Restaurant Review: Kiko’s Meat Market

When I moved into the Lincoln Square area, I was immediately intrigued by a small restaurant on the corner of our block, Kiko’s Market and Restaurant. Although, Kiko’s is a Bosnian restaurant, so much of the menu is familiar to me since I’m of Donauschwaben descent. I decided to do my next restaurant review on Kiko’s since I think the food is slightly similar to German food and I was craving my favorite dish this afternoon 😉

The atmosphere in Kiko’s is very unique. It is a family owned restaurant that has been serving Bosnian food since 2003. When you first walk into the restaurant it’s glaringly obvious that this is a hot spot for Chicago Serbians. Most people will look at you with those, “I don’t know you… what are you doing here” eyes, but once you are seated (in the summer there is a lovely outdoor area) the strange looks subside and everyone continues to speak in their native language to their family and friends.

My first experience was ordering take out with my dad while we were doing construction in the studio, but my second was a really great one. My boyfriend and I met my parents there to celebrate my dad’s birthday and we were on a mission to try a variety of things. Before we ordered we were served fresh baked bread served with two spreads. One was ajvar, a veggie spread made from eggplant, roasted red peppers and garlic… it was incredible and I was concerned that I would fill up on bread, but considering the other spread was kajmak, a salty/buttery cheese spread… I was ok with filling up on bread. Soooo good, and really unique… both things I’ve never tasted before.
Pastrmka na žaru in my own kitchen!

For dinner, my mom couldn’t pass up the Sarma and my dad was more than excited about the Gulaš (we figured it was like goulash), Christian had wiener schnitzel and I had the Pastrmka na žaru (rainbow trout). This dish was noted as being a favorite on the menu and I love fish, so I figured it had to be good. It turned out to be a whole roasted trout served with rice (or fries) and krautsalat. Luckily, ever since my trip to Ghana, I’ve had a love affair with fish served whole… so this dish looked AHmazing! And it tasted amazing too! It came with an intense garlic/parsley oil (super tasty, but über garlicky) and it was simply delicious, I don’t really know how else to describe it! The fries were pretty good and the krautsalat tasted just like Oma’s!

I also tasted everyone else’s food (duh!) and the sarma was very similar to my Oma’s however, the goulash was different, but still really good. The schnitzel tasted like schnitzel… but I was more obsessed with my fish and the bread!
In the market waiting for my take out

Tonight, I decided to order for pick up (for no other reason than I was too comfy in my sweatpants to put real pants on). I again ordered by favorite fish dish, but this time I got to enjoy it in my own kitchen. When you order for take-out, you have to pick it up in the market section. It’s a little market where you can get Bosnian specialties and I indeed got some for myself! I got a jar of ajvar, fresh made kajmak, and some chocolate (including a Kinder Bueno… my all time fav).

If you want delicious food that has slight German undertones and you’re looking for something different than the typical sauerbraten and schnitzel, but you don’t mind being treated a bit like an outsider, I highly recommend Kiko’s Market and Restaurant.
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Restaurant Review: Laschet’s Inn

As you know, I love my German heritage! And what better way to celebrate it than with a good German beer and good German food. With that in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate a portion of my blog to German Restaurant Reviews! For the first few, I’ll write about some local Chicago places, but then I’ll need your help! I can’t travel all over the US searching for the best German Food (unless the Travel Channel would like to pay me to do so… hint hint 😉 Anyway, so if you have a favorite German place, click here to learn how to get your review up on the Rare Dirndl blog!

My first review is of Laschet’s Inn! (yes, I know, kinda a cop-out since I worked there for a year and a half… but this is my honest to goodness review!) Laschet’s is located at 2119 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago, between Western Ave. and Damen. I went there for dinner on a Saturday night with my sister and her boyfriend and 2 other good friends. We had a reservation, which I highly recommend making, if you want to go there on a Friday or Saturday night. The atmosphere is warm and cozy! There are lots of wood and old school German decor (some of it is actually 30+ years old!) It’s very comfortable, even on a Saturday when the waitstaff is running around and it’s really busy.

The menu is extensive and includes a large selection of appetizers, sandwiches & salads, entrees and daily specials. On Saturday the special is the Pork Shank and Königsberger Klopse. The shank was already sold out (not unusual since we sat down for dinner at 7:45 and usually they sell out by 7pm).

We started out with our favorite apps, Hackepeter (wonderful and fresh German-style steak tartar) and the Buffalo Wings. Now, I know what your thinking… “really, Erika? Chicken wings at a German place?” Um… YA!!! They are hands down the best wings I’ve ever had. They serve the wings with the bleu cheese and wing sauce on the side, so the wings come out, they are hot, crispy and AHmazing!! The Hackepeter was also really delicious! It’s served with capers & onions, and we like to dump them out into the center, drizzle some Maggi (Germany’s version of soy sauce) over the pile and then smash the little Hackepeters in it so each bite has some capers & onions… YUMO!

To drink, I had the Weinstephaner Vitus! It’s one of my favs, so I get very excited when it’s on draft. Laschet’s has 12 different German beers on tap at all times. There are some that stay pretty constant, but for the most part it changes weekly. The Vitus is a strong weiss bier or wheat beer. It’s got a different taste then a typical weiss bier, like hackerschorr weiss, and I think it’s smoother as well.

