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Trip Report; Short DC visit with a picky eater

I just saw a story about nitro coffee on CBS This Morning a couple of weeks ago and I can't remember how I stumbled on to Dolcezza as being a place that sells it, but apparently they only sell it at their City Center location right now. The coffee is cold brewed, then infused with nitrogen, which gives it twice the normal caffeine. The news story claimed that it was almost like beer, without alcohol. I'm not a beer drinker, but I really enjoyed the nitro coffee. I had the nitro and cream, which is a mix that Dolcezza does, where they add a shot of cream and vanilla to the nitro coffee. It was one of the best coffee drinks I've ever had. I wanted to try the nitro without the cream, but the tap was not working correctly when we went back on Saturday.

Trip Report; Short DC visit with a picky eater

First of all, thanks a bunch to everyone who responded to my thread asking for suggestions on where to eat well with my picky husband. Your comments definitely helped point me in the right direction.

We arrived in town around 4pm and our plan was to walk a loop around all the monuments later in the evening, so we decided on an early dinner at Oyamel. We had the fresh guacamole and chips and then we each ordered a taco and one other menu item. I had the wild caught Gulf Coast white shrimp sautéed with shallots, árbol chile, poblano pepper, lime and sweet aged black garlic, which smelled amazing and tasted even better. My husband ordered the meatballs in chipotle sauce with crumbled ‘double cream’ cheese and cilantro, which he devoured and only grudgingly offered me a taste of…I declined, since he was enjoying them so much. The tacos were less impressive than the other items we ordered, but they were still good. He ordered the brisket taco and I had the pulled pork taco. Service was very good here and our waiter went out of his way to explain the menu and the portion sizes.

The next morning, we stopped by Bluebird Bakery, which was right next to our hotel, to pick up chocolate croissants, and then walked two blocks up the street to Dolcezza City Center because I was curious to try nitro coffee. I ordered the nitro and cream and my husband bought what he thought was a chocolate milk to enjoy with his croissant, but after one drink realized he had bought a Stumptown coffee beverage in a carton that looked like milk. He does not like coffee at all, so his reaction was pretty funny! We sat at Dolcezza's outdoor tables and enjoyed our beverages (well, at least I did) and the excellent croissants, which were buttery, airy, and perfect.

We were at the Air and Space Museum the rest of the morning and were heading to the Holocaust Museum after that, so we ate lunch from the food trucks that were clustered all along the street by the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, a block or so directly behind the Air and Space Museum. My husband had an unimpressive burger from a truck whose name he paid no attention to. I had a pretty tasty Penn Quarter panini from the Amorini Panini truck.

We were headed to the National Cathedral later in the afternoon, so dinner was at 2 Amys and it was excellent! Really, really good pizza and a nice, family friendly atmosphere. He had the 2 Amys, which was basically just tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. I had the 2 Amys with pepperoni and basil added.

We nearly became regulars at Dolcezza, partly because it was close to our hotel and partly because the gelato flavors on the menu were very intriguing, but we walked back up there later in the evening for gelato. The salted caramel and the mascarpone and berries were both very good.

I was so enamored with the nitro and cream from the day before, that I headed back to Dolcezza one final time on our last morning….only to find out that something was wrong with their keg system and there was no nitro. I settled for a vanilla bean latte, which was very good. My coffee hating husband had juice and we both had pastries. The pastries here (not made in house) were not nearly as good as the ones from Bluebird Bakery. The girl behind the counter said they were about to switch pastry suppliers and she had heard a rumor the new one might be Bluebird and was hoping the rumor was true.

After a few hours of walking and a tour of Ford's Theatre, we had a quick lunch at Shake Shack, which was across the street from our hotel. The burgers were surprisingly good for someplace that is clearly a tourist destination.

All in all, we ate very well on this trip. I got to try a few somewhat exotic things and my husband was not too far out of his comfort zone. Thanks again for all the help!

Last minute trip to DC; suggestions needed

I was looking at Jaleo last night and it might be a possibility. I would love to try Little Serow and any number of the other places I've read about on this board, but those will have to wait for another trip with a different travel partner…or at least a group we can split! Someday, though! :)

Last minute trip to DC; suggestions needed

Wow! You guys are great! I had already scoped out the menu at Central, and agree that it would be a good fit for my picky eater, so it's nice to hear it recommended on here, as well. Thanks for the recs and I look forward to checking them out!

Last minute trip to DC; suggestions needed

That menu is very intriguing! Thanks for the rec.

