City Eats: Dove’s Luncheonette, Chicago

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Jason, Addison, and I just got back from almost 2 weeks in the Midwest. We spent time in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa and had such a wonderful time exploring places we have never been with people that we love. Toward the beginning of our travels, we took a few days to explore Chicago. Chicago was one of the few remaining large US cities that Jason and I had not explored together.

We loved Chicago! The food is delicious, the city is beautiful (especially this time of year!), and in my opinion, Chicago is the perfect mix of old and new, and contains the perfect amount of grit and history, while remaining a place we felt safe to explore. We stayed in Lincoln Park and loved how close everything was to us – tons of local eats and shopping. We took some time to walk and shop along the Magnificent Mile, spent time perusing antique and vintage stores in Wicker Park, took in a sunset along the Riverwalk, took pictures at and of “The Bean,” enjoyed a tour of Wrigley Field, and Jason and I have now stood at both the beginning and the ending of Route 66.

One of our favorite ways to get to know a city has always been by eating. We eat as much local fare as possible and Dove’s Luncheonette was definitely one of our favorite Chicago finds. Dove’s is named after a book written in the late 50s that was later adapted for the big screen. The eatery has 41 stools and “draws inspiration from bygone diners and watering holes to create a place where people from all walks of life can converge over a cup of coffee, cocktail, and a great meal” (Dove’s). While drinking your coffee from a 70s style brown bell cup, you will be treated to the music of the 60s and 70s, specifically Chicago soul and blues. The food itself is a wonderful mix of Southern inspired favorites with a Mexican flare and from what we saw and tasted, you cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. I opted for the buttermilk chicken fried chicken, served with a chorizo verde gravy, peas, and pearl onions and I’d do the same thing again. Do yourself a favor if you find yourself in Chicago, eat at Dove’s, you won’t be disappointed! And, yes, I did bring home another mug to add to the racks – this one is, you guessed it, brown and bell shaped. 😉

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City Eats: Coffee at the Gucci Museo Caffè, Florence

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One of our normal routines while in Florence, was to find coffee and a treat each afternoon. One particular afternoon, we discovered that the Gucci Museo that was around the corner from the apartment we were staying in, had a cafÊ. Honestly, I cannot think of a better place for a lover of both fashion AND coffee to stop and enjoy a cappuccino and treat. As one might hope, the presentation is every bit as beautiful as the clothing and accessories that the brand is known for. The tiramisu was stunning in presentation and absolutely delicious, while the addition of the sugar in the shape of the Gucci logo fantastically took the entire experience over the top. I loved every bit of our time spent in the Gucci Museo Caffè.

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City Eats: Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego

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When Jason and I visited San Diego, one of the places I wanted to visit most was Extraordinary Desserts. When trip planning, the piece I get most excited about is definitely searching out the best food spots. When I stumbled upon Extraordinary Desserts, I knew it had to happen. I mean, look at those insanely beautiful desserts!

So, after spending several hours at Balboa Park, we walked across town to enjoy an afternoon treat. It took me a ridiculously long time to decide, but I finally chose the strawberry shortcake – so, so good! Jason ordered the banana cream pie. Both desserts were delicious! If you’re planning a trip to San Diego, try to make it over to Extraordinary Desserts, your stomach (and your eyes) will thank you.

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City Eats: Silos Baking Co., Waco

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Recently, Jason was invited to speak at Baylor University. Since we had already been trying to figure out a time that we would be able to get down to Texas and take in all things Magnolia and Fixer Upper, we were so excited for the opportunity to spend some time in Waco. Of course, at the top of the list of things we wanted to do, was enjoy some treats at Silos Baking Co.

I absolutely loved everything about Silos Baking Co. The black and white decor of the shop, the mix of vintage, modern, and rustic elements that came together so perfectly, the display of the treats – each element complementing the next so effortlessly. This is a place that inspires me to create, to dream.

The treats themselves were just another successful creative element that tied everything together. We sampled the Lemon Lavender, Nuts and Bolts (vanilla cake filled with pecans and walnuts, topped with cream cheese frosting), and the Strawberries ‘N Cream cupcakes. All were delicious, but this cupcake-loving lady surprised even herself by being most enamored with the Silo cookie, a chocolate chip cookie filled with peanut butter chips and walnuts. I think it might be the very best cookie I’ve ever eaten. We loved Waco, the Silos, + that cookie, and cannot wait to get back.

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City Eats: ChurrerĂ­a Laietana, Barcelona

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I can think of few things in life which are better than stumbling upon hidden gems in a new city. Unassuming, unapologetic, old gems. Like this one. Jason and I discovered Churrería Laietana on a stroll our first morning in Barcelona. We were attempting to navigate and discover the city and almost missed out entirely. Thankfully we stumbled upon the cafÊ at just the time we both needed a morning pick-me-up, which inspired us to peruse the menu and stay. The tiny cafe featured a sparse menu and few places to sit, but what it lacked in variety and space it more than made up in taste. There was such an authenticity about the space and the feel of the churrería; watching the churros being piped, fried, drained, and covered in sugar made you feel like you were a part of the whole decadent process. We savored an order of freshly made churros with a cup of thick drinking chocolate, perfect for dipping the delicious bits of fried dough in.

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City Eats: CafĂŠ du Monde, New Orleans

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This time of year, I reminisce on time spent in New Orleans. Though our trips to the city have never been during Mardi Gras, we typically order a King Cake from Louisiana during the season and talk about trips past. These particular photos were taken before I even knew how to properly use my camera! Pre-Europe, pre-baby, so early in Jason’s and my marriage. It is amazing to think of all the trips we have taken since; but New Orleans is the first real place we adventured together and CafĂŠ du Monde, our first foodie experience. NOLA will always hold a special place for the two of us.

CafĂŠ du Monde is one of those must do experiences when visiting New Orleans. Though there are definitely other places to enjoy cafĂŠ au lait and beignets, CafĂŠ du Monde has a storied history. Touted as ‘The Original French Market Coffee Stand,” the cafĂŠ has been around since 1862. The cafĂŠ is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only time the cafĂŠ closes is on Christmas and the occasional hurricane.

Interesting to note: beignets are the state’s official doughnut.

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City Eats: Metz, Bourguignon

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There are so many things I miss about living in Europe. Thankfully, when it comes to food, we’ve been able to find almost all of the things we loved. One thing, however, that we have not found is one of my very favorite desserts, the Mont Blanc.

Jason and I loved visiting Metz, France. We loved Saint-Étienne de Metz, the cathedral in the city, with all its stained glass. We loved seeing all the freshly baked bread sold on the streets. We loved the bustle of the shopping downtown. Perhaps most of all, we loved Bourguignon.

Bourguignon drew us in initially with their gorgeous vitrines. Pâtisseries use vitrines, or glass display cases, to showcase their most gorgeous and intricate pastries and cakes. The Mont Blanc is by far my favorite French pastry. The Mont Blanc is named after the highest mountain in the Alps, as the pastry resembles a snow-capped mountain. The dessert is made of sweetened chestnut puree, meringue, and topped with whipped cream. Though the Mont Blanc was my favorite pastry, everything Bourguignon made looked and tasted delicious. I’m dreaming of the day we can get back to Metz and to Bourguignon.

 

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