Entries Tagged as 'bucktown'

Happy Birthday, Adam!

February 24th, 2014 · No Comments

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Christine, Makai, Adam (with his BRF)

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Christine, Makai

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Blowing out the candles!

Last minute, we decided to join Adam and a bunch of other friends at Piece for pizza and beer. Makai was being kind of…. one second he was happy and the next he was screaming his head off for no reason. We made the decision while he was napping and were not sure what would happen when he woke up. Luckily he was on perfect behavior at both Piece and when we went to Lucky’s afterwards so some of the guys could play darts!

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Dallas thought he hadn’t been to Piece for a year or so.. and I’d say that I haven’t been there for years (multiple..2008?), even though we’re around it often. They had a cleverly named beer called “Marketing Ploy,” which is a collaboration with Three Floyds. The beer was good and many at our table enjoyed it. To be honest, though, I think that the pizza was more of a marketing ploy than the beer. Piece was featuring a special pie that was made in collaboration with Honey Butter Fried Chicken and had their fried chicken on the pizza. Everyone raves about honey butter’s fried chicken, but this pie was nothing special. I think everyone preferred the other pizzas we ordered.

Anyway, it was nice to be back at Piece and out with friends. And to have a well-behaved baby that everyone gushed over. And I’d never been to Lucky’s and liked it’s cool, relaxed vibe.

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Celebrating Birthdays at Estrella Negra

October 18th, 2013 · No Comments

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Estrella Negra is located almost exactly one mile from our house and for some reason, we have not been there in the 5 years we’ve lived here. We’ve driven past it a million times, but never have gone in. Until last night. Brian and Mike picked it as a place to celebrate their birthdays. Brian’s birthday was earlier this week and Mike’s is next week (on my due date!).

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I liked this place. The Dia de los Muertos decor was really unique and I liked that they had some things on the menu that were unique to the other local taquerias we frequent. Dallas and I shared an empanada sampler for an appetizer. There were three – goat cheese jalapeno, spinach and artichoke, and chorizo with corn. These were dressed up and a little fancy (compared to something like the empanadas at El Nandu), but we really liked them.

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Dallas also had to try an appetizer called El Diablito Camarones, which was
“nine plutonium-grade spicy grilled shrimp balanced over the edge of a martini glass. No wimps allowed.” Actually, though, everyone said they weren’t really hot at all.

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For his meal, Dallas got the ceviche tostadas. I had a few bites and it was really light and fresh tasting. For my entree I got the tamales, which is a house specialty, and something you can’t usually get at a lot of taquerias (along with empanadas and ceviche, too!). I got one of each of the three tamales available: 1. Cheese (parmesan, romano, & muenster) spinach and artichoke stuffed tamales, topped with salsa verde, muenster cheese, chives, tomatoes and sour cream, 2. Fresh corn kernel tamales topped with the elote man’s favorite toppings: parmesan cheese, mayo, butter and chili, and 3. traditional spicy pork tamales, topped with salsa verde, muenster cheese, chives, tomatoes and sour cream. That’s the order they were listed on the menu and probably the order that I liked them too! I know spinach and artichoke is not traditional in a tamale, but it was soooo good.

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Oh, and for my side I got the house-made bean dip, which was served in a little tortilla cup and garnished with a tortilla star. Loved it.

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We didn’t try dessert, although my coworker Karen said it is good. I baked cookies earlier in the day and gifted them to Brian and Mike for their birthdays and everyone enjoyed them as a sweet treat afterwards. Some at Estrella Negra and some at Quenchers and The Beetle, where people headed afterwards, when I headed home.

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Overall, Dallas and I liked Estrella Negra. I think we’d go back, given its so close to our house too. When we were there for the birthdays, the kitchen seemed to have a bit of a hard time keeping up, but we had 17 (Me, Dallas, Rita, JP, Kelly, Todd, Sara, Brian, Christine, Adam, Vanessa, Damien, Arun, Mike, Todd, Marty, Larry!!) people in our party and it was pretty much like trying to deliver food to half of the entire restaurant all at once. The tables around us seemed to have more consistent food coming out. Also, I really liked our waitress, who was super personable to Dallas and I, since we were the first ones to arrive. Oh, and Estrella Negra is BYOB, so everyone brought their own wine and beer and it helped keep the cost down.

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Fun night. Maybe the last night I’ll see these guys for a while?

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Pei Wei Asian Diner

September 28th, 2013 · No Comments

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Pei Wei opened by the Elston Ave. Target a couple years ago, but we just decided to check it out the other day, after a Target run, of course. This is the casual Asian restaurant owned by P.F. Chang’s and there are something like 200 locations across the U.S. I wasn’t expecting much, but the dishes we tried were decent. The sauces were a bit sweet and the spicy was not really spicy at all. The crab rangoon had a lot of crab in it, which is more than I can say for some of the other Asian places around here. I guess it’s pretty much what you would expect from a chain Asian restaurant, maybe a little better than you’d expect.

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