If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you were likely bombarded with pictures of my trip to Chicago two weeks ago. If you are not currently following (obsessed) with my social expressions, follow me now for fantastically intellectual and stimulating content about food, clothes, Nashville and the embarrassing situations I cause daily.
This is a brief photographic journey of a few of my meals in Chi-town. Drool and enjoy.
Grahamwich was my first local meal in the city. The sandwich and soda shop is a short walk from the Magnificent Mile, and it’s not far from the River North district. It’s easy to miss in the slew of chain restaurants. I found this gem after a long day of interviewing and taking pictures around the city.
What you can’t see is the bacon-maple donut on the top shelf of the pastry cabinet. I nearly bought it, but half of the grilled cheese was more than filling and I couldn’t justify it.The grilled cheese was perfectly crisp, buttery and cheesy. This was my first taste of cheese curds – and boy were they goooood.
While shopping in Wicker Park, I stumbled upon iCream in the middle of vintage stores, bars and other shops. I didn’t think anything of the ice cream shop at first – and then I saw smoke pouring from Kitchen Aid mixers. Once you select your flavor, ice cream mixologists pour fresh cream into a mixer and make the ice cream with liquid nitrogen before your eyes. It was absolutely wild to see smoke fill the shop every few minutes.
Vosges Haut-Chocolate is a luxury chocolate and confections shop started by chocolatier Katrina Markoff (a Vandy grad, wouldn’t you know!). There are a few locations in Chicago; the location I visited is in the Nordstrom shopping center in the Mag Mile. The setup of the store is absolutely seductive and enticing. I wanted to try everything in sight and learn about every piece of chocolate in the store. Every truffle is designed with such care and innovation, and it is clear that Katrina loves to share her worldly experiences through sensational chocolate.
And yes, there is a whole display dedicated to bacon and chocolate.
Pasta Palazzo provided my most intimate dining experience while I sat on a stool and watched the chefs prepare my meal. The boutique Italian café in Lincoln Park served Italian classics with a twist (e.g. jalapeno gnocchi) and the freshest ingredients.
My lunch: it was a tough choice, but I decided on the trout and crab ravioli smothered in a savory sun-dried tomato cream sauce.
One of my last meals was Saturday brunch in Lincoln Square (not to be confused with Lincoln Park). Over Easy, a breakfast hot-spot, is known for their fresh take on breakfast – a meal that has been done many times, many ways. Yet, Over Easy found a way to rejuvenate breakfast classics such as pancakes and eggs. I was truly torn between the blueberry and blueberry crunch pancakes. In the end, I ordered the blueberry crunch and they were delightful and terribly rich. The cinnamon butter, granola crunch and candied pecans surely did me over. Absolutely every dish looked fantastic. I nearly didn’t make it out of the restaurant.
Many people have asked if I tried Chicago-style deep dish pizza while I visited. No, I did not. I’ve never been one for tradition or doing the “it” thing. Despite all the recommendation to eat at Lou Malnati’s, I couldn’t make myself do it. Maybe next time.
Someone recommended I check out Chicago Cab Fare, a food blog that reports on ethnic food recommendations made by Chicago cab drivers. The blog is genius and fun to follow. I highly recommend it.
If you plan on visiting Chicago, don’t eat the week before or after your trip, and maybe pack pants with elastic waistbands. The food is that good.