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

IMG_4479

Cute!

 

IMG_4478

Okay, cute!

 

IMG_4480

Ca-ute!

 

IMG_4481

I gave up sweets for Lent…

IMG_4482

Brussels & Kale Salad…the bacon evens out.

 

IMG_4483

Apple Pie Grilled Cheese

IMG_4484

Turkey Cheddar

 

IMG_4485

My kind of place.

IMG_4486

Roasted Beet & Farro Salad

 

IMG_4487

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!

 

Standard
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
Website

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

IMG_3647

go ahead, get Acai Basil Smashed

IMG_3652

there was no appropriate way to photograph this squash

IMG_3646

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

IMG_3651

I love you an enchilada

IMG_3648

bae

IMG_3649

grilled salmon, I sea you

IMG_3654

come to mama

IMG_3656

vanilla bean is key

IMG_3655

♥ ♥ ♥

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.

-Meredith

Standard
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
Website

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

IMG_3319

Love this Bucktown location

IMG_3323

Perfect people watching post

IMG_3324

Yes, it’s impossible to choose

IMG_3325

So much yes

IMG_3326

Yes, THAT Jeni’s

IMG_3329

Cutest seating upstairs

IMG_3331

Carolyn ❤ al fresco dining

IMG_3333

Homemade granola bars

IMG_8866

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.

-Meredith

Standard
Farmer's Market, Lincoln Park, Recipes

Green City Market

Green City Market
Farmer’s Market

Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Address: 2732 N. Clark St., #302, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone Number: (773) 880-1266
Website

Price Range: $6-30
Our Rating: 4 out of 5

IMG_8186

The vegetable section

IMG_8189

Baked goods

IMG_8198

One of two flower stands–I wish there were more!

IMG_8194

IMG_8195

IMG_8196

IMG_8191

What We Tried: Black Garlic, Peaches, Nectarines, Apples, Apple Cider

Our Take: I came to Green City Market with obnoxiously high farmer’s market standards, thanks to two summers spent in Park City and Saturdays at the Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market. Green City Market looks bigger from the outside than it actually is, but it has everything you need in terms of fresh fruits and veggies. There are a couple stands each for jams, sauces, and cheese, and two or three baked goods stalls. One corner of the market is devoted to food vendors. We didn’t stop at any of the food vendors, but the line for the savory spinach crepes was down the block, and people were raving about some kind of bacon cookie. My only complaint? Everything was very expensive. I purchased five peaches for $6, but other than that, I couldn’t afford much else. (Although, as soon as I get my next paycheck, I will be treating myself to a package of black garlic) I am fully in favor of eating local and supporting nearby farms, but I also need to pay my rent. Maybe someday! 

So, we went to Jewel and bought all the same vegetables that we wanted to buy at the farmer’s market, instead. At Jewel, I also participated in an in-store contest where you stood inside a glass box and tried to grab paper dollar bills as they flew around. Which was maybe the exact opposite of the farmer’s market. But hey, the nectarines we bought at Jewel were still gone in two days, and Meredith and I made an excellent dinner of cauliflower pizza with three different toppings. (Kale, Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion; Eggplant and Pepper, and Peach, Arugula, and Balsamic). Speaking of balsamic, see below. You can just pretend I bought the strawberries at the farmer’s market.

-Carolyn

PS. My must-make recipe of the moment: 

Balsamic

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries (Before roasting)

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Ingredients:
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a small baking dish with parchment paper. 
2. Combine liquid ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add in strawberries and toss until they are well coated. Transfer the contents to the baking dish. Be sure to drizzle out all the sauce from the bowl into the baking dish, too.
3. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the balsamic vinegar is thick and syrupy.
4. Let cool, and then store in a closed mason jar (or any kind of container) in the refrigerator. 

Use the strawberries as an addition to salad, pasta, yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, or even on their own. I made a zucchini noodle pasta salad with them, which I am posting below:

Zucchini Pasta Salad with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, Avocado, and Pistachios

Ingredients:
Salad Greens, I prefer a Spring Mix
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries (see above)
25-30 shelled pistachios
1 avocado, cubed
Zucchini Noodles (We own a spiralizer, see how to make zucchini noodles here
Rice Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:
1. Place the first five ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Dress the salad with one turn around the bowl each of the rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar. 
3. Toss, and serve. 

The salad of the summer

The salad of the summer

 

Standard