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#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game
CheapWeek,

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

5/11 – Cosi and Geja’s Cafe

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

If you read last week’s #CheapWeek, You’ll know that I’ve been systematically trying the best salads the Loop has to offer for a future post. Today I went to Cosi and had their Baja salad for free! Blogging definitely has it’s perks. They sent me a few extra free entree cards, so I’ll be back soon!

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

Today was a great day for food. Beatrix had a text offer for BOGO cookies. These things are as big as my hand (and way more delicious).

I’ve had my eye on this set of pantry organizers for awhile. They’re $100 for a set of 10 different sized containers, and I was just waiting for a good reason to pull the trigger. Even Amazon couldn’t offer a better price. Then I thought outside of the box… They have these organizers at Bed Bath & Beyond, and Bed Bath & Beyond always has 20% off coupons. Score! The moral of the story, if you’ve got your eye on a product that never goes on sale, find a place that has non-exclusionary sales.

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

I owed my boyfriend a nice dinner out and it just so happened that a Groupon I bought for Geja’s Cafe was about to expire. After he took me to RPM Italian last week, it was only fair that I should return the favor with a romantic date night experience. The restauranteur behind Geja’s Cafe came into Groupon while I still worked there, and I was inspired by his passion for the restaurant. Anyways, we had a blast. The food was incredible. I’ve never been to a fondue restaurant before so it was a treat. The Groupon covered $65 worth of the food, and Spring Rewards kicked me back an additional $15. It would’ve been quite expensive, but careful planning made it less so.

5/12 – Postmates Panera Deal and Cemitas Puebla from DoorDash

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

Postmates has awesome freebie deals all the time, I’m guessing, as an attempt to raise awareness for the brand and acquire new users. This week, they offered free Panera “You Pick 2” and I happen to have a lot of free delivery credits available. Lunch never tastes as good as when it’s free.

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

I was not feeling awesome today, and was lazier than usual, so I decided to pull the trigger on checking out DoorDash. GiltCity frequently has free offers to try new companies, and I managed to score $15 off. DoorDash apparently also gives you a free $5 credit on your first order. So I got a cemita from Cemitas Puebla and some kick-ass guacamole and chips with delivery for free! My delivery guy was a little late (though nothing ridiculous), so they proactively credited my account with another $10. Great customer service, all around – I will use it again.

5/13 – Free Ubereats from DMK and Sopraffina

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

This week was one of the best weeks for free food to date. I hope you have an account with Uber, because they’ve been sending out free promo codes for their new service, UberEats. If you haven’t heard about it yet, basically, Uber curates a menu each week with selected items from a couple restaurants each day. You might have read about how much I love DMK Restaurants – so I used my free promo on a patty melt they offered this week. Also a turkey sandwich from Sopraffina. Just paid $5 after saving $20!

5/14 – Krewella concert!

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

So every once in awhile, something truly amazing happens. This time, it was Krewella coming to Chicago for a free show, sponsored by Pandora. But that’s not all. There was a FREE OPEN BAR. And, we left the show with a free portable phone charger. Yes, there are miracles.

Also worth noting is my second blog post for Choose Chicago went live today. Check it out of you want an in-depth look at Wine Festivals coming to Chicago this summer.

5/15 – Rest

I spent today recovering from the craziness from the rest of the week. Nothing terribly exciting happened, but it was a much needed break.

5/16 – Cubs Game

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

One of my best friends from college came to Chicago to visit this weekend, and wanted to check out a Cubs game. It was the first one I attended of the season, and I was trying to find the best price for tickets. I ended up waiting until the last minute, when what I should’ve done was wait until a day or two before. Tickets costed $35 where I could’ve got them for $20. Oh well, live and learn. My sources tell me that since school is out, tickets will be harder to get at great prices closer to the game, so plan accordingly!

5/17 – iO Theater

#CheapWeek: Krewella, UberEats, and a Cubs Game

My beautiful best friend is making her way up in the modeling/acting/improv world and I was privileged to see her in her element. I went to see her student show at iO Theater, and it was only $5 for multiple acts of student talent. Check it out! They have good food and drink to complement the comedy.

Don’t just read about good deals – get them yourself! Find of-the-moment updates by liking Chicago Cheap Ass on Facebook.

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CheapWeek,

#CheapWeek: 5/4 – 5/10

5/4 – BMA and Maggiano’s

This week was a busy one for me, especially as far as professional development goes. On Monday, I attended the Business Marketing Association (BMA)’s event “An Afternoon with the Stars” at 1871. I love 1871, because it’s such a cool community of entrepreneurs and startups. Just being there makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. We have a partnership where we handle BMA’s social media channels and in return, get to attend the events for free. There are a lot of really cool events and speakers, and the lunch events are usually at Maggiano’s, which is an added bonus. I think a lesson can be learned from BMA and Social Media Beast’s partnership – bartering isn’t dead. If you have a skill that would help a business you’re obsessed with, you might be able to make a trade.

