In light of the newly released movie with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell, I thought it might be fun to talk about what makes up a typical date night for parents in Chi-Town. Granted, our nights on the town don't involve guns, mayhem and a shirtless Mark Wahlberg, but we do like to get out for some kid-free time.
Sometimes we catch a show at the Old Town School of Folk Music, sometimes we meet up with friends, but 9 times out of 10, we just go out for dinner on our own. And our favorite place to do so is Hopleaf, up in Andersonville.
We like Hopleaf for a number of reasons. Our bill is never more than $100 (and usually less than $75). They don't take reservations, so there is always a significant wait. This might sound like a drawback, but for two working parents who rarely have time to connect one-on-one, an hour and a half wait in a charming bar is actually a very good thing.
Finally, we love the food and drinks at Hopleaf. There are dozens of (amazing) beers on tap, and their food is wonderful. They focus on seasonal and local foods wherever possible which is terrific, but their specialty is, without a doubt, their mussels. Served with a cone of Belgian-style French fries and a little tub of luscious aioli (garlic mayonnaise), these are the best mussels in the city. My other favorite dish is the CBJ, a panini comprised of sourdough, cashew butter, morbier cheese and fig jam. The combination might sound a bit wacky, but believe me, it works.