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Recent Chicago Restaurant Successes and Server Fails #WIAW

Forgive me my friends, for I have sinned. I owe you all a huge catch up on the food adventures of the Suz from the past few weeks. So we are going to go through some highlights! But first. Let’s take a selfie. Is that not hilarious? Also hilarious–last night on Chopped (the one before the new one, ie a rerun), Ted Allen asked “What is this funny little ingredient called Liquid Aminos?” Please.  #healthylivingblogger. Ironically, I had just used that very ingredient for Alex’s and my dinners (chicken, veggies, and soba noodle stirfry with soy-ginger sauce). So I have shown you all intermittantly some of my eats, but you know that we have also be eating out a TON recently, and I owe you all a big ole catch-up. First, has anyone tried this? It’s $13 a pop, so I’m not going to just flagrant about and buy it, but ermigerd those flavors…. cool nut butter Brunch with my mommy at Yolk–right after hearing that I had gotten my job! I hadn’t been to Yolk yet, even though there is one in eyesight from my apartment–it is always so, so crowded, and Alex and I are pretty loyal to West Egg (and his pancakes), but after my longest run yet (at the time), and hearing that I had been offered my position, it was time to switch it up. And I’m so glad that we did! I love West Egg, but this was great. yolk iron man irish benny suzlyfe I got the Iron Man Omelet–5 egg whites, avocado, peppers, onions, mushrooms with fruit, english muffin, and a (pretty darn spicy!) salsa. Mom got the Irish Benny–English muffin (haha lol), tomato, corned beef hash, poached egg, hollandaise, potatoes, fruit. We also both got iced tea (hers regular, I got the Lemon Mint–it was fantastic). Service was fast, the food was DELICIOUS and HUGE, but the perfect way to refuel after my 10 miler. I also had a frappuccino. WINNING. The corned beef on the benny was so, so good–I already told Alex that he needs to come back just to get that. This will be reappearing again, but I don’t know how/when–I think it is only possible to get a table mid-morning on a weekday! Continuing in chronological order, we took Mom to SideDoor. suzlyfe sidedoor turkey crush veggie Although there was some issue with our order, and service was a little slow (and Mom got hers WAY after), the food and drinks were amazing. Alex got the Not Your Father’s Root Beer again, Mom got a glass of wine, and I got the All Crushed Up (I think that’s what it was called?)-essentially a take on a cosmo, but with Mandarin Vodka and pomegranate. I got the smoked turkey meat board (served with house grain mustard, horseradish spread, au jus, marble rye, mini pretzel roll, and house bread), the shaved spring vegetable salad (golden beet, fennel, carrot, celery, green apple, Wisconsin cheddar, sherry vin on side), suzlyfe sidedoor burger panini toffee Alex got the burger again (house sauce, picked red onion, Wisconsin cheddar, bacon jam), we all shared the baked mac and cheese (bacon and tomato within), Mom got the Smoked Duck Panini (smoked duck, cherries, watercress, cheese of some variety, au jus), and they gave us the Sticky Toffee Pudding to make up for the serving issues. Well. I will allow you to imagine how good everything was. I wish the lighting did it justice. I think we left like 3 noodles, and were uncomfortably full, and then the toffee pudding came out, and it was a no-prisoners-left type of situation. I wish I had better information on the dishes for you, but the menu has changed again, and I was a silly girl and for once didn’t take a pic of the menu! BAD SUSIE. mezcalina salsa salad taco lunch suzlyfe  Last Wednesday, Alex met me at work for lunch, and we went to Mezcalina. This was funky, cool, urban place tucked away in Lake Shore East. Service was a bit slow, but the food was super good. You start off with house chips (love the purple!) and salsas–a habanero type, chipotle, and tomotillo. None of them were too spicy, and I liked the bright red one the most. / Again, our food took its sweet time getting to our table, but, whewf, was it good. I got the Joven y Dulce (Sweet and Tender Salad) with Shrimp. I have to say that there were a great many things that I was promised (apple, grape, kale, baby green chard, cucumber, tomato), but what I would say I got was baby spinach, mixed greens, avocado, jalapeno, tomato, red onion, almond, cilantro, and some freaking awesome shrimp. It was super tasty, but I was excited about the rest of the stuff, too. Alex got 3 different tacos: pollo con mole, carnitas (pork confit, onion, cilantro), and chorizo con papas (mexican sausage, potatoes, cream, fresco cheese). I wouldn’t say that he got the pollo con mole, I would say he got the tinga, in fact I am 99% sure he got the tinga, but it was super tasty and the corn torillas were perfection. So, if Mezcalina can get its ish together, it has a great product, and great vibe. But unfortunately, it kinda falls short of the whole food/service part, you know? K, last in this recap. Lunch Saturday, before the gorge of that night. eleaven lunch tilapia reuben suzlyfe Alex and I went back to E.Leaven, a breakfast and lunch place that also is a major catering outfit. Alex and I went there a while back, and when we went he got a cuban (which wasn’t really a cuban) and I got a greaaaaaaaaaat mahi mahi salad. This time, I got the tilapia salad (with romaine, strawberries,corn, red onion, avocado, and apricot vin (I think they gave me balsamic, still good though)) and Alex got the turkey reuben (with thousand island (on side), mustard, kraut, and swiss on marble rye (baked in house)). YUM YUM YUM YUM. Cleared those plates, let me tell you. Service was a bit slow (you order and then sit, but it seemed excessive) but HEY at least they got it right. I love this place, I wish we went here more! K, so that’s all I have at the moment (actually, that’s a lie, I have more, but I’m gonna spare you. Thanks to Jenn as always! Did anyone else deal with servers/restaurants not having there ish together?  What has been the best thing you’ve had for lunch recently? Who can’t get enough of the summer flavors???

