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First We Eat : mfk Restaurant Review and Family Weekend

mfk Restaurant pretty much has my family pegged with the phrase that they have sprinkled throughout the restaurant: First, We Eat. And oh, eat we did this weekend when my parents visited! Such an amazing few days, with just the right amount of activity and relaxing. Oh, and a milestone for Alex!

 Linking up with WIAW, Weekend Snapshots, and Marvelous Monday. Thank you to the hosts!My family came to visit so we took them to the zoo!

Thursday

Mom and Dad flew in Thursday evening, so after showing them the apartment, we headed out for dinner to what is quickly becoming a staple restaurant in our diet. Basil Leaf Cafe. I think we are going there once a week? IT IS GETTING OUT OF HAND. But when everyone cleans there plate and doesn’t want to leave, I think that pretty much speaks for itself! I got my shrimp and avocado salad (as did Mom), Alex got the chicken Parmesan, and Dad got the lobster ravioli

Lobster Ravioli at Basil Leaf Cafe in Lincoln Park Chicago. Get a review at suzlyfe.com

My dad has this thing where he will always order 2 desserts (no, he doesn’t care how full you are), and we opted for the marscapone souffle and a chocolate something-that-starts-with-a-P that is basically white cake with chocolate mousses and a chocolate shell.

Chocolate dessert at Basil Leaf Cafe in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

I know other things were involved but I blacked out while eating it, and when I came to, it was gone.

Friday

Friday, I was supposed to have a client early morning, but she canceled so I ran at home, which was actually quite lovely! I had a good, solid run and then came home to do some work and then head out to the gym for a later client. Alex took the rental units to lunch to a local Cuban restaurant, and when I was done training, I jetted home to meet up with people. We had tentative plans at the start of the day to try to get to the zoo, but it started to rain, so instead we went for a drive and I showed them the area around the gym (which is north of where Alex and I live). The weather cleared up for that evening and we went a little bit early for our reservations at Pump Room, which I have been wanting to go to for SO LONG.

Pump Room Gold Coast

And man, Pump Room did NOT disappoint! Every. single. thing. that we had was delicious. From our cocktails (a ginger margarita for me)

The ginger margarita at Pump Room in Chicago is a must have! Check out a review of the restaurant at Suzlyfe.com

From the marinated olives and PRETZEL DUSTED calamari (ZOMG YOU GUYS). To the Greek Vegetables Salad and the Pump Room Signature Burger. Also, get the mushrooms and shishito peppers as sides.

To the salted caramel sundae with caramel corn, salted peanuts, and fudge at the base and the blueberry cobbler with buttermilk ice cream. Which didn’t get pictures because of the lighting at that point. But trust me, they were amazing. 

Saturday

We might have had a liiiittle too much to drink and a bit too much food, but Saturday morning, Alex and I had a running date, and he ROCKED it and hit a Personal Distance Record of 7 miles! I’m still pretty unsure about what is going on in my hip, but it didn’t bother me when I run. I’m going in on Thursday, but I’m starting to get worried.

Running Bloggers running! Courtney of EatPrayRunDC and Susie of Suzlyfe with Susie's husband Alex

Look who spotted us out on the Lake Front Path! To be fair, we were hard to miss…. but still! It was great finally getting to meet Courtney, even only for a second.The run felt amazing, and I love coaching him to new achievements. We actually did the 7 miles because of my error–I picked the wrong turn around, and then was like, “The watch is short!” But I gave him an out, and he chose to stick with the longer distance, and YAS get it boy. 

Of course, we had to refuel after (I had had a snack and coffee before we left, and a small refuel when we got back), but you know that refueling for a run means VEGGIE OMELET.

Check out this delicious veggie omelet from Cafe Vienna in Lincoln Park! A healthy brunch staple. @Suzlyfe

Cafe Vienna, here we come!

After we gorged on Cafe Vienna, we headed to the zoo! And we got a little bit more than we bargained for in the primate house. Let’s just say, monkeys were…. re-monkeying. 

