Zagat Chicago Blog Hop: My Best Night Out

In honor of the 2012 Chicago Restaurants and Nightlife Survey, Zagat reached out to me to be part of the first-ever Zagat Chicago Blog Hop. The assignment: Post about a special night out in Chicago. So here's the skinny, straight from the fat kid herself. I was a Yelper once. I Yelped a lot.

Yelp was the entirety of my social life for the first year I was in Chicago. I made a lot of friends, and holy crap, I ate a lot of food. (And I drank even more. But those are stories for my book — maybe — not this blog.)

  • Fellow Yelpers propped my hangover-addled body up at Kuma's as we feasted on design-your-own mac and cheese and my very first High on Fire.
  • I sampled Vietnamese fare at Simply It at a girls' night out.
  • I fell in love with mole and tres leches at Mixteco Grill.
  • On a day off from work, I stood in line to experience the most enchanting corn dog ever at Hot Doug's.
  • I discovered Café Tiztal's lovely, perfectly sweetened oatmeal shake over breakfast with a friend.
  • A date got us in to Publican shortly after it opened, and…there was pork. (And, in my review, really awful pork-themed innuendo.)

Somewhere along the way, I kind of grew out of Yelp. Maybe I just moved on to greener social pastures. But more than that, I think it was the idea of going out to a meal knowing it was all for the sake of rocketing home to write a pithy review… (You know how sometimes you'll talk to certain people and you can tell they're not even listening because they're already planning out what they're going to say back to you? Yeah, kind of like that.) It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

But if there's one thing Yelp taught me — besides how to write reviews others would FUC with abandon — it's that any meal can be fantastic when eaten with the right people. My best nights out really haven't been about the restaurants at all. Some of them haven't even been nights.

Chicago has many incredible dining establishments, some I'll only dream of patronizing (ahem, Alinea)…but in the end, if you can't remember the experience and the people you shared it with, all you'll have to show for it is a food baby and a big hole in your wallet.

So I did the assignment kind of wrong. But that's my way.

Read posts from the other bloggers…here!

Then vote for your favorite local spots in the 2012 Chicago Restaurants and Nightlife Survey (open until Jan. 16). And just for participating in the survey, you'll be eligible for a free copy of the 2012 Chicago Restaurants and Nightlife Guide…or entered to win a $500 "Night on the Town."