Thank you as always, Jenn!

Thank you as always, Jenn!

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  • Reply Melanie

    Your food pics look amazing!! I want to travel to Chicago just to eat at those same places! Amazing!
    Melanie recently posted…WIAW #1 Summer Vacation EatsMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 7:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Come join! I love taking people around and shoving food in their gullets 🙂

      June 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm
  • Reply Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTime

    Holy amazing food Batman! I get so grumpy about bad service. The husband and I are old people and like to eat super early. If we go to a restaurant with people, we have to go a little later than we’d like. Then, if they are slow, I have meltdowns. I think I cried at a restaurant once when they brought me the wrong order twice!
    Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTime recently posted…WIAW #12: Anniversary EditionMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 7:13 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahahahaha i would love you, my husband wouldn’t be able to stand you. He gets SUPER embarrassed if I/our friends are confrontational (and that is a strong word) in any way with the waiters. The only thing that he won’t stand for is if my food gets messed up, because of my Crohn’s. He’s a doll. But yeah, if something goes wrong, I have to play my cards very carefully or else it could literally wreck his night.
      But we would also get along very well because we are also old people. Thus Date Night often starts at 5-5:30

      June 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm
      • Reply Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTime

        DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS?! We leave for date night at 5:15 every Friday, because getting anywhere before 5:30 embarrasses me (but really because we get hungry again too soon).
        Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTime recently posted…WIAW #12: Anniversary EditionMy Profile

        June 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm
        • Reply suzlyfe

          YES WE DID

          June 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm
  • Reply Michael Anderson

    Wow, that is a lot of great looking stuff! Have not eaten out in a couple of weeks, but have been pretty fortunate in general … oh, except once a month or so ago …

    Lisa and I were out and they had 2-for-1 wine and a special for a free appetizer with certain dinners, so we went with that. Lisa didn’t want both wines at once, so she asked for one at first and second one later. All was fine until we got the bill – things were pretty slow and we were ready to leave so I didn’t really look over the bill until after they ran the card and I realized our bill was at least $15 heavy – we got charged for the second wine separately and also the appetizer.

    I got a song & dance that I was getting two charges and one credit because they had already run the bill (but I hadn’t done the tip & total yet, so I was confused), and all they did was correct the error … sure that was all they HAD to do, but (a) the server who screwed things up never came to the table to apologize and (b) the manager was useless. So sadly I made my own ‘adjustment’ in the tip.

    I get that mistakes happen, and even that all they needed to do was fix the mistake … it was HOW they handled it that really annoyed me. I did take a second opportunity to remind the manager after he said ‘they fixed the error’ that had I not found and pointed it out to the waiter who never returned and seemed bothered to have to deal with it I would have been over-charge …oh well. 🙂
    Michael Anderson recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – The Oatmeal Nails Marathons … Again!My Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 8:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Here’s the way I see it. I have WORKED in restaurants. I know what is and isn’t acceptable. I know that mistakes happen, but I also can and will call you on your bullshit. I am not difficult, but I am very observant. And that can come back to haunt you.
      I also have a blog. BOO YA

      June 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    Excuse me, I need that coconut cashew butter. Even if the $13 jar only lasts me two days…
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Workout Wednesday: Buns, Guns and AbsMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 8:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I KNOW. I was sooooo soooooo soooooo tempted. But now that I think about it, I did see it before I had a job. Maybe now…..

