St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

My mom was in town last weekend for St. Patrick’s Day! While most Chicagoans were out boozing at local Irish bars, we were out shopping, dining, and enjoying the theater.

On Friday afternoon, we lunched at Atwood Cafe on State and Washington. We’d been wanting to try this restaurant for years and finally got around to making reservations for lunch!

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We made it inside just before the rain started to come down and grabbed a booth by the window to people watch.

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We started with an appetizer – Fritto Misto (calamari, scallops, lemon, garlic, and spiced pepper relish).

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And we split the Smoked Trout Salad (pears, caramelized bleu cheese, and hazelnut vinaigrette).

Later that evening we ate dinner at Bin 36 in River North. If you have not tried this fabulous wine bar in downtown Chicago, you must. Their whole menu is focused around pairing each item with specific wine recommendations. We had such a great time!IMG_20130315_201428
Cheers to grainy photos in dim light with a camera phone!

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I started with a flight of Argentinean red wines. The waiter placed all of the wines on a sheet of paper that had the wine names and description of each so that we could enjoy each one without forgetting. The “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” flight contained a wonderful plush Bonarda, a robust Malbec/Syrah/Bonarda blend, a rich fruity Malbec, and a well balanced Tannat. Delish!

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We enjoyed an Italian Cheese Plate (served with apples, fig jam, and other goodies), a Butter Lettuce Salad (with pistachio, grapes, radish, and honey-vermouth vinaigrette), Cedar Plank Salmon ( with beluga lentils, baby fennel, cider butter). Everything was delicious!

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But nothing was quite as amazing as dessert! Let me introduce to you the Bin 36 infamous Maple Pots de Creme!Possibly one of the best desserts ever created. This scrumptious creation included bourbon whipped creme fraiche, spong cake, almond crumble (aka homemade cracker jacks), popcorn ice cream with a spicy cayenne peanut brittle stick all layered in a cute mason jar. We fell in love instantaneously.

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