Sunday, April 22, 2012

Katie & Jimmy's Wedding: Flash Mob! LMFAO Party Rock!

Much more to come about the wedding of the year.

Needless to say - I'm super sore and exhausted.

But the day was perfect in every way! The big event of the night - a flash mob that we have been planning for over six months now.

We managed to pull it off with all of the families dancing together and surprising the bride and groom.

It was pretty amazing - so check it out:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Girl and the Goat - Adventures in Chicago Dining


Photo: The Bresnahan girls in front of the Girl and the Goat in Chicago.

I cannot cook.  Well, I'm sure I could if I tried - but frankly, I feel like it takes up way too much time to prepare a meal.  I like to opt for take-out for better yet, Mr. Cook for the food.  I mean, it is his last name...right?

What I do love to do is watch people cook.  And there's nothing better for me then mixing my first love of television with watching people cook.  I've been a fan of Top Chef Season 2.  (I wouldn't watch season one because I was boycotting Katie Lee Joel.  Another story for another time.)

Chicago is home to so many wonderful restaurants - and of course, Top Chef contestants.  I really would like to plan a trip based around Top Chef restaurants - and then judge them and pick a winner. Hey Bravo - that sounds like a new show - CALL ME!

So I got a bug up my butt to hit the Girl and the Goat - aka - the place everyone in Chicago is talking about.

I tired to make a reservation last time I was here. No luck.

So I went home and made one two-and-a-half-months in advance.  And let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

The plates are "tapas" style.  So small plates, you order a lot and try a bunch of different things.

Here's a look at what we ordered.


This is the Pretzel Bread with honey mustard butter and 1000 island dressing.  The bread was TO DIE FOR - and I thought I would like the 1000 island better.  But in fact, the honey mustard butter was just perfect.


This is the chickpea fritters.  I'm not going to lie - I had no idea the chickpea was this diverse.  I've had it in hummus.  But this - was amazing.  It was like a mozzarella stick but not. Enjoyable!


The royal red shrimp ceviche.  The shrimp was so cold and crisp and the combination with the white asparagus and little sunflower seeds was really enjoyable.


The goat cheese tortellini is hidden under the big leaves.  I really enjoyed goat cheese.  I'm not sure I have had it before.  I'm not a huge pasta fan - but the noodles themselves were delicious!


This is a look at the ham frites and smoked tomato aioli instead of ketchup and the cheddar beer sauce.  These may be the best french fries that I've ever had.  The sauces were a perfect pairing. And frankly, the aioli was better then ketchup.


I was most looking forward to this dish, the diver scallops.  They did not disappoint.  I was also surprised how good the sauce was around the scallops.  The sauce also had a braised duck, marcona almond butter and some other stuff.  But the duck - I've never had duck because for some reason it seems wrong of me to eat.  But it was so good - and just melted in my mouth.


This was another dish that I really insisted on trying.  I'm really into sauteed green beans.  This had a fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews.  I LOVE cashews.  The beans were great.  I loved them and the nuts, but it was probably the only dish at the table that people didn't go back for more.  The sauce was a little too overpowering.  It didn't taste bad, just not something you want to eat a lot of.


The last dish to arrive at the table was the much talked about and debated wood oven roasted Pig Face. It comes with a sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple, potato stix.  There's really no way to describe it other then some sort of pork patty covered with amazing goodness. The server basically said attack it and mix it all up to eat it. 


Aly goes in for the Pig Face attack.  It was so good all mixed together - almost a smoky bbq flavor with some sweet and crunchy flavors.  I would definitely order it again and again and again.


My only real complaint about the dessert menu, too many options mixed with fruit.  Not everyone likes fruit people!

But we managed to find something that didn't offend me, the red tea brulee.  It was good.  Not amazing - but good.  The whip cream on top, now that was amazing!

So excited to cross this list off the places I must attend...but I cannot wait to go back!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Amazing Chicago Food: The Hearty Boys

Last night I had one of the most amazing meals of my life.

All I want to do is talk about it.  And eat it again.  And again.  And again.

The Hearty Boys is a restaurant on N. Broadway in Chicago.  A friend made us reservations there, and I had no expectations whatsoever.

The restaurant itself is small - but super cute.  They also have an outdoor patio which I'm sure is amazing when it's a bit warmer. We were greeted by our amazing waiter, James.  He was knowledgeable about all the menu items and offered some really smart suggestions.

He also could talk for hours about the drink menu alone.  He said they are really into pre-prohibition drinks.  He played the game of tell me what you like to drink and I'll come up with something different that you'll love.  I told him Jack and Ginger - he came back with something amazing...The Barrel Aged Manhattan.


For the appetizer we had Artichoke Fritters with some sort of lemon sauce.  AMAZING.

I couldn't decide between the fried chicken, which sounded like heaven. Or the Sea Scallops.  Or the Market fish of the day - which came with hush puppies.  And I am a sucker for hush puppies.

I asked reliable James - and he said that between those three, you just have to do the scallops.

OK - fine.

I'm not going to lie.  It was literally like butter melting in my mouth.  I wish I had a better knowledge of how these were cooked, because I would like to try it at home.  The scallops just melted.  They were perfection.  I'm not a huge fan of green beans as a whole.  But these were amazing - like candy.  The seasoning was just spot on and the flavor combination was like a firework in my mouth.

The green beans had some sort of crumpled corn bread and toasted almonds on top.  I cannot express in words how perfect this entree was.

For dessert - (you think I was full!?! HA!) I was stuck.  Most of the options on the menu had some sort of fruit component.  If you know anything about me, I have a strong opinion that fruit is NOT a dessert.  So I wasn't super excited.  But James was pretty adamant that we try the Rhubarb Sundae.  I can't say I was excited at the title.  The thought of Rhubarb as a dessert was beyond disturbing and I pretty much said that exact thing to our waiter, who promised it's nothing to be scared of.  But when he mentioned it came with French Toast Ice Cream.....I had no choice.

I'm not even sure where the rhubarb is in this dessert - and I didn't care. The shortbread cookies and the ice cream were wonderful.

I cannot wait to go back!!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The Cheetah Hunt commercials have suckered my kids into really wanting to go to Busch Gardens.

So part of our mini-spring break we managed to make it to the park.  I just love this place.

It's so pretty, so clean and they have some great rides.  We also picked the perfect day because it felt like we had the park to ourselves.

As you can see from the pictures, we all had a great time. Not only did we see so many animals - UP CLOSE...but we loved so many of the rides.  Brendan loved the Cheetah Hunt so much he rode it THREE TIMES. 

Its just a cool roller coaster that was incrediably smooth.  It plays with your eyes as you ride it- because it's almost like you can't see the track so your not sure which direction you are going to go....

And the best part of the day:


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Amazing Easter cake. It's about to go down.

Clearwater Beach - Spring Break 2012

A short spring break weekend brought us to Clearwater Beach. I haven't been in ages....

It's part of our effort to hit all the beaches in Florida - because see, it's important to have a goal.

Of all the beaches I've been to - can't say I'm a big fan of Clearwater.  But, I should try it NOT during spring break.

I felt like it wasn't quite the right place for me to bring my children.  It was full of college springs breakers and very, very senior citizens.

The beach itself was nice.  A lot of lifeguards, lots of sand, easy parking. Definitely a lot of pluses.  I just like my beaches empty!

I did enough the pier - they have a great fishing area at the end which is perfect for families.

While not my favorite beach, it's definitely on the list to try again - just not during spring break.