monthly dinner club: grand lux cafe

The continuation of the ladies’ monthly dinner club…. Next up? ME. (this is 2 weeks late… whoops!)

Grand Lux Cafe

600 N Michigan Ave,  Chicago, IL  60611
(312) 276-2500

Located on the Mag Mile, the Grand Lux has an extensive menu that will suit almost any appetite.

Environment:
Grand Lux is located on the second floor above Ann Taylor Loft (or what was ATL). The entrance is quite grand. Once you take the escalator upstairs, it’s a bit shocking to see just how big this place is. The views are spectacular, especially when the Christmas lights are still on the trees :) The lighting was dim and romantic-like. Dress was definitely casual to business casual.

Service:
The service was phenomenal! Our server was Sarah and on my goodness she was hilarious! Though I gave up sweets and desserts for Lent, she was mighty convincing on her sell of their delish homemade in-house desserts. She was INCREDIBLY knowledge and gave great advice on the menu.

Food:
I started off with a nice glass of wine – Beringer White Zinfandel. Sarah brought over bread for the table. It was delish, just wish it was served with cheese and oil :) Instead, it was with butter which was still good.

For my entree, I ordered the Pasta with Grilled Chicken, Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella. It was very good and incredibly filling. Their plate portions are HUGE so definitely get what you pay for. As for everyone else at the table, they were all happy with their meals – a range from salmon to flat bread sandwich to tofu.

Dessert time – I did not order anything (per my comment above) but they were on the table for me to smell and drool over. The Peach Cobbler seriously smelled and looked out of this world. You have to order that at the same time you place your order for your entree because it takes so long to make. Lisa got the Molten Chocolate Cake, which has a ooy-gooy center. YUM!

Overall:
I really liked this place. I didn’t realize until our dinner that this is a chain-like restaurant. They certainly don’t treat you like chain restaurants do. The food was great, and boy was there a massive selection for literally everyone. The location was my favorite part <3 Definitely try it the next time you’re out shopping on the mag mile!

Until next time
<3 jenna

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monthly dinner club: sable kitchen + bar

The continuation of the ladies’ monthly dinner club…. Next up? Lisa.

Sable Kitchen + Bar

505 North State Street, Chicago, IL  60654
(312) 755-9704

Located in River North, Sable considers itself to be an American gastro-lounge. I believe the menu is intended to make this a tapas-like place.

Environment:
When you first walk in on the State Street entrance, it appears to be a smaller space. Once you get inside, you see that it extends very far back. The bar and the restaurant are next to each other. The bar has a totally great vibe. As for the restaurant portion, it was cool but not as impressive as the bar. It was a bit more dimly lit. We sat in a booth where half the table were staring into a mirror. People were dressed casual to business casual – again likely to it being a work day.

{ looking to the front entrance and bar }

{ looking to the back end to what looks like a private room }

Service:
The service was great. Our server was very informative about how the restaurant operates (tapas), how the menu works, and the specials for that day. The rest of the group got there an hour before I did to drink. Unfortunatley I couldn’t pull away from work so I just met for dinner. Our server was very patient with me as I struggled to decide on dinner options. She was also very understanding when, after the bill came, we realized that Monica got 20% off thru her employer.

Food:
I started off with a nice glass of wine – Hullabaloo Zinfandel. They had a HUGE selection of mixed drinks, but it was far too confusing on which to pick and exactly how much each was. From the ladies that met before I got there, apparently drinks are $13 min.

For starters, we ordered soft pretzels with smoked cheddar cheese dip. Yum. Also ordered the Wisconsin fried cheese curds with a spicy ketchup glaze – HOLY YUM.

For my entree, I decided to go a bit different and dtried their sweet corn crème brûlée – YUM AGAIN. It was totally different, decently sweet, and totally delish. Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed their meals. They all ordered the roasted pumpkin gnocchi as one of their meals. Most seemed to love it.

For drink, I had a delicious glass of Riesling. It was a $15 bottle (or $8 glass), so probably not the highest quality but it did the trick! I plan to buy a bottle tonight!