Last minute trip to DC; suggestions needed

So, my husband and I have planned a last minute, super quick, final-adventure-before-school-starts trip to Washington D.C. We will be arriving mid-afternoon this Thursday (7/30) and leaving to return home early Saturday (8/1) afternoon. I've read through a number of threads in the forum but I decided to start this thread, because I couldn't find anything that really addresses my questions.

Here is our background…I am a pretty adventurous eater, but my husband is not…at all. This is a man who thinks that goat cheese is exotic, so he will balk at most ethnic places, especially Asian/Indian type places. He is usually willing to try Mexican or Italian, but that's about as far as I can push his comfort zone.
We are going to be doing the very typical tourist activities and spending most of our time in the Mall area. We are staying at the Marriott Courtyard Convention Center.

We will need two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners. We already did some major food damage this summer in Charleston, SC, so I'm ok staying very casual on this trip, although if anyone has a suggestion for a nicer dinner ($50pp or less), that would be an option. As far as breakfasts and lunches, it would be nice to keep the total meal cost for two under $50, unless it is some kind of spectacular brunch place. I just want to find tasty food and not be relegated to typical (Hard Rock) tourist places with my sweet, but plain food loving, husband.

Thanks for any help!

Charleston advice on reservations please

I would agree with waitress. We go to Charleston about twice a year and it's been my experience that if a place takes reservations, you are better off to make them, if you don't want to wait or if you really want to eat at certain restaurants. Last summer we decided to take the whole family out on July 3. We were going to eat at a casual seafood place and it was a lazy vacation decision, so we hadn't made a reservation, but we called around lunchtime to see if we could get in that night. They said they had no more reservations, but if we got there by 5:30pm, we should be fine. We got there at 5:30 to find a line out the door and no tables available until after 9pm! Thus began a little game that I call Open Table roulette…which had a happy ending, because we discovered a fabulous Lebanese restaurant, but still…my motto is now "Make reservations!"

Feb 17, 2015
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Obstinate Daughter,Sullivan's Island...anybody been yet?

My brother and I ate lunch there when we were in the area in July. We did lunch because dinner was booked solid for the entire week! Anyway, we really enjoyed it. We shared two salads (peas and carrots and the SC peach salad) that were excellent. Then we split the Old Danger pizza and we thought the combination of the flavors and the crust were great. Loved being able to soak up the egg yolk with the pizza crust. We both really enjoyed the meal and it is on my list of places to return to when I'm back down there.

Aug 17, 2014
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Two Charleston-area questions

I personally really like Bowen's. We are generally in the area for a week in October and week at the end of June and over the past three years, I've eaten there 4 times. I think their fried shrimp is excellent...fresh, light, not greasy. The sides are fine but not amazing...decent fries and hushpuppies, and the tiny cup of slaw mentioned somewhere above..but then, I don't care for coleslaw anyway. I want to say when I ate there in October it was maybe $12 for 1/4 pound of shrimp with fries, hushpuppies, and slaw. It was a big enough plate of food that I was almost uncomfortably full when I left. Bowen's is not just about the seafood, though. It's the whole experience, and watching a sunset there on the creek is completely worth the drive out there. I will say that people tend to either love or hate it. My husband does not care for it at all, but others that I've taken out there have enjoyed it.

Apr 27, 2014
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Weekend in Nashville-trip report

So, my husband and I found ourselves with a few extra days of Christmas break this year and decided to take a quick road trip to Nashville. I did a little bit of research on here before we left and thought I'd give a brief report of what we ate. Coming off Christmas, we were in a very low key and casual mood, so we did not do any upscale places.

We got there on a very cold and snowy Thursday evening and pulled right in to Hattie B's Hot Chicken. This was our first experience with hot chicken and it was a good one. I had the medium and the husband had the mild and we were both really pleased with our decisions. I don't know how much hotter I could have taken it, though. Medium was plenty hot for me! The sides here were really good, too. In fact, I think the baked beans were some of the best I've had in a restaurant.

Friday morning, we decided to try our luck at the Loveless Cafe. I picked this mostly because my husband loves breakfast food and also because we were going out to Belle Meade, so they were sort of in the same direction. Plus, as touristy as it is, it is somewhat famous, so I thought I'd see what it was all about. We got there around 11am and the wait was 45-60 minutes. We strolled around (in the 24 degree balminess!) the property and checked out the shops while we waited. If it had not been a gorgeous (although cold) day and if I had not been coming down with a cold, which made me somewhat lethargic, I probably would have really been chafing at the wait. As soon as we were seated, our waitress took our drink order and brought out hot biscuits and preserves. They were very good and we gobbled them down before she even took our food order. My husband had pancakes and sausage and I had country ham and eggs. My meal was fine, but nothing special. My husband's pancakes were ok, but his sausage was burned looking and basically inedible. Summary...go for the biscuits, but go when they are not busy, because the biscuits alone are not worth an hour's wait.

