July has been another busy month full of fun foodie events!
I attended the grand opening for Surf Chicago, a casual eatery in Logan Square. This new venture by owners of Emporium Arcade Bar aims to bring a beach vibe to the neighborhood along with some fun cocktails and food. While a lot of places are trying the tropical décor these days, Surf nails it! Colorful surfboards and palm trees galore, once you have that beach cocktail in hand, you won’t know you’re in Chicago anymore. The menu is succinct but the idea is simple eats and a fun vibe. We had some delicious no fuss Cheese and Hawaiian Pizza, tasty nachos and a few tubular craft cocktails. If you’re too busy to plan your next island vacation let Surf appease your wanderlust in the mean time!
That same night, we were invited to a seafood tasting at Mahalo, the newest buzz in Wicker Park. Another tropical themed restaurant with a Hawaiian focus! Chef Ryan Wombacher sent out a full spread of his favorites such as Crab Dumplings, Tuna Poke and Coconut Shrimp. And my new favorite at Mahalo- The BBQ Shrimp & Grits, which came with Gulf shrimp, Kona bbq sauce, pineapple and smoked gouda grits. So good, I almost swooned with the first bite! I also heard the meat eaters at the tables raving about the Royal Loco, which was the braised short rib in teriyaki demi served over easy egg. The cocktails are addictive; it’s like the ingredients in our drinks and the flavors of our food were conspiring on how to get us to keep consuming more. One more bite and one more sip later, I was a fully satisfied food blogger ready to go home, pass out…and dream about that shrimp!
The next week I went to Devon Seafood Grill’s New Oyster Bar opening party and got to experience their new raw bar as well as try a plethora of menu selections and signature cocktails. The evening theme was Boom Shucka Lucka and I certainly felt lucky to be shucking the freshest Blue Point oysters at this restaurant with other foodies I hadn’t seen in awhile. The event wasn’t limited to the raw bar either as we sampled a big spread of items such as the Big Eye Tuna Poke, Fried Calamari and Grilled Octopus. My favorite however and by favorite I mean the one I excessively indulged in was the Corn Breaded Rock Shrimp in white bbq sauce, espellete pepper rouille and cherry peppers. A smooth yet crispy batter coating tiny, plump shrimp and giving off a sweet and sour taste. Also for my vegetarian friends, you can rely on filling up entirely on a big plate of their Wasabi Vegetable Tempura that’s served with mustard vinaigrette and sprinkled with Sriracha flakes. You will not be displeased! Another dish to rave about is the Smoked Salmon Carpaccio & Shrimp Ceviche. Tiny shrimp in a mango, red & yellow pepper pico with jalapenos, mint and ginger vinaigrette accompanied by spiced wonton crisps. Attending this event reinforced for me that, if you’re a true seafood lover, a place like Devon will offer you numerous options and do everything to challenge your pescetarian palette!