1) This article previewing Kenosha Restaurant Week was our most viewed post in 2015. Each year I look forward to Chicago's Restaurant Week and try out someplace new. It's cool that our neighboring state of Wisconsin has a place just over the border where the trend has caught on.
2) Ben's Soft Pretzels opened a location in the Meijer Store in Highland, IN and I stopped by to get the scoop. This fast growing franchise serves up the most delicious soft pretzels. Definitely worth a stop any and every time you come across one of their stores.
3) Punch Bowl Social in Schaumburg opened as 2015 was coming to an end. The uber fun spot offers everything from bowling to bocce to foosball to darts to old school arcade games AND has an AMAZING menu. I'm still thinking about that sweet tea brined chicken. Oh, yum!
4) I did several posts on Locavore Farm in Grant Park, but this one was the most viewed. The place, which opened this year, is amazingly peaceful and the details were breathtaking! I was there on a couple of occasions and was wowed by everything. I just adore the entire concept of the place and wish them well as they continue to grow
5) La Voute Bistro and Bar in La Banque Hotel in Homewood was definitely a highlight of the year. There's nothing like it in the south suburbs. The hotel and restaurant opened in the summer of 2015 and it is beyond stunning. I love the attention to detail throughout and the fact that they used so many elements of the former bank in creating this lovely hotel and eatery. As you enjoy your meal, you absolutely feel like you're at a swanky spot in the city rather than in a distant suburb. Well, not all that distant, especially if you hop on the Metra train at the station that is just a half-block away. So, listen up city folks - it's totally worth a trek out to the burbs and it's very easy to get there. When I looked at this post, I realize that although I took a ton of appetizing photos that were shared on social media, I didn't get around to sharing them on a blog post, so that will be coming soon.
5) My post on the opening of Go Roma in Glenview was viewed heavily. I had never been to a Go Roma before, but I have returned even through it's a bit of a drive for me. It's fast casual at its best. Everything was of high quality and even though it's prepared and served quickly, the taste and presentation are worthy of a fine dining city experience.
6) A popped up a short preview post on the new Toast and Jam in Schererville, IN. It opened in May and I somehow have still not made it there, but it is for sure on my 2016 foodie bucket list. I have heard nothing but great things about the food and service. I've even interviewed one of the owners for an article I did for a special section of the Times newspapers on make ahead breakfasts for the holidays. She shared a Mediterranean Strata recipe (view the article here.) I'm looking forward to getting there and trying it out for myself.
7) You will find several posts on the Journeyman Distillery on our blog, but this one garnered a lot of views this year. Three Oaks is a happy place for my husband and I where we like to spend time in the summer months with the family and sometimes take a drive up for the day just for lunch or to hang out, usually paired with a visit to New Buffalo to spend time on the beach or just for a view of the lake. One of our favorite places to stop is the Journeyman Distillery. Even if you don't make it up to Michigan often, Journeyman is likely familiar. It's available in our area and many of the top restaurants in the city serve their spirits.
8) On a winter visit to Milwaukee, we had brunch at Cafe Hollander and it was one of the posts that was well viewed n 2015. Loved everything about this place - the immersion into a culture far, far away, the laid back vibe, the fantastic food and the atmosphere. Their housemate sausage was wonderful and I loved the beer cheese sauce with my eggs. It'll definitely be on the itinerary as a foodie spot on any future visits to the Milwaukee area.
9) Valpo Beer Rally was a first-time event in 2015 that was like the Valpo Brewfest on a smaller scale. Smaller venue. Smaller crowd (tickets were limited to 300). Fewer beer vendors - and all were local. It was also a nighttime event vs. the annual daytime event that beer aficionados flock to each September at Central Park Plaza. I really liked the event. Hard core craft beer followers might be looking for more of a selection and variety in beers, but if you just want to enjoy an evening sipping on craft beer in a smaller, more mellow crowd, this is the place to do it.
10) Timbrook Kitchens in Munster, Indiana is a favorite local cafe that I've posted on several times. I stop there often to pick up breakfast. The post I wrote on the baby shower I held there for my sister garnered many views. It was a nice, casual affair with a few girls to celebrate Becky's upcoming arrival and for lunch we had a beautiful salad, some savory pies, quiches, croissant sandwiches and several desserts.
11) Dolce Italian opened in 2015 in the Godfrey Hotel and it was one of the best meals I had all year. There was a pasta dish with pesto that I still think about months later. The pizza was a fantastic work of art with one of the most amazing crispy crusts I have ever had.
12) Another post that had a large number of views was a brief post on a local bakery that opened up this past summer - La Rosa de Guadalupe Bakery. I only made one visit there right after the opening and haven't been back, but since I pass by there often, I'll make a point to check in and see how the place is doing.
13) Becky's post on her AMC Theatre experience was also one that saw some heavy traffic. She attended the launch of Lombard's luxury theatre menu where you can sink back in a comfortable seat and enjoy some tasty bites from a nice menu offering way more than the standard popcorn, nachos and hot dogs that many places are limited to. Oh, and you can also order beer to have with your movie, so that's a big bonus.
14) One of my favorite food events each year is the Naperville Ribfest, which has grown to be one of the biggest fests in the area. It's multi-day fest that takes place the week of July 4th with top notch entertainment, a kids area, rides, plenty of vendors and freebies -- and then there are the ribs and other barbecue specialties. I always go in wanting to try lots and lots of food, but never get as far as I plan. I did several posts about the fest and some of the barbecue masters I met, but the one on Johnson's BBQ got the most views of the bunch. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I can't wait until Ribfest 2016.