Category Archives: great for date
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the name Ada. It was my grandmother’s name and I have never met anyone else who shared it. It’s also the name of a short street in my ‘hood, just off of Grand Avenue, which I recently discovered stops and then picks up again due north, past the expressway, for a couple short blocks just off Elston. It’s a stone’s-throw from the Hideout, and even more hidden than the intimate music venue. And now, it’s the name of a less-than-a-week-old restaurant/lounge that’ll give those post-Hideouters somewhere to eat after a show. Even if you aren’t Hiding-out for the night, it’s worth a visit for the stunningly cool room, and bites by chef Zoë Schor.
The sign-less entrance may infuriate some, but I was fascinated by the mysterious façade and narrow doors. I also love that it blends in with the block, save two glowing red lights (which didn’t show up in the ol’ camera)
This was one of the first bites we tried, lightly fried black-eyed peas with a crispy outer coating and hint of spicy aïoli. I easily could’ve snacked on them all night.
The French-inspired small plates include steak tartare with fried capers and a quail egg, Southern fried quail with greens and bacon gravy, polenta fries with chipotle purée and a duck confit served with pasta, a poached egg and Parmigiano. They pretty much had me at poached egg.
A stack of brioche doughnuts didn’t stay around the table for long, rumor has it they’ve added a port wine caramel sauce as an accompaniment since our visit..holy yum.
Before you hit up the sexy back dining room with army blanket upholstered banquettes, an open kitchen, long bar with cocktails served up by Tim Lacey and a garage door that’ll open to the back patio in the summer, there’s an even sexier from room waiting room with wine and stacks of records hiding in the walls. The dining area isn’t huge, so I anticipate guests without reservations having to in here for a while before they sit, but you and your date most likely won’t mind. Ada Street, 1664 N. Ada Street.
I was SO happy when guest blogger Nicole Nelson (who guessed the Pump Room mystery post correctly) chose La Madia for her post, because I truly love the pizza at this place. She decided to blog it because she doesn’t think the word is out, and I agree. I don’t think the location is ideal, but once you discover the brick-oven fired pizzas, and uh, pizza fondue (what the?), you will be glad you did. Nicole runs the blog Great Dates in the City, a fun little blog full of fashion and food goodies. Her guest post and pics below:
A Little Slice of Heaven
Tucked in the heart of River North, you will find a little slice of heaven who makes THE best pizza in Chicago. La Madia. This gourmet pizzeria and wine bar are unbeknownst to tourists and surprisingly lots of Windy City locals. Although not your typical stuffed crust, this cozy, trendy spot will have you at hello and their food will have you coming back for more.
It is an absolute sin if you come to La Madia and do not order their pizza fondue. Yes, EVEN if you plan on getting pizza. I have never had anything like it and you won’t either.
Every one of their pizzas is baked in their brick oven and let me tell ya…you can tell a difference! The “Triple Pepperoni with White Truffle Oil” and “Cracked Organic Egg w/ Proscuitto and Black Pepper” are to die for.
Don’t forget to ask about their daily $5 wine specials and my boyfriend loves the beer selection. They even pour your brew in the corresponding beer glass. Love when they do that!
Between the wine bar, lounge, fireplace, and modern décor, La Madia is great for a date, an after work drink, and a lovely dinner out. And just a little trick for you…if you sit at the pizza bar you receive a complimentary glass of Prossecco. Score!
I love sardines. Yeah, I said it. I love them fried at restaurants, or in a lemon garlic-lemon fettuccini with breadcrumbs (I have made this and it rocks). But it seems it’s not just canned fish, but fish cans themselves that are making an appearance on restaurant tables with the bill. New white-hot spots from Japanese Yusho in Logan Square to Spanish Tavernita in River North are flaunting the creative bill delivery, and while it may not new, it’s a cool touch.