Dinner was at Peg Leg Porker's, a relatively new barbecue place. I had very good pulled pork with barbecue beans and mac and cheese. My husband had the Memphis style ribs. He said his ribs were cooked to perfection, but he would have liked a little less of the dry rub on them. Overall, a good meal.

Saturday, we had to head for home, but we had brunch at Tavern first. We both agreed that this was probably the overall best meal of the trip. My husband had the Tavern burger, which he said was one of the best burgers ever. It came with perfectly cooked fries. I had the local ham and cheese omelet and then, because I couldn't resist the description, the blueberry cornmeal waffle, with whipped mascarpone. The omelet was good, but the waffle is what I'm still thinking about 3 days later! The cornmeal base gave it a slightly different texture than your run of the mill waffle, and the blueberries were fresh and dripped juice on the plate that begged to be swiped up with another bite of waffle. The mascarpone was a great compliment, without being too sweet. Tavern was offering two for one brunch cocktails and we did have the Bellini Sparkle, which our server pretty accurately described as "sunshine in a glass".

We were staying at the Omni and there is an outpost of Bongo Java in the lobby area. Since it was very cold outside and since I was getting sick and craving hot beverages, I paid them several visits. I can see why there is Nashville love for this coffee. I had a vanilla latte the first time, but then discovered their specials board and ordered from that for my followup visits. The specials were really good, many made with local ingredients (local honey, local cream caramel, etc). I think the West End was my favorite.

All in all, it was a weekend of good casual food. The Loveless is the only place that I would skip, if I had to do it over...and I hope we get to do it over in the near future. After prowling this board, there are more places that I want to try!

Charleston Itinerary Recommendations

I thought I was the only one who penciled in doughnuts and other treats on my food itinerary! Being a fellow pastry lover, I sadly see one problem with your list and that is the sticky buns from Wild Flour. To the best of my knowledge, they are only available on Sundays. You might call and double check, but I"m pretty sure that Sunday is the only day they make them.

Sep 22, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Southern Food Choices In Charleston

I like all of those places, but if I could only do two I would go to Hominy Grill and Glass Onion, although Page's would be a close third. Mikeh mentions the Tomato Shed and it is fantastic, too, but a bit of a drive unless you're on your way to Angel Oak or something in that direction.

Aug 24, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Any reports from Coda Del Pesce (Isle of Palms, SC) - Ken Vedrinski's new Italian local seafood place?

I had it on my "new places to try" list when we were down there last month, but didn't make it. However, there was a glowing review in the Charleston City Paper a week or two ago.

Aug 05, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Nine Days in Charleston

Lala, we did not eat at the Riverdogs game, because we had just eaten at the Tattooed Moose and could not hold another bite, but it's good to know that they have good concessions....for next summer! Also good to know about Dixie Supply, because their website says they are open 7 days a week. Next time we will try them on a day other than Monday!

Jul 03, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Nine Days in Charleston

Just to continue the theme of the day (Sorry Jeff and Dale!)......

A little background on this post. We go to the Charleston area twice a year. This trip we spent a week on Sullivan's Island and two additional days downtown. My husband is a rather non-adventurous eater, so when he's along (as on this trip), we don't stray too far off the well worn path of comfort food and/or casual foods. That being said, we still find plenty of good things to eat! Here is a list of where we went and what we ate.

Andolini's-(Mt. Pleasant) We both love the crust on their pizza and it has become mandatory that we eat at least one meal here, usually a Saturday lunch. It did not disappoint this trip. A slice of meatball, a slice of vegetarian, and an order of cheese sticks between the two of us...all delicious.

Boulevard Diner-(Mt. Pleasant) We had another couple with us and Boulevard Diner has enough variety on the menu to please those who are somewhat picky eaters, as well as those who are financially challenged. We had a little of both in our group. I will say that the last time I ate at Boulevard Diner in the fall of 2011, I wasn't too impressed and felt that things had slipped. Our meal there on this trip was much improved. My cajun meatloaf really hit the spot and my husband's pork chop special was equally good.

Wild Flour Pastry-(downtown)-It has become my Sunday tradition to venture downtown for Sticky Buns and cinnamon rolls. Warm, soft, gooey with icing, and just plain delicious.

