Chicago Summer

Gelato, French Market, Chicago

Gelato, French Market

Gene and Georgetti Classic Italian, Chicago

Gene and Georgetti Classic Italian

Greek Islands Restaurant, Chicago

Greek Islands Restaurant

Andersonville, Chicago

Andersonville

Espresso Milkshake, Intelligentsia, Logan Square, Chicago

Espresso Milkshake, Intelligentsia

Homemade gelato, JP Graziano, Chicago

Homemade gelato, JP Graziano

Chicago River view from a rented electric boat

Chicago River view from a rented electric boat

Summer storm, Chicago

Summer Storm

Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier Swing Ride

Tiki cocktails at Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago

Tiki cocktails at Three Dots and a Dash

Umbrella, North Avenue Beach, Chicago

Umbrella

Splashing speedboat on Lake Michigan, Chicago

Splashing speedboat on Lake Michigan

Classic Chicago Dog, Flub a Dub Chub, Lakeview Chicago

Classic Chicago Dog, Flub a Dub Chub

2013 Air and Water Show, Chicago

2013 Air and Water Show

Sears Tower, Chicago

Sears Tower

Divvy Bike Share, Chicago

Divvy Bike Share

Taste of Chicago: Half-Baked

See what I did there in that headline? It’s a food-related play on words on a post about food. Pretty clever, right? Of course it is.

But let’s get back to the meat of the story, shall we? (OK, that one’s just ridiculous, and I’ll stop now.)

For more than 30 years, the Chicago food world gets some tents and sets up shop in a park and offers the hungry masses a taste of what Chicago’s restaurants have to offer.

Here’s what they have to say about it all on their website:

Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park on the city’s magnificent lakefront has been home to the world’s largest food festival.

Seriously, people, lots of really good food available here. But why do we say half-baked, then? There were some problems with this Taste of Chicago 2013 that could really be easily fixed. First of all, it’s miserable hot out there, and the festival is on pavement? Nice going. Whatever, though, it’s probably easier to maneuver the grills and all the equipment. But then all the shaded areas are fenced off? Do you want me to die of heat stroke, Chicago?

Second, in addition to not having any shaded places available, there were no places to sit, either.

Anyway, I’m sure it’s nicer in the evenings. And the weather probably isn’t Taste of Chicago’s fault. But whatever with that. Spring for some chairs and tables, you guys.

Other than that, though, the food was delicious, as we expected. For $16, we had some red beans and rice with jerk chicken from Vee Vee’s African Restaurant, a pulled-pork mini from The Smoke Daddy, a veggie chickpea bowl from Bombay Spice Grill, two slices of cheesecake (key lime and regular) from Eli’s Cheesecake Co., and a cup of sherbet from Original Rainbow Cone.

Overall, even though my stupid bald spot got sunburned, the cheesecake and sherbet made up for it.

Eli's Cheesecake Co., Taste of Chicago 2013

Found a sliver of shade, and stood there with my slices of dessert from Eli’s Cheesecake Co.– key lime and regular. Oddly, the regular was tastier.

Five Things I Did…in the last two days

1. Went to the RV and Motorhome Hall Of Fame in Elkhart, IN.

2. Found a vintage ad for our trailer model.

3. Ate a delicious meal at White Palace Grill in Chicago.

4. Took pictures of Cookie Puss

5. Took a picture of Cookie Puss and Gus snuggling.

So much amazing food in Chicago

Some of you might have noticed that we like to eat. For a lot of people, eating is something they do to stay alive. They call it a necessity.

But for us, eating is a hobby.

Lucky for us, Chicago has a few places to indulge us. We’ve been pretty busy, and we’ll talk about some more of these in greater detail later, but for now, here’s a list of some of this city’s amazing food offerings we’ve enjoyed:

