Neighborhood Bites

I love exploring my own city. And even better when there's new restaurants in close proximity... well, because baby.  

 

Our Chicago neighborhood is experiencing quite the expansion. With Google new to the area and a McDonald's confirmed move, changes are still a-coming.  (P.S. Google's free employee breakfast and lunch fresh buffet spread is incredible - tip: find a friend and get put on the visitor list!)

 

I recently ventured out and tried a few new digs...  

 

Monteverde (1020 West Madison) is an "Italian restaurant that blends the traditions of Italian culture and cooking with influences from Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s trips around the world, as well as her family heritage." This former Top Chef didn't miss a beat... if I could bottle a summer outdoor experience, this would be near the top. A friend, my babe and me snagged a walk-in patio spot on one of the most gorgeous summer evenings. Enjoying rose, a friendly-peppy waiter and incredible dishes with fresh ingredients, I can't wait to go back. 

 

My favorites were the special truffle-mushroom egg toast and the unique, but wildly flavorful skate wing schnitzel. The pastas also do not disappoint. 

SPECIAL - truffle mushroom toast with egg

SPECIAL - truffle mushroom toast with egg

 SKATE WING SCHNITZEL caper salsa verde, asparagus, arugula, watercress, cherry tomatoes, parsley new potatoes

 SKATE WING SCHNITZEL caper salsa verde, asparagus, arugula, watercress, cherry tomatoes, parsley new potatoes

The second newcomer down the road sits on Randolph's 'restaurant row'  where famed chef Rick Bayless expands his chops to this hot destination. Cruz Blanca Cerveceria (904 West Randolph) is the more chill, Mexican-style informal "hermanita" of attached Lena Brava bursting with craft beer options.

 

The open, airy space was a perfect lunch destination to catch up with a former colleague with taco platters, sides and "agua Del dia" infused drinks. 

 

Note: no reservations are accepted and the set up is a place-your-order and wait for your name to be called. And a huge kudos to the staff who were overly accommodating for my behemoth stroller.

Beef tasajo taco plate, guacamole, cucumber salad, agua del dia and oaxacan peanuts.  

Beef tasajo taco plate, guacamole, cucumber salad, agua del dia and oaxacan peanuts.  

Any other must-try new Chicago spots?  Bonus for those stroller-friendly.