Author Archives: Miro McPherson

Restaurant Spotlight: Big Eating at Bottlefork

Restaurant Spotlight: Big Eating at Bottlefork


The favorite Rockit Ranch Productions presents the comfortably sharp Bottlefork Bar and Kitchen. Among all the wonderful restaurants that River North has to offer, Bottlefork stands tall as one of the best. Just as perfectly highlighted in the “Our Story” of their website, “…Bottlefork is a representation of the seamless partnership of the food and beverage coming together to create the perfect marriage of food and drink.” Bottlefork serves a similar audience as their next-door neighbor, Bub City, but with a completely different and uniquely special atmosphere. The restaurant is dimly lit with beautiful wood tones that highlight the bottled drinks effortlessly.


Beginning with the drinks, the options are nearly endless but the “Bottlefork Original Cocktails” are always a safe and yummy place to start. “Big Salty Tears”, sounds like an odd pairing of ingredients (Lustau Palo Cortado & East India Solera Sherries, Rittenhouse Rye, Lemon, Maple, Orange Flower Water & Egg) but is certainly worth being adventurous.


Bottlefork Drinks


Next, for the appetizer, every table in the restaurant at dinnertime seems to order the ““Bag” of crisps and egg” with good reason. In essence, the bag of crisps is a brown paper bag of potato chips accompanied to the table by a small dish of a poached egg. The waiters drop the egg in the bag at the table and shake it up to make a delicious pairing of the chips and egg. Other great appetizers are the Popcorn Sweetbreads or the Deviled Eggs, which have a nice modern twist.


Bottlefork Appetizers


The best part, the entrée at Bottlefork, is referred to as ”shareables” with the idea that each party chooses a few plates to enjoy together family style. A strong recommendation is the Potato Gnocchi with Spring Mushrooms, Stinging Nettles and Fresh Goat Cheese. This is the perfect size to compliment other dishes because it offers enough bites for everyone to get a good sense of the unique flavor and despite being shared, the potato is still nice and filling. Even for those who don’t care for mushrooms the combination of the stinging nettles and goat cheese helps to give them a new and different pleasing flavor.


Bottlefork Shareables


Lastly, when it comes to everyone’s favorite course, Bottlefork doesn’t fail to impress: dessert is truly the best part. Guests have the opportunity to choose from the creamery or desserts in a glass. From the creamery, the Pretzel Caramel Sundae is a favorite. That delectable sweet and salty mix that comes from caramel popcorn, salted caramel, or M&M’s on popcorn, is delivered perfectly in the Pretzel Caramel Sundae.


Visit Bottlefork Bar and Kitchen soon to create your own wonderful experience and find your favorite dishes- you won’t be disappointed.



Jack Daniel’s Patio Opens at Wrigley Field

Jack Daniel’s Patio Opens at Wrigley Field


I recently had the pleasure of watching the Cubs play on a sunny afternoon, with a whiskey in my hand, celebrating the opening of the new Jack Daniel’s patio at Wrigley Field.


July 24 marked the grand opening of the new patio at Wrigley Field and Tennessee’s Jack Daniel’s made the experience great! Women in Jack Daniel’s dresses lined the path up to the patio where there was food, plenty of whiskey to go around, and a meet-and-greet with the Assistant Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher. Fletcher shook hands and let us sample the whiskey before he went down to the field to throw the first pitch.


My favorite part of the evening was the opportunity to speak with Fletcher himself and hear about his history with Jack Daniel’s and interesting facts about the company.


Jack Daniel was one of 13 siblings in his native Lynchburg, TN. He was a young age when his mother passed, and he ran away to live with a Lutheran preacher. This Lutheran preacher was one of a kind as he made whiskey himself and taught Jack the art.


One of the most important and distinct features of Jack Daniel’s whiskey is the charcoal. The charcoal is made in Lynchburg to add color and smoothness to the whiskey, and qualifies it as genuine Tennessee Whiskey. The barrel is also very integral to the distinct nature of Jack Daniel’s and affects the taste of the whiskey significantly. At Jack Daniel’s, they are the only whiskey distiller in the world to make their own barrels. In order to be designated Tennessee Whiskey, it must be made and matured in Tennessee. Typical maturation in the barrels is about four to seven years.


The pre-game festivities concluded with Fletcher throwing the opening pitch of the game in celebration of the new patio. As fun as it would be to call myself a “master distiller,” I got to learn just how mechanical and scientific the distilling process is and that Fletcher truly is a professional whiskey chemist – how cool is that?!