For an entree, I went with the Mushroom Goulash. I love that dish because its really unique and yummy. It has 3 different kinds of mushrooms (white, shitake and portabella) mixed with onions in a buttery balsamic sauce. It is served with Spätzle and red cabbage. The Spätzle is made in house and then seared on the flat top, so it’s a little crunchy and soooo delicious. The red cabbage is good, but it’s a tad tart for my taste, so I usually don’t eat too much of it, just a bite here and there. The entree also comes with your choice of soup or salad and I went with the salad with bleu cheese dressing. They use a combination of dressing and bleu cheese crumbles… its really really yummy! (If you like bleu cheese that is.)

My sister Monika has a gluten allergy, so she can’t have a lot of wheat, so she opted for the Potato Pancake appetizer (which has 2 potato pancakes the size of your head, so it’s more than enough food) with a side salad, with hot bacon vinaigrette, yes hot bacon (its a warm sweet dressing with pieces of bacon in it, very popular and yummy) and a cup of the Goulash Soup.

Mark had the Goulash Dinner, which is one of his favorites! It’s a spicy beef stew packed with paprika and other spices served with Spätzle and red cabbage.

And Alex had his favorite, Chicken Schnitzel with a fried egg on top. This dish is typically served with Roasted Potatoes and your choice of sauerkraut or red cabbage, but he opted for double potatoes.

It was such a wonderful dinner! We had a great time talking, laughing and enjoying our good German food. Our waitress, Cookie, was wonderful and made sure to check on us even though we were in the very back corner of the restaurant.
The last great thing about Laschet’s Inn is the “complimentary after dinner Schnapps!” Your choice of apple, cherry-peach, or Obstler (a strong apple-pear brandy that has no apple or pear flavor… but it’s one of my favs,) so we ended our meal with a “Prost”. I would most definitely return to Laschet’s… and I do, whether it’s for dinner or just drinks, I end up there at least once a month.

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*Video* Small Business Saturday with Rare Dirndl!

Black Friday gets a lot of attention, but I’m more excited about Small Business Saturday and the fact that it coincides with our 1 year anniversary! (approximately) So, In honor of of that, I’ve put together a quick video featuring the evolution of the now Rare Dirndl Design Studio. See how it went from real drab to super fab in less than 5 minutes!

On Saturday November 30th, we will be open from 10:00am – 4:00pm. Come early to get the best selection of our new winter items such as the Loose Knit Scarves, Slouchy Hat with Peacock Feathers, Lederhosen Bow Bracelet, and my personal fav the new Ushanka with Lederhosen Details (Russian Style Hat)

Ok… so the studio will be open on saturday, but my favorite part is that there will be a German style breakfast from 10-12… wurst, käse, semmel, eier …. omg yum (you should come early otherwise I might eat it all! I’m getting hungry just typing this!)
And there’s more!! Starting on Black Friday (which i’m not particularly a fan of, but everyone keeps asking me if i’m doing something for it… so i’m going to start by calling is Schwarz Freitag… anyway) I’m giving away a Rare Tote bag packed full of goodies!
Inside the tote will be:
  •  A Rare Dirndl Sticker
  • A Germany Scarf
  • An adorable Children’s Beret
  • A New Lederhosen Bracelet
Thats a $60 value and it can be yours when you spend $100 with Rare Dirndl anytime between Schwarz Freitag and Cyber Montag (while supplies last)

So thats about it, so much going on… I better got to work making all the things I’m going to give away to you for free 😉

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Finished with the Facade!

Yesterday was very exciting because when I came home… the facade was finished! My little Bavarian style front is complete! Can’t wait to put out a flower box next year… and maybe re-paint the shutters so they stand out a bit more. 
5051 N. Lincoln Ave!

 The inside is ready for some paint and finishing! Before the German Day Festivities, the floor will be finished, walls and ceiling painted and some custom cabinetry will be installed by the front window. I’ve decided (along with my studio/boutique contracting advisor… aka dad) that those three things will take the entire month of August to complete considering he has a full time job and I still have orders to fill. I’m very excited about the space and have come to terms with the fact that it is realistically going to take until 2013 to complete.

Facing Lincoln Ave

Looking in from the front door. 
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Studio Boutique Update

Not much to report… this week was pretty quiet. Lights are going to be put in next week and then I believe its our turn to get to work; starting with the ceiling.

The facade has also not changed at all this week, but it sure did change last week! I’m very excited to see the beginning of the Bavarian style store front. 

5051 N. Lincoln Ave
Everyday, people ask me, “So when is the studio going to be ready?” “When is the grand opening?” and the truth is… I have no idea. The contractor said that the interior was going to be complete last week and the facade this week, but its not. So I can’t gage when its going to be ready, plus I don’t know how fast I’ll be working either… I’ve never laid tile in my life, so it may take me a little while.
I’m hoping for an August opening, but we shall see… we shall see. 

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Coming soon to Lincoln Square!

Thanks the wonderful people at the DANK Haus for graciously welcoming Rare Trachtenwear to the Lincoln Square Neighborhood by offering their windows to us for the month of June!

To kick off the Maifest May 31st – June 3rd, we put up some of our most sought after pieces in the DANK Haus’s new windows!

Men’s New Polo and Bundhosen with the Sunflower Dirndl
Bringing some pops of bright colors to the night life of the fabulous Lincoln Square!
Rainforest Queen Couture Gown
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