Bender + Bird Food…Eating!

by Jenn (eating bender) on November 21, 2009

Hugs and thank yous to everyone who commented on my last post. Your comments mean so much to me and I am so happy I am able to share these pieces of my life with you. For those of you who took my cookie conundrum to heart and linked or emailed me better recipes — THANKS! I have a lot to choose from now and am keeping my fingers crossed that the next batch of cookies I bake will be a success.


What happens when Eating Bender and Eating Bird Food collide?

…any guesses?



You get Bender + Bird Food…Eating, of course :mrgreen: I can hear crickets chirping…

Corny humor aside, some eating definitely did take place tonight when Miss Brittany made an appearance in Chicago! Brittany and I have been emailing back and forth for over a year now — it’s true, Google archives don’t lie — and she is absolutely as kind and genuine as she is on her blog.

When I found out she was going to be in town for a few hours after I got off of work, I jumped at the chance to meet up for dinner. After searching for restaurants near where she was, I suggested Bin 36. I had heard good things — particularly about the wine — and it seemed like the right place for foodies.

I was a little late getting out of work, but Brittany was patient enough to wait for me and when I got there, I was greeted by a very comfortable atmosphere, including a tree of wine corks!

We sat down to a menu that had a slogan embodying everything I so dearly uphold šŸ˜‰

Drink wine. Live well. Have fun.

I could never get tired of repeating that.

Brittany and I decided we were in the mood to share. We started by ordering the Bin 36 flight of wines, which came with chardonnay, cabernet, merlot and shiraz.

The best part was that we each got to enjoy our favorites. I took the chardonnay and the merlot, while Brittany stuck with the cabernet and shiraz. Perfect!

The chardonnay was described as one that “wears its’ oak like a peek-a-boo negligee; clean & fresh with generous ripe fruit – with nothing to hide.” I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that it was plenty sweet and I enjoyed it :) The merlot was not just any merlot. It was “merlot with an attitude!” I enjoyed this pour as well, described as “built with firm structure and a core of mocha scented dark fruit and minerals.”

For our dinner, Brittany and I decided to share the Garlic and Tomato Hummus. We also each got a Bin 36 Market Salad. While we were waiting, I snacked on one of the breadsticks on the table.

Our food came out promptly, and Brittany and I both commented on the fact that the Garlic and Tomato Hummus could easily have filled an entire container of Sabra.

But who am I to complain? Especially when it’s served with a generous helping of warm pita bread.

As much as I wanted to like it, however, I have to admit that the garlic was a bit too intense for my taste buds. I feel as though I’m exuding garlic from every pore right now!

Hoping that the Bin 36 Market Salad would help make up for it, I quickly dug in. The little breaded portion on the side is actually warm goat cheese.

At first, I wasn’t too impressed by this, either. The description on the menu says it contains “organic mixed greens, warm hazelnut crusted goat cheese, fresh grapes, and verjus vinaigrette.” I was expecting the goat cheese and the grapes to be more heavily integrated, but it was mostly organic mixed greens. When you’re paying $9 for a salad — thanks, Chicago – you do not want to pay for a mixed green salad you could make yourself at home for roughly 50 cents.

I will say, however, that the salad did grow on me. I started to add a small portion of goat cheese to each bite, which really did help it take on a new flavor.

Brittany and I easily gabbed for well over an hour about anything and everything. When we had finished with our dishes, we succumbed to the call for the dessert menu.

As you can see, there were a lot of interesting desserts to choose from. Sweet potato donuts? Milk chocolate ice cream sandwich? Everything sounded so complex it was tough to choose. Eventually, our devotion to all things pumpkin(g) won out and we went with the Crispy Brioche. The description says, “ pumpkin zabaglione, pumpkin seed nougatine, pear sorbet.” If your curious like I was, you can read the description about what zabaglione is by clicking here.

This was definitely a dessert — very, very sweet. The sugar overwhelmed the pumpkin flavor and overall, I wasn’t too impressed with this one either. (Side note: I’m sorry I suggested a bummer restaurant, Brittany!) I did think that the pear sorbet was good — wish it wasn’t in one tiny corner of the square — and the zabaglione in the middle was also quite flavorful. It reminded me a bit of creme brulee with a hard tart crust. I normally like creme brulee, but not so much in this case. Que sera sera!