Originally, the boys were going to go hit golf balls at the driving range, but we opted for a chill afternoon at home (now that we can do so, lol). A few of us enjoyed some guacamole, and around 4, we decided we needed to do something…. so we went for margaritas. And yes, I ate a basket of chips. I tried not to…. but I did. But when the weather is perfect and you are sitting outside and everything is feeling good feeling great, why the f not?

Then, it was time for mfk. And lived up to its expectations.

mfk Restaurant Lincoln Park

mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

mfk Restaurant is a small plates, globally-inspired, seafood focused restaurant that deserves all of the esteem and hype that it gets. A seaside casual vibe, simple, but perfectly curated flavors, and nearly flawless execution make it perhaps one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago after our visit. 

We started with the bakery breads served with sardine butter and radishes.

Bakery Breads, Sardine butter, and Radishes. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

Then we got the haricot vert with cashews, bleu cheese, and shallots (and I think I detected sherry vinegar?). OMG

Haricot Verts. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

Next was the beets. Oh, the beets. With orange yogurt, aged goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and basil. #swoon

Beets and yogurt. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

White anchovies with spring peas, and radishes over toasted crostini. Also pistachio in there for a bit of nuttiness and crunch. Perfect bite.

Anchovies and pea toast. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

We had a little time (and ordered another bottle of wine–a temperanillo blended with granache and a few other grapes), and then game the albondigas–pork and veal meatballs over polenta. But the tomato jam stole the freaking show. I don’t know what they put in it, but holy freaking albondigas, that tomato jam should go on everything. Perfectly balanced, sweet but in a cherry-way–a deep, voluptuous sweetness–and then inherently savory. Give me a jar of that, please.

Albondigas, polenta, tomato jam. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

I had heard raving reviews of the octopus, and I will say, they cooked it to perfection. I would have liked just the slightest bit more salt on top to really make it pop, but it was a beautiful dish served with a preserved lemon aioli and shallot. 

Octopus and potatoes. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

One of my favorite dishes was the pickled green papaya, cucumber, sugar snap pea, and poached shrimp salad. I am a huge fan of Som Tam, or thai green payaya salad, and this was just enough like the traditional versions of that dish that I have enjoyed but still with an mfk stamp on it. We finished with this dish, and I’m actually glad. I was full (way) before it arrived, and I still was not about to leave any of it behind. 

Green papaya, cucumber, peas, poached shrimp. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

mfk’s dessert offerings threw a monkey wrench into my dad’s 2 dessert plan: they only offer one. But as our server said: Try it, and you’ll understand why they only need one. The Basque cake with almonds crusted on top is like a cross between a pound cake, a coffee cake, and a streusel. 

Basque Cake. mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park Chicago is an intimate small plates, seafood forward restaurant that is not to be missed. Check out this mfk Restaurant review http://suzlyfe.com/first-eat-mfk-restaurant-review-family-weekend/

And it was so nice, we indeed ordered it twice. Crumbly and crusty, dense and moist, it had everything covered. 

WOW. Not a course or flavor out of place at @mfkChicago. #Chicago #yum Click To Tweet

Soooooo long story short, add mfk to your list. It is a tiny restaurant with superb attention to detail (and the service was excellent and of the highest professionalism).

Sunday

Sunday morning, Alex and I met the parents for a final brunch before they headed to the airport and we to a cafe to do some work. The rest of the day involved gym, laundry, cleaning!

Interestingly, visits from our families capped each end of our kitchen nightmare–Alex’s family (and our first trip to Basil Leaf, lol) came July 4th weekend and the kitchen was demo’d the day after they left. My parents arrived 36 hours after we got the kitchen back. Talk about amazing and delicious bookends to a nightmare!

A completely delicious weekend--from brunch to dessert! #weekendrecap #chicago #yum Click To Tweet

I highly recommend all of these restaurants (Basil Leaf in Lincoln Park, Pump Room in Gold Coast, Cafe Vienna and mfk Restaurant in Lincoln Park) if you come into town. It is hard to get a bad bite!

And now back to real life. I guess. Rats.

Best thing you ate this weekend!

Do you operate on the “But first, eat” rule?

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