Shaw’s Oyster Bar

It’s been a while since my husband and I went out for dinner during the week. We just didn’t feel like cooking this week and wanted something casual in the River North neighborhood. We decided to try Shaw’s Oyster Bar which is just around the corner from the Hampton! When we walked in, there were numerous high-top tables situated throughout the bar area and a definite buzz and feeling of excitement flowing throughout the restaurant. Overall, a great exciting first impression. We were greeted and promptly seated.

Oyster Bar

Oyster Bar

Our server approached our table within the first two minutes after we had sat down. His attire was crisp and professional – a black vest, black tie, black pants, and white shirt. His casual professionalism and overall personality made us feel welcome and excited to begin our meal. When it came time to start discussing food and drink options, he was able to answer all of our questions and gave several excellent recommendations. By the way he described the preparation and presentation of the appetizer and entrée recommendations, you could tell he had a great knowledge of the menu and that he was confident answering all of our questions.

The Menu

The Menu

We started with the Godzilla Maki Roll which had six generous pieces of fresh maki made with a colorful mix of smoked salmon, avocado, shrimp tempura, and unagi accompanied by a small portion of wasabi and ginger on a white rectangular dish. Very refreshing and enjoyable overall! The overall textural balance between the crunch of the shrimp tempura and the softness of the smoked salmon, unagi, and avocado was amazing. Great appetizer option. We would 100% order this again.

I ordered the Grilled Columbia River King Salmon for an entrée. The salmon filet was served atop sautéed spinach and bacon pieces and topped with a cool heirloom tomato salsa served on a large oval plate. Great sizeable dish overall. The tenderness of the salmon filet paired extremely well with the cool crispness of the heirloom tomato salsa and the saltiness of the sautéed spinach and bacon. The tomato salsa also added a great color to the dish. Great entrée selection overall!

What is dinner without dessert? Selecting which one is always such a tough call. Shaw’s make this easy with the Dessert Sampler! Small taste portions of raspberry pie, chocolate cake, key lime pie, and crème brulee served with a small dollop of whipped cream on a long rectangular plate. Wow! A great dessert option overall! The raspberry pie and whipped cream were very refreshing and sweet. The chocolate cake was very rich and decadent overall. The key lime pie was very light, tart, and refreshing and the small dish of crème brulee very rich and flavorful and prepared perfectly with a crisp topping and cool smooth interior. Great dessert option!

The overall pace of the meal was excellent. We had enough time to savor each course without feeling rushed. Each dish was presented and prepared very well. Our server was very attentive throughout the meal and maintained the cleanliness and the order of the table. We can’t wait to go back to Shaw’s Oyster bar. This restaurant is an excellent value, the food quality and presentation is excellent overall. We really liked its fun, welcoming, and casual atmosphere.

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Comedy – A Must Do!

Just moving to Chicago from the east coast, the greater Washington D.C. Metro area, the expectation for city greatness has been set quite high. For those of you who have traveled to the greater DC area know there are very few cities that can rival the tourists “hoopla” of DC. Over the last six months I have challenged myself to explore and experience everything that the city has to offer. I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed and Chicago is not only a city that rivals but may prove to be a better city for tourists, in my humble opinion.

There are so many great things to do in Chicago, but the one thing that I have found that is unique to Chicago is the Comedy Club Scene. While well known for its exquisite Hot Dogs, Deep Dish pizza and the city’s pride and joy ‘Da Bears, their comedy scene is a hidden treasure that all must experience. Within 5 miles of the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Chicago, there are some world famous comedy clubs that has produced some of the world’s most talented funny people.

The Second City is one of the most famous clubs we have in Chicago, providing comedic relief for the masses seven days a week. I first experienced this “Gem” over the Christmas Holiday with my parents. Truly a treat for us all, although my parents and I have very different comedic pallets the stellar cast made the experience both memorable and enjoyable. Producing some of the greats such as Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, and the blues brothers Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi you know you are in for some good quality fun.

The Second City

The Second City

If you find yourself in the mood for a more intimate setting with some comedy that has some “bite”. Then look no further then The Comedy Bar located in River North. Just a few short blocks from the front doors of the Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown, there truly isn’t a better deal in the River North area for an evening of entertainment. At $10.00 a ticket you can see some of the most promising new comers to the Comedy Scene. After you are done with the laughs if you feel like busting a move look no further than the bar\club they have on the second floor. Cover included with admission.

The Comedy Bar

The Comedy Bar

There are so many great clubs to just stop in on any given day and catch a laugh or two, so come on down and experience one or two for yourself.

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Snickers Bar & Grill

Dive bars are few and far between in Chicago’s River North Neighborhood. But every once and a while I will get a guest who will ask me where a good local joint to grab a beer and watch the game. Go no further than at the end of our block on the corner of Illinois & State street where you will find Snickers. You can look it up on Yelp and find out what the reviewer say about it, but the common theme is that they don’t have one common type of crowed. You will find the 80 year old grandpa, the 22 year old frat boy and a hotel general manager cheering on their hometown favorite teams.

Snickers Bar & Grill

It doesn’t have a pretentious atmosphere or a bouncer at the door. They welcome just about anyone in who is willing to keep a bar stool warm. They serve Greek food, that I understand ain’t half bad. It’s not the kind of place you order wine from. They have a pretty good bottled beer selection and a few beers on tap. I’m pretty sure they go through about a case of Jameson a night on the weekends from the amount of shots I’ve seen them pour (note the $2 shot sign in the window).

Sometimes on a night out, you don’t want to have to scream to the person next to you or listen to the thump of the DJ booth. When it’s that kind of night out, give Snickers a try.

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