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?

Oinkety fave: La Baguette French Bistro, Colorado Springs

Every time I go to one of the La Baguette locations I say it’s my favorite. The downtown one was the first I went to, then I went to the one in Old Colorado City, and finally, we went to the one on Chestnut St.

The Chestnut St. location is open for dinner. It’s a really authentic French Bistro. But unlike a lot of French restaurants, it’s super affordable.

Cute French decor at La Baguette

Cute French decor at La Baguette

I had a Pastis, a very French licorice flavored drink, at La Baguette

I had a Pastis, a very French licorice flavored drink, at La Baguette

 

We’ve actually been there a couple times. Once for lunch and one for dinner. It was delightful both times.

Crocque Madame sandwich with fries for lunch. Ham, cheese, and a fried egg on delicious bread.

Crocque Madame sandwich with fries for lunch. Ham, cheese, and a fried egg on delicious bread.

Another view of the Crocque Madame.

Another view of the Crocque Madame.

The special steak lunch entree.

The special steak lunch entree.

When we went for dinner I had this awesome salad.

When we went for dinner I had this awesome salad.

 

Mike had the Boeuf Bourguignon, which he said was fabulous

Mike had the Boeuf Bourguignon, which he said was fabulous.

Mike's mom had the special veggie rice entree.

Mike's mom had the special veggie orzo entree.

For dessert we had a creamy cheesecake.

For dessert we had a creamy cheesecake.

And the cream puff, which was a delicious as it looks.

And the cream puff, which was a delicious as it looks.

 

La Baguette French Bistro is a great place for an authentic but affordable French meal with great service and fabulous food right in Colorado Springs. Check it out! Let us know what you think.

 

Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles

One of my new favorite restaurants in L.A. is Cafe Figaro. You’d recognize it from the State Farm Insurance commercial. I recognized it and remembered that it’s in Los Feliz, which is where I lived for many years in L.A. I had never been because it came after I had already left, but it looked cool in the ad so we went last time we were in L.A.

Cool interior at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA, taken with my android

Cool interior at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA, taken with my android

The large and varied menu at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

The large and varied menu at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

The first time we went for lunch with Mike’s daughter, Tori.

Mike and Tori at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Mike and Tori at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Cafe latte at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA. It comes in a bowl, my fave!

Cafe latte at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA. It comes in a bowl, my fave!

I had a chevre salad and it was perfect. Just the right size, too.

Chevre salad at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Chevre salad at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Mike had spinach quiche. He thought it was runny but I tasted it and thought it was creamy and excellent.

Spinach quiche and mixed greens at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Spinach quiche and mixed greens at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Tori had a chicken salad that she enjoyed.

Chicken salad from Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Chicken salad from Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

We liked it so much for lunch that we decided to go back for dinner on New Years Eve with my brothers and friends. The decor is really pretty and French.
The bar at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA, taken with my android

The bar at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA, taken with my android

I asked for a pastis and they said they had Ricard. I don’t know the difference or if pastis is a brand name or what. I had it every night when I was in Paris and wanted to have it again. It’s basically a licoricey drink you add water to.
David and Sarah behind my pastis at cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

David and Sarah behind my pastis at cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

I had the chicken gnocchi and it was really good. It, along with the roasted chicken that a couple people had, were the best items we had. Gnocchi can be gooey and rubbery sometimes but this was not, it was excellent.

Chicken gnocchi at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Chicken gnocchi at Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Mike had the beef bourguignon which he said was sort of dry.  It came in a fun le cruset pan so that was neat.

Beef bourguignon from Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

Beef bourguignon from Cafe Figaro, Los Angeles, CA

It was pretty dark so I didn’t get any pictures of anyone else’s food. They had a variety of items and gave a variety of reviews. I think breakfast and lunch are the better times to come here as far as the food.

I really like the atmosphere here and if I lived nearby I’d go all the time for breakfast, lunch, coffee, and cocktails (they look like they have a great happy hour). I’d be willing to try it again for dinner, too to see if dinner could live up to the other stuff.

Armon’s, Cacao, Eagle Rock Italian Deli, Cafe Beaujolais, Colombo’s, Great White Hut, The Good Egg Phoenix, Pan Quotidion, Downtown Los Angeles, Grand Central Market

Spicy Latte from Cacao in Eagle Rock. Super delish but maybe too spicy for some.

We also had breakfast there this time while we did laundry next door. My dryer broke, OF COURSE and since my new tenant has her own washer/dryer I didn’t bother to replace mine so it was off to the laundromat a whole bunch of times.

DM had some kind of burrito which he enjoyed.

I had the breakfast quesadilla. It had eggs, cheese and mushrooms in it and was served with potatoes. It was light yet filling, perfect for breakfast.
 

Breakfast at my fave diner Armon’s in Eagle Rock.

DM had the cheeseburger which is usually my fave.

While I opted for their pancakes. Some people say they are “chewy”. Whatever that means. I say they are the best in LA! Even better than DuPars.

At some point we made pizzas on my pizza stone. They weren’t any better than on the $5 Walmart pan. I left it at my parent’s house. They like that kinda thing and will probably use it a lot. This one is carmelized onions, cheese, and mushrooms.

Also had to make the usual weird one! Carmelized onions, cheese, salad, and hummus. You’ve seen this one before.

And then plain cheese and tomato sauce. I don’t think we made all these on the same night but it was awhile ago now and I have a memory of about 5 minutes so I can’t tell you mcuh more.

One night we went down to Colorado Wine Company for a glass of wine, then on to Cafe Beaujolais for creme brulee and more wine. It’s a nice yet affordable neighborhood French restaurant in Eagle Rock. It’s been there a million years and is very popular.