According to Jack Daniel’s, “Located behind section 420 of the upper deck, the new patio is a place for fans to congregate, take in a great view of the Chicago skyline, while enjoying Jack Daniel’s specialty cocktails and ballpark fare. An added feature, the patio has been newly rebranded with customized wooden tables inspired by Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels featuring the Cubs and Jack Daniel’s logos.” The patio is now open to the public and offers an unbeatable view of the city over Clark and Addison Streets. So next time our beloved Cubs aren’t doing so well on the score board, take a stop by the patio for a glass of Tennessee Whiskey; I suggest the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey!


Chris Fletcher of Jack Daniel's


Jack Daniel's at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Patio at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Whiskey at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Patio at Wrigley Field


This post was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s. All content and opinions are from The Chicago Lifestyle.


{All pictures by Lauren Fondriest | The Chicago Lifestyle}


Ballin’ on a Budget: Low-Cost Bars in Lincoln Park

Ballin’ on a Budget: Low-Cost Bars in Lincoln Park


Though I’m often in denial about it, I’m on a college budget and need to start acting like it! I’ve mastered the art of walking through a mall without buying clothes I don’t need and have learned to cook at home to eliminate expensive checks, but I’m still working on going out and maintaining a low tab. In an effort to drink cheap and late night eats low – here is our guide to low-cost bars in Lincoln Park; ballin’ on a budget, if you will.




Derby Bar and Grill


Derby Bar Chicago


As a southern girl, I love the idea of going to Derby and on Monday nights for the $5 Burgers and $5 Fat Pour Drafts. Derby is a nicer hang for one dining on a small budget, so Monday’s are great! According to their website, Derby is one of Chicago’s oldest prohibition bars and their simple southern charm atmosphere reflects its history perfectly. The inside is nice, but I definitely recommended you take your burger and beer outside to the beautiful beer garden on the side.




Clark’s Bar and Grille


clarke's bar and grille chicago


On Tuesdays Clarke’s offers $1 Beef Tacos, $2 Corona Bottles, $3 Jameson Whiskey, $5 Patron Tequila, and $3 Fireball Whiskey. What’s better than 2 tacos and 2 Coronas for $4?? Do tip the waitresses well though, they are all super sweet and ready to load you up with the specials. I don’t frequent Clarke’s on weekends often because they tend to attract a young and sometimes rowdy crowd but Tuesdays at Clarke’s are prime.




Duffy’s Tavern and Grille


This giant bar on Diversey offers $1 Budweiser, Shock Top Drafts, and Bud Light on Wednesdays, but the best part is the live music.  The cover band, “The Hot Sauce Committee” knows how to get the entire bar dancing and belting the lyrics to all the beloved oldies. The front room is separate from the band so whether you’re there to drink on a small tab or sing your heart out to “Backstreet’s Back,” Duffy’s is the place for ballin’ on a Wednesday budget.




McGee’s Tavern and Grille


McGee’s Tavern and Grille is the classic neighborhood sports bar and is located at the Sheffield and Webster intersection in the heart of Lincoln Park. On Thursdays McGee’s offers $1 Bud Family Bottles and $4 Fireball shots. If you enjoy your experience at McGee’s, check out some of the other Bar1 Events bars like Durkins, Redmonds, and others.




Irish Eyes


Irish Eyes Chicago


On Lincoln just north of Fullerton, Irish Eyes offers $3.50 PBR Tall Boys on Fridays. Beware, if you are not in college – this is a college bar, but one of the most beloved of DePaul bars. Irish Eyes is loved by the young folks in the neighborhood for the music on Wednesday – Saturday nights. They offer some of the best of country music and you can be assured the entire bar will be swaying to “Wagon Wheel” at least once in a night. Some are deterred by the dark green carpet but Irish Eyes has the wonderful “bar” feel; not too big, not too small, and clean but hilariously graffiti-ied bathrooms.






MaxBar Chicago


Finding a deal on Saturday nights is the real trick especially if you’re looking for main-stream bars, but it’s is definitely possible! My suggestion would be to go with a big group of friend to MaxBar on North Lincoln. On Saturday nights they offer one bottle of Grey Goose and one bottle of Patron Silver for $225. Though it doesn’t sound like the best deal at first, keep in mind you’re paying in a group for bottle service on top shelf vodka and tequila.