Although the food wasn’t as good as I was hoping, the company was fantastic and I can’t wait for Brittany’s next visit to Chicago. I hope it’s sooner rather than later!

Weekend agenda:

  • Clean, clean, clean!
  • Write, write, write!
  • Pick up much needed groceries/supplies
  • Watch the Northwestern v. Wisconsin game — Go Cats!!
  • See New Moon — YES!!
  • Visit my new cousin Cameron (yes, he has an adorable name now!)

What are your plans for the weekend?


1 VeggieGirl November 21, 2009 at 6:03 am

Eating Bender + Eating Bird Food = fabulous gals unite! :)

Weekend plans = dinner celebration and schoolwork.

2 Erica November 21, 2009 at 6:29 am

Ow! I like the name they chose- Cameron is so cute! What a FUN dinner. I just love blogger meet ups (I’m hoping to have one next week!!). The food looks incredible (especially the hummus). Enjoy your weekend and I hope your team kicks some more booty

3 Jessica @ How Sweet November 21, 2009 at 6:31 am

That meet up sounds so fun! And the pita bread … ohmigosh I can see how soft and fluffy it looks. I want to jump thru the screen and get some.

4 Shannon November 21, 2009 at 6:59 am

how fun!! I met Brittany at Foodbuzz, and she is a doll :)

5 Mara @ What's For Dinner? November 21, 2009 at 7:02 am

AAH! I”m so jealous!!! You got to see Brittany? She got to see you?! DARN WEDDING PLANS GETTING IN THE WAY OF A BLOGGER SOCIAL LIFE!!!! I love Bin 36, but I’ve never been to the one downtown, just the suburb one.

6 Kristie Lynn November 21, 2009 at 7:09 am

Yay your cousin has a name (and it is a cute one!)!

Sorry that the dinner place didn’t work out. I’m a crazy garlic lover though so I probably would have loved all the garlic in the hummus :)

7 MarathonVal November 21, 2009 at 7:28 am

Thanks for the review, Jenn! I’ve always wanted to go there.

Btw, did you hear that we just got a Flattop Grill in the Loop??? It’s right by the Art Institute. I’m pretty enthused about this as you can tell šŸ˜‰

8 Jenn (eating bender) December 9, 2009 at 10:38 pm

We should totally go there soon!

9 Lauren November 21, 2009 at 7:53 am

What a fantastic meet up! The restaraunt looked super chic but sometimes looks can be deciving. I hate when the atmosphere of the place doesn’t meet the expecations of the menu.
Oh well, at least you had a wonderful time with a new friend.

Have a great weekend hun!

10 Paige (Running Around Normal) November 21, 2009 at 8:01 am

I loved reading this post! You did a great job reveiwing it. You two are so cute!

11 carolinebee November 21, 2009 at 8:37 am

Bummer, it’s too bad foodie/bloggers have such high standards in restaurant terms ;D Congrats on 6 years love!!!! That is soo amazing, and the fact that u have that pic from when u two were just little fresh faced high schoolers at homecoming….ahhhhh I LOVE IT! ha u could have the BEST wedding slideshow! Heart u girlie, hope u are doing well!!!! xo

12 Abby November 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

What a fun meet up! That hummus and pita looks amazing..sorry it was less than impressive. It looks so cute inside!

Have a super weekend :)

13 Brandi November 21, 2009 at 10:16 am

What a fun dinner! I’m going to have to make it to Chicago at some point :)

I hope you have a great Saturday!!! I’ll be cheering on NW for ya’!

14 MelissaNibbles November 21, 2009 at 10:39 am

What a fun night! The restaurant looks great!

15 Bec November 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

sounds like you two had a fun night even if the food didnt wow you! have a great weekend :)

16 Light Delight with Tou Tou November 21, 2009 at 11:56 am

I love that tomato hummus ! never expect hummus in that large pan makes it so attractive;-)

17 Julie @savvyeats November 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm

What a fun meet-up! Bummer that the restaurant didn’t live up to standards, but it looks like you still had fun.

18 Jenna November 21, 2009 at 2:00 pm

food looks delish!

19 Brittany November 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm

It was so fun meeting you Jenn! I hope you have a great time meeting your newest little cousin. I hope you take lots of pictures.

20 janetha November 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm

awe brittany is a doll! i met her in san fran. looks like a blast!

