Wow, so I’m sure you’ve noticed dear reader, we’ve been MIA, hibernating for the winter, or on a covert mission abroad (choose your own conspiracy theory). Nah, life just caught up to us. Monica is in grad school and Kate’s … Continue reading
Delish Dishes & Drinks Inside Hotspot Hotel: 720 South Bar & Grill
We are about to plan the perfect summer date or ladies’ night out for you in Chicago. Ya ready?
First, you head to 720 South Bar & Grill for cocktails and the most beautiful cheese plate you’ve ever seen in your life. Then, after having an amazing dinner, you head to SummerDance at Grant Park right across the street and learn a new dance style (think Swing, Bollywood, Samba, Zydeco, and more!) surrounded by the gorgeous backdrop of Chicago’s skyline.
After you’ve made room, come back to 720 South Bar & Grill for more libations. Eat, sweat, repeat!
We had an absolute blast being treated to a meal at 720 South Bar & Grill recently for Negroni Week. We didn’t even know this sweet spot existed and usually aren’t too impressed with hotel vittles. Nestled in the Hilton Hotel, 720 South Bar & Grill, has an intimate quiet vibe with marble tables and impeccable service. The Hilton is a historic and beautiful hotel situated right in the heart of our city. You can read more about it here (including some 1920’s scandal and maybe ghosts?).
Once we arrived, we were whisked away to our private table beside the sunny windows that face Michigan Avenue. We started with a Negroni with rum and the Hilton Chicago’s 90th Anniversary Cocktail, the Boulevardier. This bottled cocktail was poured for us tableside. It’s a twist on the classic Negroni with templeton rye instead of gin, mixed with sweet vermouth and zesty orange campari. 720 South Bar & Grill is actually a haven for bourbon and whiskey lovers. Al Capone, one of our most notorious Chicagoans, swigged an iteration of this cocktail during prohibition times. We found it to be more balanced and delightful than the super bitter rum Negroni.
Other summer drink suggestions to wow your guests, especially if you prefer less tang than a Negroni: The refreshing Gold Rush with old forester classic, 86pf bourbon, acacia honey syrup, and squeezed lemon juice or the Sunshine Daydream with local FEW bourbon, giffard abricot du roussillon liqueur, mango purée, splashed with tart lemon juice.
Our appetizer was the favorite, a gorgeous and fulfilling cheese plate, with sweet cherries swimming in a martini glass, surrounded by craft cheeses, nuts, and dried apricots, delicately laid out on a slice of wood. This dish is made to impress AND share!
It was followed by our entrees: a hearty house made black bean chipotle burger, chili soy glazed wings, and rich cheesy truffle fries. We were so full from gorging on cheese, it was hard to indulge! We championed through it though (with to go boxes in tow) and were satisfied. Kate doesn’t usually like meat on the bone but found the wings to be juicy and peppery. The truffle fries were crispy and garlicky and could rightfully serve 4-5 people. The black bean burger was packed with fresh veggies on a buttery bun-great for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.
During our dinner, we were introduced to the humble and friendly Chef Erica McGhee and learned about the Hilton’s secret rooftop garden. Chef Erica McGhee centers the menu around fresh local produce from the garden as well as other Midwestern elements. Chef Erica learned to cook from her grandmother and dreams of owning her own restaurant someday, named after her culinary inspiration. We look forward to following her future endeavors!
As if that weren’t enough, the amazing hospitality team treated us with pistachio raspberry pana cotta cheesecake with white chocolate lychee panna cotta garnished with fresh berries and chocolate sorbet.
See, now that you’ve indulged and your inhibitions are swayed, dancing under the stars will put the perfect hum to your evening! Check out the SummerDance schedule here and when you visit the 720 South Bar & Grill, don’t hold back!
You’ll love the ambiance and selection of this joint. We are so grateful for the team at 720 South Bar & Grill and hope to come back to tour the rooftop garden. Our opinions are our own but we were treated to a free meal and drinks! What’s your go to spot in the loop for dinner before summer time events? Let us know in the comments!!
