Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Dessert, Dinner, Farmer's Market, Lincoln Park, Uncategorized

Blue Door Farm Stand

Blue Door Farm Stand

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Address: 843 Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60614
Phone Number: (773) 935-2583
Website

Price Range: $10-15
Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5

What We Tried: Brussels & Kale Salad, Roasted Beet & Farro Salad, Fig & Arugula Grilled Cheese, Purple Line Wrap, Turkey & Aged Cheddar Sandwich, Roasted Vegetable Wrap

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Cute!

 

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Okay, cute!

 

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Ca-ute!

 

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I gave up sweets for Lent…

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Brussels & Kale Salad…the bacon evens out.

 

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Apple Pie Grilled Cheese

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Turkey Cheddar

 

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My kind of place.

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Roasted Beet & Farro Salad

 

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Order at the counter.

 

Our Take:

Kale. Mason jars. Oprah. These are a few of my favorite things. All three come together at Blue Door Farm Stand, the Lincoln Park cafe/restaurant named after none other than Ofrey’s Indiana property. 

Blue Door serves up seasonal wraps, sandwiches, salads, juices and coffee, all made with ingredients from local farmers and farmers’ markets. As their mission statement declares, “Our philosophy at Blue Door Farm Stand is simple. We believe in the seasons dictating what’s on the table. We are committed to being part of the community and the importance of having personal relationships with all our purveyors. We believe in providing a warm and welcoming space for all our guests to enjoy wholesome delicious food.” 

Same. Try Blue Door Farm Stand for brunch, lunch or dinner, eight days a week. I’m partial to their Brussels & Kale salad, but I won’t say no to a roasted vegetable wrap, either. They also serve the best carrot cake in Chicago (I would know), which you can have delivered to your apartment via the Locally app (I wouldn’t know anything about that). 

10/10, 100%, favorite cafe in Lincoln Park. Meet you there for coffee at 5. I’ll be there, drinking my almond milk latte, checking out Oprah’s Instagram

– Carolyn

Harvest Day!

Harvest Day!

 

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Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Streeterville, The Loop

Do-Rite Donuts

Do-Rite Donuts
Breakfast, Coffee
Neighborhood: Streeterville, The Loop
Address: 50 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601
233 E. Erie St. Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number: Randolph St. – (312) 488-2483
Erie St. – (312) 344-1374
Website

Price Range: $1.95-2.50/donut
Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5

What We Tried: Vanilla Bean Glazed, Pistachio-Meyer Lemon, Chocolate Old Fashioned, Buttermilk Old Fashioned

Our Take: If 16 years of Catholic schooling has taught me anything, it is this: Embrace Fat Tuesday with all of your being.

Despite my native Detroit’s affinity for Paczki on this particular day, I prefer my donuts sans filling. To be honest, because my previous donut experience was pretty much post-Church donuts in the social hall, I didn’t think I liked donuts that much at all. That was, of course, until I moved to Chicago. Chicago, I am convinced, is the donut capital of the world. And if Chicago is the donut capital of the world, Do-Rite is its ruler.

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why donut you just give me all of them

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spent fat tuesday with this donut.

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donut ask…

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this one’s a little do-nutty

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donut you just love old-fashioners?

I tried three different donuts from Do-Rite (we’re embracing, remember?), and I can honestly say with complete conviction that these three donuts were the best donuts I’ve ever tasted in my entire life (I’ve had more than my fair share since moving to Chicago). While Do-Rite may not serve up the variety of Stan’s, they do the classics, and they do them flawlessly.

To make sure my opinion was well-rounded, I tried a yeast donut, a cake donut, and an old-fashioned (If you don’t know what that means, click here). The Vanilla Bean Glazed (yeast) was pillowy soft and light as air, so much so that it required gentle holding to avoid getting squished. The glaze was perfect: light and sweet, but not too sweet, with the vanilla bean adding the perfect amount of flavor.

The Pistachio-Meyer Lemon and the Buttermilk Old Fashioned were both cake donuts, and OH MY LAWD were they ever perfect. Never in my life have I bitten into something with such a perfectly crisp exterior and then sunk my teeth into a dense, cakey, and moist bed of flavor immediately afterword. If the yeast donut was a goose down feather pillow, the cake donuts were Tempurpedics – all about personal preferences, but I would fall asleep on, err eat, either of those options any day. The best part about the actual flavor of the Pistachio-Meyer Lemon was actually its subtlety. The lemon was like the pretty girl at the party who stands by the wall – everyone knows she’s there and she’s gorgeous, so she doesn’t need to show it off too much. The addition of pistachio was more about the crunch on top than neon green hues or the almond flavoring that usually accompany pistachio-flavored things.