Coast-(downtown) We've eaten here many times and I can only remember making a reservation once, but we should have made one for this Sunday evening, as there was a 45 minute wait. I probably would have gone elsewhere, but the other couple we were with wanted to dine here. We passed the time by strolling down King St. and window shopping. We wound up sitting at in the bar area, which was VERY loud to start with and got worse when the live music started. However, the food was good. I had the spicy grilled adobo shrimp. The others at our table had the braised grouper, the flatiron steak, and the ribeye. Everyone was content with their food. There was nothing objectionable about it, but it also wasn't mind blowingly memorable, either.

Fat Hen-(Johns Island) I love this place. I don't think I've ever had a bad meal here and this year was no exception. Our table had The Rib (most amazing piece of meat ever), crab cakes (full of large chunks of fresh crab, accompanied by really good bacon/blue cheese slaw), and the meatloaf (also reported to be delicious). Desserts included the cornmeal shortcake with strawberries and rhubarb (very good) and the devil's food cake (excellent).

Jack's Cosmic Dogs-(Mt. Pleasant) The last time I ate here involved a very long stuck- in -traffic -being -annoyed trip up 17, as there was construction going on at the time. When my hot dog bun was soggy and my fries were limp with grease, I decided I was done with Jack's. However, one of my companions on this trip really wanted to do lunch here, so I went along. I'm glad I did. Our lunch was really good. The fries were crisp and hot, the dogs were plump and delicious, the buns soft and not soggy with coleslaw juice.

Glass Onion-(West Ashley) Fried chicken Tuesday. I called on Monday around noon to reserve our chicken and they only had one white meat dinner left, were already out of wings, and running low on dark meat. So, we took three darks and the last white. I love the Glass Onion, but unfortunately our chicken was a little on the dry side this time. Everything else was stellar....great "Fresh from the garden" salad, wonderful tomatoes and okra, perfect mashed potatoes...but the chicken was just not a 10 this time.

Poe's Tavern (Sullivans Island)-No trip to SI is complete without a stop at Poe's. I love their burgers. The Pit and Pendulum is my favorite. Everyone's burgers were perfect and my friend who ordered the nachos with Edgar's drunken chili also loved them.

Awendaw Green (Awendaw) So, this was a bit of an adventure, but if you like live music and want to "get local", every Wednesday there is a Barn Jam at Awendaw Green. The reason I'm including this in my Chow report is that they have a brick pizza oven and for $10, you get a good sized pie with toppings you pick that range from sweet Italian sausage to artichoke hearts to spinach to fresh from the garden basil....the pizza was really good and you eat it under a canopy of live oaks while there is live music. What's not to like?

Sea Biscuit Cafe-(Isle of Palms) We went kayaking on Thursday morning and our friends insisted we try breakfast here. I had the blueberry and walnut french toast, two of our party had the cinnamon swirl french toast, and the fourth had an omelet. Everything was good and the cafe is very cute. I don't know that I would make an effort to go back here, because there are so many good breakfast places in the area, unless I just wanted to stay on IOP and not travel into Mt. P or downtown.

Taco Mamacita-(Sullivans Island) Maybe we were just really hungry after kayaking for three hours, but lunch here was one of my favorite meals of the trip. I had the shrimp po'boy taco, the carnitas taco, and sweet potato fries. The shrimp on the taco had better flavor than the ones I had for dinner at Coast and were fried with a very light and delicious breading. The carnitas taco was delicious, and the sweet potato fries were seasoned with a little cinnamon which made them addictive. Everyone in our party enjoyed lunch here and at 8.99 for the two tacos and a side, it was a pretty good value.

The Tattooed Moose-(downtown) We were going to a Riverdogs game, so we stopped for pre-game sandwiches at the Tattooed Moose. My husband had to try the "famous" Duck Club and he swears it was one of the best sandwiches he has ever had. I had the chicken salad sandwich and it was unlike any chicken salad I've ever had, with huge chunks of chicken that were tender and well seasoned. The sandwich had a huge ripe tomato and homemade pickles. The pickles really set this sandwich apart. They were amazing and I wanted to ask for a jar to take home.

Pane e Vino-(downtown)- I know there is a Mt. Pleasant location of this restaurant now, but I love the atmosphere of the patio downtown. We started with the calamari and the fried mushrooms. I swear, those mushrooms are dusted with crack. Once I start eating them, I cannot stop. I don't usually like fried mushrooms, but these are light and crispy and covered with sea salt and unlike any other fried mushroom I've ever had. We all opted for pasta dishes, including the spaghetti bolognese, the spaghetti al pesto, the ravioli alla castlinga, and the lasagna. We were all pleased with our dishes, but too full for dessert.

