Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fish Bar

Name: Fish Bar
Location: Chicago, IL

The newest seafood joint in Chicago, Fish Bar, definitely hit the mark with the design of the interior. Imagine an east coast lobster shack meets New Orleans. The layout features almost all counter seating (there are three booths, if you are lucky enough to grab one) which works out well for a quick lunch but would be a bit tricky for a nice dinner or busy saturday night.

Although the design of Fish Bar was fairly authentic (for a merging of two coast, anyways), the visit went downhill from there. We had the fried clams which were pretty good but the portion size was fairly skimpy(3.5 pieces, literally) for the price. We also tried the Maine lobster roll and the 'catch of the day'; trout. The lobster roll came on the correct roll; split down the center with buttery-toasted sides but was completely over-seasoned with celery salt and old bay seasoning. The lobster and mayo mixture was watery, leaving me to believe the meat had been frozen, and definitely not worth the $18.00 market price. A true east coast lobster roll has to stand by the idea of simplicity and purity, no seasonings, toasted bun, and either cold meat with mayo or warm with drawn butter. Let the fabulous taste of the fresh meat shine, don't mask it.

The trout was served well after the lobster roll came out and after the first bite I noticed it was completely raw still. I had to send it back and have them cook me a new piece which resulted in me eating quite a bit after everything else was finished. I wish I could say the service was great and completely made up for these huge goof-up's but at the end we were left without an apology and a full priced bill.

I loved the interior but as with all restaurants, food & atmosphere go hand-in-hand. You cannot have a great interior and horrible food and only rarely can you have great food and a horrible atmosphere (trust me, the food has to be phenomenal to make up for it!).

I would love to see Fish Bar get rid of the 'New England' side of the menu and stick to the New Orleans side, which it seemed to get right.

images © Grub Street

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bar Agricole

Where: San Francisco, CA
Designer: Aidlin Darling

One of the things I miss about San Francisco is the food scene. With a heavy focus on pushing the boundaries and the equal important placed on the design of the space the food will be served in, you can quickly understand why Bar Agricole was nominated for a James beard award for outstanding restaurant design.

The space is currently hoping to obtain LEED Platinum certification and utilized as many local artisans as possible. I love the custom concrete booths and hand-made furniture. The material choices are simple and pure and presents both the food and drinks well. The next time I'm back in the city I will be sure to check this place out.

Photos 2-6 ©

Friday, March 25, 2011

Come visit me over at 'To be eventually Clever'

Hello! Today I am blogging over at my friend, Megan's blog, sharing a 'used-to-be-local' guide to San Francisco!
Come on over an say Hi.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Star Belly

Name: Star Belly
Location: San Francisco
Designer: Zack|deVito

One of my favorite places to visit while living in San Francisco was Star Belly. The focus on local and sustainable foods paired with an emphasis on community and sustainable design really won me over. The space is small in footprint but features a large community table-esq bar made from a recycled bowling alley lane (markings still present!). It also has tables for smaller groups and a small banquet at the front of the location. The amount of wood used throughout the space creates a modern, yet warm, atmosphere in the space and I loved the exposed shelving and storage throughout. The only design issue I found with Star Belly was the height of the chairs mixed with the height of the banquette and table. The table and banquette were perfect but the chair was too low, and therefor a bit uncomfortable to spend a long dinner at. I highly recommend checking out Star Belly the next time you are in San Francisco!

Image 2 ©

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hope and Union

Name: Hope and Union
Location: Charleston, SC
Designer: Owners, John Vergel and wife Harper Poe

A new boutique coffee shop opened up last winter in the Cannonborough neighborhood of Charleston. Located in a restored Charleston home, the shop focuses on single- cup brewing using the chemex brewing method (one of the best, in my opinion). Currently they are featuring single-origin coffee from Intelligentsia but have also been know to brew Portland's Stumptown beans as well. The interior feels completely relaxed and inviting and has multiple seating options, from the long communal tables and stand-up expresso bar to the outdoor patio seating featuring bertoia-esq chairs. I love the industrial and modern touches in this space, paired with the homey and traditional feel of the restored home and reclaimed materials, this coffee shop stands heads above the commercial chains dotted throughout the city.

All photos © Kathryn Barnard

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elektra Bakery

Name: Elektra Bakery
Location: Edessa, Greece

Simple. Clean. Modern. What more can you ask for. I enjoy purity of materials and beleive that you don't need 'stuff' to create a beautiful space and environment. The connection between the interior and exterior through the use of a small jut-out exemplifies this idea, it's simple, to the point and yet unexpected, all at once.

All photos © Spyros Paloukis

Monday, March 7, 2011

A local favorite: Piece Brewery & Pizzeria

Image ©

Name: Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
Location: Chicago, IL (Wicker Park)

This weekend I headed down to Wicker Park to visit Piece Brewery in celebration of a family birthday! While I wouldn't necessarily go there for the design or decor, the food and beer were off the charts. We started off with a few order of chips and homemade salsa which were simple and flavorful. The true show stopper, however, was the beer and pizza (rightfully so, considering the name of the place.) The pizza has a bubbly, thin crust with a perfect mix of soft, chewy, light and crispy. The topping all tasted extremely fresh and their flavors were not masked by too much cheese or too much sauce. Since the stout was not available that night (which I had my heart set on) I decided to go with the Dark-n-curvy Dunkekweizen which was a German-style wheat beer with an amber hue and medium body. It was delicious! Our table also tried a few pitchers of the Full Frontal pale ale which was light and extremely refreshing.

All in all the meal was a success and the perfect place to enjoy a saturday night! I will definitely be back and might even try out the $25.oo pizza & growler deal one of these night.

Image © nerd city

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Local Favorite: The Coffee Studio

Name: The Coffee Studio
Location: Chicago, IL
Designer: owners Miguel & Lee Corrina Cano

I recently made my way out to the Andersonville area of Chicago to check out a local coffee shop, The Coffee Studio. I loved the industrial, mid-century vibe they have going on. There is beautiful exposed brick walls with honey colored wood floors, Eames-esq seats and Nelson pendants in the front of the store and a built-in banquette and lounge seating towards the back. I will definitely make the it back out there again soon!

Photos 1 & 3 © The Coffee Studio
Photos 2 & 4 © 21st Street Coffee & Tea
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