Guys, my birthday was last Thursday. Mr Zbornak planned a wonderful weekend of dinners out so I wouldn't have to cook all weekend. Super sweet of him. Eating out is one of my favorite things, so I was so excited! For lunch on Thursday he took me to a restaurant in Evanston (a close suburb of Chicago) called Found. Oh my god, lunch was amazing. One of the dishes we had was a fresh mozzarella with an accompaniment of sunchokes, cardoons, lemon verbena, and pea shoots. Oh my god - Cardoons! So effing good. I could have eaten a plate of just the cardoons and called it a successful weekend. If you have never had cardoons, track some down and eat them immediately.
He took me to Green Zebra for dinner. Green Zebra is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Chicago. I was so looking forward to it, and I was so disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the food was amazing. Actually, beyond amazing. We started with a mushroom pate that was easily the best thing I'd eaten all year. That is not an exaggeration. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and be happy. Just spectacular. The service, however, was horrific. Our server completely ignored us all night. She messed up the coursing of our dinner, never asked how dinner was, and - this is her cardinal sin - never gave us an opportunity to refresh our drinks. She literally dropped our food at our table and ran away as quickly as she could. It was bizarre. Maybe she was weeded, maybe she was new, I don't know. At the end of dinner we just wanted to get out of there, so we said no to dessert and coffee. The manager came over and asked what had happened, because the server told her "I think something happened at table 8." I will never, ever throw a server under the bus, so we just politely said everything was fine. But. The manager then said she was sorry for the mix-up with the busser, who had laid down dessert menus before our last course came out. I was immediately pissed because the busser was actually the best part of dinner! He was super attentive, made sure we always had water, cleared plates quickly, etc. The reason he put the dessert menus down on our table is because we literally sat for 20 minutes with nothing on our tables because the server had forgotten to order our last dishes. So, for her to try to blame the busser for our bad experience was infuriating. I very pointedly told the manager that the busser was amazing, and very attentive, and that the food was beyond amazing. I'm sure she got the message because she comped a couple of dishes. I would happily go back again, but I'd definitely make sure I didn't get the same server. (Okay, that rant was unintended, and way longer than it should have been)
Saturday was a quiet night in with a bottle of wine and take-out. So wonderful. Sunday, however, was ridiculous! Mr. Zbornak made reservations for tea at the Palm Room in the Drake Hotel. I've never done formal tea with the little sandwiches and pastries, etc. It was so amazing!!
Who knew how filling finger sandwiches and mini-scones could be?? We were so stuffed! We walked around Michigan Ave a bit, did a little shopping, and then decided we needed a cocktail. We tried a cocktail at the bar in the Peninsula Hotel, but they couldn't make a proper Old Fashioned. This is a pretty simple drink, and a classic cocktail, so I'm not sure why they couldn't do it properly. We left, and went to DrumBar, which is the hotel bar at the Raffaello Hotel. It was so much fun! We ended up quasi-crashing an engagement party for a Greek family! They were so much fun, and the mother of the Groom bought us a round of drinks. Seven drinks (!) later, and I had to call it quits! Thank god I have today off work so I can recover! Guys, I had such an amazing birthday weekend!!