Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

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When you think of food in Chicago, you typically think of meat and potatoes, not a gluten free café. When one of my friends took me to Wheat’s End in December, I was in awe that such a place existed and that it was absolutely delicious. Before I went to Wheat’s End I knew that certain brands of gluten free products were good, and that items on a restaurant menu could be decent, but I never expected to crave gluten free food. I have a pretty sensitive stomach and I recently decided to cut out as much gluten as possible to see if that helped keep things calm; I also can’t have a lot of dairy or rich foods.

When we went to Wheat’s End, I decided to have a yolo moment and order and eat anything I wanted to. To start off our feast I ordered a mimosa and a soy latte, because you can’t have brunch without a mimosa and coffee. Next we each got a Popover with mushroom gravy, which was AMAZING! I couldn’t tell that I was eating gluten free, and the gravy perfect- it wasn’t rich and had the right balance of mushrooms and gravy. We split the breakfast potatoes and nitrate free bacon (probably some of the best bacon I’ve ever had). To top off our meal we split a pumpkin cinnamon roll, which hit the spot. It tasted and had the same consistency of a non-gluten free cinnamon roll, and the pumpkin flavor made it the perfect cinnamon roll.

During this meal had more food than I typically eat in two meals, and I didn’t feel stuffed or like I over ate. The food was amazing, and I have been dreaming of it since December and I can’t wait to go back in April! If you’re gluten free and live or are traveling to Chicago, then you definitely need to go to (or live at) Wheat’s End!

Let’s Talk About Goats

Let’s Talk About Goats

2016 was a big year for the City of Chicago and goats. The Cubs FINALLY WON THE WORLD SERIES, breaking the curse of the Billy Goat, and it was the year I discovered Girl and the Goat and Little Goat.

Girl and the Goat

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During my time home, I went to Girl and the Goat with my BFF and her BF, and it was probably my favorite foodie adventure with her. When we initially sat down, it was 10:15pm, and we were just eating dinner. Seriously who eats dinner at that hour- my parents thought we were crazy, but the craze about this restaurant was worth the late dinner time. I immediately noticed the vibe of the restaurant, modern but comfortable, and I knew I was going to like it. Our waiter was probably the most helpful waiter I’ve ever had, he thoroughly walked us through the menu and marked his favorite dishes under each category. This made the experience for two newbies much more pleasant and less overwhelming.

We ended up ordering the Sautéed Green Beans, Roasted Cauliflower, Escargot Ravioli, Pig Face, Goat Belly, and Caramel Corn and Malt Balls and the Dark Matter Pot De Crème for dessert. All the food was AMAZING! Every bite is designed to please each taste bud, and balance each type of flavor (sweet, salty, bitter, etc.). I have never enjoyed each bite of a meal like this before, so it was worth it to wait until 10:15pm to eat. For the amount of food, we ordered and one drink per person, the bill was quite reasonable- which surprised us! Since I loved this experience so much, I made it my goal to go to Little Goat when I came home for the Holidays in December.

Little Goat

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Flash-forward a few weeks, and I’m back in Chicago, and ready for my next exciting dinning adventure. This time my friend and I went to Little Goat, which has more of a rustic diner feel. We arrived a bit early, and went to the bar on the other side of the restaurant to wait. I got the Moscow Goat and my friend got a Pinot Noir. The menu at Little Goat is even more overwhelming/expansive since they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I knew that we had to get the Tempura Mashed Potatoes, but really had no idea for how to tackle the menu. We decided to each find an entrée and then we found some sides that we were intrigued by and just selected three. We ordered the Bi Bim Bop Breakfast Bowl, Bull’s Eye French Toast, Tempura Mashed Potatoes, Goat Chili Cheese Fries, and the Hot Crab Dip.

Everything at Little Goat felt more like eating creatively made and presented comfort food. It was delicious and we definitely over ordered for two people. I would say my two favorite items at Little Goat were the Bull’s Eye French Toast and the Goat Chili Cheese Fries. I loved the combination of flavors in the Bull’s Eye French Toast- sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite. As for the Goat Chili Cheese Fries- I a) had never had goat on fries before b) loved how all the flavors just made one amazing bite. Little Goat is also affordable- just make sure you don’t over order 🙂

If you’re going to be traveling or live in Chicago- I highly suggest that you make reservations at one or both restaurants. If you want to go to Girl and the Goat at a normal time, then you definitely need to book it months in advance. Both restaurants have amazing food, and I suggest that you pick one based off either your desire to try something completely different or if you want more unique comfort food. Happy Eating!

Bauble Bar

One of my favorite things to purchase is jewelry. I love how it can dress up even the simplest of outfits; however, I really only like simple jewelry. I tend to get overwhelmed by crazy or colorful jewelry, so I love it when I can find simple pieces. One of my favorite places to buy jewelry is Bauble Bar. Over the past six years, I’ve bought a few rings from them. Recently, I bought the Crystal Mason Ring in Rose Gold and Silver. I love the ring in both colors, and it looks amazing no matter what you pair it with. If you’re looking for affordable and cute jewelry, then I highly recommend Bauble Bar. Also, with every purchase you make, you earn points that can be applied to future purchases and sometimes you can get free items (like the earrings below)!

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Daily LOL #13

Earlier this week, one of my friends told me to watch this week’s Carpool Karaoke and I had no idea why I HAD to watch. Now, I finally watched and I seriously just had the best nine minutes of my life since I saw Britney in Vegas. This might be my favorite episode of Carpool Karaoke, so enjoy!

I LOVE Coffee!