Anyways – speaking of Maggiano’s… My boyfriend had a gift card to go, so we went after the networking event. I don’t know if I’m late to the game on this or what, but Marco’s Meal for Two is an incredible value. You share an appetizer, get two entrees to eat in the restaurant, two to take home, and a dessert. That’s four complete meals (two per person) for $40 total ($20 per person). It’s some heavy stuff, so I don’t recommend it on a regular basis, but it was a nice treat. Our waiter was awesome, so extra points for that.

5/5 – Einstein Bros Bagels and Argo Tea

coup

I got a coupon for BOGO breakfast sandwiches from Einstein and decided to use it this morning. If you haven’t already, sign up for their email newsletter. That’s $6 for two ridiculously good breakfast sandwiches that I spaced out over two days.

Argo Tea sent me $5 to spend for Cinco de Mayo, which I used on my favorite beverage – the White Tea Acai Squeeze. They send out $2-5 in savings every other week or so, so you should probably join their loyalty program if you’re as obsessed with Argo Tea as I am.

I went to another networking event at Cole Haan, but ate dinner at my boyfriend’s place. We’re starting a tradition of making our Cinco de Mayo fare at home, because it’s not worth battling the crowds at the bars and Mexican restaurants. Besides, tacos made at home last for days.

5/6 – Protein Bar and Hot Pursuit

Protein Bar

Today I started my salad tasting rounds for an upcoming article about the best bang for your buck regarding salads in the Loop. I went to Protein Bar and met brand evangelist Teddy who let me try an asian salad and wrap. More on that to come!

Hot Pursuit

Later that night, I went to a pre-screening with an old friend from high school. We saw Hot Pursuit, and you totally could too if you read this article about how to see movies on the cheap.

5/7 – Freshii, Naansense, and the Digital Professional Institute

Freshii

Today was day two of salad tasting, and I went to Freshii to see how it compares to Protein Bar. I met the General Manager, Nick, who walked me through a couple different menu items and let me taste their kefir froyo, a delicious chicken salad, and a green smoothie. Check out my full write-up in the next week or two!

Naansense

I knew I’d be in the Loop until at least 8pm, so I grabbed dinner at Naansense. Have you heard of the Freebie app? It’s currently based in Chicago and you can try new businesses for free based on your social influence. So I got a free Chicken Naanwich and it was divine.

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Right after, I hoofed it over to the Digital Professional Institute for a free SEO strategy session with Leslie Herskowitz of Performics. Using case studies from big e-tailers she’s worked with, we learned more about getting found via search. This is becoming more and more important to me as I build up ChicagoCheapAss.com! Follow the Digital Professional Institute for more free and paid events. I just signed up for a few more.

5/8 – RPM Italian and Kelsey’s Bar

Today was an exciting day. My boyfriend’s brother proposed to his girlfriend. They make an awesome couple and it was really a matter of time until everything was official. My boyfriend and I tagged along for the festivities and celebrated with the happy couple at RPM Italian. I’m so spoiled having gotten to check out both RPM Italian and RPM Steak in the same month… Anyways, while neither of those places is “cheap” by nature, they comped $40 from the bill under a “Birthday” stipulation to make the engagement dinner a little more special. I’d say one of those two occasions would be a good time to check out either of the RPM’s… just make sure to tell your waiter what you’re celebrating!

Einstein Bros Bagels

After RPM, we went to Kelsey’s in Lincoln Park. Word on the street is that if you sweet talk Brooke she may throw you some free shots… just make sure to tip well!

5/9 – Fishing in Mchenry, IL

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The rest of my weekend was spent with family and friends. Today I joined my boyfriend with his good friends at one of their lakehouses. I caught a catfish. It was pretty baller.

5/10 – Mother’s Day!

Today was spent in the suburbs with my family celebrating Mother’s Day. I got my mom a pretty nice gift, but then she turns around and brings me a present, too. What an amazing lady. It’s a belt with a beer opener buckle she found while thrifting. One of these days I’ll write a post (with the help of my mother) about how to thrift, where to go, etc. She’s the one who taught me how to never pay full price for anything. She’s my inspiration.

chicago cheap ass (7)
Food,

Chicago Chef Week: Save or Splurge?

You can’t be a true Chicagoan without knowing the majesty of Chicago Restaurant Week. It’s a week full of excuses to eat at some of Chicago’s finest dining establishments with multiple-course prix-fixe menus that will set you back $22 for lunch, and $33 or $44 for dinner.