Our whole dinner was quite filling so we unfortunately passed on dessert :(

Overall:
This is a GREAT place with great atmosphere and terrific service. The food is unusual but very on par! A great place to meet up after work :) I imagine it more of an after work hangout than a nice date night with your beau. AND the best part is the location is great – right by the red line and close to lots of shopping :)

Until next time
<3 jenna

monthly dinner club: fox & obel market bistro

The continuation of the ladies’ monthly dinner club…. Next up? Monica.

Fox & Obel Market Bistro

401 East Illinois St., Chicago, IL  60611
(312) 410-7301

Located in my hood, Streeterville, Fox & Obel Market Bistro is a restaurant joined within the Fox & Obel Market. From my knowledge, all food that is prepared there is done so with the very ingredients that Fox & Obel sells.

Environment:
It’s a smaller space, about 15 tables. It’s intimate with low lighting and candles. Nothing too special about it visually, but a neat space for being connected to the market. People were dressed casual to business casual – could be do to it being a work day.

Service:
The service was great. Our server, Spencer, was a bit of an oddball with a hilarious chuckle of a laugh, but he was knowledgeable about the menu and provided great service. When ordering wine, 3 of us wanted Riesling. He recommended to buy a bottle because it was cheaper for the 3 of us. Thoughtful.

Food:
For beginners, fresh bread was on the table for us with the usual messings – oil, parmasean, etc. Always a great way to start your meal, that is unless the people you’re meeting for dinner arrive first and eat all of it.

For drink, I had a delicious glass of Riesling. It was a $15 bottle (or $8 glass), so probably not the highest quality but it did the trick! I plan to buy a bottle tonight!

For dinner, I had the linguini pasta – asparagus, fresh wild mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and parmigiano reggiano. It was very yummy. I ordered mine sans mushrooms. My only issue with it was the lack of asparagus. I had one small bite in mine, whereas others at my table that ordered it had a whole garden. Total cost for the pasta was $8.99

To complete our meal, I shared the dulce de leche cheesecake with Lisa. Oh my goodness it was delicioso!! Total cost $5.99.

Overall:
I think this is a great place for a nice reasonably priced dinner. The mood was nice with great service – even given our inappropriate behavior (i.e. the words we used, games we played, and a broken stem on a wine glass). Definitely try it out! If you’re at Navy Pier, you’re only 4 blocks away!

Until next time
<3 jenna

monthly dinner club: the bedford

One of my good friends, Kathy, started up a dinner club with a few other ladies. Due to my charm, good looks, and great sense of humor, she obvi invited me to join. As mentioned, this is a monthly dinner club and is for ladies only. Each month, there is someone in charge of picking the restaurant. The only rule is that the restaurant you pick has to be somewhere you have not gone before. My plan is to provide a review of each place we go, which will A) let you know my thoughts on the place, & B) make you aware of new places to hit up in Chicago :)

With Kathy being up first, she chose the Bedford.

The Bedford
1612 West Division St.  Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-8800

Located in Wicker Park, the Bedford is a bank turned rustic chic restaurant. Sounds crazy, right?

Environment:
When you walk in, you don’t immediately see it. BUT once you sit down, you start to see remnants of an old bank everywhere. Most notably is the vault.

{ both via }


We sat at a booth. Behind us were the old safety deposit boxes. I wonder if anything is left in them?

As you can see the environment is amazing. There’s even an area set up for a live band to perform!

Service:
The service was great. I don’t recall the name of our server, but she was sweet and didn’t bug us. Her hair was adorable! Not that that matters, but she gave us recommendations of salons to go to. Big deal for girls :) The rest of the staff was great as well. My water was refilled the instant it was half full.

Food:
As for the food, it was okay. I had the chicken. It was served with cornbread stuffing, glazed root vegetables, maple and cider chicken jus. At $24 for the plate, I thought it was going to be a large meal. Instead it was a small sized meal that wasn’t filling nor worth the $24. Everyone else, however, seemed to really enjoy their meal. For the table, we got a fancy mac & cheese. It was very good. For alcohol, I had a glass of Villa del Borgo pinot grigio (Italy 2009). Not my favorite, but it did the trick.

Overall:
A great environment for happy hour or a special date with average food. I’d give it a shot :)

Until next time
<3 jenna