It is definitely a good thing that we didn’t discover Do-Rite until the day before Lent; that being said, you know where to find me on Easter Sunday.

-Meredith

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Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Dessert, Logan Square

!Bang Bang! Pie Shop

!Bang Bang! Pie Shop
Breakfast, Lunch

Neighborhood: Logan Square
Address: 2051 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
Phone Number: (773) 276-8888
Website

Price Range: $5-7
Our Rating: 5 out of 5

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always with a dollop of whipped cream

What We Tried: Sweet Potato Pie, Coffee

Our Take: Last Sunday, I found myself sitting alone in my apartment—my roommate and friends were all out of town, with family, or working, and I had no plans to meet up with any other acquaintances. As solitary as that sounds, it was exactly what I needed. Commence a perfect Carolyn day: a morning yoga session, deep cleaning the apartment, clearing out my closet at Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads, lunch at Native Foods Cafe, finding out I won a $500 giveaway from one of my favorite bloggers, San Francisco Girl by Bay and Makers Market, and then a solo trip to !Bang Bang! Pie. Liz Lemon would have been proud.

But enough about me. I had been admiring Bang Bang Pie on their instagram for some time, but had been waiting on friends’ availability so I wouldn’t have to order a slice of pie by myself (whoops).

Worth it. Located in Logan Square, Bang Bang serves up classic Midwestern dishes with a twist. Their menu features seasonal pies (such as the caramel apple crumble), classics (chocolate pecan), and a number of savory breakfast biscuits, all made with fresh, seasonal, ingredients. Though the menu is small, and rotates every day, you’ll still have a hard time deciding. After some deliberation, I took a slice of sweet potato pie and a $2 cup of bottomless coffee out to the patio.

It was the happiest and the hippest I’ve felt in a while, and the pie was out of this world. Bang Bang is truly a gem, and I’m going back as soon as I can. And this time, I’m bringing friends.*

Note: Be prepared to wait! Even though I went to Bang Bang at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon, I still joined a line going out the door. (The shop is small, and growing in popularity). But the line moved fast, and again, it’s worth it.

-Carolyn

* i.e. She is bringing me. – Meredith

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Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Wrigleyville

Southport Grocery and Cafe

Southport Grocery and Cafe
Breakfast, Lunch

Neighborhood: Wrigleyville
Address: 3552 N. Southport Chicago, IL 60657
Phone Number: (773) 665-0100
Website

Price Range: $11-17
Our Rating: 2.9 out of 5

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Bread Pudding Pancake

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Fruit with Vanilla Vinaigrette

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Grilled Turkey Sandwich

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‘Klug’ Apple Salad

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What We Tried: Bread Pudding Pancake, Fruit with Vanilla Vinaigrette, Grilled Turkey Sandwich (house-roasted turkey, honey mustard, prickled pear, braised kale, & barely buzzed cheese on griddled whole grain), ‘Klug’ Apple Salad (roasted & shaved brussel sprouts, zingerman’s goat cheese*, pickled pumpkin, pecans au poivre* & cider mustard dressing)

Our Take: Let me preface – we really wanted to like this place. Like really. The market-style interior was adorable. The shelves lined with delicious-looking treats with packages that just screamed “gourmet treat that you will pay way too much money for but will love all the same” enticed. The art on the wall said “you’re in a classy place, but don’t be intimidated.” Everything on the menu sounded delectable.

But then… we ate it. It wasn’t baaaaad. It just wasn’t anything to write home about. The pancake was pretty delicious, but for as good as the salad and sandwich sounded, they just couldn’t deliver. The sandwich, in particular, had all the things we love in it, yet we couldn’t really taste them. This might be a place to stop for coffee and a pastry on a blustery Chicago afternoon (Carolyn says it was delicious, worth going back for), just not to fit your big-brunch-out needs.

-Meredith

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Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Wicker Park

Stan’s Donuts & Coffee

Stan’s Donuts & Coffee
Breakfast, Coffee

Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Address: 1560 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone Number: (773) 360-7386
Website

Price Range: $3-5
Our Rating: 4.3 out of 5

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the bustling counter at Stan’s Donuts…know what you want before you get to the register.

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but good luck choosing.

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food in the air

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more food in the air

What We Tried: Nutella Banana Pocket, Pistachio Old Fashioned

Our Take: You’ve heard of donuts after church, but post-brunch donuts may be a little less common. Well, it’s a thing. And brunch, for me, is a near-holy (hole-y?!) experience, so I really don’t see much of a difference, anyways.

