Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

Let’s talk about brunch. There is nothing better than Sunday brunch. It means you made it through the week, are not working the weekend (or at least not Sunday) and have every excuse to hang out with your brunch companions for an extended period of time. There is a reason no one does business brunch. No one rushes you out of brunch. But my real favorite part of brunch is that the sweet-savory debacle is easily solved by table pancakes. This place has awesome options for table pancakes.

The Place: Mindy’s Hot Chocolate  The Neighborhood: Wicker Park

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Sugar Puffs and Hot Chocolate

I usually start with the food, but given the name this is the place to start with the drinks. The hot chocolate is why you come here. It is basically creamy chocolate soup and totally acceptable to eat it with a spoon. Although, full disclosure, I might be saying that because that is what I do before my hot chocolate is cool enough to drink like a grown up. There are hot chocolate options for everyone: white, milk, dark, caffeinated and boozy. But no matter your choice, they are all topped with a homemade marshmallow or two. My favorite is the half and half which is half dark chocolate and half espresso. It is all kinds of delicious!

Onto the food. With a rotating menu there is no such thing as ‘I’ll try something new, because I have already had that before.’ It’s all new and all SO good. Lucky for me, my brunch companions today were all about the lets get stuff and share mentality. For the savory dishes, we had duck hash with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts and a veggie omelet. This was one of my friend’s first time having brussels sprouts and she loved them! The omelet came with roasted potatoes that were so on point they could have been their own thing. Both dishes came with grilled bread, a small touch that is not to be underestimated. All bread is good with hot chocolate.

To satisfy our sweet tooth, we had the french toast of the day with chocolate cream and macerated figs. It was one of those foods where you put in your mouth and just float off to a magical place. My brunch companions and I are usually very chatty when we hang out, but once our food arrived we basically ate in the silence of brunch bliss. We also had the sugar puffs. These are soft, fluffy doughnuts and today came with raspberry preserves.

All in all, this Wicker Park staple was perfect for a rainy Chicago October Sunday.

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Half and Half
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Province

There are no words for this place besides AMAZING. And I am not just talking about the food. This is one of the most responsible and sustainable restaurants in Chicago. Not only do they try to source their food locally and sustainably, the space is gold level LEED certified. That means it maximizes efficiency while minimizing costs and environmental impact. Obviously none of that matters if the food sucks. But the food is also out-of-this-world!

The place: Province; 161 N Jefferson St. Chicago, IL

Scallops and Short Ribs
Scallops and Short Ribs

The interior is painted pink with white ‘trees’ hanging upside down from the ceiling. It is like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but a little less trippy and a little more comfortable-classy. It feels like everyone is there to take care of you, but not in an overbearing way. A meal at Province is a relaxing experience with high quality and delicious food.

The whole menu sounded good! They do a fixed tasting menu, which I would highly recommend. You get a try a lot of different menu items and it changes often so the tasting menu never stops being an option. I wanted too many things that were not on the tasting menu, so we didn’t do it. The menu is set up with small plates that you can do tapas style and larger plates you can have as a meal. Get the tuna tacos. They are unbelievable with the chipotle salsa. It is smokey and spicy and takes the whole thing to foodie bliss. The muscles were amazing and served sans shell with chorizo.

Tuna Tacos
Tuna Tacos

The larger plates include Duck Paella. This is a must-try after the tuna tacos! The duck is melt in your mouth perfection. The scallops in the Scallops and Short Ribs were incredible. We shared a side of the lobster mashed potatoes. They were the best mashed potatoes (lobster or regular) I have ever had. Completely unbelievable!

Duck Paella
Duck Paella

The dessert was beautiful. I could have eaten it with my eyes, but my taste buds appreciated it too! The dessert menu changes, but I would recommend the shortcake and whatever version of chocolate is on there!

Seven Layers of Chocolate
Seven Layers of Chocolate

They have a great drink menu, but the homemade citruscello must cap off your meal.

Some things to consider: Province is great for a variety of meal price-points. You could have a huge celebratory meal here with a big group. Or, you could also come in for a more casual lunch and still have a great experience and amazing food. The service was awesome. The food is awesome. This place is just great!

For more information: http://chicago.provincerestaurant.com/

Happy environmentally friendly dining!