Eating on the Fly: Chicago (Round Two!)
As promised, there is a part two, and it is devoted mostly to Girl & The Goat, although I also visited two other venues worth sharing. I flew my travel companion with me to Chicago for the day and we ventured out for a Wednesday full of delightful and decadent dining. For a flight attendant (at least for yours truly), one of the perks is certainly the ability to fly in and out of a city in 24 hours just for a very simple goal: eating (read: devouring) superb food.
First was lunch at Crisp, a Korean fried chicken restaurant in Lincoln Park. We went all out and ordered the whole chicken, which came with two sides and two drinks. Our chicken was cut for us and divided into two parts: Korean/American fusion BBQ, which is a little spicy, a little sweet and a little smoky. The other half of the chicken was “The Seoul Sassy:" a subtly sweet sauce prepared with ginger, soy, garlic and other select spices. Our sides were kimchee (a traditional Korean dish made of chopped cabbage with spicy seasonings) and onion rings. This restaurant is not fancy — very simple, and there are rolls of paper towels everywhere to wipe the parts of your face and fingers that you haven’t already licked. I would come back and try the “Buddha Bowl,” which is Crisp’s take on bi bim bop: Korean rice and vegetables, topped with a fried egg. The staff is very friendly and helpful and the cashier was somewhat amazed and mildly amused that we had flown in for the day and made that our lunchtime stop.
Next stop was Bow Truss, a coffee shop, situated only a mere block away from Crisp. Now this is what I call a coffee shop. They roast their own beans. They have a record player and vintage speakers playing Blondie and the Rolling Stones. There is a classic Ms. PacMan machine in the corner. Once again, I found the staff to be extremely helpful, friendly, and amiable. This seems to be a theme in Chicago. I have had excellent service at just about every venue I’ve visited. The coffee at Bow Truss was hands-down, some of the best joe that has graced my palate. I tried a Honduran micro-lot pour-over, which was dark and rich, with mild acidity, a strong caramel presence, and notes of blackberry. I also had a shot of espresso, which was served with sparkling water on the side. Bow Truss also has another location in the Near North Side of Chicago. I will make it a point to visit either of these two venues upon my next visit.
My Girl & The Goat reservation that I scheduled two months before the date was at 4:30 p.m. We arrived promptly and didn’t leave until 7:45 p.m. That is three hours and fifteen minutes of sheer gluttony. Our server, Hunter, didn’t mind at all. In fact he encouraged it. The dining experience is mainly tapas (small plates), meant to be shared and enjoyed over time. It is best to start with the lighter fare, and to work your way up to the heartier, meatier dishes. We did just that.
Our starters were the pan fried Shishito peppers, served with parmesan, sesame and miso and the “Corny Goat,” which is French bread served with goat cheese butter and corn relish. Next was the grilled baby octopus, which included guanciale, favas, radish pods, pistachios, and lemon vinaigrette and cofit goat belly, served with bourbon butter, lobster ‘n crab, and fennel. So far, so good. We were off to a fine start, and I was already starting to feel satisfied, yet edging towards full.