Where can I watch The Blackhawks in Chicago?

Everybody loves the Blackhawks! You can go watch them live at the United Center if you can get tickets. Or watch them on TV with a bunch of other fans at one of these Official Blackhawks Bars.  Official Blackhawks Bars play the game on most or all of their TVs and there’s sound- other games on other TVs are muted. Also, they have the spinning red light and play the Chelsea Dagger  song when the Hawks score, which is fun. These are some of my faves: Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Old Town:

  • Butch McGuires. Bonus points if you go near Christmas for an out of control decoration situation.
  • The Lodge: Super low key, oldey timey and retro- one of the oldest bars in Chicago! Also, kinda lodgey.
  • The Snuggery: Ok, I’ve never been here but I like the name. Who doesn’t like to snuggle while watching sports and drinking beer?

Lincoln Park: 

  • Beer Bistro: Tons of different beers here and good food, too.
  • Crossroads Public House: This is where we celebrated the 2013 Stanley Cup Victory
  • Michael Diversey: Very lively, full to brimming with Bros and Trixies- but still, it’s our go to Blackhawks Bar, plus they have good food

River North:

If none of these appeal to you, you don’t HAVE to go to an official bar, pretty much any bar with a TV in Chicago will be playing Hawks games, or will put them on if you ask. Also! If you’re really a Blackhawks fan, be sure to go have a meal at The Palace Grill. Not only is it a neat old vintage diner, but it’s by The United Center and packed with Hawks stuff. Rumor has it that the players themselves stop in from time to time, too. Fun!

How I decide where to go for Chicago Restaurant Week (2014)

I love Chicago Restaurant Week! This year it’s actually two weeks and takes place from January 24th to February 6th. Last year we went to Kinzie Chophouse and Bistrot Zinc. Both were very enjoyable. We rarely go to steakhouses or French restaurants because they tend to be pricey, and we’re not rich. So Restaurant Week is a great time to hit them up. If you haven’t heard of Restaurant Week, it’s a week (two this year!) when all the fancy restaurants in town do special prix fixe menus for $22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner.

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

I want to be adventurous, and I know I should be, but I don’t really like weird trendy food like kale and duck confit. But I also don’t like boring things like roast chicken. I appreciate a good beef dish and vegetarian dishes and Italian places, too. So this year maybe along with the steakhouse and French, we’ll go to a third, possibly more unusual spot. And, unless it’s something ridiculously fabulous, we stick to the $22 lunches and $33 dinners- another way I choose is to check out their regular menus and see if the places are a really good deal during Restaurant Week or if you can get basically the same thing any time.

So, based on all that, here are the contenders:

French: Bistro Voltaire, Mon Ami Gabi

Steakhouse: David Burke’s Primehouse, Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Italian: Riccardo Trattoria, Piccolo Sogno

Other: The Refinery, Two

Where else should I absolutely not miss? Where are you going to go?

Winter Things To Do in Chicago- Butch McGuire’s

If you live in Chicago and haven’t been to Butch McGuire’s you are seriously out of it! It’s been around forever and is a Chicago institution! Get over there soon- Christmastime is the best time to visit. They spend two months decorating for Christmas with tons of lights and even a working train set that hangs from the ceiling. Good food, great drinks (perfect Irish Coffee)- we even went last year for their New Years Eve party. It was fun and not all crazy and ridiculously crowded. They have daily specials and weekend brunch, too. Now go on, go.

Winter cocktails at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

Christmas at Butch McGuire's, Chicago

Christmas at Butch McGuire's, Chicago

Butch McGuire's is a great spot for an Irish Coffee in Chicago

Warm up with drinks at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

New Years Eve at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

New Years Eve at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

New Years Eve at Butch McGuire's in Chicago

 

October in Chicagoland- corn mazes and pumpkins and delicious food!

Well, it took me almost a whole year to post these pictures! But I guess it’s OK because now is the time to go do this trip. We like to just get in the car and drive sometimes, so that’s what we did. We went up to Rockford, IL, then over to Madison, WI. Then came back down thru Wisconsin into Illinois again to a fun farm with pumpkins and a corn maze.

Rockford was kind of a bust. But we did find a The Wired Cafe that had espressos and a nice breakfast.

Breakfast Burrito from Wired Cafe,. Rockford,. IL

Breakfast Burrito from Wired Cafe,. Rockford,. IL

Madison is a cute college town! Lots of fun restaurants, bars, and cafes.

The view from our hotel in Madison, WI

The view from our hotel in Madison, WI

We had a great local WI type meal at The Old Fashioned in downtown Madison.

An Old Fashioned from The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI

An Old Fashioned from The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI

cheese curds in wisconsin

Cheese Curds! Sooooo Wisconsin

Mixed greens with Wisconsin cheese and local cherries

Mixed greens with Wisconsin cheese and local cherries

Is Wisconsin famous for chili?

Is Wisconsin famous for chili?

cobbler in wisconsin

Oh yeah, that’s cobbler

Breakfast was at Madison Sourdough, a great bakery with a pretty ambience.

Cafe latte from Madison Sourdough

Cafe latte from Madison Sourdough

ghost sign, madison, WI

I love old ghost signs

Heading back to Chicago, we stopped at Richardson’s Farm for pumpkins and a corn maze.

Corn maze at Richardson's Farm

Corn maze at Richardson’s Farm- it was hard!

Getting lost in the maze!

Getting lost in the maze!

Resting during our corn maze odyssey

Resting during our corn maze odyssey

Richardson's Farm, Illinois

Richardson’s Farm, Illinois

corn maze, richardson's farm, illinois

So Much Corn!

Fooling around at Richardson's.

Fooling around at Richardson’s.

We bought some pumpkins at Richardson's

We bought some pretty pumpkins

Blue Pumpkins

Blue Pumpkins?

Lots of pumpkins at Richardson's Adventure Farm

Lots of pumpkins

A petting zoo at Richardson's Adventure Farm

I love goats!

Overall it was a relaxing, fun Fall weekend.

 

An Everyday Old Fashioned

Ok, look, I am into the “craft cocktail” movement as much as the next girl and I had one of the very best Old Fashioneds I’ve ever had in my life, made by my friend Steve at The Morrison in L.A. recently. It was all fancy with a huge ice sphere and expensive bourbon and no cherry. I love getting these mixologist drinks when I’m out, but I’m no mixologist.

An Old Fashioned from The Morrison in L.A.

An Old Fashioned from The Morrison in L.A.

 

There is definitely something to this newish craft and I ain’t got it. But I like to drink at home! Without a lot of fanfare and for cheap. Plus I dig a cheesey  retro vibe. So here’s how I make Old Fashioneds at home.

Put a spoonful of sugar into a glass. More or less depending on my mood for sweetness. Check it out, I used a stemless wine glass. OMG, no class. Then I put a couple drops of bitters onto the sugar. I followed a recipe once that called for three drops but that was too many for me, so I do two. Then I add one dreaded red dye #2 coated maraschino cherry. Just one! I once thought, hey, I love these horrible things, I’ll put in two. But it was not that good. So now I restrain myself (it’s hard) and only use one. Then a twist of orange peel and I muddle it with a spoon.  Then I add an ounce or two of whatever bourbon, rye, or even whiskey I have on hand and some ice cubes. Sometimes I add water or sparkling water to top it off, depending on whether I want to stretch the drink or resign myself to having two (or more).

So there. An inexpensive, no fuss Old Fashioned for your daily drinking.

An everyday Old Fashioned from my house.

An everyday Old Fashioned from my house.