August 2, 2013

Weekend in Chicago, BlogHer 2013 — Part 2

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Check out Part 1 of my Weekend in Chicago, BlogHer 2013 recap if you missed it! :)

Welcome back!! :) So when I last left off, I was telling you how Friday night in Chicago was one of the highlights of the trip. We had dinner in the private upstairs kitchen of Little Goat Diner, prepared by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard herself.

Party with Pork at The Little Goat in Chicago

Our host for the event was the fabulous National Pork Board. They always throw the best parties! :) Whenever I’m cooking for a group, I always make my pulled pork.

Party with Pork at The Little Goat in Chicago

Stephanie showed us how to make her yummy pork spring rolls. Perfect for using up leftover pulled pork! Thanks to the kind folks at the Pork board for taking these fun photos for us! We just got to sit back and enjoy. :)

Party with Pork at The Little Goat in Chicago

Stephanie preparing our dinner!

Party with Pork at The Little Goat in Chicago

While Stephanie prepared dinner, we were treated to a private Second City performance . If you’re not familiar with Second City, it’s a famous Chicago comedy theatre that boasts alumni like comedy superstars John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, John Candy, Mike Myers, Steve Carell and Tina Fey.

Party with Pork at The Little Goat in Chicago

Obviously they had us cracking up, lol! Such a treat.

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These pork “Quesananas” were amazing!! Pork quesadillas made with naan. Perfection.

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This was a smoked bacon and toffee chocolate chip milkshake. I wasn’t so sure at first, but I literally died when I tasted it. Salty and sweet and perfect. I asked for seconds. True story.

After dinner we stopped by to see my Seaside friends at the Visit South Walton beach party. Check out this cute, 15-second Instagram video from the event. Watch for my cameo!! :) Fun, fun, fun night.

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Saturday morning Shelly and I started the day with Cinnamon Bun French toast at Yolk.

Lemon Poppyseed and Strawberry Orange French Toast at Yolk in Chicago

I loved how they would let you order a little side of their french toasts. We tried the Lemon Poppyseed and Strawberry Orange French Toasts. Loved them both!!

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Oh my gosh you guys. I had a life-changing moment at lunch on Saturday. Maria, Shelly, and I met up with our sweet South Walton friends again at Davanti’s Enoteca in Little Italy. If you are ever, ever in the area, you must try their focaccia!! I have never had anything like it before in my life. It is amazing!!!

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We also had pizza with bacon and Ricotta di Bufala…

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And there’s always room for second brunch, right??! :)

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Whew! After all that we totally needed to walk! So where did we walk? To get gelato at Caffe Gelato, of course, lol! Peanut Butter Brownie gelato, anyone?? :) I think we tried a little of each one, but we all agreed that the Hazelnut (Nocciola) was our favorite!

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That night we had a fabulous dinner with the DeLallo team at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. This was one of the restaurants that was on my list three years ago when Kevin and I were in Chicago, but we never made it there, so I was super excited to go this time!

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Hot Chocolate has delicious food, but we were all over the desserts. :) Warm brioche doughnuts with chocolate sauce and caramel corn…

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Peanut Butter Milkshake… :)

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Chocolate tart with salted caramel ice cream and house made pretzels…

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And the hot chocolate of course!! :) Their homemade marshmallows were the best I’ve ever had. Perfect sweetness, perfect texture, perfectly vanilla-y, and literally melted in your mouth. So dangerous. I would have one of these every day if I lived anywhere near this place!

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On my last morning in Chicago I met the sweet, sweet Stefanie from Sarcastic Cooking for breakfast at West Town Bakery. Loved my Benedict Fresca!! Get this… Sliced avocado, pico de gallo, hollandaise, and sprinkled queso fresco on a housemade buttermilk biscuit. Swoon!!! I will be dreaming of this for a long time.

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However, we went because we heard they had the famous “doughnut croissant” AKA “doughsant” or “cronut” that is all the rage at Dominique Ansel in NYC right now. New Yorkers are lining up at 4 am for one of these babies!! We had to try. Stefanie snagged us the last two before I got there! Way to go, Stef!! :) The outside tastes just like a doughnut. Sweet and soft and glazed. The inside tastes just like a croissant! Very yummy!

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I swear, the one thing I will always remember about this trip is how COLD it was!!! Yes!! Freezing cold in Chicago in the middle of July. Aren’t we literally supposed to be in the dog days of summer right now?? Seriously. What is wrong with the universe??! When I checked the weather the day before I left, it was calling for temps in the 70s. Perfect. I packed summer jeans, summer cardigan, maxis, and flip flops. When I got there, it was in the FIFTIES. The FIFTIES PEOPLE. That is winter jeans, sweaters, jackets, scarves, and UGG weather!!!!! I was cold for 5 days straight. It took me three days of 80 degree weather back home before I finally warmed up, lol!

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But anyway, I say all that to say that on the last day it FINALLY warmed up!! The sun was shining! It was glorious. I met up with my friend and fellow blogging buddy Susan, author of the fabulous new S’mores Cookbook for an architectural boat tour of Chicago. I kind of love this photo of us, with me looking like I just rolled out of bed. Because, well, I did! Lol. Here’s one thing you need to know about me. On the last day of of trip, I always roll out of bed, throw on a maxi dress and cardigan (because it’s basically like PJs all over again), hope last night’s makeup is still on and call it good, lol! :) Please still be my friend.

