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

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





Okay, cute!






I gave up sweets for Lent…


Brussels & Kale Salad…the bacon evens out.



Apple Pie Grilled Cheese


Turkey Cheddar



My kind of place.


Roasted Beet & Farro Salad



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!


Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert, Dinner, Lincoln Park, Lunch

Summer House Santa Monica

Summer House Santa Monica
Brunch (Sat, Sun), Lunch (Thurs, Fri), Dinner

Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Address: 1954 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 634-4100

Price Range: $15-30
Our Rating: 4 out of 5


go ahead, get Acai Basil Smashed


there was no appropriate way to photograph this squash


lobster orecchiette is a top Maine course at Summer House (heh)


I love you an enchilada




grilled salmon, I sea you


come to mama


vanilla bean is key


♥ ♥ ♥

What We Tried: Fresh Burrata, Hot Mess of Fries, Spicy Calamari, Caramelized Butternut Squash, Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, Maine Lobster Orecchiette, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Wild Mushroom Enchilada Stack, Grilled Chicken Tacos, Pork Shank (a special), S’mores Cookie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookie with Brown Butter Ice Cream, Caramelized Pan Perdu

Our Take: I think we can all agree that winter in Chicago can get pretty brutal. Luckily, Summer House Santa Monica is here for us. The restaurant takes us to the sunny beaches of Santa Monica with its sky lights, life guard chair bar stools, white walls, and pockets of greenery around the restaurant. Summer House gives off an open-air vibe without opening a single window (because even though it doesn’t feel like it, we are still in Chicago). While themed restaurants run a high risk of feeling tacky and contrived, Summerhouse keeps things subtle and genuine.

Our wait was longer than expected (okay with us because it gave us time to stop at the Marquee Lounge for drinks), but the host staff felt terrible and offered us complimentary appetizers and a round of drinks as an apology. Totally unnecessary but definitely a way to win us over right off the bat, especially if you make drinks like the Acai Basil Smash (originally a “zero-proof cocktail” but best with the addition of vodka or rum, in my humble opinion).

We started with the fresh burrata, the spicy calamari, and the “hot mess of fries” because who can turn down al pastor, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and a sunny side up egg all piled on a stack of fried potatoes? Not these kids (and one mom), and we would recommend that you don’t either. I’m not typically a seafood girl (or a spicy girl for that matter), but the calamari was also stellar.

Being the sharers that we are, everyone tried a little of everything and unanimously decided that the Pork Shank with Roasted Fennel and the Maine Lobster Orecchiette were the winners of the entree category. The extremely tender and oh-so-succulent pork fell right off the bone (and was promptly devoured). I’d say it even rivaled the pork shank at Girl & the Goat, which is saying a lot. The pasta was just as rich, and the lobster was incorporated generously.

My friends, mom, and I will likely never settle the debate over what was better: the Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookie or the Caramelized Pan Perdu with roasted local apples, cinnamon custard, and brown butter ice cream. The Pan Perdu was my personal favorite (think a giant piece of French Toast) with its crisp, caramelized exterior and soft, pillowy interior that somehow evaded the sogginess trap. Even my mom, who usually doesn’t bother with dessert unless it involves chocolate, was infatuated. The cookies are a house specialty, though, and worth a trip in their own right. Carolyn and I have considered Ubering all the way up to Lincoln Park just to grab one (or five), if that tells you anything.

As fantastic as Summerhouse was for dinner, I’ve heard their brunch is just off the charts. We’ll surely be back for that, ya know, for the blog (#ftb).

Note: I’ve heard that if you check in on Yelp, you get a free cookie a la mode. Just sayin.


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

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


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.


* i.e. She is bringing me. – Meredith

Breakfast and Brunch, Bucktown, Dessert, Dinner, Lincoln Park, Lunch, O'Hare, River North

Goddess & Grocer

Goddess & Grocer
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Neighborhood: Bucktown, River North, Lincoln Park, O’Hare
Address: Multiple
Phone Number: Multiple

Price Range: $7-12
Our Rating: 5 out of 5


Love this Bucktown location


Perfect people watching post


Yes, it’s impossible to choose


So much yes


Yes, THAT Jeni’s


Cutest seating upstairs


Carolyn ❤ al fresco dining


Homemade granola bars


Tofu never looked so good

What We Tried: Too many things to try to remember

Our Take: Living around the corner from a Goddess & Grocer is both a blessing and a curse. Ex: It is a blessing the morning after you had a little too much fun at Big Star (not speaking from experience or anything). It is a blessing when you’d rather avoid a night like the one at Big Star and just want to eat dessert and watch a movie with your roommate. It is a blessing when you host a dinner party and forget to defrost the chicken (Again, not speaking from experience). It is a blessing when you and your roommate decide to go on a 5 hour walk without any particular food stops planned. It is a curse when you lose all motivation to cook anything ever (which we do. Cook, that is. Just so you know.).