Page's Okra Grill-(Mt. Pleasant) We had breakfast here on Saturday, and it was packed! However, service was fast and friendly and the food was excellent. My husband had an astounding amount of food with the pancake breakfast. As good as everything was, he couldn't finish it. I had what was called "T.J.'s Hot Mess" on the menu. It was a big biscuit split in half and filled with a fried chicken breast, eggs, pepper jack cheese, and gravy. It was HUGE and only 4.99. Did I mention it was delicious?! The fried chicken was especially good. If I had realized how large the Hot Mess was going to be, I would not have ordered a side of grits to go with it. As it was, I couldn't eat them all, but they were good, too!

Farmer's Market-King of Pops-I was so full from breakfast and it was so hot and humid, that I didn't want lunch, so I wound up eating two popsicles from King of Pops. Salted Watermelon and Peach Basil.....yum!

Peninsula Grill-(downtown) This has become our anniversary spot. We love the seamless service, the atmosphere, and the food. It might not be the most cutting edge place in CHS right now, but in our experience, it is consistently good. The amuse bouche sent out by Chef Dailey was a tequila and lime infused watermelon ball, which was very refreshing on a muggy evening. The salad of heirloom tomatoes was also perfect for the weather. My husband had the NY Strip, that was cooked to perfection. He selected the whipped potatoes as a side, and when he commented to our very sweet server, Danielle, that the onion ring garnish on the potatoes was the best onion ring he'd ever had, she had them make an entire side of onion rings for him. (They really were amazing onion rings!) I had the pan seared sea scallops and they were delicious. I love the citrus lobster broth that accompanies them. For dessert we had the coconut cake, which gets a lot of attention and people either love or 'dis. We fall into the love camp, but as we get older and more conscious of our waist lines, have trouble finishing even one slice between us!

Glazed-(downtown) I was sad that I missed out on the Purple Goat this trip, but I did enjoy a raspberry glazed, a maple bacon, and a mocha cake donut (not all at once!) Love this place!

Sesame Burger and Beer-(Mt. Pleasant) Great burgers! There were so many choices that I couldn't decide, so I picked the sliders, so that I could try three. Next time I will definitely go with the South Carolina burger with the house made pimento cheese. It was really good.

Hominy Grill-(downtown) So, our last breakfast was supposed to be at Dixie Supply. We tried to eat here last summer and found them closed. We walked over from our hotel on Meeting St. and once again...CLOSED! My deduction is that they close for the week of the 4th, but it would be nice if they would have that on their website. Anyway, we decided to go to Hominy Grill, which was good. I mean, what's not to like about blueberry-peach pancakes?!

After writing all this, I feel like I should have gained a ton of weight, but because I spent an hour walking on the beach every morning, my clothes are actually a tiny bit loose! Anyway, we had a great trip full of great meals and we can't wait to go back for more!

Jul 02, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Where is the best breakfast and ethnic/vegetarian food in Charleston SC?

I love the Banh Mi from AutoBanh food truck. Their "Low and Slow" Pork Banh Mi is fantastic.

Mar 13, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

4 girls..4 days in Charleston

Danna, I agree it is different than "traditional" coconut cake, but maybe that's why I like it so much. Around here, everybody's mama can make a good coconut cake. My mother-in-law makes a fantastic one, in fact. However, the one at PG is much more moist than many that I've had. Personally, I love the coconut anglaise between the layers. To me, it's traditional coconut cake that's been taken to the city. But, really, isn't that what a quite a few of of the menus in Charleston feature? It seems like authentic/traditional recipes that have been given a modern twist or touch appear on more than a few of the menus in the city and I don't have a problem with that.

Feb 18, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

4 girls..4 days in Charleston

We spend close to two weeks in Charleston each year and love to eat. I think you've got great choices on your list. I would move Hominy Grill to lunch or brunch, because while I like their dinner, I love their brunch menu more.

I am one of those who loves the coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill. We are something of coconut cake connoisseurs and think it is the best we've ever had. Of course, some people are coconut cake lovers and some don't care for it to begin with. If you don't already like coconut, it's probably not worth the price or the effort. I love it so much that if it weren't for the price, I would pay to have it shipped here for holidays...and tell people that I made it! :)

Feb 12, 2013
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Charleston without breaking the bank.

Bowens Island is only open for dinner and they are not open on Sunday or Monday. To me, a trip to Bowens is a great low country experience, but it is the complete opposite of McCrady's, FIG, and Husk. I don't know that I would give up one of those for Bowens, unless you just want to get out and see the countryside. The view off the deck at sunset is glorious. If you really like oysters, you might try to fit it in, but otherwise, I would save it for another trip.

Nov 10, 2012
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Find me local Charleston eats & southern cuisine

As far as bakeries go, Glazed is an amazing doughnut place on King St. Like them on Facebook and you can see their daily menu, but they make amazing and unusual doughnuts, like the Purple Goat, which is a blissful combination of triple berry goat cheese filling and lavender glaze. Yum!

