8 Places to Eat in Chicago
Beatrix is a Chicago staple for brunch. Located in North River, the cafe restaurant is casual enough to bring in your laptop for a work session, but also chic enough to go for a Friday date night. Their famed lemon blueberry pancakes doesn't impress me as much as New York's Clinton Street Bakery, but I truly love their quinoa patties with poached eggs. If you are fond of nitro coffee, theirs seem to be a popular option among customers.
7. Jeni's Ice Creams
I've had my fair share of artisan ice cream's but Jeni's ice cream is probably one the best. Made with the freshest ingredients possible, Jeni carefully crafted a unique selection of frozen treats with the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
During my 5-days stay in Chicago I went there twice. Once I had the roasted strawberry buttermilk and salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks (think PBJ,), the other time the aromatic Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso with Atlantic beach pie - a sweet cream base with a tangy lemon curd and an ever-so-slightly-softened saltine crumb . The staff are all extremely friendly, and despite the never ending lines, lets you taste as many flavors as you like.
Floriole is primarily known for its pastries, including passion fruit tarts topped with an elegant Swiss meringue and sugar crusted Kouign-amanns. We walked in for lunch, and found its savory offerings equally delicious. Don't miss their daily specials, which happened to be a ricotta tartine with squash flowers drizzled with fragrant orange blossom honey, and a bacon and cheese quiche with the flakiest puff pastry.
5. Baker Miller
Baker Miller is exactly what the name suggests - a bakery plus a mill. We took a trip out to Ravenswood on a lazy Thursday morning, where the cafe is located. It is very much a neighborhood cafe, dotted with green-haired tattooed hipsters and yoga moms. We ordered and sat at one of the tables, adorned with a personal toaster and a bottle of sirarcha. Food was served rather quickly, possibly cooked earlier in the day and reheated, reminiscent of camping food. My friend's cheesy chorizo hash was a comforting stack served in a white enamel bowl, and my ploughman's plate was as rustic as the metal dish it was served in. If you prefer something sweet, try their house-made, stone ground oatmeal with cultured cream and seasonal jam.
4. Little Goat Diner
Little Goat Diner is the brainchild of Stephanie Izard , Chicago's culinary goddess. Located across from her fine dining restaurant Girl and the Goat, Little Goat Diner serves up American portions from its sleek open kitchen. The food is reminiscent of old-style favorites. Wash down a larger-than-your-face burger with a malt chocolate shake and you'll know what I'm talking about.
3. Broken Shaker
Broken Shaker is originated from Miami, where hot babes drink unlimited amounts of alcohol and never get fat. Their outpost inside Chicago's hipster hostel The Freehand is more mellow, featuring woven blankets, quirky wall illustrations and dirty make out couches. Wine is served in mason jars and cocktail is sipped through striped paper straws –– you get the idea. We actually had their bar snacks for dinner, which was surprisingly delicious. Baked ricotta topped with grilled ramps, fiddleheads and green peas, all perfectly charred and served on a hot cast iron pan. Scoop it all up with a piece of well buttered toast and that's what I call perfect finger food.
2. Mindy's Hot Chocolate
Mindy Segal may look like a punk, but her James Beard worthy pastries are nothing but. Located in Wicker Park, the uber-cool dessert store also serves up extraordinary savory food. We sampled their famous hot chocolate with homemade marshmallow - the Mexican, the Old fashioned and the Chai. They're certainly not for the faint of heat, slightly over sweet for my taste, but just amount of richness for chocoholics. Before you leave, make sure not to miss the cookie cupboard by the entrance and pick up a few for the road.
1. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder
I know Chicago is all about the deep dish pizza, but trust me, pizza pot pie is wayyy better. We stayed a block away from original deep dish but that doesn't even compare this 2-hour line. We unanimously decided to order takeaway and have an indoor picnic. If you eat in, the pot pie comes in a searing hot ceramic bowl topped with a piece of dough, much like the iconic puff pastry lobster bisque. Each pot pie is turned over on a plate, and with a well-practiced swipe of knife action, it releases with a puff of steam. Without hesitation, dig in the house made pork sausage tomato sauce, whole button mushrooms, all swimming in a puddle of bubbly brick cheese.