Valentine’s Day in Chicago: Go Big or Go Home

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, being part of a couple comes with a lot of options especially in the city of Chicago. Whether you’re looking to explore new city spots with your significant other or share a fun experience at home, look no further than this here list of suggestions.

Enjoy, and please feel free to add to this list with your own favorite places.

Go Big: The Signature Room

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Located on the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower, you’re not only getting the dining experience of a King or Queen, you’re getting an incredible view (which you’ll be paying for). If you have some extra money to spend and want a romantic, elegant experience, try the Signature room. Enjoy anything from lamp chops to ribs to steak, to lobster tails, duck, and pasta dishes. You’ll want to make reservations. Prepare to feel fancy.

Check out the menu and make reservations here.

Go Home: Homemade garlic bread, steak and baked potato

For whatever reason, this past Tuesday night, my boyfriend and I decided to make an extravagent meal. Why, on a Tuesday night after work the inspiration struck us, I’m not sure. Anyway, the point is you can enjoy fancy food at home all while cooking in your pajamas. Depending on what’s on TV though, you may not have as good of a view.

I like to buy a french baguette at the store and slice it up into sixths or eighths. I put a big slab of butter in a glass dish and grate some cloves of garlic over it. Microwave that for thiry seconds, and then drizzel the butter garlic mixture over the slices of french bread. Throw that in the oven at 425 degrees for 4-5 minutes and you’ll have some nice, warm garlic toast. This is delicious by itself, but heat up a dish of your favorite marinara sauce for dipping for even more deliciousness.

Wesley is in charge of the steak. His trick to a tender juicy stick is to rest the steak at room temperature, then season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, he’s heating a pan up with just a little oil.

He says he cooks the steak for 1 and a half minutes on each side, then constantly flipping and topping with butter. He removes it from the heat when it reaches 120 degrees. Can confirm: Creates a tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth steak.

Before all of this, I have put 2 russet potatoes in the oven at 425 to bake for about an hour. When those are done, I remove them carefully, cutting them in half and topping with salt, pepper, cheese, and more butter.

Hey, I didn’t say it was the healthiest of meals.

You can of course be flexible about how you cook your dinner and what seasonings you use. Either way, this is a meal that will make you feel fancy right in your own home.

Go Big: Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab

If you have a taste for seafood, you really can’t go wrong at Joe’s. Again, a bit pricy, you’re going to feel fancy when you dine at Joe’s and you’re also going to eat really well. If you want to go REALLY big, the Alaskan King Crab is exceptional. I really enjoy Joe’s Seafood pasta, which is basically Heaven in a dish.

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Be sure to pair your entre choice with your favorite wine, and don’t fill up too much on bread (Although it is tempting).

Oh, and when you’re done with your meal and they come back to your table and ask if you want to have any dessert, say yes right away. I don’t care how you feel or felt about mint in the past, but you must try their peppermint ice cream with hot fudge. Trust me, I had never been a huge fan of mint when it comes to ice cream, but as my good friend Pam says, “It’s to die for.” Do it. Order it.

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For more information, click here.

Go Home: Make your own shrimp pasta with your favorite sauce

The grocery store is filled with possibilities. As indecisive as I am, I could roam the different aisles for hours, imagining dishes in my head. I haven’t always been the most religious follower of recipes, which has and hasn’t worked in my favor at various times. Wesley has encouraged me to change this.

But one simple and delicious dish I’d recommend is a shrimp pasta with either alfredo sauce or pesto. You can buy or make your own sauce depending on how adventurous and energetic you’re feeling. I personally love to make my own pesto every since an old friend who grew basil leaves in his backyard made some using those herbs.

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Again, I like to eyeball things without looking recipes a ton because I feel like the dish is more personal and special if it’s something I myself created. Unfortunately, this has caused some dishes to fail miserably. So, I encourage everyone to look at recipes online, but here’s what I do:

I put basil leaves, pine nuts, oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese in my food processor. I blend it until I’ve got a sauce. I recommend tasting it and adjusting seasonings and additions based on your preferences.

You can use this sauce as a spread for toast or a topping for chicken or pasta.

Go Big: Eataly

So you want wine, to go shopping, maybe get a pizza or pasta dish? But maybe you also want gelato or some tasty Italian desserts with a cup of freshley brewed espresso? What if I told you that you could get all that and more in one spot?

I think you know where I’m going with this. Eataly is an Italian groceries-and-more store where you can find all of the above to indulge. It’s also an ideal date spots as there’s lot to see and experience. Heck, with all the different places within Eataly, you could have 2 or 3 dates in 1!

Check out more on Eataly here.

Go Home: Pizza and pie, your style

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Is your significant other less agreeable when it comes to what you want as a pizza topping? Do you find yourself having to settle for one pizza because he or she won’t tolerate another drenched in everything spicy plus garlic and more? Worry no more. Make mini pizzas together, your style, with fresh ingredients from your local grocery store. And make a pie for after. It’s not as hard as you may thing, and who doesn’t love a delicious apple pie?

Go Big: Daebak Korean BBQ

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Did you really think a blog post that I wrote about food would finish up without an Asian suggestion? Shame on you.

This place is great for group dates, but also sufficient for two people, i.e. a couple. The most important necessity when you go to Daebak is to go hungry.

Daekbak is fairly new and is located on the Eastern end of Chinatown Square. Upon entering you will be greeted by a flight of stairs that will lead you up into the restaurant. Korean music videos are projected on the wall of this chic place, which makes for a fun environment.

The above pictured table of food was just for Wes and I. If you’ve never been to a Korean BBQ joint, I highly recommend it. You basically order your meat dishes and receive all the veggie and rice acompaniments. Also, try the Kimchi pancakes if you’re a fan of the pickled fermented cabbage.

Check out their full menu here.

Go Home: Make your own Korean BBQ

Go home, but not before stopping by 711 West Jackson Street. That’s where you can find the newly opened H-Mart, the first in the city. Normally you’d have to venture to the suburbs to explore this chain, which offers a variety of Korean and Pan-Asian groceries.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a trip with your special someone through the aisles of H-Mart and re-create your own favorite Asian meals at home. In addition to the many varieties of fresh seafood and meats that are offered, H-Mart also has a full supply of produce.

Read more about H-Mart here.

 

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