I also love WildFlour on Spring St. for their cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, but those are only available on Sundays and you have to get there early or there will be a line out the door!

Macaroon Boutique has excellent macaroons and lovely croissants, especially the chocolate filled croissants.

So glad that I'm heading to CHS in 1.5 weeks! :)

Sep 25, 2012
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Charleston Memory Lane Voyage

For French bistro, I love La Fourchette on King St. Duck fat frites! Yum!

Aug 12, 2012
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Charleston: I want to try new things....

For a light, casual lunch, you might try the Village Bakery on Pitt St. in the Old Village area of Mt. Pleasant. They have good sandwiches, but I really enjoyed the creative salads I've had there the two times I've been. They have a sandwich menu, a selection of salad type sides, and several specials each day.

Aug 10, 2012
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Chicago on a budget, please!

I just got back from Chicago last week and because we were with two little ones, most of our dining was on the less expensive end of things, but we tried to hit places that were Chow-worthy and of note to Chicago. We loved Hot Doug's, which bills itself as the "sausage superstore" and has more types of sausage and encased meats than I ever knew existed. The more traditional dogs and sausages were in the $2-3.50 range, while the specialty sausages were more expensive and ran in the $8-10 range. However, between the five of us, we shared a total of 7 meats, two orders of fries, and five drinks, and the total was just over $30 and we were all stuffed.

Deep dish pizza is another good value. I know which pizza is the best is an endless debate on
this board, but we loved Lou Malnati's. One medium deep dish, a family size salad, a small thin pizza, a child's order of chicken nuggets, a couple of sodas, and one glass of wine came in around $50, before tip.

We ate lunch at Rick Bayless' Xoco, which was excellent, and also not overly pricey. I had the seasonal torta, plus an order of churros with chocolate for dipping and it came to around $18. The churros were to share, otherwise, I could have ordered a single one and it would have been even cheaper.

Those three seem more uniquely Chicago, but we also had a very nice dinner at Quartino, that was budget friendly (a small plate salad, two pastas, a meat, and a dessert, plus soda and a cocktail for around $60, before tip). Breakfast at Yolk one morning was also fresh, delicious and filling, as well as easy on the wallet. We also did a picnic in Millennium Park with sandwiches from Pastoral, which has excellent meats and cheeses. For $3 over the cost of the sandwich, you can add chip, a cookie, and a drink, making a meal for around $10.

Hope this helps a little!

Aug 06, 2012
BetsyinKY in Chicago Area

Looking for Kid and 'Hound Friendly in Chicago

Just wanted to report back on where we ate last week and say thanks for the suggestions.

We arrived on Wednesday, between 1pm and 2pm, and went straight to Hot Doug's. We only had to wait in line about 15 minutes, and once we placed our order, we had our food in less than 5 minutes. Everyone, from ages 4 to 42, enjoyed their Chicago style dogs and sausages. The only minor drawback was that the girls' "plain" dogs came on poppy seed rolls and the youngest didn't like the "black things" on her bun. However, a quick dusting with a napkin solved this, and I give Doug's two thumbs up for being kid friendly and adult delicious. I did not realize how large their menu is and I can't wait to go back and try more, especially off the specials board.

Dinner was at Quartino and it worked out beautifully. With the Italian small plate concept, there was plenty of variety for everyone and the restaurant is very lively, so any noise from the children was covered by laughter, clanking of glassware, and sounds of general merriment from other guests. There were enough simple pastas (cavatelli with tomatoes) to keep the little ones happy, and we enjoyed some of the other dishes, such as the gnocchi and the veal with arugula, tomatoes, and balsamic. Everyone enjoyed the zeppole (Italian doughnuts) with honey and chocolate for dipping.

On Thursday, the girls and my sister were going to American Girl for lunch with their dolls, so my brother and I went to Xoco. This was my favorite meal of the trip. I had the Pac Chuc torta, which had Yucatecan style seared pork, local tomatoes, Napa cabbage, avocado, and lime. It was easily one of the best sandwiches I've ever had! My brother had the seasonal caldo, and he said it was very good. We finished off the meal with fresh churros served with a shot of chocolate for dipping.

Dinner that night was deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's. Although this was my 5th trip to Chicago, this was my first experience with deep dish and I have to say, I am now a fan! We had the "Lou" and it was quite tasty. The 4year old stuck with chicken nuggets and fruit, but the 6 year old loved the deep dish pizza, even with the spinach and mushrooms on it. We ordered the house salad and it more than fed the 5 of us. It wasn't super creative, but everything was very fresh and the kids enjoyed it.