Good Gut Health with ISOThrive
Tummy troubles, stomach sadness, paunch problems, they’re a connective part of human existence! Bloated belly is a common cause of frown face for us on a monthly basis. There’s a ton of developing research about taming the tummy through the use of probiotic foods or supplements… but have you heard of prebiotics? We didn’t know too much about them until we got introduced to ISOThrive.
ISOThrive challenged us to try a 30 day supply of their prebiotic supplement to gain great gut health. First, you must be wondering, what the hecky hoo is a prebiotic and why would I need it?
We’ve always been big on fermented foods like Kefir, pickles, kimchi (and Kate is on a huge local made sauerkraut kick) because they contribute to healthy digestion and they’re tasty to boot. However, we weren’t trying to integrate prebiotics intentionally in our diets.
Prebiotics contain important elements, primarily a particular fiber, that feed healthy gut bacteria. Basically, it’s like your microbiome is a pet and it needs fancy kibble to keep it happy.
Foods like onions, asparagus, almonds and garlic are prebiotic.
What’s the point, you say?
Larger intake of prebiotics is linked to benefits such as:
- Better digestion
- Reduced stress response
- Balanced hormones
- Less inflammation
- And more!
Instead of ruining your breath by eating whole heads of garlic, you can easily integrate ISOThrive into your daily routine.
ISOThrive has no calories and is a prebiotic soluble fiber, also know as a a prebiotic nectar (sweet!). Each serving, or convenient individual packet contains 1g of maltosyl-iso-malto-oligosaccharides (MIMO). ISOThrive is the same ingredient that occurs when food is fermented.
This is our experience with ISOThrive.
- Wake up
- Mix the contents of the tiny sachet of ISOThrive into a cold glass of water and take our daily multivitamins
- Enjoy a regular digestively blessed morning
We actually didn’t think too much the first week or two because our digestion isn’t the worst. Both of us eat a pretty healthy plant-based diet. When we did notice the difference of using ISOThrive was after we finished 30 days. The joyous regular gut performance hit a bump or two once we stopped feeding our microbiome. The routine of having such a high performing tummy track had left us unaware of the full benefits. Another box has been ordered for further testing!!
Willing to give this belly soother a try for more balanced digestive health? You can find ISOThrive on Amazon and it runs $40 for a month supply (a little over a dollar a day).
Rev up your microbiome and kick some digestive booty (haha)!
Equinox Silent Yoga and Meditation
Friday is a perfect day to destress and reflect on the week. Instead of the usually happy hour, why not do something to recharge that will carry positive energy through the weekend?
Party with silent yoga followed by a special meditation with renowned fitness studio, Equinox, all for only for FREE 99 this Friday at the gorgeous Museum of Contemporary Art.
Celebrate the launch of Equinox’s Headstrong Meditation Podcasts with master instructor, Michael Gervais May 10th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.
Zen out with wireless headphones to a chill flowy yoga followed by inspiring meditation. Afterwards, complete the night with socializing and light refreshments!
When: Friday, May 19th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago | 220 East Chicago Avenue
Tickets: Reserve your spots HERE
Equinox Headstrong Meditation Podcasts are accessible NOW and narrated by the relaxing voice of Equinox instructor, Amber Voiles. Start refreshing your brain any time of day with these purposeful podcasts HERE.
See you on the mat, babes!
Meatless Monday Blog: Gluten Free Bread
Yes yes, we know gluten free living has become trendy but it’s also very real for those suffering with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. Celiac Awareness Month is quickly approaching next month so we thought we’d prep by sharing some allergen free goodies! BFree Foods has a dense line of non-GMO gluten free breads, bagels and wraps to ease the stress and limitations of gluten intolerance and Celiac disease.
BFree isn’t loafing around when catering to food sensitivities. Their products are:
- Egg Free
- Soy Free
- Nut Free
And they’re on a roll with their nutrition profiles.
- BFree has much more fiber than your typical gluten free bread with a shorter list of ingredients.
