Deep Dish Round 2

Next  stop was Lou Malnati’s! This was located on a busy street with lots of cute restaurants, shops, and tons of people walking around. This is towards the end of the Magnificent Mile past the John Hancock Tower. It was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel.

Atmosphere: Upon walking in, I noticed that there is a lot of seating outside on their patio as well inside. I wouldn’t peg it as a pizza place at all. It looks a little fancier than your average pizza parlor.They even have some couches by the entrance they use for seating! They also have a bar in the middle of their restaurant and beyond that there is more seating in the back, some seating in a large room, and a couple of private rooms for events.

Pricing: Pretty comparable to Giordano’s. Our small that we ordered was $14 (we finished that between two people.. for three you’d for sure have to order a medium and possibly have leftovers). Personal pizza is ~$7-9, small ~$11-5, medium ~15-20, large 20+.

Service: Our server was very attentive, friendly, and helped us choose our delicious pizza.

Food:

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We of course had to have a salad to balance our meal. This was the Malnati salad and it was EXCELLENT. It was probably one of the best salads I’ve had and beats Gio’s by far! Romaine lettuce, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, salami, gorgonzola cheese, and their sweet vinaigrette dressing (which made the salad so good). $9 for this size and there is also a family size for $13.

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A slice of heaven. We ended up getting the Malnati Chicago Classic, which had a layer of their lean sausage, extra cheese, and vine ripened tomato sauce on their special buttercrust. My oh my. This crust was much tastier their Gio’s! It was flaky, easy to eat, and crisp to perfection. Their pizza was quite simple with just sauce, cheese, and sausage, but still very satisfying and tasty.

IMG_1287 IMG_1289 Overall: I think this is a great alternative to Giordano’s. It’s different even though they’re both deep dish pizza. If you want a little more complex pizza with toppings I’d go with Gio’s. Lou’s only features a few deep dish pizza’s on their menu like cheese, sausage, pepperoni, the Chicago Classic, the Lou, and crustless (but really.. who wants to get that!?). Not many choices, but they’re quality is what makes it so good.

It’s a tough decision over which deep dish I liked better.. they both have their pros and cons. Gio’s has better selection and more toppings, but the crust at Lou’s is flaky, crispy, and buttery. I would have to say I liked Lou’s a little more due to the crust (I also like sausage, too). If you’re ever in Chicago, I’d say try both and give it a go! Let me know which you liked better :)

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Deep Dish Round 1

When I went to Chicago, I heard of two rivaling deep dish pizza spots. Even though I was only there for the weekend, I knew I had to try both! The first restaurant I went to was Giordano’s. It was only a couple of blocks away from our hotel. The one I went to was located on North Rush Streeth, near the Magnificent Mile (huge shopping area). The wait averages around an hour, so you could keep busy by visiting some nearby stores like Zara or Nordstrom Rack.

Atmosphere: Upon entering through the revolving doors, the place gives a cozy, homey feel with Chicago based decor and wood everywhere. There are two floors, with a small and cute elevator lift to the next level. There was a TON of seating. Our wait was probably ~35-40 minutes for a group of 3. The first thing we did after putting our name down was picking out a deep dish pizza and pre-ordering it. I suggest this for everyone! It’ll cut down your wait time when you get to the table because a pizza takes about 30 minutes to cook.

Pricing: Our small pizza was about $20. This includes 6 large slices. Prices range from $15+ depending on the size and toppings. A medium specialty pizza is about $25.

Service: It was excellent! Our waitress kept coming by to refill our water, checked on us, and even poured our sangria carafe for us. She was very smiley and had a cheerful attitude.

Food:

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Busy corner where this particular restaurant was located.

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This delicious sangria tasted like juice. $17. I loved all of the fruit in each glass.IMG_1064

We got the house salad to split among us to feel slightly less guilty for our stuffed pizza. A pretty standard salad with light vinaigrette.
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Here it is! The Chicago classic – green peppers, pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions. It was stuffed with cheese. This thick crust was a little difficult to cut through with a knife and only got thicker and harder towards the edges. I noticed most people did not finish their crust. It was definitely overwhelming to eat all my two slices. This small pizza was very filling and definitely shareable between 2-3 people. We for sure wouldn’t have been able to finish the medium! IMG_1068

My lovely pizza model and tour guide!

IMG_1069Overall: I thought this place was a great first experience of deep dish pizza. This is exactly how I imagined deep dish would be. Although it looks like there is a ton of sauce, it was not too saucy, but tasted more cheesy, I’d say. They also have frozen pizzas you can take home. I believe you can also order online and have them ship it to you! I would recommend that you try this if you’re in Chicago. It’s a chain so you’ll most likely find one nearby.

Giordano's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Belltown brunch

In the heart of Belltown, we went to Local 360 for brunch. Our usual spot is Lola, but the wait was a little too long for our liking. Local 360 is pretty much your ideal new-American style that specializes in brunch.

Atmosphere: It was a nice day so the windows were open, which made the restaurant seem more spacious. There are a few booths in the middle of the room that can accommodate large parties like ours (we had a party of 8). I really liked the decor. There’s a rustic feel with all of the booths made of wood and high ceilings.

