Thursday, December 4

What's Your Flavour?

You know how it goes, the dreaded "what should we eat for dinner" convo:

- "Where do you want to go for dinner?"
- "I don't know."
- "What are you in the mood for?"
- "Anything but sushi."
- "Then what do you want?"
- "I don't know."

Ugh.

Enter the Flavour app, an easy-to-navigate guide to help you answer this pesky little question. The app is simple and features a beautiful interface, and has launched in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles.  With a few taps, you can search neighborhoods, browse menus, and book tables based on cuisine, location or occasion. There are even categories for special features including BYOB, James Beard or Michelin Star winners,  outdoor dining or vegan friendly.




Flavour’s restaurant list is distilled from recognized food critics, local publications and industry experts and amended with social media data on the most visited and popular establishments to keep the list relevant. For each listing, Flavour includes highly recommended dishes, links to a full menu and the ability to make a reservation through integration with OpenTable. The Flavour app is available exclusively on the iPhone and is free to download and to use. 

I decided to download the Flavour app and test it out on a Saturday evening.  The app was easy to use, fast and helped me discover two places I had been meaning to try. I was joined by the BF and my friend JG and we headed out to Logan Square for cocktails. I chose Logan Square first on the app because I never seem to make it out there and there's a surplus of fantastic bars and restaurants.  Scrolling through the list of bars and restaurants on Flavour led me to Billy Sunday, a cocktail bar I'd been meaning to try. 

We were seated immediately and apparently had perfect timing because not only did it start to snow outside, the bar quickly filled up. It was dark and cozy inside, a stark contrast to the cold, white Chicago streets beyond the windows. The plan was to have some drinks and apps and then move on somewhere else for dinner. 

We started with the butternut squash hummus topped with crispy garbanzo beans (appropriately filed under the "things in jars" section of the menu). Since this is served a la carte, we tacked on an order of artisanal bread with cultured butter and sea salt. Nom nom nom. This was delicious--a hefty portion and that crusty bread...yum.

Artisanal Bread & Butternut Squash Hummus
Butternut Squash Hummus
When it comes to ordering drinks at a place known for its cocktails, I like to have server give their best recommendation. In this case, it was something off the menu, a Lion's Tail. This drink features whiskey, lime juice, simple syrup, pimento dram, and bitters. I loved it and wanted 10 more.

Lion's Tail
JG ordered a Hot Toddy which Billy Sunday was featuring that evening. It was perfect for the snowy night.

Hot Toddy
Next, I tried probably the most popular drink at Billy Sunday, an Old Fashioned. This was by far the best Old Fashioned I had ever tried. Perfectly balanced, smoky, citrusy.

Old Fashioned
The BF tried Handle With Care, appropriately named because of its contents--tequila, high proof falernum, and tonka bean bitters. There wasn't a ton of liquid in this one, but it was highly potent! The SPQR featured whiskey, quince, and pineapple bitters. Similar to the Old Fashioned, but slightly sweeter.

SPQR & Handle With Care
Billy Sunday is a great place for snacks and cocktails, and we lingered for quite some time. The place is not too big so I'd recommend arriving earlier in the evening for a table, or spot at the bar.

Our next stop on our Flavour adventure was to another part of town I don't frequently get to visit, Pilsen. We ended up at the building that houses Dusek'sPunch House, and Thalia Hall. We put our name in for a table at Dusek's and headed downstairs to Punch House for a drink and another app.

Punch House can only be described as a hybrid between your grandma's basement and a hipster paradise. The brown wood bar and low ceilings, combined with marlins on the wall, and more flannel than you could possibly imagine, led me to this conclusion. We immediately said, "Toto, we're not in River North anymore".

Punch House offers a selection of classic and contemporary punches, other cocktails, and bites. We tried the contemporary Dusek Punch #3 with two rums, saison, hibiscus, passion fruit, and lime. It basically had all of the flavors I love in a drink, so I had no problem drinking that.

Dusek Punch #3
We were hungry while waiting for our table so we ordered the oven roasted crab dip. The dip was super crabby (in a good way) and fresh. It came with a side of pull-apart bread for dipping.

Oven Roasted Crab Dip
When our table was ready at Dusek's, we headed upstairs. The menu at Dusek's is heavily beer-focused. They have a selection of 24 beers on tap, as well as cocktails. Food specials change frequently and there is a nice selection of seafood on the menu.

After ordering some beers on draft, we quickly ordered since we were so hungry. The menu at Dusek's is extremely varied, which is evidenced by our selections. JG ordered the roasted half chicken with potato salad, spring onion, chanterelles, and mustard jus. It was juicy and tender and perfectly roasted.

Roasted Half Chicken
The BF ordered the Juicy Lucy, AKA the burger. I'm pretty sure he ordered it just for the side of beef fat fries, but, nonetheless, it was a tasty burger. The Slagel Farms beef patty was topped with a red onion bacon marmalade, butter lettuce, and heirloom tomato. The hefty portion of fries made the burger look teeny tiny. Was it the best burger? No. Was it worthy of the name Juicy Lucy. Oh yeah.

Juicy Lucy
Last but not least, I splurged on a classic Maine lobster roll. The portion of lobster meat was super fresh, and not to mention HUGE. The gooey, buttery New England split bun was properly dressed with bibb lettuce and delicious lobster. There wasn't too much mayo which I liked. I also may or may not have been swayed to order the lobster roll because of the side of beef fat fries. These fries are now on my list of favorite fries in the city (along with the likes of Smoque, and Hot Doug's--RIP).

Maine Lobster Roll
Here's a close-up of that buttery lobster roll and beef fat fries... 

:drool:

Maine Lobster Roll
By the end of the night we were stuffed. It was such a fun culinary adventure, all with the help of the Flavour app. Thanks to the app, we were able to venture to places in the city we don't frequently visit (not having a car makes things tough!), but had always wanted to try!

Check out the Flavour app in the iTunes app store and start exploring!

Note: this post was sponsored by Flavour; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Billy Sunday
www.billy-sunday.com
3143 W. Logan Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647
773.661.2485
Billy Sunday on Urbanspoon

Punch House
www.punchhousechicago.com
1227 W. 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
312.526.3851
Punch House on Urbanspoon

Dusek's 
www.dusekschicago.com
1227 W. 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
312.526.3851
Dusek's on Urbanspoon

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