San. (Chi)

Ive been exploring Chicago, didn’t I tell yall? My bestie forever and ever came to Chicago a few weeks ago, and I had a staycation in Chicago. We stayed at EMC2, and explored streetville … Did I tell you I love Chicago? One of the best cities… In the World! While my bestie went to hang out with another friend, I decided to take myself to dinner. I was feeling Ramen, so one quick google search later, I stumbled upon, right around the corner is RAMEN-SAN Deluxe. Which google describes as “Hip setting for slurping Japanese noodle bowls & munching chicken wings with cocktails & sake bombs”. I didn’t try any of the sake bombs, but the vibe was on point.

Whoever created the playlist needs a raise, straight 90’s Hip Hop with sprinkles of R&B, it was such a mood. Definitely the spot for a meet-cute first date, especially if yall are into good food, without breaking the bank. However you know me, Imma sample everything, so my bill was a bit pricey but … shrugs shoulders.

When trying a new restaurant, do you stick to the items you normally get or do you branch out a bit?

Tristan J.

One Night Only (STL)

Not exactly a nighttime activity but its equally important … Brunch!

I think I speak for the Planet when I say, I live for a good brunch, especially when there’s bottomless Bellini’s. While in St. Louis last Sunday, I did extensive research (I googled) and decided to give Polite Society a try. The menu is as you’d expect, different specialties of eggs; beaten, sunny side, and scrambled, with some dishes of toast and burgers in the mix. I went with the French toast with seasonal berries and whipped cream, a weird choice since I don’t like eggs or French toast for that case but I’m a weird one. The berries were fresh, and a welcomed add-on to the French toast. Pleasantly surprised the French toast didn’t have that eggy taste, toasted with a nice caramel coloring, simple beautiful.

My homeboy went with the infamous brunch choice, Chicken & Waffles. Instead of coming along with the usual chicken wings, it was a panko crusted cutlet which was baked? Fried? Oven fried? To perfection. Then mixed in the with the syrup, also something I don’t usually care for on my plate, it was delicious. I wanted to trade plates with him but he was set on eating his own food. Selfish, I know. I’m assuming the waffles were delicious as his plate was clean when it was time to pay the bill.

Also Note, There is a bar, obviously but it fills up pretty quickly as this is a popular spot for Brunch. I’d advise making a reservation to ensure a table, (I think that’s what grown ups do) but get there prior to the reservation so you can have a drink at the bar.

Tristan J

… like Piña Colada

Garlick’s (My mother) favorite alcoholic beverage was Piٌña Colada! I remember her and my godmother would put on music, and while dancing in the kitchen, mix up the ingredients, then blend to perfection in a white blender that was loud af. Bacardi was always the rum of choice, as well as the frozen Bacardi Piña Colada mixers, still found in your neighborhood grocers. On occasions, my mother would make a Virgin Piٌña Colada for my niece and I, but I would still ask for a sip of hers, cuz even as a kid, alcohol was life.

I recently got to experience the hotel in Puerto Rico where the Piña Colada was created. It’s as delicious but as fresh as my mind would’ve imagined it. I toasted to my mother and wished she could be there to experience just how that drink was able capture the ‘tropics’ of Puerto Rico. Next time you’re in Puerto Rico be sure to stop by Caribe Hilton, where you too can ‘taste’ the best of Puerto Rico.

Jonez.

One Night Only (Atl)

I’m not sure there can ever be a conversation about Atlanta without including a ten hour chat about The Soul Food Options. When I think of Atl, that’s the first thing I think of. I had the pleasure of experiencing Mary Mac’s Tea Room. We, my friend Towana and I, arrived early and the wait wasn’t as long as I imagined it would be.

Our waiter was spectacular! Truth being told, the food was amazing but he made my experience what it was with his charm and wit! On to the food! The menu is a bit massive, so get a start while waiting in the lobby for your table. Also keep in mind, you’ll be writing down your food choices, so don’t freak out! Cuz I was like oh God! This makes my choices permanent!

I opted for the meatloaf , which was divine and definitely southern. I believe there was a touch of sugar in the sauce but it blended well with the tanginess of the tomatoes. Whipped mashed potatoes weren’t as ‘whipped’ as I’d imagine them to be but still delish with the brown gravy. Added collard greens cuz … the south. A very good meal to devour before ending my night flying back to Dallas.

Have you been to Mary Mac’s Tea Room?

Tristan Jonez

Low Country

So you know I can’t possibly live in a city and not find the nearest seafood boil! Thanks instagram, you know exactly what I like. Recently I went to Low Country in Chicago, for happy hour, unfortunately I have a habit of being late so I almost missed the whole event! SideNote: Happy Hour damn sure is an event, forever! The happy hour menu consisted of one pound of mussels and fries for 10$. The jalapeno cornbread sounded too good to ignore, when it came out it was buttery, with a hint of spice.

The rum punch was smack your momma good. It was smooth going down, didnt really taste the alcohol but people, it was there. I also had the sangria but I like I said I was late getting to the festivites that I damn there wasnt able to get my drinks in. But at least, I was able to capture one beautiful photo.

The Mussels were seasoned so incredibly well I wanted to take some bread and just sop (is that a word?) it all up. However as for the mussels themselves, they were extra chewy. Im not sure if thats how they are supposed to be but when in New York, I’ve never had that experience. I ate about half of them but I couldnt stomach the chewiness anymore.

Tristan Jonez.

Low Country is located 3343 N. Clark St, Chicago IL 60657

Sweet Green

I’ll be quick, cuz how much can one person truly write about salad?

