Holiday Lunch: e+o Review

I miss the city. My husband says he doesn't, but I miss the energy of downtown Chicago on a Saturday evening. You can feel it in the air- Chicago's energy is palpable as tourists delight in the decor of the Mag Mile and decked out diners feast on gourmet dinners at some of the nation's best restaurants.

I do love living in the suburbs, but the traffic on 94 can make it extremely difficult to zip downtown for a date. We usually end up fighting traffic, which makes us frustrated and on edge, rendering our relaxing night out a little less relaxing. Luckily, there are some fabulous restaurants in the suburbs, and the newly opened e+o (standing for Earth + Ocean) is at the top of my list.

e+o in Arlington Heights

My husband and I joined e+o for Dim Sum Sunday, a unique spin on the highly popular Sunday brunch tradition that Chicagoans love. You won't find any Eggs Benedict or greasy skillet concoctions here, though- Dim Sum Sunday offers a menu of delectable assortment of intricately prepared bites such as Congee with Braised Duck, Braised Beef and Bone Marrow, and Buddha Chicken Wings.

e+o Dim Sum Sunday: Congee with Braised Duck
e+o Dim Sum Sunday: Braised Beef and Bone Marrow
e+o Dim Sum Sunday: Buddha Chicken Wings

And the dessert? Quite possibly my favorite part of the meal- I could quite honestly their Carrot-Pineapple Cake every day. It has a delicious crust from the cast iron skillet it is presented in, and the dollop of cream cheese frosting is heaven. (Bart, can you order this for my birthday cake please?!?)

e+o Dessert: Carrot-Pineapple Cake

I loved the fact that they offer a Mimosa bar with freshly squeezed juices such as Strawberry, Mango and Orange as well as a Bloody Mary bar with all the (gourmet, naturally!) fixings.

e+o Mimosa Bar

Let's talk about the decor for a minute. When you think of a suburban restaurant, do you get the sneaking suspicion that it will feature out of date carpet, a shabby, well-worn bar and screaming kids clambering to watch their favorite YouTube videos on mom's iPhone? Nope, not even close.  The space features expansive, plush booths decorated in cool colors with sleek hanging silver bean sculptures above.

e+o Restaurant in Arlington Heights
Dim Sum Sunday at e+o

The bar is about as modern as you could imagine, with ample room to enjoy the White Geisha Martini, which is a contender for the Daily Herald's Best Martini in the 'Burbs Challenge. President Aeron Lancero is the mixologist on this- Absolute vodka with vanilla/lemongrass syrup, fresh white peach and lemon juice, finished with a light froth. It's creamy consistency was a delicious contrast to the fresh flavor of the peach and lemon, topped with a fresh flower garnish. The scent, sight, and texture of this martini all added a special something to this delightful drink.

White Geisha at e+o

Mr. Lancero is truly passionate about serving high quality food that often has an nontraditional yet incredibly delicious twist. The details of his dishes and cocktails are a credit to the passion he has for a culinary experience vs. just a meal. He is a partner in two downtown restaurants as well, Yum Cha Dim Sum Parlor and Reverie restaurant and lounge, so he knows what it takes to compete with downtown locales.

President Aeron Lancero and I at e+o

Here's my best idea yet for the holidays- book a table for lunch with your husband, best friend, mom...someone special in your life that you don't get to spend nearly as much time with. Dress up to the nines, order cocktails, and forget about the stress that the season can bring. Cozy up in a booth and forget about the outside world for a bit, and just be thankful for the person you are with.

Of course, I can't review a restaurant without telling you what I wore! Since I have two little ones, I wore the color that is banned from my wardrobe: white. Winter white, by the way, is different from summer white: it is usually a cream, ivory or pearl as opposed to crisp linen white. I paired this jeweled sweater from LOFT with cream wool pants from Ann Taylor ($5 at Goodwill!) and cream crocodile ankle strap pumps from Sam & Libby. Earrings are from Forever 21, a perfect compliment to the jewels on the sweater.

What I Wore: Winter White and Jewels!
Earrings and Purse: Forever 21
Cream Croc Print Shoes: Sam & Libby

Book a table at e+o, I promise you won't be disappointed! They also have great Social Hour specials- Monday-Friday from 5pm-7pm with half-priced menu items and $20 carafe cocktail creations for four. e+o is located in the New Randhurst Mall near the AMC Theater, and offers complimentary valet. For events and specials, make sure to like their Facebook page here!

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary lunch for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own.

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