Anyway, G&G is a mecca for delicious prepared, made-to-order, and packaged foods. Their sandwiches are to die for. The make-your-own options are unique (read: not your typical Subway fare), and they don’t charge you an arm and a leg for each individual topping. The prepared foods are just as inventive, like the aforementioned Lemon Thyme Chicken. The packaged options, like granola bars, are also awesome and usually artisanal, all natural, or locally made (like pints of JENI’S!!!!). All of the locations are well-decorated and trendy, but we’d especially recommend the Bucktown spot for its knockout salad bar (think Whole Foods level) and rooftop dining. Basically, you’ll be mad you didn’t know about this place sooner.


Dessert, Lakeview

Popcorn Asylum

Popcorn Asylum

Neighborhood: Lakeview
Address: 68 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone Number: N/A

Price Range: $6-9
Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5


Modern interior sets the tone


They let you sample any flavor! (Pictured: Mexican Hot Chocolate)


What We Tried: Cookies ‘n Cream, Strawberry Balsamic, Blueberry Balsamic, Mexican Hot Chocolate

Our Take: Friendly service, inventive decor, and a delicious product a good popcorn shop does make. Founded by two brothers and their friend, the trio is constantly creating new flavors for us to enjoy. Flavors start with either a cheese or caramelized base and range from savory to spicy to sweet. The best part is that every flavor still maintains the light, airy nature of popcorn, unlike a certain famous Chicago popcorn chain. So light that you and your roommate could polish off two bags without even noticing (not that we would know). We LOVED the balsamic flavors. Keep an eye on Popcorn Asylum’s latest flavors on their Facebook page or website, and be sure to stop in soon!


Dessert, Lakeview

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Neighborhood: River North
Address: 3404 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60657
Phone Number: (773) 348-7139

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


Adorable Exterior? Check.


Expansive (and Enticing) Menu? Check.


Makes-Your-Stomach-Want-to-Eat-Itself Curb Appeal? Check.


Cucumber Water? Check. (Ice cream always makes me thirsty; these people think of everything)


Fresh Ingredients? Check. (Pictured: Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, Pineapple Upside Down Cake made with Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt)


Pure Indulgence? Check. (Pictured: Brown Butter Almond Brittle, The Buckeye State, Salty Graham Gravel, Hand-Whipped Cream, and Extra-Bitter Hot Fudge Sundae)

What We Tried: Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, The Buckeye State, Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt

Our Take: Our first 5 out of 5! Just go. Seriously. Do not stop. Do not collect $200. Just go. First of all, great decor – modern, clean, and fun. And then there’s the smell. I wish I could blog a smell. But I can’t. So just go. Then there’s the ice cream. So inventive! Unique! Mouth-watering! The Goat Cheese with Red Cherries was surprisingly delicious, but I don’t know that I’d want a whole bowl. Good for those who like Original (Tart) froyo. The other flavors were just out of this world. My favorite by far was the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The fresh cherries were so sweet and mixed with soft and spongy cake – just orgasmic. Is that appropriate to say on here? I don’t care. We will definitely be back. Frequently. For things like a Salty Caramel with Smoked Almonds Ice Cream Sandwich. You should go too. 


Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert, River North


Breakfast, Dessert

Neighborhood: River North
Address: 68 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone Number: (312) 329-6500

Price Range: $1.50-5
Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5


Enticing Signage


Malted Milk Ball is next on the list


Donut Ice Cream Sandwich


Almond Joi Donut


What We Tried: Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, Almond Joi Donut, Chocolate Hazelnut Long John

Our Take: Donut miss the Ice Cream Sandwich! The thin layer of ice cream moistens the already spongy donut creating a heavenly cool treat. The layer of fudge is just the icing on the cake (quite literally). The Chocolate Hazelnut Long John was also out of this world. The Almond Joi was nice as well, but passable comparatively speaking. We sat on the quaint little patio for about an hour just people watching and enjoying our donuts (let’s be real, the donuts were gone in like 2 minutes). We’ll definitely be back for more!

– Meredith