No, that wasn’t a challenge! Sweetgreen has some of the best combination of salad, I’m especially fond of The Mexican elote, minus the tomatoes, and tortilla! Actually I add spicy broccoli, mozzarella and Chicken. Sweet Green can be hella expensive for a salad but its oh so good! So when I’ve had an especially rough day or an extremely good day, I treat myself with a salad. I know, corny but shit, when the Salad is over 15$ thats not something I’ll be eating on the regular.

Have you tried sweet green? If so, whats your go to blend?

Tristan Jonez

Jeni’s

Artisan Ice Cream? Gourmet? Gimme It all!

Here we go again, I was watching CNN while waiting at the airport for my flight back to New York, and a feature comes on highlighting Jeni’s Ice Cream. Of course anything food, especially desserts will have my full attention. I remember, dotting it down in the note section of my phone. Fast forward to the beginning of the month, when I had the opportunity to fly to Columbus, Ohio’s North Market. I sampled a few flavors such as brown butter almond brittle, and Bangkok peanut, but I fell in love with gooey butter cake.

Tristan J

Side Note: A Jeni’s recently opened in Chicago, and I’m head over heels in love with this city even more! Don’t worry I will practice self control! Well I’ll try!

Louisville SeafoodLady

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For the longest time I was wanting to visit Louisville so I would be able to visit the Seafood lady. I just so happened to catch an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with host Guy Fieri, and he was eating what looked like the best lobster and waffle I had ever seen. For what seems like a year, I had pinned the Seafood Lady’s website to my browser so whenever I had the opportunity to visit Louisville she would be my first stop.

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I recently was able to fly to Louisville, and although she wasn’t my first stop, I do feel extremely disappointed! I ordered the fried lobster, with creole (steamed) shrimp, potato, and seafood Mac & Cheese. The lobster was fried really well, golden brown to perfection and seasoned well enough. I could’ve definitely saved myself the trouble of the seafood Mac and cheese, especially since there was only two shrimp atop of the Mac and Cheese. Honestly I believed seafood Mac and Cheese would include shrimp and/or crab being baked into the mixture. I am a true lover of Old Bay seasoning, I enjoy sprinkling it on everything! However the old bay was on a billion! Super super heavy, leaving the creole shrimp and the Mac and cheese tasting only as if old bay was the only seasoning in the back of house that was used.

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If you get the chance to visit The Seafood Lady, please let me know how your visit goes, and what on the menu you order.

Tristan Jonez.

SideNote: Although I wasn’t exactly happy with my meal, I think I am willing to try something else the next time I am in Louisville.

Pink Taco Chicago

Are you looking for delicious food, a fire playlist, and an even better drink menu? Well make sure Pink Taco, is on this short list. A visually pleasing looking drink will always rope me in, so I definitely blame Instagram. FYI, I didn’t even order the drink that brought me in. Pink Taco fueled my obsession with Dia la muerta, but it IS a Mexican restaurant which would be expected but when restaurants come into the ‘trendy’ (Read:White) areas of a neighborhood they sometimes change their aesthetic, I’m delighted to report they haven’t.

The happy hour menu is a good blend of what to expect with the full menu. I opted for the frozen mango margarita and the pink tacos. Original and Frozen Strawberry margarita were options but no to both. Seating for about twenty at the bar, with combined Mexican and Chicago memorabilia including Jordan and Pippin’s basketball cards. The frozen mango margarita has just enough alcohol to get you going but it doesn’t over power the delicious taste of mango. Not going to lie, when the tacos first came out, I rolled my eyes at such small tacos (2) but they were actually filling without feeling like I over ate.

So is Pink Taco a yay or nay, of course it’s a YAY. You’ll come for the drinks and stay for the dope af playlist, or possibly it’s the other way around. Either way, be sure to don your best duds, with the decor of Pink Tacos, it’ll be a photo shoot for sure!

Tristan Jonez

When In … Columbus

Surprisingly I’m not a big donut fan, I’ll take cupcakes over them any day of the week. However Columbus has turned me into a donut lover. I introduce to you guys, Destination Donut. Oh my gosh! How can a donut be light and fluffy but taste seven levels of amazing? Lord knows if I had the answer to that, I’d be a billionaire. Since this would be my first meal, I thought I would keep it light and go for what would be the ‘safe’ choice Vanilla. (Insert Joke)

This dueling vanilla was anything but ‘vanilla’. The first bite was amazing. So good, it was better than any Krispy Kreme or gourmet donut would could name. If vanilla isn’t your flavor maybe these are.

-Tristan Jonez

Mother’s May I

Although I know Y’all are living it up in New Orleans for #EssenceFest I save this gem for the last day. Believe me, I was only thinking of your best interest, cuz if you’d experience this restaurant on Day One, nothing else would’ve mattered. Hands Down. Toes Down. Some of the BEST fried chicken, I’ve ever had in my thirty two years of living. From the seasoning, to the level of crisp, it was all perfectly crafted. Disclaimer, if you are starving, this dish will take at least twenty five minutes to cook, as they fry it fresh! Secondly, Ever had bread pudding? I had NEVER experienced bread pudding, and I know, I’ll never eat it anywhere else but Mother’s. Yeah, I’m loyal like that. I was a bit hesitant to try it, as the dish has fruit baked in (not usually a fan of baked fruits) and the texture weirds me out BUT HONEY, I’m. Obsessed. From the first bite, my tastebuds rejoiced! Its drenched (?), no it’s smothered (?) with a warm, and very rich whiskey glazed sauce that will almost certainly have you licking the plate. Unfortunately I had to practice having some class so I didn’t partake, however it is worth taking a to go box so you can do as you wish in the privacy of your home. Promise me, you will not leave NOLA, without sampling everything amazing that Mother’s has to offer.

Tristan Jonez
FYI Do not let the line outside, question if you should wait, you definitely should!
Mother’s Restaurant 401 Poydras St.