      June 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Nikki @ grab your kicks

    Why are nut butter so freaking expensive?! Grrr! I’d love to try some of these, but can’t justify spending more than $7 for a jar of nut butter.
    Nikki @ grab your kicks recently posted…Summertime EatsMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 8:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      THANK YOU. Some one else who refuses to price gouge too. I won a jar of Nuttzo once, and that is the only reason I have tried it. Until then, I will take what is affordable. And JIF ain’t too shabby.

      June 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply Ursula

    Yum this all looks delicious! Especially those tacos, I love fresh tacos and those look amazing.
    Ursula recently posted…Peru Taught me to love quinoaMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 9:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      They were so, so good! I just wish Alex had gotten the (correct) mole one. I LOVE me some mole. I will also say that I don’t even like corn tortillas, and these were bangin!

      June 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply Caitlin

    Mmmmm you just made me hungry haha. Might be time for a pre-lunch snack. Best lunch I’ve had recently is a tie between the sandwiches from Nu on Saturday (AMAZING brisket) and the pizza on Sunday from Proper (new fav pizza place in the burgh). I don’t think I have any complaints about recent service thankfully. Hopefully that continues!
    Caitlin recently posted…Summer RunningMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 10:15 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG we have to go to both of those places upon my return.

      June 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles

    I am laughing because I was watching that new show, Rewrapped on Food Network recently and one of the cooks created a cookie recipe using pudding mix as an ingredient. The judges hadn’t ever heard of such a thing and I was like, clearly you don’t read food blogs.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…WIAW – The Blue BananaMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 10:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahahahaha exactly. We are the true MacGyvers of the kitchens.

      June 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    One of my pet peeves is when they don’t bring everyone’s food out together. Especially if you’re with a group and one person didn’t get their food yet. It gets all awkward like they say to go ahead and eat, and you try to be polite and wait, but really you’re starving and just want to dig in. If I’m just with my husband or someone close its not as weird cause we can just share.
    $13 for nut butter?! That’s a little crazy.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Baltimore 10 Miler Race RecapMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 10:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Agreed. I also hate when they don’t bring out salads/apps before, so then you are like, um, what am I supposed to do with this now?

      June 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm
  • Reply Susie's mommy, Clare

    I want…..I need…shoes the color of those purple chips!

    June 18, 2014 at 10:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I thought you did!!

      June 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm
  • Reply Mama Salt

    You are one of the best food photographers I know. The burger I had for dinner last night looks very similar to Alex’s.
    The All Crushed Up sounds delish. Too bad it’s way too early to start drinking over here. You guys have the best places to eat over there.

    I had a warm spinach salad on Sunday with scallops and shrimp that was good, but we were out to dinner with family and everyone else had a terrible meal experience and our server was terrible. So I find it hard to get too excited over my salad.

    June 18, 2014 at 11:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh no! But you know what? A damn great salad is still a damn great salad. There will be plenty of times when you get shafted, so take it while you can!
      And thank you for the compliment! I am definitely getting better. But lighting has a lot to do with it. And my new phone has an amazing camera. I am just the vehicle.

      June 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Healthy Simple Smart

    Oh my god those tacos look amazing! I’ve been pretty lucky with servers lately; I hate when my order gets screwed up and I have to make the decision of whether or not I care enough to tell them! I’ve found that I have been craving watermelon SO MUCH this year, I never really even liked watermelon all that much, but this year I can’t get enough of it!
    Healthy Simple Smart recently posted…Rest Day Review: Vega Sport Recovery AcceleratorMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 11:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I didn’t like watermelon at all when I was young, and I will say that it still isn’t my absolute go to, but I found that I really started to love it last year during marathon training. Maybe that is it!

      June 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    All of that food looks amazing. I very rarely get to go out for lunch and if I do….it’s to Chick Fil A with the kids. Sad, I know. I love summer flavors, especially fruit salsas!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Is a juice cleanse for you? And a great giveaway!My Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG I LOVE CHICKFILA. Chickfila is my JAAAAAAAAAAAAM. And love fruit salsas. One of the best I’ve ever had was a nectarine one.

      June 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm
  • Reply Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants

    So much amazing food! I love lunch because I feel like anything goes. Like pizza. All day, everyday. 🙂
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…Sweet & Salty Dessert BarsMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Well, you know I support pizza 🙂

      June 18, 2014 at 9:06 pm
  • Reply Sarah Rosenblatt

    Oooooh everything sounds so tasty! I’ve been channeling you lately and making lots of salads. Joe and I signed up for a farm share so it’s HELLO VEGGIES in our house (which is a good thing). I usually intend to make a nice salad with dinner, but then I get rushed and it ends up just being greens and dressing. But lately I’ve been better about bringing salads for lunch (layer it up in a mason jar with dressing on the bottom, hardy toppings, then up to the lighter ones and finally greens… then toss before you eat). Today was arugula, miso dressing, edamame, mango, goat cheese, radishes, crispy noodles, and scallions… so colorful! And then we sampled the new talenti gelato stand in Bryant Park because OBVIOUSLY.