Friday was our last day. We started with breakfast at Yolk, which was a hit. I had the Berry Berry French Toast, which is a seasonal special and is brioche french toast topped with Greek yogurt, homemade granola, and fresh blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. I was full until about 4pm! Yolk was very kid friendly and a better choice than our old favorite, the Bongo Room, because the dining area is much more spacious, at least at the N. Wells location. I've discovered that the more space between tables, the better, when you're dining with small ones!

We spent most of the late morning/early afternoon at the Art Institute. Then, while the girls played in the fountain at Millennium Park, my brother and I walked up to Pastoral on E. Lake to pick up sandwiches. For $3 on top of the price of the sandwich, you can "Pastoralize" your sandwich by adding a drink, chips, and a cookie. We took advantage of this, which put everyone's meal right around the $10 mark, about the same as Panera, but sooo much better! My sister was worried that the menu was "too gourmet" for the little ones, but the helpful staff said they could make "plain" turkey and ham on wheat bread. The girls said their sandwiches were good, and my Bacon Lettuce Tomato Avocado sandwich with house made prosciutto bacon was pretty darn tasty! The cookies were good, too, and not the average tasteless sandwich shop cookie.

All in all, I learned that it IS possible to eat at places that are both kid friendly and that don't cause my foodie toes to curl. Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions!

Jul 30, 2012
BetsyinKY in Chicago Area

Looking for Kid and 'Hound Friendly in Chicago

Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely check them out!

Jul 23, 2012
BetsyinKY in Chicago Area

Looking for Kid and 'Hound Friendly in Chicago

I will be coming to Chicago on a spur of the moment trip this week with my sister and my two nieces (4 and 6). I am seeking a little Chowhound advice on places that the kids will enjoy, but that won't leave me wishing I had stayed home and had a sandwich. I know we'll be at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Aquarium, the Art Institute, and American Girl over the three days and we're staying at the Embassy Suites on N. State St, so recs in any of those neighborhoods would be great. I have a few places on my list, such as Portillo's, Xoco, Lou Malnati's, Grand Lux, Heaven on Seven, but if anyone has more suggestions, I would really appreciate them! Thanks!

Jul 22, 2012
BetsyinKY in Chicago Area

A Week in the Charleston area (Reviews)

We just got back from 10 days in the Charleston area. We stayed out on Sullivans Island for beach time, but even though we had a kitchen, we ate most dinners out. Our restaurant choices were pretty varied, because when all of us went out together, we were a group of 9 with a 4 and 6 year old. Some of our group had only been to Charleston a few times. Others, like my husband and myself, have been there 10+ times in the past few years. That being said, here are the highlights of what we ate!

We ate at Fleet Landing on Sunday night. This was my first trip to Fleet and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Ordinarily when you go someplace that has a water view, it's the old "good view or good food" conundrum. However, while Fleet wasn't knock your socks off amazing, we all thought that the seafood was very fresh and well prepared. The sides that accompanied the entrees were a little less successful, but they weren't dismal. Fleet handled our group of 9 very easily and all in all, I would recommend it for people wanting a water view.

Three of us ventured out to the Fat Hen the next evening. I love the Fat Hen and my favorite dish there is the seared grouper with butter beans. However, my husband ordered "The Rib" and after I took a bite of it, my dish might as well have been sawdust. That slow cooked short rib was one of the most amazing pieces of meat I've ever eaten. Delicious!

Tuesday a group of us decided to venture out to the Tea Plantation and the Firefly Distillery. We timed our visit so that we could eat lunch at the Tomato Shed on our way out there. Fantastic fresh vegetables and just all around good Southern cooking. They also have a bakery and the lemon blueberry bread that I bought was great for breakfast the rest of the week. The Tea Plantation and Distillery were neat food related side trips. The Distillery does tastings of their sweet tea vodkas, as well as their new rums and southern dessert inspired liqueurs. For $6 you get to sample 6 flavors, as well as keep your tasting glass, which has a picture of the distillery on it. The grounds are very charming and would be a great place for a picnic. The Irvin vineyards are on the same property and you can also do tastings of their muscadine wines.

That evening found a friend in town on business, so our group of now 10 had to scramble to find a place to accommodate us. We wound up at Five Loaves Cafe on Cannon St. Service was cheerful, if a little slow, and the food was very solid. I think everyone enjoyed their entrees, but the salads and lighter fare seemed to really shine here. My salad with honey basil lime dressing was fantastic. I wanted to bottle up the dressing and take it home.

