This just in: every so often (probably once a month-ish) I’ll present a list of local Chicago hot spots recently graced by my country mouse toes and teeth. I’ll share a mini description of the joint, note whether my time there was pleasant, uneventful, disenchanting, delectable, nasty, gratifying, bothersome or toothsome and include a hot-spot hot-link (Side note: remember when URLs were called “hot links?” Also, don’t you hate it when people sound out URL phonetically (Earl)!?)
I’ll begin today with a list of places I’ve been since my transition to this urban-scape (April 2010) that have impacted my love for all things food and drink. Next time I’ll update with a more comprehensive list of places I’ve been over the past 30 days.
So, without further ado, here are the places that cannot be forgotten no matter how many times my bones and cartilage are crunched in the durable and tenacious spring-loaded mousetrap of life:
1. . It would be blasphemy if I did not start with this little joint (and I’m not even religious!). Lula is consistently ranked among the top 25 best restaurants in this great city (via urbanspoon.com) and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little extra cool because I live three blocks from its doorstep. Although quaint with closely aligned tables (and therefore a consistently noisy and occasionally uncomfortable atmosphere), Lula has an artistic charm with an aesthetically pleasing decor. A fresh round of local art hangs on the walls every time I stop in for some seasonal organic grub and naturally raised meats and poultry (that sentence sounds contrived … and it probably is). In sum, the cocktails are fun, the beer list lengthy and the delectable treats are plentiful. Plus, the final bill wont make you wonder if you can pay your unbelievably expensive rent later that month. (Oh yeah, and apparently Lula has a sister restaurant in Pilsen called Nightwood that I must try out.)
2. . This place is down the street from Lula – just north of the . The interior is rustic yet squeaky clean … like an ol’ western bar with a sterilized edge. Do I dare compare the atmosphere of Longman to the images in a recent Restoration Hardware magazine I flipped through at my parent’s house a few weeks back (holy run-on sentence, batman!)? No, I don’t dare. At this point I might attempt to get even more creative with this mini review, but the content on Longman’s website puts my writing to absolute shame … so learn more there. Want my humble, unpoetic opinion of this place? I felt adventurous … just like that good looking mouse in An American Tail. The flavors were uniquely laced together and everything was meticulously aligned on the plate like edible art. The result? Delicious. (I must say, though, that the descriptions on the menu used a lot of culinary terms foreign to a country mouse’s vocabulary. I think I played my confusion off rather well, regardless.) Also, the final check nearly put Chris in a cardiac arrest. But then we did the dutch thing so it was all good.
3. Chris and I discovered this little pleasure on the way home from my first excursion. After riding around in the city for nearly four hours we were hungry like the wolf … ready to devour anything within four inches from our luscious lips. This place, located in Ukrainian Village, has a swanky outdoor patio surrounded by a jungle of indigenous plant species. The outdoor paradise is what really caught our fancy, as we looked and smelled like a couple of gerbils and didn’t want to offend the eyes and nostrils of nearby diners. The drinking arrangement was BYOB which was fortunate as the food, although delicious, was rather detrimental to the ol’ bank book (noticing a trend here). The interior had a simplistic, modern air and was quite small, therefore I’d recommend a warm weather visit so you can sit outside among the star. Yes, the singular star. In the city you are lucky to see one star in the sky … dang light pollution! Its kind of like a trade off with the teeth situation – up here teeth are plentiful but down in the country a single tooth is the norm. Oh, and apparently the brunch at Jam is eggtastic.
4. A fiddle aurally welcomed my mouse ears as I scurried through the door of this little gem. Located in the outskirts of Humbolt Park, Feed has a down-home feel that I could not ignore. I was warm, comfortable and unafraid to use a toothpick (score!). I’d describe Feed as a home-cooked meal served up with some southern hospitality by a hipster chick (luckily I wore my skinny jeans and pigtail braids for this feast). The menu includes down-home favorites such as fried chicken, sweet potato pie, corn pudding, mac and cheese … basically anything that makes you pleasantly plump. (Dang, Gina! I’m hungry just blogging about it.) Also, I could be wrong but I think flannel shirts and/or doilies are accepted as currency here. I might Wiki that to be sure.
Next time I’ll give a review on some more local faves … including the two trendy hot-spots Chris introduced me to for our 1-year anniversary (November 2010! Time flies when you’re eating a lot!). Are you eager with anticipation? You should be, because this city is wild, man!