    June 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG YES. Talenti + Bryant Park = no brained. Ohhhh you are giving me the most hard core nostalgia right now. Chicago is great, but I miss my NYC!
      And look at you with your salads! I would kill for a farm share. Seriously. I bet the flavors in those salad are even more magical because summer farmfresh veg is just the BEST

      June 18, 2014 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply Jenni @ Fitzala

    So many good eats! Where do I start oohing and aahing? That Mexican looks so good, and so did your breakfast. That’s one thing I miss about Seattle- so many amazing places to go.

    I can’t believe how expensive that Manna Butter is. It better have liquid gold in it or give you Wonderwoman status for ELEVEN DOLLARS. Ok, so I’m cheap. What’s in it?

    My little sister showed me that video…that selfie thing is for real. She takes them ALL DAY for snapchat.
    Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…Health & Fitness of a Trainer #17My Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’ve heard Seattle has some great food. But feel free to drool away! And if there actually is liquid gold in there I am going to wear it rather than eat it. But seriously, it better cure cancer so something. It is called MANNA butter, so maybe it does…
      Wanna take a selfie?

      June 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm
  • Reply Katie @glutes and ladders

    All your food sounds GOOD! Service in Australia is really sub-par. They all get paid something like $20/hr and don’t make tips, so sometimes they are flat out rude and act like you are an inconvenience to you. It’s not as bad in the big cities though.

    June 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is abysmal and honestly upsetting to me. I guess I am just someone who takes enough pride in what I do that it doesn’t matter how I’m getting paid, just the simple fact that I am getting paid-or maybe not even!-for me to do my best.

      June 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Damn you and your metropolis full of amazing restaurants! Seriously, it all looks so good. Last Friday we went and got ourselves some fish burritos (tacos are a little too messy for me) and a local place which has the best cilantro-mayo secret sauce.
    Sarah recently posted…Race Recap: Utah Valley half marathonMy Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG the first sentence almost made me spit out my coffee. That was amazing. I haven’t had a fish burrito. I would agree that tacos are quite messy, but I like that I have a bit more access to the flavors (maybe, or I’m speaking out of my bum). Will have to try. And I loove me some cooling cilantro sauce. Tj’s has a pretty decent cilantro dressing, actually.

      June 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply Courtney @RunningforCupcakes

    Whatever that Manna Butter stuff is sounds amazing, but I could never spend $13 on a jar! Wayyy too expensive for this poor college student. That watermelon you got at Yolk looks sooo good. Watermelon just screams summer to me!
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes recently posted…Marathon Training: Week 2My Profile

    June 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Me too. I got hooked on it last year when Marathon Training! I think that my return to the south (from Charleston) reignited my desire for fruit–it was like I realized that it existed in a form other than an apple, or frozen, again!

      June 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm
  • Reply Irene

    Yum, yum, YUM!! Yesterday we had a food truck fundraiser at work, and my favorite food truck came, the Chow Truck. It’s asian fusion food. I had two calamari tacos and a side of root vegetable chips, they were so good!
    Irene recently posted…Encounters While Trail RunningMy Profile

    June 19, 2014 at 12:20 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Why do I feel like I’ve heard of that? I LOVE asian fusion, and mmmmmm calamari. I majorly thumbs up your choices!

      June 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  • Reply Cassie

    I’m making notes of all your Chicago restaurants for next time I’m in town!!
    Cassie recently posted…Getting it Together on the Road: PortlandMy Profile

    June 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Slash you are going to call me and I will give you a personal tour.

      June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply So What Else is New Pt. 2 #MIMM | Suzlyfe

    […] a salad. With nothing cooked. (Apparently, great food, bad service there is a So What Else is New?, if you remember from my first post on them). Alex was finished with his meal by the time they came back. I actually left a note, I was so […]

    August 4, 2014 at 5:39 am
  • Reply Foodlyfe Tour: River Roast Chicago #WIAW - Suzlyfe

    […] Bourbon Caramel Corn Chicken Cracklins). River Roast reminds me of a more communal version of SideDoor–similar use of ingredients, focus on re-crafted comfort food, accented by craft cocktails and […]

    August 27, 2014 at 5:58 am
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