Following a heavenly meal at Hot Chocolate, we decided that, while we were in the area, we should check out Stan’s Donuts down the street. We joined a line going out the door, so it looked like a lot of people had the same idea.

Stan’s Donuts started in L.A. in 1963, and came to the Windy City when Richard Labriola, President of the Labriola Baking Company, saw Stan on a TV travel show and proposed a partnership to bring the California-style donuts to Chicago. Now, Stan’s Wicker Park location serves up dozens of whimsical donuts everyday, along with gourmet coffee and gelato.

Since people come to Portland for Voodoo Doughnuts (but stay for Blue Star), I have high standards when it comes to gourmet doughnuts. (Inside joke). I tried the Nutella-Banana Pocket, an obvious choice for anyone who studied abroad with me, and Meredith opted for the Pistachio Old-Fashioned. My donut came with real, fresh bananas baked inside, and a light chocolate glaze. Meredith described her donut as “like a really good donut version of the pistachio muffins at South Dining Hall.” That’s high praise.

Insert celebration hands emoji here.

-Carolyn

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Bars, Breakfast and Brunch, Coffee, Meatpacking District

Little Goat Bakery

Little Goat Bakery
Coffee Shop, Lunch, Bar

Neighborhood: Meatpacking District
Address: 820 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607
Phone Number: (312) 888-3455
Website

Price Range: $3-10
Our Rating: 5 out of 5

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an autumnal delight

What We Tried: Skim Latte, Gluten-Free Apricot Muffin

Our Take: Little Goat Bakery opened a mere three weeks after Girl & the Goat, to serve as a dedicated baking kitchen for the larger parent restaurant. Since bread at Girl & the Goat is a part of the meal, rather than an appetizer or side, they wanted a place where their bakers could let their flour fly all day long, without worrying about getting in the way of braising goat legs.

Little Goat Bakery is attached to the Little Goat Diner, and contains a pretty swanky bar, too, but I’m going to concentrate on the coffee shop component of the operation. You order your coffee at the back of the bakery, where you can watch the bakers at work through a large glass window. It’s sort of like the world’s greatest cooking show.

When I finally pulled away from watching the bakers fold dough into pie tins (and picked my jaw up off the floor), I walked back to the front of the shop to pick up my coffee and muffin from the espresso station. All of the coffee is Stumptown (say hey!), and all of the breads and pastries are baked that day.

I was a little nervous about my muffin choice, since I’m new to the whole gluten-free thing, but it was soft and perfect and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. My latte was one of the best I have had in a long time, and arrived with an intricate fleur-de-lis swirled on top.

Start off your next Saturday with a cappuccino from Little Goat, or pick up a fresh Italian loaf for dinner…I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

-Carolyn

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Coffee, Wicker Park

Ugly Mug Café

Ugly Mug Café
Coffee Shop, Lunch

Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Address: 1458 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60642
Phone Number: (312) 666-7707
Website

Price Range: $3-10
Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5

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my kind of place

What We Tried: Thai Almond Iced Latte, Movin’ to Cali Sandwich, Black Iced Tea, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Our Take: I received the recommendation for The Ugly Mug Café from one of my co-workers, a group of people who usually know what they’re talking about. So, on a sunny Sunday afternoon—which, if I may digress for a moment, is the absolute best day of the week when you aren’t in school—we strolled down the road for a little post-vinyasa pick-me-up.

Ugly Mug is the decade-long dream of owner Mikky Wright, who lamented the lack of neighborhood coffee shops after moving from Seattle to Wicker Park in 1997. In alignment with the independent spirit of West Town, Wright created a coffee shop from the ground (grounds? heh heh) up, using local vendors and hiring a quirky, friendly staff. And the inspiration for the name? No coffee cup is the same, and they all look like the weird mugs you find at the back of your grandma’s cupboard.

My dining companion tried the Movin’ to Cali Sandwich, featuring our mutually favorite combination of turkey, bacon and avocado, while I sampled the Thai Almond Iced Latte, a creamy blend of almond milk, chai-like spices, and a shot of espresso. Other items on the menu included a sandwich called “Lived in Portland,” and another one called “The Bob Loblaw.” It’s like they knew me.

As previously mentioned, the staff was awesome. They clearly enjoyed hanging out with each other, and when they weren’t making latte art, they were dancing and singing to the restaurant’s incredible “hits of the ‘90s” playlist. Overall, it was a v. fun place, and I intend to return.

-Carolyn

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