Tag Archives: Chicago

Gyu-kaku

Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurantsNaoto and I celebrated our 12th anniversary last Saturday! We had plans to go to a new cocktail bar called Prairie School, but it unexpectedly closed for good the week before our anniversary. (It wasn’t even open a year!) I was super bummed. But then I read about Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese BBQ chain that came to Chicago a couple years ago. I knew Naoto would be into it–he remembers going in Japan–and I figured it would be something different and fun. It’s definitely not really a romantic place…it’s pretty bright and loud and open and you’re working together to cook your food, so if you’d rather have a more traditional special occasion with your partner, maybe this isn’t your place. That being said, a group dinner here would be a blast. (And of course it was perfect for us since we’re not really white tablecloth kind of people.) Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurants, lychee cocktail, Asahi beerWe started with an Asahi beer and a lychee martini while we pursued the menu for the best options for the two of us. You can order a la cart, or you can do different levels of prix fixe options. Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurants, Gyu-kaku saladWe opted for the “samurai” menu that included starters of miso soup, salad (pictured above,) spicy tuna volcanoes, and beef bibimbap. And for grilling, Kalbi beef, miso skirt steak, rib eye, garlic shrimp, chicken, and vegetables. Oh and mochi ice cream for dessert. It was plenty of food for both of us. Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurants, grilling meatsThe servers give pretty good instructions about placement and timing for the various meats. No one wants to eat raw chicken.  Naoto did most of the grilling, but I helped with the vegetables. Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurants, grilling meatsThere are three sauces to accent the food, sweet, sour, and spicy. The meats are marinated but the sauces are perfect little accents to balance the richness of the meal. Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurants, mochi ice creamOur dessert was green tea and strawberry mochi ice cream. A few bites of each was a perfect ending to our dinner.

Next time, I think we will probably order a la cart, mainly because there are different sides and meats we’d like to try in place of the prescribed choices with the prix fixe menus. They even have some summer specials that look really fresh and tasty. Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ, west loop restaurants, cherry blossom cocktail, asahi beer Cheers to the next twelve.

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Thoughts on Jury Duty

view from the Daley Center, 26th floorI’m officially done with jury duty! I have to say, I thought the whole experience was interesting and dare I say…kind of fun? Our group of jurors was really great–everyone got along and we were able to have a little bit of fun together. Our judge was relaxed, respectful of our time and our comfort, and he kept us informed of the process. Our bailiff was funny. The court reporter was animated as he recorded the dialogue…he was kind of like Stevie Wonder, grooving to the closing arguments while he typed. Even one of the accident reconstruction experts was interesting enough to make me want to take a physics class again!

view from the Daley Center, 26th floorAs much as I’d love to write a blog post describing the details of my case, I don’t feel right about it*. I would never want the plaintiff’s family to find my blog and feel disrespected or criticized. But I will say, we deliberated for less than five minutes–all twelve of us were that much in agreement about the facts of the case. We found for the defendant, who shed a tear as the verdict was read.

view from the Daley Center, 26th floorBecause none of us could talk about the case (to our families or to each other), we felt such a relief when we all realized that we were all on the same page. And it was a glorious experience to finally be able to talk to each other about the case. Imagine twelve people in a room talking on top of each other trying to release four days of pent up conversation about the case. view of the Daley CenterEven though my jury duty was pretty painless, I’m looking forward to getting back into my normal routine around here. Today it’s suppose to be 70 degrees outside. I’m going to take a walk, write some letters, read my book club book, and feel thankful I’m not cooped up in a jury room!

*But if you know me in real life, I’m happy to talk about the case! I even made a diagram to explain things to Naoto!

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#WeekofIndulgence: The Little Goat Diner

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Last night, as part of the Week of Indulgence, we took a little trip to the Chicago’s West Loop and ate at the Little Goat Diner. Naoto loves diners, and we’ve both heard really good things about Chef Stephanie Izard’s other restaurant, The Girl & the Goat, so once I heard that the Little Goat was opening, it’s been on my radar as a “must try” place. We invited our neighbor-friend, Karen, who took one look at the menu and decided she was “in” for the Week of Indulgence adventure.

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When I eat at a diner, I am often overwhelmed by the choices…sweet breakfast like pancakes or waffles? Savory breakfast like an omelette? Lunch plate or lunch sandwich? I found the well-edited (but still quite plentiful!) choices on the Little Goat menu to be as overwhelming as the twenty page corner diner menus. So many choices, and each one as intriguing as the next! I wanted a little bit of everything, plus I already knew I was going to have the Blood Orange Meringue Pie!

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I also knew I wanted a latte–the Little Goat serves Stumptown Coffee, which I haven’t tasted since Naoto & I went to Portland back in 2002!! So good! My dining companions had beer & cider. (If good coffee is offered, I don’t mind being the designated driver!)

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Naoto got the Smoked Corn Beef Hash with Eggs. It was a huge portion (perfectly sized for the Week of Indulgence!) which he polished off with ease.

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Karen & I both got the Tomato Apple Soup with the Yay Toast, which was a gjetost cheese and cheddar pancake…the soup was amazing–it was smooth and packed with flavor and it had a bit of spice and the pancake was perfect for dipping–it was a grown-up tomato soup and grilled cheese pair (but way better–the cheese was so interesting!).

Karen got the Fried Pickles & Onion rings to share and I got the Tempura Mashed Potatoes to share. The fried pickles & onion rings were so sinfully tasty, especially the dipping sauces–a ranch and a curry sauce. And my potatoes were the best mix of tempura-fried, crispy goodness hugging creamy mashed potatoes. They were served on Asian barbeque and ranch sauces.

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As soon as I pointed out that there was a Choco Taco on the dessert menu, Naoto was on it. Choco Tacos are his favorite summer snack, and this one (inspired by the original) was served in a parfait glass with candied pumpkin seeds (I think?) on top. Karen & I each had a couple of bites, but Mr. Indulgence polished off every chocolatey bit. I was too full to eat dessert at the restaurant, but I ordered the Blood Orange Meringue pie to go. (And then I forgot it on the table resulting in a trip back to the restaurant to retrieve my forgotten treat!)

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Look at that perfectly baked meringue! This pie is the perfect balance of tart and sweet…and I would drive back a hundred times for it! If you go, get the pie! Get the pie!

Since the Little Goat is open until 2AM, I hope Naoto & I can make an occasional late-night trip into the city for a little bite together when he gets done at Trader Joes (once he’s better, of course!) They also have a bakery with all sorts of intriguing bread and scone options (so maybe an early morning trip should be next?)

I think Little Goat juuuust might end up being the highlight of the Week of Indulgence…just a hunch.

P.S. Get the pie!

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