- Uniquely, they have a pea protein blend in the mix so you can get your muscle fix.
- Additionally, their products are low in fat and calories!
Donut you wanna know what they taste like?
Multiseed Bagel and White Bagel
Does the BFree Bagel rise to occasion? The quinoa and poppy seed crunch on the multi-seed bagel adds a depth of texture and flavor. We dough know about you, but gluten free bagels were a new odyssey for us. Although structurally bagel-esque, they lack the chewy texture we clamor for in bagels. The multi-seed bagel was a bit crumbly and needed to be toasted to hold up to sticky peanut butter. Our tip: add vegan butter after toasting the bagels to moisten um’ up.
Lunch Box: LOAVES & BUNS
Brown Seeded Loaf and Soft White Sandwich Loaf
Other gluten free loaves? Baguette-about um! These loaves are cut length wise, making them perfect for paninis and tasty for toast. They are also hole free so your toppings won’t slip through the cracks. The bread could have a bit more flavor but it’s mild nature makes it suitable for any topping. The Soft white sandwich bread is perfect for tea parties or any gatherings when you have friends and family members with different allergies.
White Plain Hot Dog Buns and Brown Seeded Hot Dog Buns
The buns are not your typical hot dog buns but are a great substitute, although easily breakable. We created vegan banh mi sandwiches with the brown seeded buns for our friends and they loved it!
Brown Seeded Rolls and White Rolls
The white rolls mimic a dense ciabatta and make a solid breakfast or dinner sammie holder when toasted. Get decadent and spread some garlic sea salt coconut ghee on the brown seeded roll before topping!
Other Products Wheat Loaved to Try (HA!)
We are curious about the sweet potato wraps and the quinoa chia seed and flaxseed wraps. The only other brand of gluten free wrap we’ve tried was formed from rice flour and the wrap had too stiff of a texture.
Find BFree Foods:
Are you bready to crummmmble with BFree foods? You can find them in Jewel-Osco in Chicagoland or search for a spot near you here to enjoy bready goodness without the gluten.
Wanna learn more about Celiac Disease and how you can help this May during Celiac Awareness Month? Check out https://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/
Culinary Fight Club for Chicago’s Foodies
So the food coma from Culinary Fight Club has worn off a bit and the March Culinary Fight Club events are approaching! So the question is, does Culinary Fight Club throw down as promised?
Here’s a blow by blow of the Culinary Fight Club experience!
First, umm don’t come late if possible cuz you might miss some good stuff. The room was humming with culinary energy when we entered and we were a bit confused on how to get started. We whisked ourselves over to the bar to grab our included drinks and then grabbed a viewing spot to see the PANTRY RACE!
What is the PANTRY RACE? Welp, four chefs sweat it out running to a table full of ingredients. With arms packed full of meats, seasonings, veggies or condiments, the chefs hustle back to their station and that’s when things really get cookin’.
The February Culinary Chef Competitors:
- Chef Greg Gaardbo of Rockin Rodizio & Chef Paul Caravelli of Knife and Tine
- Chef Miguel Rangel, Culinary Instructor at Cooking Skills Academy
- Jennifer Erin Cox, The Marshmallow Fairy
- Chef Craig Couper, Executive Chef at Michael Jordan Steak House
4 Skilled Chefs then have 60 minutes tick tocking on the clock to create the best dish with one central theme. February’s theme was Savory Chocolate.
Once the gauntlet is thrown, you can walk around to each chef, ask questions and observe their processes. Anxiety, excitement and savory smells fill the air as you watch steaks sizzling, fritters frying, and chicken cutlets cooking on the grill.
The Finale! Judges’ and Tasters’ Choice!
Judges are presented with the final dishes after 1 hour. Then you can walk around and decide for yourself who is the champion of this battle royale. Our number one was The Marshmallow Fairy’s unique creation of beignets stuffed with bacon and rolled in chocolate.
