Sometimes I do some pretty cool things that don’t necessarily warrant an entire blog post. So, moving forward, #CheapWeek will be a review of the fun things I did and ate in Chicago the previous week. This is your insider’s guide to how a real “Cheap Ass” lives.
4/19 – Chef Week Kickoff Party
People – embrace the power of Twitter, already. I received an invite to a Chef Week Kickoff Party by paying attention to Chicago Chef Week’s Twitter handle (it coincided with my previous post about Chicago Chef Week). I brought my lovely friend Mallory as a plus one, and together we caught up while enjoying quality cocktails, wine, and food at the J. Parker – all for free. The J. Parker is known for its cool retractable rooftop. Unfortunately, it was raining when we went, but regardless, the place had a cool vibe and I’ll definitely be back.
4/21 – Chicago Chef Week at Piccolo Sogno Due and Blog Partnerships
For my first Chicago Chef Week meal, I went to Piccolo Sogno Due, which is just down the street from where I work in River North. I went with a friend who works at the Merchandise Mart and we each took advantage of the $22 menu which included several choices of appetizer, entree, and dessert. Halfway through the entree we were both stuffed, so I took the rest to go for the following day’s lunch. While I would not spend $22 on lunch on a regular basis, Chicago Chef Week is a great opportunity to try an expensive restaurant at a more affordable cost.
In blog related news, I responded to a request for bloggers with Choose Chicago, and will soon begin writing for their Chicago Like a Local Blog. Choose Chicago is an awesome organization with a lot of visibility, so it’s a step in the right direction for Chicago Cheap Ass. I also had a fun meeting with Rebecca at Verizon; Rebecca connects bloggers with their products. I checked out the two-level Verizon store on Michigan Avenue and made a wish list of products to test for my “Save or Splurge?” theme. Back in college, I had the opportunity to test Verizon products for my personal blog, so I’m excited to continue this partnership.
4/22 – QBBQ and Instituto Cervantes
QBBQ is right around the corner from me. I had a $5 off coupon that I’d been meaning to use, so I went in and ordered a pulled pork sandwich with two sides for about $4.50. Talk about an awesome deal. I’ve been to their brunch before and it does not disappoint – especially their garlic parmesan fries.
Later that night I met up with a friend to check out an art exhibit called “Los Caprichos” at Instituto Cervantes. The exhibit featured an intersection of work between two Spanish masters – Goya and Dali. Basically, Goya created a series of paintings making fun of Spanish sayings, and then Dali took Goya’s work and made it his own. The exhibit runs through June 10 and is definitely worth a look if you’re interested in seeing the work of Goya and Dali for FREE up-close and personal.
4/23 – Chicago Trolley and Bellwether
I happen to work for a company with many fringe benefits. We spent the afternoon with one of our clients, Chicago Trolley, who took us on a fun tour of Chicago. After the trolley tour, we went to Bellwether, which has the world’s best buffalo chicken spring rolls ($8 during happy hour, $12 regularly) and had a couple rounds of beer. I have never drank so much free beer or ate so much free delicious food as I have with this company.
4/24 – RPM Steak for Chicago Chef Week
I got my first cavity filled today and was worried my mouth would be too numb to properly chew dinner, but luckily I got it together about an hour before my reservation. I went with some co-workers to RPM Steak for the first time in my life. Everyone talks about how RPM (both Italian and Steak) is a must-do. It’s rather pricey, so I would reserve this spot for a special occasion. Luckily, RPM was one of the restaurants participating in Chicago Chef Week and had a 4 course menu with plenty of choices for $44. Done. After realizing that RPM Steak is a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, I paid using a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. This was honestly the best dinner out I’ve ever had, which I can say without even thinking about it. That good. Our waitress (Jennifer) was amazing. AND WE MET GIULIANA AND BILL RANCIC. This could not have been a more perfect night.
4/25 – Birthday at Hubbard Inn
It was a friend’s birthday and we went to Hubbard Inn to celebrate. I have been wanting to go there for a while, so this was the perfect excuse. They have tons of beers on tap and good food (though a little expensive). They even brought my friend two free bottles of champagne for waiting a little longer than expected for a table… now that’s service.
4/26 – Groupon at HALA IN
So I was going to go to C2E2 today, but that’s a frustrating story. Basically, my name was never put on the guest list after winning a contest through the Freebie App. So I altered my plans and checked out Vice District Brewing. Definitely not a Cheap Ass place ($15 for two beers), but it was delicious and a quirky spot. They have board games and popcorn (win). Determined to use some of the Groupons I had purchased for eating out in my current neighborhood (Lakeview) before moving to my new neighborhood (Roscoe Village), my boyfriend and I checked out HALA IN after hitting up the gym. HALA IN has some beautiful-looking Mediterranean food. For $22 we got $40 worth of food – two sides (hummus, falafel), pita bread, an entree with rice, and dessert. Here’s a pro-tip: Groupon frequently has 20-25% off sales on top of their local deals. Try to wait for those deals for ridiculous savings on food.
Check back next week for another roundup of what I did!