Have fun out there! What are your favorite spots for Ballin’ on a Budget in Lincoln Park? Comment below!


{Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4}


5 Things to Do With Little Chicagoans This Summer

5 Things to Do With Little Chicagoans This Summer


Chicago abounds with fun activities for kids and adults alike! Here are a few summer fun days to have with your little ones:


1. Bobby’s Tike Hike


Bobby's Tike Hike


Bobby’s Bike Hike has been offering great biking and walking tours around the city since 2002, but did you know that they have a kids version of the popular tour called Bobby’s Tike Hike? I suggest the Tike Hike for kids 10 and under but they do make it fun for the older siblings as well.

During the 2-hour ride, your kids will get to throw coins in the Wishing Fountain, visit the animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and say hey to the Abe Lincoln Statue. Just like the Bike Hikes for adults, they include Chicago history and trivia! Adult tickets are $32.50, tikes under 12 are $15.50, and tikes under 4 are $5.50- but be sure to register online for these 10% discounted prices here.



2. Adler Planetarium – Destination Solar System


Adler Planetarium Destination Solar System


I recently had the opportunity speak with the president and CEO of the Adler Planetarium and hear first hand how exciting this exhibit is. Destination Solar System leads viewers through a breathtaking tour across the solar system using exclusive space jump technology. This cosmic show integrates animation with actual images of the solar system and is narrated live by improv actors to truly create an interactive experience. I plan to visit this myself soon even without kids as it sounds to be a great trip for both kids and adults!



3. Millennium Park


Millennium Park Fountain


One would probably think to take out of town guests to Millennium Park before you would think to take the kiddos- but they do have a lot to offer the kids of Chicago especially during the summer! The Bean does attract a big crowd but the kids I babysit love to run underneath and have their picture taken before heading to the crown fountain (aka the statues with the faces that spit out water).

Adults can comfortably sit on the wall as the kids splash in the water and watch the faces change. This summer, Millennium Park is hosting the Target Family Fun Festival, which offers crafts, shows, and games for kids of all ages. Through August 24, take your kids to Wiggleworms at 10 a.m., the Reading Circle at 11 a.m., and Family Performances at 1 p.m.. Additionally, there are reading hours and activities throughout the summer so visit the website to see which afternoon you want to take the kids! If you’re driving, get to the Millennium Park Garage before 10 am for the $15 early bird rate on weekdays.



4. Pirates Cove


Pirates Cove


Pirates Cove is a theme park for the little ones right outside of the city in Elk Grove. They offer several different hands-on and active attractions such as The Castle of Camelot, which is complete with the fire-breathing dragon, Misty. At Pebble Pond, your child can be the captain in a paddle boat! The kids can also race each other down the Pirate Plunge or climb until their pirate heart is content at Pirate Pete’s Climbing Wall. According to the website, the idea behind the park is to “stimulate and encourage the creative exploration and imagination of children between the ages of one and nine.” I was recently babysitting and when my 4-year-old pal heard his mom whisper the words “Pirate Cove” to me he started spinning in circles with excitement. General admission is $11 or if you want to be a Pirate all summer you can check out the VIP Pass (Very Important Pirates). The VIP Pass is $50 per child for unlimited visits to the cove!



5. Little Gym


Little Gym


Little Gym isn’t just a Chicago thing as they have 300 locations world wide, but they do seem to be pretty popular amongst the Chicago tikes. They offer parent/child classes, karate classes, gymnastics, and plenty other classes and camps. While it’s all about having fun at Little Gym, they strive for what they call, “3 Dimensional Learning.” The three dimensions are promoting fitness by getting the kids moving, a brain boost by helping with decision-making and focus, and “citizen kid” by exercising life skills like listening and sharing. Located at 3216 N. Lincoln Ave, you can go in for a free introductory class or enroll now for a summer camp through August 22.



{Image credits: header1, 2, 3, 4, 5}




Your Guide to Beaching in Chicago: North Avenue Beach

Your Guide to Beaching in Chicago: North Avenue Beach


Your Guide to Chicago Beaches: Pick Your Beach


My favorite season, Chicago beach season, is officially in full swing until September 2. If you haven’t done so yet, here is your guide to taking advantage of the 26 miles of Chicago beaches. First, you have to choose the right beach. Out of convenience, many of us opt for the beach that’s the closest to us but I encourage all to branch out and be sure to visit other beaches as they all have something different to offer. To find your beach for the day, check out Chicago Park district offers an interactive map of all 27 beaches with information on the history, amenities/facilities, beach rules, public transit, photos, water quality and even the “swim status.”


