Little Goat Diner and Other Food Adventures in Chicago

When I found out that I was going to be in Chicago for three days for work, I made a list (I’m a list-maker at heart, remember?) of not just the things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see, but also (of course) a list of things I wanted to eat.

You can probably guess that one of those things was an authentic deep dish pizza.

I also wanted to eat a Chicago-style hot dog, check out one of Stephanie Izard‘s restaurants, plus a couple more places that are considered hot stuff by the locals.

I did all of those and more, and thanks to my fabulous co-workers, my three day stay in Chicago was one of the most fun travel trips I’ve ever taken (and I’ve taken plenty).

My first meal in Chicago was brunch at Little Goat Diner, the casual little sister to Girl and the Goat. Fellow Top Chef fans will recognize those two as the restaurants of Stephanie Izard, the first female to win Top Chef (most recently joined in the winner’s circle by Kristen Kish, who is Chef de Cuisine at Stir).

I’ve eaten at many other diners, but none of them were as pretty and chic as Little Goat…

… Neither do they sell a lot of cute little gifts and treats… or soap.

I started with goat’s milk chocolate milk – because why not? I was expecting this to be creamier and tangier than regular chocolate milk, but I could hardly tell the difference. But chocolate milk is chocolate milk; what’s not to like?

I ordered the smoked corned beef hash with scrambled eggs, which I doused with hot sauce. The corned beef was perfect – smoky and salty with a good amount of fat.  It was served on top of some very crispy and super tasty hash browns – shredded on the griddle with cheese. This was a very hearty plate and I barely made a dent; I wish I could’ve taken leftovers with me back to Boston!

My friend Jessica ordered the Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes with chocolate malt butter. Yes, it tasted as good as it sounds.

Little Goat Diner on Urbanspoon

We lucked out with beautiful 78 degree weather on our first day in Chicago (the two other days we were there were cold and rainy) so after work, Jessica and I went on The Chicago River Architecture Tour. I love seeing architecture at different cities and the river tour we had was fantastic – it was great seeing all the different buildings and hearing the history behind each.

And here’s a little fact about me: when I was in college, I had a hard time deciding whether I wanted a degree in Business/Marketing or in Architecture. I loved the preciseness and art of architecture. I obviously picked marketing and have since built a career on advertising and communications, but architecture will always have a special place in my heart.

Other highlights of my Chicago trip:

My co-workers and I had a fantastic dinner at Chicago Cut Steakhouse.  We ordered a bunch of items to share but my favorites were the burrata caprese, the cajun ribeye, and the Chilean sea bass. The burrata was so creamy, and made me look forward to the farmers’ markets again, when I have easy access to fresh ripe tomatoes. I also really liked the cajun ribeye, which had just the right amount of spice. And I think everyone who had a taste of the Chilean sea bass can agree that it was spectacular – melt in your mouth tender with a subtly sweet glaze of miso and yuzu.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

We stayed at the lovely Hotel Allegro, which had a glamorous lobby and lots of pretty touches all over. I adored this hotel – comfy bed, great amenities, and their service was impeccable. Plus they have a yoga mat in every room! I just docked my iPhone onto the alarm clock/radio, played a 45-minute podcast from one of my yoga apps, and was a sweaty namaste mess at the end of my yoga session.

We had dinner at Trenchermen, and for me the standouts for the night were these two plates: smoked salmon tartare with brown butter creme fraiche and American caviar on top of toasted brioche (I want to eat this everyday) and gnocchi with black truffle and tarragon (“soft pillowy clouds,” as my co-worker described it).

Trenchermen on Urbanspoon

Last but not least, we went here:

So I could eat this:

An individual-sized deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s. Cheesy, buttery, and worth the 40 minute baking time, this was what I was looking forward to the most.

I had a blast in the Windy City, and I’m looking forward to coming back. Someday I would love to try the food at Alinea – I should probably start saving up for it!


29 Responses to “Little Goat Diner and Other Food Adventures in Chicago”

  1. #
    Samantha Angela posted May 16, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I definitely want to try out Girl and the Goat sometime. The Little Goat looks super cute too!
    I haven’t been to Alinea but I scored ticket to Next when they had their Sicily menu last summer and it was one of the best meals of my life!

