So You’re Not At Fashion Week?

With fashion week (well at least Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) starting today, I thought it would be fun to do something a little different…a not so typical kick-off-to-fashion-week post. If you came by on Tuesday and/or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m not in New York right now (not in Chicago either). BUT you don’t have to be on the other side of the world or in NYC to have a good time.

If you’re not currently running across Manhattan in 6-inch platforms hoping to get at least one non blurry runway photo on Instagram, here’s five fashion week alternatives to help you overcome that FOMO.

front row only, fashion week clutch

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Food Pairings: Schwa + Jeremy Scott

After being at the top of my “restaurants to try in Chicago” list or over 2 years now (this list is constantly growing by the way), I finally got to dine at Schwa. You have no idea how excited I get to cross a restaurant off this list (well technically just remove it from the notes section of my iPhone) but this one was especially thrilling.

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Nellcote Weekend Review Brunch Giveaway

What do you get when you mix Pitchfork music festival, Uber, Nellcote and Birchbox? Free brunch! Intrigued? Keep reading.

West Loop hot spot Nellcote is going all out to celebrate their new weekend brunch (known as Weekend Review) and it’s all happening Pitchfork weekend (July 14th & 15th). There will be a DJ spinning both days plus free Uber rides to Pitchfork! And if that wasn’t enough, I’m giving away a free brunch for Saturday, July 14th at Nellcote.

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Food Pairings: g.e.b. + Betsey Johnson

Over the weekend I dined at the latest Graham Elliot establishment–g.e.b (Graham Elliot Bistro) in West Loop.

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With an open kitchen (my favorite!) and loud rock music playing, I was immediately intrigued. The music was interesting because they played everything from Bob Dylan to MGMT and even dubstep (after 10pm). Graham has a whimsical aesthetic when it comes to food and he’s also a little bit “rock ‘n roll.” Both of which I associate with designer, Betsey Johnson. Both Graham and Betsey seem to not care what others think, but they just want to create something fun that people will enjoy…and they do.

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After sitting down and realizing the menu was on an old record, I was sold. Didn’t even have a morsel of food yet and I didn’t care…the menu was rad and I knew the food would be even better.

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Here’s a look at what I ate…

PhotobucketBeet, burrata and arugula salad

PhotobucketAsparagus, egg and gremolata

PhotobucketCalamari with chickpea and espelette

PhotobucketChicken with buttermilk and tarragon

PhotobucketChocolate hazelnut beignets  + poundcake with strawberries, rhubarb, basil

This meal was not only delicious but it was just a super fun experience. Although I’ve never attended myself, it seems like Betsey’s shows are the most fun to attend during fashion week. And dining at a Graham Elliot restaurant is always a fun thing to do in Chicago.

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Have you dined at g.e.b. yet? Would love to hear what you think!

Food Pairings: Altuzarra & Takashi

Over the weekend I went to Takashi with my best friend Jennifer (who by the way is on my favorite fashion app–Pose). As always in life, I’m thinking about two things–fashion and food. There was something about the creativity, approachability and restraint of the dishes at Takashi, which is the feeling I get when I look at Altuzarra’s Spring 2012 collection. It’s exciting, yet doesn’t go over the top…and it’s overall just so damn cool. Everything about the restaurant and the designer is flat out awesome.

Don’t believe me? Take a look…

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Course 1: The Winter Roll. Crisp and refreshing…with a little kick from the chili vinaigrette (kind of reminds me of the long sleeveless sweater and leather dress pairing later in the post)

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Course 2: Grilled Calamari. If it’s grilled and in the squid family, I am so down.

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Course 3: Scallops & Gnocchi. Most people consider Takashi to be an Asian restaurant, and although some dishes have an asian flare, this one couldn’t be far from! So decadent it was almost sinful to eat it (like I care…that thing was gone in like 30 seconds).

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Course 4: Seared Maine Skate Wing. Who would have thought to put skate wing over braised red cabbage, with a side of butternut squash agnolotti…with a cider-caper reduction? Chef Takashi. That’s who. Genius!

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Desserts (yes, we got 2!): Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Panna Cotta with Yuzu Gelée, Peach Compote, and Green Tea Shortbread (this tasted like an adult dreamsicle). Valrhona Milk Chocolate Sticky Cake with Caramelized Bananas, Drunken Raisin Puree, and Graham Cracker Ice Cream (yes, this actually happened). The perfect balance of sweets for the end of an amazing meal.

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So how does this relate to Joseph Altuzarra? He’s a French designer in the American fashion industry plus a restaurant doing contemporary French-American cuisine (with a Japanese twist…but you get the picture). The atmosphere at Takashi is not too fussy, just quaint and cool…and located in one of the raddest neighborhoods in Chicago. And when I think of Altuzarra “cool” and “rad” are the first two words that come to mind.

And having nothing to do with the post (except it was taken at Takashi with my bestie), I had to share this sweet instagram.

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#PointedToeShoesAndStars…yes!

As  closing note…I can’t emphasize how incredible of a designer Joseph Altuzarra is (and I’m not just saying that because he used to work at Proenza…it’s true!)

But to make him even cooler than he already is…this is what he was recently quoted in the Washington Post: “It’s a very French thing: I never exercise and I love pastries.” I’m not French, but I couldn’t agree more!