Today’s post takes an in-depth look at Girl & The Goat, arguably the best restaurant in Chicago.
Before ever knowing I’d be making a trip to the Windy City, I knew about this restaurant and Chef Stephanie Izard. You might recognize her as the winner of Top Chef in Season 4, and the only woman to win the competition until Season 10. I was so hell-bent upon eating here that I walked off the plane and nearly straight into her restaurant with whatever reservation I could grab.
I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Stephanie via email about her background and vision for G&G. She had actually opened her first restaurant ten years ago after a cook told her she had the chops to do it. Later after Top Chef, she met her partners of the Boka Restaurant Group who helped bring G&G to life.
When I visit a new city, my natural instinct is to brunch. Hard. Chicago was no different – as you can see from my interactive Google map, there was no lack of brunching during my visit.
My first brunch in the Windy City was at Nookies, of which there are multiple locations. The food is pretty straightforward, with the exception of mango-coconut pancakes, which were a little too sweet, but I ate them anyways because mangoes and Indians will always go together no matter what.
My friend and I opted for a slightly fancier brunch at Nellcôte, a French spot on the Randolph restaurant corridor, which I would metaphorize as the Valencia Street of Chicago. The interior is beautiful, with high ceilings and lots of natural light (something I’m weirdly obsessed with), but the service was so incredulously slow that it made me forget the food completely. Unfortunate, because the dishes were not terrible,
In the spirit of being 25 and not making any more excuses, I checked off one more new city this past weekend – Chicago! And I have a nifty interactive Google map à la my last trip to show y’all where I went. Click on the embedded map above to expand it and follow along as I present the best sweets, restaurants, and more sweets of the Windy City.
The first thing I discovered about Chicago is that it has a summer, and it is glorious. In SF, we stay a breezy 60ish degrees year-round, so we quickly become accustomed to summertime sweaters and winter dresses. But in Chi Town, summer is the real, 85-degree weather deal. And I love it.
I’m officially 25! And it feels….old.
Just kidding. Sort of.
Four years ago, I took a personal leadership class in college where we wrote what we wanted to be doing by the time 2014 rolled around. I still have that essay, and this year, I’m ready to follow through. One of my goals for this year was to stop making excuses, whether that in the career, dating, travel, or friend department, and now that I’m 25, I ain’t stopping now.
From selling desserts to traveling all over the country (hitting Chicago this weekend – suggestions are welcome!), to securing a seriously fantastic friend group, I have been extremely lucky this year, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings. I already checked one more thing off the bucket list this weekend – biking across the Golden Gat Bridge!
My friend group has an unofficial pact of meeting for breakfast every week to catch up and indulge in the San Francisco café scene. In case we didn’t get enough of each other on the weekends (which will never happen), waking up a smidge extra on a weekday to have one-on-one chats with the people I care about has become a sanity check and friendship-strengthening exercise. It allows me to start the day off right while exploring new neighborhood spots like Arlequin Café & Food to Go.
A casual offshoot of the famous Absinthe in Hayes Valley, Arlequin is a less fussy, yet just as high-quality establishment with pastries from local celebrity chef Bill Corbett – an insanely talented man whose desserts I really admire. It serves food all day in the form of sandwiches, salads, and breakfast, which was my lovely friend’s and my choice meal when eating here.