Featured Beach: North Avenue Beach


North Avenue Beach is a great one for families. Looking onto the water at North Avenue, this beach seems to have it all. To the right is the city view we all know and love, in front of you is the lake full of boats and kayakers, to the left are miles more of the beach, and behind you is the always busy bike trail and park; it doesn’t get much better! They even have free wifi, lockers, and a life guard first aid station. According to, it was funded and constructed as a part of FDR’s New Deal WPA (Works Progress Administration). Like most beaches, alcohol is prohibited but one of the great things is that North Avenue is home to two great restaurants, One Stick Puppy and Castaways. This August, North Avenue Beach will even host the Chicago Air and Water Show!


Chicago Beach Panorama


Beach Food


Castaways seems to be the landmark of North Avenue Beach as the giant blue and white boat-esque building that many notice when driving down Lake Shore Drive. They also offer great beach food at their walk up bar but I suggest the Vodka Lemonades on Fridays for only $6.50!


Another hot spot and one of the three full service Chicago beach restaurants is The Dock at Montrose Beach. A favorite part about The Dock is all the live music, including Reggae Wednesdays! As far as the menu, they have everything from kid friendly food, to wraps, and quite the list of cocktails!


If there is sunshine and there are people on the beach you can guarantee there will be ice cream carts up and down the coast all day! The ice cream selection has changed very little since you were a kid so be sure to bring cash for a Nutty Buddy or Fire Cracker Popsicle.


Also on North Avenue Beach, One Stick Puppy is a favorite because the corn dogs make for the perfect beach snack. I purchased the water bottle and always make sure I have it with me every time I go to the beach for the free water refills! Similar to One Stick Puppy, there are several other great beach stands open on the warm days with fun snacks!


Chicago Beach


Beach Activities


On August 16 – 17, North Avenue Beach will serve as the center for the yearly Chicago Air and Water Show featuring the he U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. The show is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Blue Angels are coming out this year! As it will be a long and hot show, be sure to bring a few water bottles and extra sunscreen.


What’s better than starting your day doing yoga in on the beach? Sun and Moon Beach Yoga offers both sunrise and sunset classes through September 1! If neither sunrise nor sunset suits your schedule they also offer late morning and weekend classes to cater to all yogis! You can either purchase a $15 pass, a Season Pass for $300 or you can choose from the 5, 10, or 20 class packs.


Chicago City Sports Monster Beach Volleyball has it all! If you’re interested in beach volleyball, Sports Monster offers 5 different levels, leagues available Sunday – Friday, 9-week leagues, pickup games, tournaments, and clinics. Leagues are open for registration so you can chose from one of their 5 locations and sign up today.


Enjoy your beach days and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!


Wear Sunscreen!



Big City Brunching: Best Brunch in Lincoln Park

Big City Brunching: Best Brunch in Lincoln Park


Among many things, Chicago is specifically known for being a culinary capital with some of the best restaurants in the country. My favorite restaurant genre is brunch; what’s more tempting than a tall glass of orange juice with friends on the weekend?


Here’s where you can get the best brunch in Lincoln Park:


Ann Sather

Ann Sather

Not to play favorites… but Ann Sather is pretty great. The cinnamon rolls that will forever ruin any diet I ever try are located at 3415 North Broadway, 1147 West Granville, and 909 West Belmont. The best part is that their recipes are no secret and are downloadable online so you can bring the goodness to your own kitchen too! They don’t have outdoor seating and attract quite the crowd but the wait is never long and always worth it. My personal trick is to go with a friend and get the eggs with bacon, which is about $8.50 and comes with two sides. Be sure to order the biscuits, cinnamon rolls, hash browns, and fruit as your sides and share all of them and you’re set!! If it gets to be too much food, no worries; the cinnamon rolls heat up in the microwave beautifully the next day.



Jam ‘n Honey

Jam 'n Honey

My first time ever in Chicago I passed Jam ‘n Honey on a Saturday and noticed they had giant tubs of Nutella on every table… I was sold. They only take cash so come prepared, but they have an ATM in the back for those of us who often forget. If you’re in a waffle mood, the favorite is the Banana and Nutella pancakes. Though there is often a short wait on the weekends, Jam ‘n Honey offers outdoor seating that faces the beautiful St. Vincent DePaul Church and is well worth any wait.