Our one big blooper in the week's dining occurred the next night when we decided to go to Home Team BBQ. My husband and I had eaten here before, and while it was not mind blowing BBQ, we had enjoyed it. Let me also add that we had always gotten carry out and had never actually eaten in the restaurant. Well, we had a very long wait to get in, followed by seating on the patio in the sun, where we waited almost another hour to get our food. By that point, everyone was already grumpy and I don't know that anyone was thrilled with what they had, except possibly me, because I ordered the Home Team Salad, which is a great salad with a poblano dressing and your choice of smoked meat on top. At any rate, in my opinion, Home Team is best for carryout or for going later when they have live music and the focus is on the bar side of things.

The next night we split up and my group went to Poe's Tavern. This is still one of my favorite burgers in the world and I love the beachy bar atmosphere. After dinner we walked across the street to Cafe Medley for ice cream.

Now for the good stuff!

Friday night was our anniversary. Dinner at the Peninsula Grill has become an anniversary tradition for us and I was a little nervous about it, since I knew that Chef Robert Carter had left to open his own restaurant. However, I had read several reviews saying that Chef Dailey had made a smooth transition. Nothing could be more true! If anything, the Peninsula Grill is better than ever. Chef Dailey has kept the basic menu intact, but has tweaked things like sides and sauces and I have to say that I like what he's done. I had the seared scallops served with a lobster broth so good that it was all I could do not to lick my bowl! Everything we had was delicious and the service was as flawless as ever.

Saturday morning was a very hot trip to the Farmer's Market. I am grateful that I'm married to a very patient man who will let me roam the market in 90+ degree weather (at 10am!) to find popsicles and soda! I found the King of Pops under his umbrella and boy, am I glad I did! The SC Peach popsicle takes frozen fruit flavors to a whole new level. These are not your childhood popsicles! I really wanted to go back and buy the entire cart, but my husband said we had no room for it in the car! haha! We also sought out the Cannonborough Soda guys. Their Blackberry Mint soda was well worth the hunt. Very refreshing on such a hot morning. I can't wait until they start bottling their product.

Lunch was at Taco Boy downtown and it was good, but the best meal of the day, and runner up meal of the trip, was dinner that night at the Glass Onion. Yum, yum, yum! Great salad with pickled okra and green beans, great deviled eggs, and great entrees. I had shrimp and grits, which had a bit of a Louisiana twist with chunks of andouille. My husband had a pork ragout with house made pasta. Both were delicious. The service was good and we will definitely make a return trip!

Sunday morning I trekked downtown to Glazed. Wow. The most amazing doughnuts I've ever had. I bought a Maple Bacon, a Blackberry Earl Grey, a cinnamon sugar twist, and a Purple Goat. They were all fantastic, but the Purple Goat was the standout. It was a filled doughnut with a lavender glaze and filling made of a goat cheese triple berry mix. Ahhhhmazzzing! I still dream about it!

I stopped by The Co-Op on Sullivans Island to get a sandwich for lunch. They try to source all their veggies, etc. locally and I have to say that it was a pretty great turkey sandwich and a great little place to get a picnic or just sandwiches to take to the beach.

Dinner was at an old favorite, Andolini's. I love their crust and wish I could find someplace close to home that is half as good.

Monday morning it was time to head home. We had planned to have breakfast at Dixie Supply and according to their website, they're open 7 days a week. Well, we got there at 9am and the sign said "Closed". Boo! I am guessing maybe they took a vacation the week of the 4th? At any rate, we headed over to Hominy Grill, our first visit since they expanded. Although it has become more touristy than when I first ate there in 2005, the food is still very good, and my omelet with marinated grape tomatoes, bacon, and avocado was excellent.

So, we did a lot of eating and now I'm having to do a lot of walking to work it all off! It was all worth it though, and we can't wait for our next Low Country adventure!

Jul 06, 2012
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Memorial Day Weekend in Charleston

Since you're planning to do bakery style breakfasts, I would do Sunday morning at Wild Flour Pastry (73 Spring St) for their Sticky Bun Sundays. I am drooling a little on my keyboard just thinking of those warm sticky buns! :)

Apr 07, 2012
BetsyinKY in Southeast

Knoxville Hamburgers

Another vote for Litton's! I have never found their burgers to be dry and I enjoy their homemade buns. In fact, their bakery also creates some pretty delicious desserts, as well. I am addicted to their turtle brownies! :)

Where to eat during long weekend in Louisville?

I love breakfast at Toast on Market. Their lemon soufflé pancakes are heaven on a plate! I agree with the comments about Ramsi's. I haven't been there in a year or two, but their menu is huge and just seems impossible to do it all well. It's ok, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there.