  2. #
    Jenny @ BAKE posted May 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Wow I love the décor of that place! and the food looks fantastic!

  3. #
    Megan posted May 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    That diner is adorable and I am so jealous of the authentic deep-dish piza. Would love to try one!

  4. #
    Michelle Collins posted May 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    One of my life to-dos is to eat deep dish pizza in Chicago! Looks like a great trip.

  5. #
    Heather posted May 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Glad you liked Chicago (my hometown)!

    Lou’s is my favorite deep dish, hands down.

    I’m going back in June, and now I really want to try the Little Goat diner, looks so cute.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Thanks, Heather! The pizza was my favorite :) Especially with that butter crust!

  6. #
    Rosa posted May 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Great places and mouthwatering food! I’d love to visit Chicago.



  7. #
    Shannon posted May 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    That’s one delicious trip! I need to go back sometime :)

  8. #
    Happy Valley Chow posted May 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I’m going to Chicago this weekend for the National Restaurant Association Conference! Hopefully I’ll find some time to hit up some of these places. Looks like you had a great time :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Oooh have fun! Definitely hit up some of these places if you can!

  9. #
    Kitchen Butterfly posted May 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    God bless all the list-makers, they shall see heaven.

    I love lists…..don’t they just make the world go round :-)?

    Love, love, love the look of the Caprese! Yum and glad you had a superb time

  10. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted May 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    This makes me SO nostalgic for Chicago! I lived there for 2 years and am just dying to go back. I have food envy hearing about all of these places that have opened since I left! Looks like a great trip!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

      It reminds me a lot of Boston. I look forward to coming back too :)

  11. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife posted May 17, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I STILL dream about my meal at Little Goat. So glad you got to try it. Way to eat your way through the city!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Next time I want to try Girl and the Goat!

  12. #
    Meghan posted May 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Chicago is such a great food city! Looks like you covered a lot of ground!

  13. #
    Reba - Not So Perfect Life posted May 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I love Chicago in the summer. I’m headed there for a work trip in early june :) Deep dish pizza is the BEST!

  14. #
    Patty posted May 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Looks like a great time and Chicago is such a great food city-I’m booking marking your suggestions-thanks ;-)

  15. #
    CCU posted May 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

    I absolutely love this delicious foodie post, I need these plates now :D


  16. #
    Monica posted May 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Love how you plan ahead (lists are a must!) and make time to eat at all these great places when you travel! Looks so delicious…I haven’t been to Chicago in a long time and interesting, it was for work then too but I never had/made time for more than a hotel meal, which was just sad. I’ll live vicariously through you. : )

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Thanks, Monica. Business travel is never as fun as traveling for leisure, so I’ve learned to take advantage of the little things: quick lunches and dinners, good hotels, some sightseeing after work – that way I get to enjoy as much as I can!

  17. #
    Melissa posted May 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve never been to Chicago, but doing a food tour there is on my bucket list! Everything looks so good!

  18. #
    The Squishy Monster posted May 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I’m so intrigued by the goats chocolate milk…you are eating the dream girl!!

  19. #
    Honey What's Cooking posted May 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    such a great trip Bianca. Love work trips where you can really eat your heart out. How great that your friend was able to accompany you. I can’t wait to visit Chicago and try their deep dish. Someday!!!

  20. #
    Simply Life posted May 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I’m from Chicago and love so many places there- great reviews!

  21. #
    Sacha posted May 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I have a long list of Chicago restaurants I want to try — I hope I get there one day! Girl and the Goat is definitely on my list, but I didn’t know about the diner! The hash looks delicious.

  22. #
    Molly Galler posted June 11, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I have never been to Chicago and it’s been on my travel wish list for years now. Your trip looks fantastic and delicious! I too am a huge Top Chef fan and would also want to visit Stephanie’s restaurant! When I make it there, I am taking your review with me as my guide!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Yay I’m glad this will be helpful. I’d love to come back to Chicago soon!

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