After THAT we went to Colombo’s. You all know allll about Colombo’s. I had to have a pic of DM in front of one of the naked lady paintings.

And apparently we also had french fries which I have no recollection of.
 

The Great White Hut has been in Glendale for ten thousand years. I even did a photo shoot for Playboy there one time in the mid 90s.

Glamour Shots at the buger joint.

MMMM french fries. They weren’t as good as they look.

Cheeeeeseburgers. Were as good as they looked. Plus the people who run it are super nice. Highly recommended.
 

 Walked to the Eagle Rock Italian Deli one day. I’ve never walked there before even tho it’s only like 4 blocks away. I am used to walking places now that we live downtown COS so I like to walk now.

DM had a mortadella sandwich which he’d never had before. He gave it a thumbs up while scarfing it down.

I had what I always have, a caprese sandwich, AKA a tomato and fresh mozerella sandwich.

Also some salads.

And of course some pastries.

One day we had to go to Phoenix to check on DMs condo. That was quite the ordeal. We packed the cats in the car and took off one day and came back the next. Cookie Puss was a big scaredy cat this day so he ung out under the dashboard. I put this scarf up for him so he could hide behind it, too.

PJ was his usual mellow self.

And OMG we fully almost ran out of gas! We drove with it on 0 for like 3 miles. I was totally freaked out cuz we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere. DM looked up (on his new Droid) how to do that thing were you can increase your gas mileage by following a truck. I did that and we somehow made it to a gas station.

His condo was a mess of course. The chick who lived there was another scumbag. Here’s DM trying to look cheerful as he disposes of her shit.

We did get to have a yummy breakfast at The Good Egg in Phoenix. I had huevos rancheros which is my fave.

DM had some kind of omlette thing which was pretty close to my thing. They were both really good.

Here we are on the metro in LA. We took a ride downtown one day.

It looks warm but it was really cold. It was a rare 40 degree day in LA and we were totally unprepared in our dress.

Had some pupusas at Grand Central Market. It was fun and they were tasty.

Cheese and mushroom.

Cheese and jalapeno.

This sign cracked me up. Mmmm. Economy.

Then we went across the street to The Biltmore Hotel. They film a lot of Mad Men and they used to fil a lot of West Wing there so DM wanted to see it. We had a couple of whiskeys in their bar.

Weird random Cookie Puss shot.
 

 After The Biltmore we went back to Grand Central Market to have some Chinese food. There’s this little place there that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to. But this time, once we sat down I was sorta skeeved out by the whole thing. I dunno…something about it was kinda gross. Not dirty per se, just creepy. I have no idea why and people must love it cuz it’s been there since the dawn of time and is always crowded.
DM had fried rice.

I had wonton soup. It was ok. But I think I ate a chicken foot early on and that was enough to send me packing. Glad I got that place out of my system tho.

After THAT we took the metro back to Pasadena and I was still feeling skeeved by the chicken foot so we went to Cheesecake Factory for drinks and cheesecake. I forgot that everything there is totally over the top. This was some crazy drink that I thought would be normal when I ordered it.

DM drinking a whiskey in a stupid glass. He is unhappy about it.

Banana cream cheesecake. OMG. This is the best thing ever. You have to have it! it seems like sort of uninteresting when you see it on the menu but it is AWESOME. My nephew ordered it once when I was with him and the whole table went BANANAS for it! Seriously. Have it.

Another day we decided to go Xmas shopping in Pasadena. We had coffees and croissants at Pan Quotidion on Colorado in Pasadena.

Here’s DM with his new girlfriend The Droid.

I thought this was kinda cute. And coffee in a bowl. I happen to like this.

But DM was beside himself.

 

DM had a roast beef sandwich (I think it was a french dip) that he liked a great deal.
It’s really good and all but it’s kinda lame that the To Go prices are like half of the Sit Down And Eat prices.

For lunch DM asked his new girlfriend where we should go nearby. She suggested this place, Elements Kitchen, on Green Street and Fair Oaks.
 

They had a chalkboard menu for breakfast and a normal paper menu for lunch. We had lunch. I was trying to decide between two things, a fig and blue cheese sandwich and a brie and pear sandwich. I had decided on the brie and pear but they borught me the fig and blue. I didn’t even notice till I was almost done with it. Good thing I’m not picky! Anyhow, of course it was really good. And the salad it came with was, too.

 

 

 

Later (or maybe it was another day) we went to The Coffee Table in Eagle Rock. I had coffee and a red velvet cupcake (I am so trendy) and he had a beer. We needed to decompress and this worked great.
 
So remember when we were at the Italian Deli awhile back? Well I saw these extra long spaghettis there. I became obsessed. So one day we were passing by a different Italian deli (Marios in Glendale where I’ve been going since I was a wee tot) and stopped in and bought some.
It is really really really long. And a little thicker than normal spaghetti. When cooked it’s got to be at least a yard long. Fun!

 

 
One day we went to Petit Beaujolais which is the cafe version of the French restaurant we went to awhile back.

 
These are not pictures of me as you may think.

They are pictures of the guy behind me, who apparently is the singer of Rage Against The Machine. So there, you go.

I had a chicken panini and salad which was soooooooooooooooo good. I think it was the best meal in this post.

DM had a dijon burger which was alwo excellent.

Alas, eventually it was time for DM to go home. We stopped at In and Out for some burgers and fries on the way to the airport.

In N Out!
 

 

I have no idea what this is. Obviously it’s french fries. I don’t know where or why I have a picture of it tho.