In Review: Cocello

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The Negroni became our cocktail of choice on our honeymoon. One part gin, one part sweet vermouth, one part Campari and garnished with an orange, this bitter cocktail has been a favorite of mine since I studied abroad in college. After having one for the first time in Rome, my husband declared that he would try one every night until he determined the best Negroni in Italy (verdict: a tie between The St Regis Rome & La Sireneuse in Positano).

Upon our return to home sweet home Chicago, the quest for the best Negroni continued. When our buddy JD told us that Cocello in River North had FOUR different kinds of Negroni, well, it’s all Ryan has been able to talk about when discussing restaurant resos. And since it’s owned by the group who also does Bavette’s, one of our absolute favorites, he didn’t have to twist my arm so on Saturday, we made it to Cocello.

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The cocktails were fantastic and with every dish we ordered was just better than it should have been. This regular ol’ meatball? Exploding with flavor! The marinara sauce? Perfection. The cacio e pepe and orecchiette with sausage were perfectly prepared with the pasta being perfectly al dente and, again…exceeded our expectations. Everything was just so, so good.

The restaurant itself was beautiful, cozy and classic with a relaxed, comfortable vibe. We tucked in to our table by the fireplace and had the loveliest little date. We were too stuffed to dig into dessert or their list of delicious looking after-dinner drinks but there’s always next time. And we had such a lovely meal and evening that there will definitely be a next time.

Verdict: high fives and clinking glasses all around!


Labor Day Weekend in Chicago

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I struggle with Labor Day weekend. I want to soak in every last drop of summer but if we’re being honest, I am also ready for college football, chili and leather boots. In the spirit of not denying ourselves our respective college season openers and making the most of summer specific activities, here’s a list of both to help make planning for the long weekend less of a challenge.

Chicago Jazz Fest: Pack a picnic and head to Millennium Park for jazz with a side of skyline. Here are four bands you have to see.

Headquarters River North: This Lakeview favorite brings their huge craft beer selection and arcade games to River North. Opens today and in case beer and pinball isn’t enough for you, this location is going to have food.

Magnificent Mile Women’s Half Marathon & 5k: Ladies, if you’ve been hitting the pavement all summer, do a victory lap by running the first ever race to hit the Mag Mile. Registration for both the half and 5k looks like it’s still open.

Critical Mass Ride: A few weeks ago, we were test riding bikes and I fell off mine at a stop sign and yelled “I DON’T WANT TO RIDE BIKES!” as I got up so this is a suggestion for you, not me. But if you are a biker of the pedal-y sort, head to Daley Plaza on Friday at 5:30 for this free ride through the city’s streets with a few thousand of your biker friends.

Fireworks Cruise: Water. Skyline. Fireworks. Enough said.

College Football Bars: We live in a city with a bar for there is. Here’s a complete list of where to see your team on college game days. (And here’s the Spartan Fight Song for good measure.)

Elle on the River: one last shot at tacos and punch al fresco. This has been one of my favorite spots this summer and the only thing better than their fish taco on chickpea flatbread is the views of the river.

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Classic Cozy

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In lieu of “Black Wednesday”, Ryan and I did a little River North bar hop of our own last week. The usual at Theory (best chicken wings in Chicago, I swear), a few brews at Callahan’s, and finally found ourselves at Hubbard Inn.

One of my favorite words (in addition to “sparkly” and, according to Ryan, “feelings”) has got to be cozy. Hubbard Inn is the epitome of cozy. Big bookcases, deep leather chairs, roaring fire in the fireplace, and Sabrina playing on the flat screens. Bogart, Hepburn, an old fashioned in a vintage glass…so classic. Ryan and I wasted no time tucking into the big couch by the fireplace and soaking in the cozy. I pretty much want to move in to the Hubbard Inn now. Or at least go back very, very soon.

Also, a full fledged revival of black and white movies is soooo happening in my house now. Love.


Staying Safe in the Chi

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The recent rash of flash mobs gang violence occurring downtown in the Streeterville and River North neighborhoods has been terrifying.  Despite increased police presence, these attacks continue to happen with startling frequency.  I’ve always felt more safe downtown than I have anywhere else in Chicago so to have that sense of security altered so dramatically and suddenly is frustrating as well as infuriating.

So I got to thinking- what’s a girl to do to keep herself safe when you have throngs of teenagers thinking its a swell idea to attack, harass and rob random individuals on the street?

The University of Chicago sent out the following tips to their student and after running them by my law enforcement sources, it has been deemed sound advice:

·   When possible, travel with others, whether it is daytime or evening.
·    Plan your way in advance. Choose well-traveled routes. Use discretion when talking or walking with strangers, even if they are offering you help. Walk with purpose.
·    Avoid deserted areas. Avoid walking through parks, alleys, and vacant lots.
·    If you think you are being followed, cross the street, change direction, or go to a public place where others are present.
·    If a person confronts you and demands your money or possessions do not resist.
·    Stay alert. Don’t let a conversation on your cell phone or the use of headphones make you unaware of your surroundings.

If you see anything of suspicion, or witness a potentially criminal behavior, please call 911 immediately.

Be safe and be aware, friends.