First off… what the heck is Chicago Chef Week?

I asked their social media team.

I had actually not heard of it prior to a one-off email from Opentable. But it seems to take a very similar approach, though is run by a different organization, than Chicago Restaurant Week. There are not quite as many restaurant participants, but that’s part of the strategy. They proactively reach out to chef-driven restaurants and allow submissions as well. Pricing is just slightly different – $22 for lunch at select restaurants, $44 for a four course dinner at all participating restaurants. There tends to be one choice with the prix-fixe menus – not as many substitutions or choices within the courses (as in Chicago Restaurant Week). For 2015, Chicago Chef Week runs April 19-24.

Some deals are more worth it than others. So what should you do – Save or Splurge? A general rule of thumb is that if you can find the items on their Chicago Chef Week menu on their regular menu, it’s a great deal. I’m not even going to try to persuade or dissuade you from any of the 70+ participating restaurants, but I will give you a game plan. The common theme among my picks is this – you should check out all of these restaurants, but plan it around other current events and specials, not just Chicago Chef Week.

Best bets for Chicago Chef Week

Piccolo Sogno Due lunch - Chicago Chef Week

From: https://www.facebook.com/PiccoloSognoDue
Lunch at Piccolo Sogno Due

I’ll definitely be checking out Piccolo Sogno Due for lunch. Three courses for $22 and just a few blocks from the office? Sold. They had a special Chicago Restaurant Week menu as well so this kind of thing is right up their alley. Plus, they offer a lot of different choices so I know my dining mate and I will both get what we want without compromise.

I also want to go to RPM steak for dinner, since they would usually be way outside of my price range. They both offer wine pairings with dinner so you can get an idea of how much the dinner will set you back. RPM Steak’s menu would set you back $47 without the garlic bread if you ordered the least expensive items. I initially wanted to go to RPM Italian, but don’t see a lot of crossover between the items on their Chicago Chef Week menu and their normal menu. If I’m going to RPM Italian, I want to have the best possible experience, so I’ll wait on this one.

From Japonais' Marketing Team

From Japonais’ Marketing Team

I used to work at Groupon, and Japonais was on the first floor of the building. It’s usually on the pricier side. If you’re a sushi lover, here’s your chance to experience a four course dinner by Iron Chef Marimoto for just $44. Without dessert and ordering the lowest-priced options on this prix-fixe would set you back $45.

Blackbird Chicago Chef Week

Used with permission from Blackbird’s marketing team

Blackbird is only offering lunch, but it’s the same as their regular prix-fixe menu which is usually $25… a $3 savings. No BS here, it’s worth a spend.

From: ttps://www.facebook.com/ceres.table/ The $22 dinner special

From: https://www.facebook.com/ceres.table/
The $22 dinner special

Ceres Table is an Italian restaurant in Lakeview that I waited to check out until my parents owed me a birthday dinner so I could try out their full menu without reservation. They have a $22 3 course dinner deal running most days. There’s also a $40 prix-fixe menu special that’s on going in honor of their Bib Gourmand. Without seeing their exact menu, I’d say your Chicago Chef Week time is better spent checking out a place that rarely has any specials.

A10 Chicago Chef Week

Used with permission from A10’s marketing team

A10 is another Bib Gourmand restaurant that’s privy to running deals. In fact, they currently have a Groupon deal live for $69 for two people, drinks included. Save your Chicago Chef Week experience for another restaurant and enjoy this one with the Groupon.

Bread & Wine seems like a good bet for dinner, but a better deal is their current Gilt City promotion – dinner for 2 for $55. Word on the street is that Gilt City is offering 25% off right now with code APRIL25.

I just went to an event at Mariano’s featuring chef John Coletta of Quartino. This dude can make cauliflower exciting – you won’t believe what he can do to pasta. Quartino specializes in Italian tapa-sized plates meant to be shared. So one of the best chef week specials may be their dinner menu, which gives you options off of the regular menu and is meant to be shared. That’s right – $44 for two people. You can buy $44 worth of wine to make up for it if you’d like.

I can’t end this article without mentioning Publican Quality Meats, because Chicago is obsessed with it. I just watched The Layover (an Anthony Bourdain production), which drew special attention to Publican in it’s Chicago episode. Price wise – this place is affordable on a regular day depending on what you’re buying. If their menu includes a charcuterie board, an entree, and dessert… it’s probably worth it for the full experience.

Not all of the menus are live yet, so I’ll update this post with more information as I receive it, if it’s especially pertinent.

Are you starting to get excited about Chicago Chef Week? Reserve a table on Opentable. You can also get more information and up-to-date menus on Chicago Chef Week’s website.

Which restaurants will you be checking out during Chicago Chef Week?