Sarks in the Park

Sarks in the Park

The eggs benedict is good, the hash browns are great, and the service is different than anywhere else but fantastic. Sarks in the Park offers a great Chicago-esque atmosphere featuring fun maps and jazz artwork. Located at 444 West Fullerton, they are a quick walk to the beach or a fast drive from downtown. My personal favorite part about Sarks in the Park is the outdoor seating. Though it’s on Fullerton, being a few steps below street level makes the atmosphere feel a little quainter. The time I visited, the service was good but different than anywhere else I’ve ever been. There were a handful of very attentive young adults walking around but we never had a distinct host or waiter. Instead, we had a few people come up to all make sure we were taken care of throughout the dining experience.





Nookies is another breakfast/brunch place that has the quaint atmosphere mastered. Everyone is friendly and they always seem to attract the bigger groups or crowds. It is a smaller restaurant, but they are quick so the wait never seems to be too long. Nookies is great for someone dining on a budget because while they have some nicer things on the menu, it is also very easy to find an affordable dish and still even get a coffee, orange juice, or soda. They have a few locations throughout the city and most are BYOB so you can enjoy a mimosa with your brunch. For my southern friends, Nookies is one of the few brunch places in the city that serves grits… cheddar grits nonetheless.



Enjoy! Where are your favorite brunch spots in the city? Comment below!


{Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4}


Kickbox Your Way into Shape at TITLE Boxing Club

Kickbox Your Way into Shape at TITLE Boxing Club


Looking to get in shape for the summer? I have your answer: kickboxing. Even if you don’t live in the West Loop or Lincoln Park area I strongly suggest visiting TITLE Boxing Club for their “free shot” class. Be warned, you’ll be hooked. I consider myself to be someone who is in good shape and I workout several times a week, but one class at TITLE revealed all my fitness weaknesses. They are not joking when they say it’s the ultimate full body workout.


Title Boxing Club Lincoln Park


TITLE Boxing Club in Lincoln Park offers boxing and kickboxing classes and even personal trainers if you choose to design your own workout. There aren’t different levels of classes because they’re designed to cater to all fitness levels. As a student on a limited college budget, I had little intention of signing up for a membership after the free class, but as soon as my free class was over I found myself doing my finances in my head to see if I could make it work.


There are three different types of memberships, so give them a call if you’re interested or sign up online to check out the first free class. Unlike many other gyms, you do have to sign up for a membership instead of dropping in and paying by class. While this seems like a frustrating policy, they do it intentionally because you really can’t get the results you want if you randomly drop in. According to the trainers, if you commit to about 3 classes a week and consciously eat healthy, you will see results. Upon signing up for a membership they give you $130 worth of equipment up front like gloves, hand-wraps, a towel, and a drawstring bag.


Title Boxing Club Lincoln Park


When I walked in to Title, I was warmly greeted and before I had time to look around and start to dread the workout, my hands were quickly wrapped and I was handed a pair of gloves. The first part of the hour was a warm up with jogging, sprinting, pushups, and many burpees. Then, I got to put on the gloves and hit the punching bags. I had such a great time taking swings at the bags I didn’t even realize the puddle of sweat underneath me when we started the core workout and then cool down.


As an awesome trainer at the new TITLE Boxing Club, Katie shared with me her experience and why she believes kickboxing is the best workout.


Title Boxing Club - Katie


What kind of experience do you have with boxing or kickboxing?

I have none. I’m a personal trainer and I had take it in the past it was looking for something new.  I love it for two reasons; the intensity and the energy. It’s better than a cup of coffee, it really wakes you up! I completely believe in this method because as a trainer I do everything and my first time I could barely breathe! My stomach tightened and shrunk!



What do you teach and how often?

I teach eight classes a week teach a very wide variety. Every one of my classes is different and anyone can take them.



Does this method really work?

Yes. If you can take these classes a few times a week, it is the best way to get in shape. The classes are high intensity and a lot of cardio so the calorie burn is ridiculous. It is less how you fight and more about how your body works. Every time you take a class you feel better.



What is your favorite food after a workout?

I am a firm believer in eating clean and living a healthy life all around. I eat the Pest Chicken Bowl from Protein Bar.


To learn more about TITLE Boxing Club, visit or call the Lincoln Park Location at 773-312-4726.