  • Uncle Sammy’s: Our first night in Chicago, we were having a horrible time finding a place to park a UHaul truck. At about midnight, we finally found a place and were walking home when we stumbled onto this gem. The Pilgrim is a very fine sandwich.
  • Kitchen Sink: Good, simple sandwiches.
  • Floriole: Adrienne loved it. I thought it was only OK. Quiche, apparently, is to die for.
  • Pasta Bowl: Delicious and affordable pasta.
  • Tzatziki Grill: Excellent Greek place that also has a pretty solid Italian Beef sandwich.
  • Margie’s Candies: It’s like time travel at Margie’s. Egg-salad sandwich and the Terrapin Sundae: Recommended.
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: Our favorite pizza in Chicago so far. Pizza in Chicago is like barbecue in other towns: Everyone has a very strong opinion. We loved Lou’s, but we’re still open to trying others.
  • Lito’s Empanadas: Delicious — and cheap. For $2.50, one of these little guys is great for a snack. Get two, and it’s lunch.
  • Del Seoul: Weird little Asian dumplings that are oddly addictive.
  • Paciugo: Gelato. Can’t go wrong with gelato.
  • Pret a Manger: This is Target’s cafe. Yes, I know. Why eat out at Target? But you see, here in Chicago, even going to Target is a dining experience.
  • Brown’s Chicken: Fried chicken place in one of the downtown pedways. Scenery wasn’t great, but loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes.
  • Bobtail Ice Cream: An almost-overwhelming amount of goodness.
  • The Edge: Cake!
  • The Grove: More time travel. Open-face turkey or meatloaf sandwich, with bottomless coffee.
  • Red Hen Bread: Tip: Get the day-old stuff for a little less money (same deliciousness, though).
  • Taco Joint: Best Mexican so far in Chicago. Lebanese Pork Taco: must have (available only on Thursdays).
  • Chicago’s Dog House: Our favorite dog place in Chicago so far. Good choices, good service, good prices.
  • Clark Street Dog:  Got caught in a storm and waited it out in here with a couple of dogs and a couple of beers. There are worse places to end up when it’s raining.
  • Red Hot Ranch: Our first hot dogs in Chicago. Our first experience with french fries on a hot dog. Interesting.
  • Big Star: Gourmet tacos. Service was only OK, but the decor was great. After Taco Joint, though, hard to compare.
  • Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse: Best service of any of the restaurants we’ve been to. A shoutout to our server, who happens to be a Lincoln Park neighbor! Desserts are insane. And tall. You’ll need to share. Oh, and also: $$$
  • Filini: Ultra-modern, ultra-hip dining at the signature downtown building Aqua. Sotto Bosco pizza was impressive. As was the Carciofini spinach dip.
  • Rosebud: Best Italian so far in Chicago. Two must-tries: Penne Bolognese and their Cavatelli Alla Rosebud.
  • Toast: Great service. Outstanding breakfast burrito.
  • Stella’s: Delightful breakfast options.
  • The Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Carrot cake!
  • Goose Island Brewpub: We didn’t eat here, but for some great local brews, it’s worth a try.
  • Dunlays on Clark: $5 Cheeseburger special = delicious.
  • The Burwood Tap: One of the oldest continuously operating bars in Chicago. Really good free food Mondays through Thursdays (my fave was the chicken).
  • Smoque: Been having a hard time finding some barbecue out here, but this was fantastic.
  • Pizzeria Due: After a too-long wait at Malnati’s, we ended up here. Not quite as good as Lou Malnati’s, but if LMs is a 10, Pizzeria Due is a 9. Very good.
  • Portillo’s: Iconic. Worth it for the atmosphere. Still, Chicago’s Dog House wins out.
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Grilled Chicken Mediterranean is a fine, fine sandwich.
  • Matisse: Did not expect deliciousness when we ordered the Reuben Potstickers. We were pleasantly surprised.
  • Do-Rite Donuts: You’ll find lots of Dunkin’ Donuts here, but few local places. These guys do donuts right.
  • Wow Bao: Quirky little place with neat little fluffy dumplings. A must-try.
  • Devil Dawgs: It’s worthwhile to try all of Chicago’s hot dogs.

So much food in this town — how do people here ever get anything done?

Sundaes, treats, floats. Plenty of tasty options at Margie's Candies.

 

If you're after treats, Bobtail is also an excellent choice.

 

What's this? A hot dog? Yes, I guess so. Underneath the french fries, anyway. Interesting technique, Red Hot Ranch.

 

The S'mores cake at The Edge. Cake did not last long.

 

The best Chicago hot dogs, in our opinion. Chicago's Dog House.

 

A very full meal at Smoque BBQ: Chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans, and cole slaw.

 

Carrot Cake! At the Bourgeois Pig.

 

We don't only take pictures of food. We are also capital-A Artists. Or, maybe this is the view after we'd eaten too much and had to lay on the floor. Hard to say.

 

 

Our favorite Colorado Springs restaurants

We got so busy in the last few months we were in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have time to do very many posts. So I’m going to do a few Colorado wrap-up posts in the next few weeks before embarking on full force Chicago entries.

These are some of our favorite restaurants in The Springs. Give them a try if you haven’t been.

Adam’s Mountain Cafe:

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Honey pot at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, CO

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Veggie Enchiladas at Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Insanely good brownie from Adam's Mountain Cafe

Borriello Brothers Pizza: 

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Veggie Pizza from Borriello Brothers

Downtown Burrito Company:

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Downtown Burrito Cart Man!

Mediterranean Cafe:

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Mediterranean Cafe's food is good if you can abide their idiotic hours.

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

Falafel at Mediterranean Cafe

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

The fries at Mediterranean Cafe are good but not as good as Taste Of Jerusalem's

Cucuru Gallery Cafe:

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

The outdoor space at Cucuru Cafe and Gallery

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

A tasty veggie sandwich from Cucuru

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Lemon cake and cheesecake from Cucuru- yum!

Detz Cafe: (not sure what’s going on with the pictures on this website, they’re for sure not of their food):

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Everything is good at Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Calicrate beef burger from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Perfect french toast from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Mmmm grilled cheese from Detz Cafe

Gold Hill Java:

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Egg salad sandwich lunch special from Gold Hill Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Healthy Mediterranean wrap from Gold HIll Java

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Go right away to have the most amazing affogato at Gold HIll Java!

Heart Of Jerusalem:

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Falafel from Heart Of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Lunch at Heart of Jerusalem

Jake and Telly’s:

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Soup and appetizers at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Janel enjoying some apps at Jake and Telly's

Lofty’s:

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Chicken salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

Reuben sandwich and pasta salad from Lofty's

 

McCabe’s Tavern:

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

Cheeseburger and cider at McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

French dip from McCabe's Tavern

The Melting Pot:

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot

Paris Crepe: (You must go to Paris Crepe. Check out our official review with more pics)

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Paris Crepe

Pizzeria Rustica:

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

My parents enjoying Pizzeria Rustica's patio

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Locally sourced antipasto tray

Shuga’s: By far my favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs, or really, just about anywhere. We’ve written a ton about them on this blog.

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Shuga's has an excellent happy hour

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

Fabulous sandwiches at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

One of the daily pasta specials at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Fancy roast beef sandwich at Shuga's

Smiley’s:  Another place we’ve written about before, here and here.

Breakfast at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

Smiley's cute decor. They've recently expanded to the space next door, doubling their size- shorter lines now!

 

So there you have it, the first of my Colorado Springs wrap-up posts. Be sure to visit these places and let me know what you think!