Bad blogging record lately. Our bad.
We do have some exciting new things on the horizon though that are sure to bring us some good writing material – a graduation, a vacation, a new job, and a continuation of summer festivals and urban life in Chi-town.
In the meantime, a post about something that is near and dear to our hearts and stomachs: FOOD.
To overgeneralize and dramaticise, I will say that Chicago has THE most diverse and unique compilation of restaurants that I have come across to date. The windy city is known for it’s ethnic neighborhoods and each produces a homegrown favorite that will leave little doubt of its authenticity. Besides ethnic neighborhoods, we are spoiled with a vast array of possibilities right outside our door here in the Lakeview neighborhood. Within a few blocks we have a Greek, Italian (a nationally renown Italian one at that), Vietnamese, Lebanese, Killer Margarita Mexican, Pho, Thai, Morroccan, “African”, Ethiopian, and even a meatloaf bakery! Truly a melting pot of people and flavors, Chicago will even serve up your BBQ depending on your upbringin’ — Carolina, St. Louis, Texas, Memphis, or Kansas City style.
Enough with generalizations. Thanks to some amazing guests lately (Carrie from Nashville and Maureen from Seattle), we have continued to explore the food scene and here are some more specifics:
• There are 4 letters that have revolutionized our dining out experience and they are: B.Y.O.B. !!!!! A lot of the ethnic restaurants are BYOB and I still can’t over walking in to a place and adding my own (inexpensive, most likely Trader Joe’s) wine to the table while servers simply bring us a bottle opener like we are in our own home and just forgot which drawer we left it in.
Delightful. (*NOTE – we will have to have a separate and lengthy discussion on the subject of BEER in Chicago as I have also never encountered beer drinkin’ quit like in the midwest)
• I just have to note our two local go-to’s, and by local I mean within our block. The first is Penny’s. I am passionate about Penny’s. It is a BYOB noodle joint with brightly colored oil paintings, a diner-like bar, bowls of noodles, meat, tofu, and everything delicious for less than $8, and a flat screen TV that plays the Bull and the Cubs and all the servers watch as they serve your food. LOVE it, go there once a week, and it is right under the Red, Blue, and Brown lines so you KNOW you are in Chicago.
Our second local joint is Sheffield’s. This is a classic Chicago bar with nightly specials, an outdoor patio, BBQ and fries, and never-ending rooms. This is also the type of bar we can bring along our Uno cards and play a leisurely game or two without feeling pressure to pay and leave.
• Logan Square is a neighborhood host to many restaurants on our wish list. In fact, it reminds us a bit of our Phinney Ridge neighborhood in Seattle. While Carrie was in town we made our way out to this hipster neighborhood by bus and once we got our name on a 2 1/2 wait list at Longman and Eagle (we will get back there sometime soon) we ended up eating at Lulu cafe which was only 1 1/2 hour wait (did we mention these were good places?).
We tried unique cocktails made by the local bartender who referred us to a dive bar across the street where the woman who owns the joint knows people by name. We also had a cheese plate, a beet, arugala, and goat cheese bruschetta, and a duck entree. We were impressed but I think our next Logan Square visit will be to Revolution Brewery because we have heard good things!
• OK, just one more since this is getting long and could get a lot longer. While Maureen was in town, we hit up a trendy rooftop bar. This has been on my wishlist for a while, but it’s not every night you want to make your way to the loop to spend $14 for a cocktail. This was the time. We decided on Epic Sky on Hubbard. Hubbard is a hub of bars full of I-just-got-off-of-my-good-job-and-i’m-in-a-nice-suit-and-tie dudes. We fit right in. It was a beautiful, warm evening and we felt good about our expensive drinks.