21 sisrocks1996 November 21, 2009 at 6:57 pm

That is one of my top bloggers to meet! Looks like a classy and fun time in Chi Town! YUMMM resteraunt hummus is the best!

22 broccolihut November 21, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Hooray for blogger meet-ups! That hummus looks superb! Just the right texture–not too runny, not too chunky. Then again, I’d eat pretty much anything with fresh and fluffy pita bread:)
My plans for this weekend include hanging with the fam and stocking up at Costco!

23 Melissa S. November 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

what a great night with Brittaney!!! I hope our night out in AZ is going to be just as GREAT!!! Well duh, of course it will be!

24 Andrea (Off Her Cork) November 22, 2009 at 8:24 am

I had a chance to meet Brittany for a few minutes at the Foodbuzz fest (Hi Brittany!) and she was awesome. :) So glad that you guys got a chance to hang out and while some of the dishes were a bit of a bummer the company is what matters. :) Looks like you guys had a blast!

25 jenngirl November 22, 2009 at 11:49 am

What a fun evening! Anywhere with a wine flight definitely gets an A+ in my book šŸ˜‰

Hope you enjoy New Moon this weekend Jenn…OH it’s so good.

26 luckytastebuds November 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

ahhhh Bin 36 is PERFECT for you! hahah you wine lover you! That hummus does look incredible! Now i know that it’s a GO! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, I sooo appreciate the love. Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend. (and Hope you’ve got a chance to stop by to enter my birthday giveaway!!!)

Northwestern is kicking some football butt lately!! It’s so exciting that they won!! :)

27 glidingcalm November 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

oooooooo pita looks yummy, but i too dislike hummus that is too garlicky. sick!


and vino.
and pretty desserts


and the name Cameron is sooo cute!! šŸ˜€

28 Amanda@thegrainsofparadise November 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Sorry to hear Bin wasn’t so hot…Too bad because the pics looked great! It’s nice to see a large portion of hummus and pitas though :-)

29 Diana November 23, 2009 at 7:42 am

What a fun and tasty get together! This weekend, hubby and I visited my MIL for her b-day and we saw The Blind Side. :) I also brainstormed a fun blog challenge – how to spread the healthy-love make Thanksgiving a bit healthier for friends and family. I’m such a blog nerd! haha

30 ksgoodeats November 23, 2009 at 7:54 am

You had me at fluffy, pita bread! That restaurant looks like such a great find. Plus, I know the area! šŸ˜‰ Sorry the food wasn’t THAT great but at least you have wine?!

Blogger meet ups are so fun – you and Brittany look fabulous! Hope you were able to get through your agenda, especially the baby part! Love the little ones!

31 Stephanie November 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Wow, I haven’t had a dinner like that in quite a while…perhaps this holiday season will be a time to indulge! šŸ˜‰
BODA lose weight

32 lilveggiepatch November 23, 2009 at 12:36 pm

What a fun meet up with Brittany! That restaurant sounds right up my alley… I LOVE ordering wine flights.

33 Pure2Raw Twins November 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm

So glad that the two of you got to meet up! Restaurant looks good… love the wine :) I hate it when I order a salad at an restaurant and it does not live up the my standards. :( I just saw New Moon and liked it.

34 chrysta November 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Looks like a super fun time you both had! Good food and friends are really some of the best things in life (along with some good wine too! šŸ˜‰

35 GirlonRaw November 23, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Ooh those wines look great with that warm pitta bread. I do love a good bit of hummus too. I just polished off some myself tonight :)

36 Marianne November 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm

That’s a whole lotta hummus & pita! I don’t think there is such thing as too much garlic though šŸ˜‰

37 Shannon (The Daily Balance) November 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

love blogger meet-ups! And I want to have one with YOU again! – get your butt to Cleveland šŸ˜‰

38 NeverSayDiet November 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm

those sweet potato donuts don’t look half-bad either!

39 KefirGirl November 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I’ve never seen a flight with four glasses in it – that looks 33% more fun than the typical 3-glass flight!

40 Courtney @The Tasty Balance November 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I love Bin 36! You’re pictures just made my mouth water, I can’t wait to go back!

41 Katie December 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Wow, though it may not have been all you wanted the food LOOKS great!

Music/Fitness/Food –

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