Pricing: Moderate pricing $8-$13 for entrees.

Service: Average service, but our server did well with our large party.

Food:

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Latte. Delicious! My cousin ordered the macchiato, not expecting that it came as a shot (which is the European way that it’s done. Starbucks just adds a ton more milk!). So just be aware of that when ordering at many places.

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Appetizer – PB&J bon bons with a side of milk. $5. I wasn’t really wowed but it was still worth trying.

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House made chorizo, sharp cheddar, scramble, and biscuit. $13. The chorizo was excellent! A very healthy serving that needed a take home box.

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Chicken fried steak with sherry mushroom cream, over easy eggs, and a biscuit on the side not pictured. $14. I’ve had a few chicken fried steaks in my time and this was a pretty good one. The chicken was quite crispy and cooked to perfection. I just wish there was more of the sauce!

Overall: They had a lot of items to choose from and it was a pretty hard decision for brunch. Needless to say, I’ll be back to try their other dishes. This restaurant is pretty much a Seattle staple that everyone should try.

Local 360 on Urbanspoon

Sashimi galore

I’m surprised I haven’t written about this place on my blog yet! My favorite place to grab some really tasty, quality, well worth your money sushi is at Musashi. They started with one location in Wallingford on 45th, a few blocks from Molly Moon’s. They opened a second location a couple of years ago in Factoria.

Atmosphere: In Wallingford, it’s very tiny! You could probably fit about 30 people at one time. Large groups are hard to accommodate so I would probably go with a max party of 4. The Factoria location is maybe a little bit bigger. The wait time there is much shorter compared to Wallingford.

Pricing: Chirashi bowl is priced at $14.50. You can’t beat that! They also have traditional rolls like california, spicy tuna, salmon, etc for $4 on average. They keep it very simple.

Service: The host at the Wallingford location is always really nice and polite to me. It’s always the same guy who seems to be the host. I remember when I ordered to go one time during the winter, I told him I would wait outside and he said it’s fine to wait right here because my order was almost done. It’s a really small and cramped restaurant so I was a little surprised when he said that.

Food:
IMG_3813I know it’s only one picture for this post, but this really is, in my opinion, the only thing worth going for! They give you four plentiful pieces of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and albacore EACH. They also give you a slice of shrimp, unagi (DELICIOUS), and scallops. My favorite hands down is the salmon. Look at the ribbed fattiness of the salmon! It’s so juicy and delectable. The texture couldn’t be more perfect.

Overall: As you can tell, I really like this place! Some tips: cash or check only! If you want to skip the wait, I suggest calling in your order to go. Lastly, you can modify your chirashi bowl to your liking. I have gotten salmon and unagi only. My friends have gotten all salmon. It’s all the same price! They are also closed Sunday and Monday. I’m really happy they opened a second location because it’s close to my home home :) Happy eating!

Musashi's on Urbanspoon

A place for food, drinks and shuffleboard

A group of my friends and I went to Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union to catch up and hang out. I know I’ve blogged about this place before, but there are are so many new items on the menu that I had yet to try.

Atmosphere: This is a 21+ establishment, so sorry kiddos! It’s upstairs from Cuoco, another Tom Douglas restaurant. If you didn’t already know, there are quite a few Tom Douglas restaurants grouped near each other. Serious Biscuit/Pie is a block down the road. There are a ton of picnic tables that makes it nice for large parties. There are also two shuffleboards in the center of the room. Spacious area with an outdoorsy feel. They also have seating outdoors, which is nice for summer days!

Pricing: Pretty average pricing. Burgers start from $6 and go to $10. They also feature a weekly burger on the front of their menu. They have a bunch of other things like snacks (pretzels, corn dogs, clams, wings, etc.) for about $5-$10. They have quite a variety on their menu, just FYI (sandwiches, different types of plates, desserts, etc)!

Service: I would also say this is average, nothing spectacular that stood out for me.

Food:
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Bratwurst plate with mustard seeds, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. This was about $12. It looked kind of small but I was definitely full by the end.

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This is one of their standard burgers for $6.50 with iceburg lettuce, smoky burger sauce, pickle, and cheese. You can add on whatever you like to this standard!

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Summer BBQ plate with fried potato croquettes, a sausage link, smoked chicken thigh, and collard greens for $14.

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Since we went on a Sunday, I got their Sunday fried chicken dinner that comes with 3 pieces of buttermilk chicken, scallop potatoes….

IMG_0518..a Bread roll, bacon salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn. They always rotate their 3 sides along with the fried chicken. All for $14. I definitely could not finish this and had left overs. It’s a really good deal for the price. Plus, they have all day happy hour on Sunday!

Overall: I think it’s a nice place to get some food and hang out with friends. They have a ton of beers, lots of space, and it’s easy to find parking. Their menu always changes so some of the things featured on this blog probably isn’t on their menu anymore. This is what makes you want to come back :) They also have brunch going on.

Brave Horse Tavern on Urbanspoon