January 2018 | chicago foodie girl


Travel Guide: Girls Weekend in Hamilton County (2)

In case you missed it, check out my post on our first day in Hamilton County here

While I would like to say Diana and I woke up the next morning ready to jump right into the second day of exploring Hamilton County, quite honestly, we were exhausted (as we stayed up far too late), slightly hungover, and in desperate need of caffeine. Thankfully, the lovely ladies over at Visit Hamilton County seemed to have known that would happen, as the first stop on our agenda was exactly what we needed to get us going (and to shake our post-cookie and booze haze from the previous evening!). Once we finally managed to make ourselves presentable, we headed back to Carmel for breakfast at Eggshell Bistro, a ridiculously charming and quaint café known for serving some of the best coffee in the state.



Travel Guide: Girls Weekend in Hamilton County (1)

Before moving to Chicago, my travel wishlist was solely focused on big city explorations. I lived in a small Midwestern town and longed to spend my free time working my way through the bustling and exciting restaurants, museums, and theatres of major metro areas. While I still do love the thrill of absorbing the vibe of a new-to-me major city, now that I've been in Chicago for just over eighteen years (where did the time go?!), I'm finding myself being drawn to some smaller towns filled with quirky shops, massive farmers markets, family-owned restaurants, and admittedly, a far slower pace. I've especially come to appreciate the lesser-known spots in the Midwest; while millions of tourists are flocking to Chicago and other metro areas like Milwaukee each year, more and more, I'm seeking out local travel destinations that offer a quieter and quainter getaway, like in Hamilton County, Indiana. 

Located just north of Indianapolis, the cities and towns of Hamilton County are frequently lauded as some of the best places to live in the Midwest, thanks to their high marks in quality of life ratings. While the county is one of the fastest growing in the United States, it still offers residents and visitors alike plenty of small-town charm. When the fine folks at Visit Hamilton County reached out to inquire if Diana and I would be interested in a weekend of foodie explorations, we took one look at their lineup of cute restaurants, markets, and festivals and immediately knew it was the perfect spot for our next girls getaway!



17 from '17

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic start to 2018. I have to admit that I’ve been less than impressed with this year thus far, as I’ve spent just about all of it on the couch in my pajamas nursing various gross ailments (leaving the apartment only once to go to the doctor's office), worrying about a close friend in the hospital, and very much not doing the work I need to do for the start of the semester. It can only go up from here though, right?!

Despite the less than auspicious start to 2018, I am glad to leave last year in the dust. It was one of those years with extreme highs and extreme lows. While I had some fantastic professional opportunities (several of which included some fab travel), much of the year was spent worrying about a professional setback Mario suffered and dealing with some major anxiety surrounding the loss of someone very close to us. The majority of the year was one big emotional drain, although thankfully, things finally started to turn around in December. While I know logically there’s not a big difference between December 31 and January 1, it just felt cathartic to leave the year behind.

Despite some personal struggles, it was a fantastic year in food. I ate my way across Chicago and fell hard for some new restaurants, explored some fab eats in Wisconsin, Indiana, Arizona, and Mexico, and finally knocked a three-Michelin starred restaurant off my bucket list (stay tuned for more about this in an upcoming post). There were some sad losses in the Chicago restaurant community (Grace! 😢), but I’m still confident Chicago will continue to offer amazing experiences and I’m excited to see what this next year will bring!

Here are 17 of my favorites from 2017:

The OG Lox and the Confit Albacore Tuna with oil-cured olives at Snaggletooth. I loved this charming cured fish deli from the moment I first stepped foot in it shortly after its opening in 2016. The space was adorable and owners Bill Montagne and Jennifer Kim put a lot of love and effort into every one of their perfectly constructed dishes. I was so sad to say goodbye to this gem over the summer!
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