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Cold brew Float

So I named my blog after my love of coffee, and I figured that it was time to share my new favorite coffee spot in Los Angeles. I recently discovered Demitasse in Mid-City after I went to the chiropractor one day, and I’ve been back three times in the last few weeks. Demitasse is a small chain in Los Angeles, and they coffee is amazing and super fresh. They try to have all local products, and all of the baristas are super friendly. I’ve tried the Iced Mint Cubano, Cold brew Float, and the Nitro ice coffee (their own type of cold brew). Each drink has been delicious, and made with fresh ingredients. If you’re ever in Los Angeles and you’re obsessed with coffee, then I strongly recommend that you stop by one of Demitasse’s locations!

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Nitro and Croissant

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Back To School!

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Ok, well it might be the second fall that I’m not going to be in school, but I still love all of the back to school sales and items that go with starting school. Here are two of my favorite things:

  1. Planners! I love agendas, they possibly could be my favorite accessory. I typically get a Lilly Pulitzer agenda, but this year I didn’t like the patterns and decided to get something new. This year I got a ban.do planner, and I am obsessed. I got the planner that says I Am Very Busy in blue. Ban.do planners are cute, simple but fun, and have motivational says on certain days. I can’t wait to start using it in August!
  2. My second favorite thing is the Nordstrom Anniversary sale! I rarely buy a lot of clothes at once, but this year I needed some new clothes for work so I decided it was worth the splurge. I got 7 items, and I love all of them. Here are the links to the items I bought:
    • The Bouclé & Knit Drape Collar Jacket is super cute, and a perfect weight for wearing in the office.

    • The Belted Short Sleeve Top is perfect for fall, and comes in lovely colors for fall. I got the shirt in the green and navy, and I can’t wait to wear it!

    • I am obsessed with the Short Sleeve Chiffon Top in Garnet. It fits perfectly and the color is amazing; just don’t wear it in the heat if you get hot easily.
    • Another item that I love is the Halogen® Kick Flare Knit Ankle Pants. They are perfect for someone who is short, and doesn’t want to alter another pair of pants. They aren’t on Nordstrom’s website anymore, but you should definitely monitor it for them!
    • I bought one pair of shoes, the Vans ‘Classic’ Slip-On Sneaker in Black Patent Leather.  I bought the shoes to wear to work because I’m recovering from a stress fracture in my foot, and I needed a pair of gym shoes that didn’t look like gym shoes.
    • The final item that I bought was the Hooded Longline Cardigan in the Trend Section of the store. It is made by BP, which is the Nordstrom juniors brand. The sweater is super comfy, and perfect for fall weather.

I hope that everyone takes advantage of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale because there are tons of good deals on high quality items! Happy Fall Shopping 🙂

Chef Time

Recently, I have been working on improving my cooking skills. In the past, they have been one of my most abysmal skills that I possess. Deciding that I was going to start attempting to cook again definitely brought up some road blocks, but I knew that I had to try. I decide to try making Lamb Chops and Pasta Salad, and both recipes came out amazing. Here are pictures and recipes:

Lamb Chops

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Recipe

Rinse & place on broiler pan; if you want, you can put a little aluminum foil under it to make cleaning easier afterwards. You can bake them at 350 degrees for 20-30 min., then turn, put some oregano on, and cook for another 20-30 min. OR you can broil them – you have to watch carefully so they don’t burn.  It’ll probably take 5-10 minutes per side.
Cooking time can vary, depending on how thick they are.

 

Pasta Salad

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Recipe

Boil a full bag of bow tie pasta. Once it’s done, you rinse the pasta in cold water, then drain it. Put pasta in large bowl so you can stir. Chop up half a cucumber and half a red pepper [I used tomatoes instead of red pepper] or other various veggies and throw into the pasta bowl. Add balsamic vinaigrette or dressing of your choice to pasta, stirring so the dressing is coating all of the pasta and veggies. Leave pasta in fridge for one day and serve next day!

To improvise I added some feta to the pasta salad 🙂

Both recipes are super easy, and taste amazing.

Bon Appétit!

Cause Everyone Needs a Smile

With everything going on in the world, it’s important to find things to make yourself smile. For me, this video does that. Grace is an amazing, cheerful, and talented singer. Everyone needs to see her perform this song she wrote herself!

 

I LOVE Coffee

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I named my blog But First Café, because I have a serious obsession with coffee. I love all types, flavors, and ways of making coffee. This week I saw a BuzzFeed post about the best memes related to coffee, and they are all super accurate. For everyone with a coffee addiction like mine, enjoy!

Make Herstory

Hillary Glass Ceiling

In the past week, we made history by voting for Hillary Clinton. She finally became the first woman to win a party nomination. Until recently, I was never a Hillary Clinton fan. As a fellow Hilary/Hillary, I have gotten endless jokes related to her since I can remember. Due to the endless joking, I sincerely hated sharing my name with her because it’s annoying. However, once the candidates for each party became clearer, I became incredibly scared of the Republican Party and the views the candidates had. Then I looked at the Democratic Party, and while I loved a lot of the ideas Bernie Sanders has, I just didn’t think they were feasible in this political climate. This left me with Hillary Clinton, a strong female candidate with a variety of experience in politics and serving others. I was faced with a 20-year-old battle, between my years of jokes and people spelling my name wrong or voting for the best candidate in my opinion. I picked the second option, and while the jokes have gotten increasingly worse this political season, I am proud to say #ImWithHer. Also, today Oprah endorsed Hillary Clinton, and it’s awesome to see other powerful women supporting each other.  I am so excited to have the possibility of a woman president, and I really hope it happens.

Here’s a speech Hillary gave at her college graduation, she was the first ever student speaker. You can already tell that she was going to be an amazing leader in the future!