Our Final Thoughts
So, this all sounds awesome right? Who wouldn’t like Culinary Fight Club? Well, although there were veggie appetizers, people with dietary restrictions or who are vegan/vegetarian may want an animal free night out. Culinary Fight Club was very meat heavy.
Wanna catch the next round?
Check out March’s Pork event or upcoming months, Taco!, Blended Burgers, Pitmaster Battle, Steak, Seafood or Sip and Bite in over ten cities. You won’t only be helping your taste buds, you’ll be helping local charities, like Chicago’s Fight2Feed, with your ticket.
Buy your tickets here! And don’t forget to follow Culinary Fight Club on Facebook for future fights!
Valentine’s Day for Foodies in Chicago!
Is your sweetie a sexy chef, fanatic foodie or Diners, Dive Ins and Dives darling? Chop the boring old predictable Valentine’s Day and take your boo to find the best thing they’ve ever eaten with Culinary Fight Club’s “The Savory Chocolate” event.
What: At Culinary Fight Club, you and your sweetheart will be treated to 4 chefs (amateur AND professional) competing for the hearts and mouths of the audience in this Iron Chef style competition. The main ingredient this month is our preferred aphrodisiac, CHOCOLATE!! Chocolate is the food of love and we could all use a lil’ more love now!
How it Works: (Description from Culinary Fight Club) Contestants or Teams have (60) minutes to impress (3) judges, using (1) 10k BTU Burner and (15) supplied raw ingredients & (3) surprise ingredients, all to be judged on that one perfect bite! Hungry? Don’t worry there is also a Taster’s Choice Award too! So attendees are encouraged to grab a tasting spoon, dig in and vote for their favorite bite!
Charity Partner: Fill your heart with the knowledge that you’re helping more than just yourself! 20% of all Culinary Fight Club Chicago events go to feeding hungry people in Chicago through Fight2Feed, a charitable Organization on a mission to “KO” hunger One Block at a Time.
When: Monday, February 13th 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Lucky Strike, 322 E. Illinois, Chicago, IL 60611
Includes: 2 hours of beer or wine and snacks from Lucky Strike including savory chocolate bites for you and you doll-faced dear.
Think of all the kisses your culinary cutie will bestow upon you when you get your tickets here!
Don’t live in Chicago? Don’t feel salty! You can find Culinary Fight Club in Kansas City, Atlanta and Montgomery in February and 6 cities in March.
Christmas Fitness with Studio Three
You may feel like your current them song is: “It’s getting cold out there, so put on winter clothes.” Brr it feels to early for Chicago to be so chill! You may wanna hibernate through March but thawing out with exercise can bust winter blues and strengthen your immune system. Annnd you don’t need to wait for all the Jan 1st resolution peeps to clog up the gym.
Throughout the next few weeks, we are going to share some of our favorite workouts from 2016 to get your 2017 to start strong.
Do you suffer from repetative routine syndrome?
Studio Three can cure your boredom with some spicy variety. Studio Three‘s tri-level fitness mixes up your workout mojo with a cutting-edge Peloton® indoor cycling, interval training and yoga studio. You can double it, ensuring you get that stretch after a tense strength sesh.
So what is Studio Three really like?
Well, first you can check out our initial visit here. This go ’round, we branched out of our yoga pose zone and tried Studio Three’s Athletic Yoga with instructor, Sui Wen. This 60 minute hot yoga class kept it’s promise of being athletic. It felt like a mix of ballet inspired graceful moves blended with serious body weight sets intersperced with balance challenges. Seriously, we have not tried anything like it before. We wouldn’t recommend this class for students just starting yoga but…if you’ve been around the mat a couple of times, this class will summon your inner and outer strength.
What else is offered?
After your class, you can refuel with Studio Three’s full service cafe with smoothies, juices, cold brew coffee to cool the sweat. The cafe offers free wifi too so you can catch up on on the newest fit articles while you soak up all your hard work.
Looking to commit to a healthier lifestyle too?