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Gorgeous views of the city on the Chicago River.

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View from Lake Michigan!

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After the tour, we wanted to try and get up to the skybox of the Willis (former Sears) Tower, but the line was just too long.

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So we headed over to the John Hancock Observatory and got a fabulous view of the city with no wait at all! :)

Had such a blast in Chicago. Loved every minute. The weekend flew by way too quickly!

Can’t wait for next year!! :) Have a great weekend, friends!



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24 Comments





1
Amanda August 2, 2013 at 6:35 am

oh, a recipe for the quesananas, please!

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2
Amanda August 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

The National Pork Board said they are going to post it on their Facebook page! :)

National Pork Board on Facebook

Pretty sure it is just naan, pan fried, with cheese and pulled pork. You could even combine these two recipes to make your own:

Cheeseburger Flatbread Melts + Perfect Pulled Pork

Yum! :)

3
Susan August 2, 2013 at 6:36 am

Had such a great time with you in the city, Amanda! Love the pics- and you did NOT look like you’d rolled out of bed!

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4
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh August 2, 2013 at 7:59 am

How is it I can eat a full breakfast, be perfectly satisfied, then you go and post all of this stuff and I want to eat my hand!? I’ve just bookmarked a few restaurants though thanks to you! I’ve had Yolk on my to eat list but we could never seem to get past Orange with a Peel but the location by the hotel closed last year so Yolk it is! (And Mindy’s Hot Chocolate! HOLY YUM!)

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5
Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine August 2, 2013 at 9:28 am

Oh wow! The food, the food! Everything looks so fabulous! I’m dying over the focaccia and the cinnamon bun french toast! WOW! (:

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6
Theresa August 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

How in the world do you stay so trim surrounded by all this scrumptious looking food. You must have will power of IRON!!! Thank you for letting us share in photos….

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7
Sommer@ASpicyPerspective August 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

Amanda, it was so fun getting to hang with you–wish I could have been there for EVERY meal. That smoked bacon milkshake looks ridiculous!! Hope to see you soon!

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8
Lisa Johnson August 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

It makes me laugh that you wrote, “This was a smoked bacon and toffee chocolate chip milkshake. I wasn’t so sure at first, but I literally died when I tasted it.” That would be so sad if you “literally died” when you tasted it, so I’m glad you didn’t. :)

Your photos are GORGEOUS and always make me so hungry.
Thanks for sharing your incredible talents w/ us. :)

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9
Amanda August 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

Lol!! I know it’s wrong, but I still love saying it, lol!! What is wrong with me?? I loved English in school! And I was always such a stickler for following the rules. :) It makes me laugh too :D (And I always think of Rob Lowe on Parks and Rec!)

10
lorip August 2, 2013 at 11:01 am

I love your trip recaps!! Almost feels like I was there. And for the record, don’t tell anyone about your rollout day…you look fabulous!

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11
Dalia August 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Looks like good times & you look great! I’ll get to one of those BlogHer Conf. eventually. The recipe for those would be great.

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12
Katy C @ TastyLittleCrouton August 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Benedict fresca… wow! I love the thick slices of avocado. Looks like you had an amazing time!

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13
Stephanie @ Back For Seconds August 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm

So fun!! I love Yolk – we go there a lot and order way too much food ;) Hope I can make it to the next conference, looks like such a blast!!

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14
Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking August 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I love all your photos from the architectural tour. It makes me want to go on a tour again even though I can see the buildings any day/time. It was so, so, so great to meet up with you. I am trying to talk my husband into going to West Town Bakery tomorrow. I want to go early to sample other baked goods and more flavors of doughsants.

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15
Amanda August 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Let me know how they are!! Still dreaming about my eggs benedict. And the salted caramel sauce was AMAZING!! :)

16
Kristy August 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

All of your pics are always so awesome! And your food pics always look amazing! How in the world do you not weigh 500 lbs!!

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17
Chels R. August 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm

What a fun fun trip! You look gorgeous in everything!!!

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18
Ali | Gimme Some Oven August 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

Great photos! So much fun! :)

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19
shelly (cookies and cups) August 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I’m still dreaming about that pork milkshake! Crazy amazing!

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20
Lynna August 4, 2013 at 2:12 am

I`m totally jealous of all the food you all were able to eat!!! I`m definitely saving this just in case I ever visit Chicago!

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21
Joan Williams August 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Wow, everything looks delicious! I grew up in the Chicago area and one of the things I miss the most is the food!
Winter weather, not so much – if you think it was cold now you should be there anytime from November through March or April :)

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22
Kindel August 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

My hubby and I went to Chicago last year! We also took the architectural boat tour…we started about 8:00 in the evening so it was light when we started and we got to see the city light up for the night while we were on the water! Such a cool experience!

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23
Alisha August 26, 2013 at 1:58 am

I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago and your pictures rekindled that fire! I’m glad you don’t live in my area, because it’s routinely in the single digits in the winter and sometimes in the negatives. And if you’re cold when it’s in the 50s… ;) 50s is nice early fall or early spring weather here!

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24
Katherine October 8, 2013 at 2:45 am

Wow! The pictures are so nice, especially the Lake Michigan/Chicago River ones…was it really like that or did you Photoshop some of them? :D

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