my favorite meal of the day. Not only is it the perfect weekend indulgence, but also I love the leisurely pace of the meal. Plus, there's the day drinking (which is not only acceptable but also highly encouraged), the delicious food options (two of my favorites, eggs, and lobster, tend to play heavily into brunch dishes), and the perfect lighting (very important for a food blogger). Thankfully, Chicago is a city that has fully embraced the brunch trend.

Diana is with me on the brunch love train, so much so that we decided to form an informal brunch club (Monthly Brunchgasm). Basically, we're on a mission to sample all the best brunches in the city and beyond! We're aiming for at least one brunch visit per month, but based on our record so far, we're averaging closer to three per month. As of now, it's just the two of us, but we're already in talks with others who want to join us; we also already have a long list of places to visit, but we're completely open to suggestions!

For our inaugural Bruchgasm visit, we decided to take advantage of a fantastic opportunity that came our way: a visit to the newest location of Kanela Breakfast Club. In the former The Savoy space, the fourth Kanela location offers all of its signature dishes right in the heart of Wicker Park. As with all of their locations, Kanela is focused on offering Greek-influenced, locally-sourced and organic breakfast, brunch, and lunch options... needless to say, they are a place that most definitely knows their way around all of the best brunchy food options!



Chicago Eats: Freds at Barneys

A few weeks ago, I met up with two of my favorite bloggers, Ashley and Gigi, for a very belated Christmas celebration and catch-up brunch at Freds at Barneys. Due to our crazy schedules, we hadn't had the chance to meet up in nearly two months, so we were definitely long overdue for an afternoon of girly time and good food (well, we're always in need of good food). Gigi has hardcore love for Barneys and has introduced numerous bloggers to Freds over the last year; having previously converted Ashley, they knew it would be the perfect setting for our meetup.

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