Studio Three is kicking off a brand new nutrition 101 program. From Jan 15-April 30, you’ll get an initial assessment, bi-monthly meetings with Precision Nutrition Coach, Dustin Hogue, live cooking demos, custom food lists and recipes. This is something we’d love as most “programs” command what you can and can’t eat without considering diverse eating styles like veggie eaters or gluten free lifestyles. Call the studio for more info and pricing!
Pick up your first class for only $13 bucks and work that snow bunny body with some sweet yoga, cycling or interval heat. Have you tried Studio Three? Tell us what you think in the comments!
*We were offered one free class at Studio Three in exchange for an honest review.*
New Thrive Bars: A GoMacro Healthy Snacks Giveaway!
The holiday season is hard to survive, let alone thrive, with your long list of to dos. Between shopping and family parties, it can be hard to eat healthy and take time for yourself. A grab ‘n’ go snack could be just the thing to make your holidays sing…or at least make them a little more pleasant!
GoMacro brand, Thrive Bars, are ancient superfood bars with unique twists of flavor and chewy granola bar texture we know and love (without the hydrogenated oils and processed goop). GoMacro company started on a farm in quintessential midwestern Wisconsin. This independently run business started and is still run by a mother-daughter team set out to promote health, nourishment and healing foods.
GoMacro’s Thrive Bars continue the vision with organic ingredients like puffed quinoa and hemp hearts to keep you running. Plant-based protein, essential fatty acids and prebiotic fiber keep your tummy happy while you focus on your loved ones instead of a grumbling belly. Wipe that grinchy frown off your face with tasty treats like:
- Ginger Lemon – Bright citrus and tangy ginger make this bar one of our top purse packed choices.
- Blueberry Lavender – Fancy some tea? Pair it with these floral bars with a touch of berry for ultra-yums.
- Almond Apricot – Sunny stone fruit flavor with bits of roasted almond picks up a dreary afternoon.
- Caramel Coconut – Sweet tooth be gone with this island coconut flavor drizzled in caramel.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip – The traditional granola bar flavor but packed with 8 grams of protein in a snack sized bite.
- Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt – Simplicity = satisfaction with the savory and sweet combo of sea salt and cocoa.
Yes, they are delicioso but they are allergy and environmentally friendly too! Thrive Bars are USDA-Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, Gluten-Free certified, 100% Vegan, and soy-free (whew, how’d they do all that in one bar?)
Shopping sadness can now be remedied by snack gladness. One lucky reader will WIN a box of mixed Thrive Bars. All you gotta do is show some holiday spirit for GoMarco Thrive Bars on social media by entering our giveaway here: a Rafflecopter Giveaway!
What if you don’t win? You can still believe in miracles! Thrive is offered now at Whole Foods Market or Use the code “Thrive30“ to get 30% off an online purchase!
Wanna learn more about other GoMacro products? Check out our previous review here.
*We were offered 1 box of GoMacro Thrive Bars in exchange for an honest review…and we can’t wait to eat more!*
Indie Films Foster Female Power at Luna Fest!
Stop scrolling on Facebook and put the power of positive back in your life! Come join us at LUNAFEST next Wednesday for a laugh, a cry and an inspiring night supporting women artists and storytelling. LUNAFEST is a national traveling festival of short films that connects women, their stories and their causes through 90 minutes of short films.
We attended LUNAFEST 2 years ago and didn’t have to ask where the love was because the room was filled with it. Break the normal happy hour routine for more meaningful happiness. Your $20=bonding time with your pals, 9 short films, light bites and drink. Bonus! All your cash actually goes to Chicago nonprofits so bring extra friends!
Charities you’ll be helping:
Recovery on Water (ROW), Brave Initiatives, and Mission Propelle will snag 100 percent of all net proceeds are donated to charity. LUNAFEST stats are amazing too :). Since 2000, 136 filmmakers have been featured and nearly $3.6 million dollars have been raised.
When: Wednesday November 30th, 6-10 p.m., Film screenings at 7 p.m.
Where: Chopin Theater, 1543 W Division
Chicago, IL 60642
Tickets: Event prices: $15- Student, $20-General Admission, $50- Philanthropist