Friday, January 31, 2014

Next Door to Restaurant Week in Bucktown Wicker Park

So.  It's Restaurant week.  This is all well and good and if you are a foodie with pockets that have no bottoms have at it, we applaud you. But if you are less likely to shell out $$ for a menu you can't choose, then we've accumulated a list of options in case you want to be "Next Door" to Restaurant Week (which is actually 2 weeks long…runs through Feb 6)

Uni Sushi - 1752 W North Ave.
Restaurant Week Option: 
The Monarch: 1745 W North Ave., between Damen and Ashland, this spot offers upscale classic comfort food, and is running a $33/person dinner special for Restaurant Week including brussel sprouts, a main course of fish, and a  twist on the kid's classic worms in dirt chocolate pudding dessert.
Next Door: 
Uni Sushi: 1752 W North Ave. If the fish course at Monarch is the most tempting item on the menu then perhaps hop across the street to Uni.  Pick and choose what you'd like and still come out ahead - their rolls run from $6-$12(isn) a piece, and as we all know, sushi has this mad ability to make you feel both like your eating healthy, and like you want to roll home.

Restaurant Week Option: 
Trenchermen: 2039 W North Ave.  Ever since it opened, the Trenchermen has been a neighborhood heavyweight.  They are offering a 4  course for $44/person menu, with a long list of fancy names and ingredients - most of which make no sense to the untrained eye, but the one word octopus does stand out.  Feeling adventurous and craving wheatberries and suction sea creatures?  Let us know how it goes - we're always up for expanding our horizons (given that someone else assures us it's safe)
Next Door: 
Sultan's Market: 2057 W North Ave. Sultans has been around forever, and for good reason.  It is unbelievably tasty for the unbelievably low prices.  Both Sultans and Trenchermen have their merits, but these neighbors could not be more different.  Our manager especially recommends trying one of their soup, but they've got a menu to satisfy any middle astern craving.

O'Cha Thai - 2062 N Damen Ave
Restaurant Week Option: 
Red Door: 2118 N Damen Ave.  We love Red Door; good food, good drinks; good atmosphere, and SO close to Ray's.  This would be our recommendation if you want to do Restaurant Week right.  They have a $33/person menu, and are one of the few venues that presents you with a range of choices - you can even order a burger if you want.
Next Door: 
O'Cha Thai Cuisine: 2062 N Damen Ave.  We had to include a token Thai option - and this one is pretty good.  It's BYOB (awesome) and pretty casual - a good place to pop in if you've got a hankering.  Entrees are around $8-14, so it's a good deal, especially when paired with your own choice of wine (or pbr…)

Want a full list of Restaurant week options in the nearby area? Or actual detailed information on menus? check out this link on DNAinfo.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Top 5 Best Winter Classes in Chicago

Last year we posted the top 20 things to do in Chicago in the winter, and we will be coming out with another "Best Of" list of that sort in the near future, but if you're more interested in actually LEARNING something, rather than watching, eating, or drinking-based activities, then this list might be right up your alley, so here goes: (Don't worry, they're all indoors)

1. Chicago Rebuilding Exchange - This is one of the coolest spots in the vicinity.  It's about a 10 minute walk from Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast, and offers a variety of awesome classes and goods.  If you're into salvaged materials and working with your hands we suggest you check out what they offer here.

 2. Cook Au Vin - if culinary education is more your style then consider a cooking class here.  They've got a Valentine's Day specific class, a pastry class, bread class, and various special offerings.  Not to far from Ray's either!

3. Big City Swing - Shake off the snow and try not to embarrass yourself.  Big City Swing offers group and private lessons, which means you can either learn socially, or privately, secretly, become a swing-dancing master allowing you to make the grand reveal as soon as you hear a swing tune at a party (you may be waiting for a while…).  But it looks fun!  And if the staff at Ray's wasn't so terribly awkward we might even try it.

4. Aloft Loft - Our love affair with this place shouldn't surprise you if you're one of the like 12 people that read this blog.  It's awesome-ness can not be oversold. They offer classes in trapeze, tumbling, german wheel, silks, flexibility and more, put on a monthly circus performance (first Saturday of every month, 7pm and 10pm - you should go), and can totally solidify your place as the coolest of your friends. Check out their website for classes and events.

5. Chicago Mosaic School - This place is remarkably friendly, and not as well known as it should be.  It's one of the best Mosaic arts schools in the country and offers several classes and workshops from those geared towards the novice to experienced professionals.  Nice open space, and a convenient bus ride from Ray's.  Classes and workshop listings here.

Now get out of the house!