If you are Christian and celebrate Lent, you know that you’re supposed to give up something– usually it’s junk food or soft drinks or alcohol or shopping or some bad habit- for the 40 days (not counting Sundays!) before Easter. Even if you’re not Christian, it’s a good way to reset yourself into being a little more healthy and it’s a good time of year to do it because it’s still wintery in most places and there’s not much going on to get you off track. You’re also supposed to refrain from eating meat on Fridays (fish and even alligator are allowed, tho, whaaaaat? I don’t like fish or alligator anyway, so I just do vegetarian on Fridays). You’re supposed to try to be more mindful during Lent, and to lay off the snacks, not eat elaborate meals, and allow yourself to be a little hungry. This slight hunger helps you be more mindful and also gets you to relate to the plight of others less fortunate. Lent is also about alms-giving, so you could donate the money you might save by eating more simply to groups who care for the poor, if you want. It’s also a good time to really get into meatless meals. A lot of people think about going vegetarian, at least some of the time, but have a hard time really doing it. So, why not try it now?
Here are some things I’ve made so far. I’ll post my versions of them coming up here. If they call for beef or chicken stock, I just sub water if I’m going completely vegetarian. I usually serve these with a simple green salad.
Spinach, Tomatoes, and Chick Peas over Polenta (scroll all the way down the page)
And here are some of the things I plan to make soon.
Do you participate in Lent? What do you like to make?
In September my parents and my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. We did a lot of tourist stuff, since we were practically tourists ourselves back then. We ate a ton of good food and saw a lot of stuff, too.
The Aqua Building was designed to look like water.
Sunday we had lunch in our tiny apartment and dessert on the roof deck, then we walked from our apartment in Lincoln Park through the zoo and down into the Gold Coast and had dinner at Gibson’s Steakhouse, which was awesome.
On Monday we took a tour with the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company. It was actually really fun and informative. Highly recommended.
Since the tour is “hop on, hop off” and there are designated spots to do this, we opted to get off on Taylor St. and go to Rosebud for lunch.
After lunch we got back on the trolley and finished the tour. Later that night we went to the John Hancock Building’s Signature Room and had drinks and checked out the view from the 95th floor.
Tuesday we started out at Big Star in Wicker Park. The service was sort of lame and we felt like they weren’t that thrilled to have us non-hipsters out on their patio for everyone to see, but the food was really good. The margarita was not great, though, and overall we like Taco Joint in Lincoln Park better.
Then we got on the El to Wrigleyville and wandered around there for awhile.
We thought about taking a tour of Wrigley Field but the tickets were $25. REALLY? Yeah. Then we had some cocktails at one of the many bars up there.
After the drinks we got back on the El and went down to Fullerton in L.P. and had some hot dogs at Chicago’s Dog House.
Later that evening we took an architectural river cruise with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
Wednesday was their last day in Chicago so we started out in The Loop at Do-Rite Donuts. Everyone else was food-ed out, but Mike and I enjoyed the donuts very much. Rookies!
Then we just hung out in Millenium Park and had lunch at Mariano’s, the neat grocery store/cafe/restaurant by The Aqua.
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?
Paravicini’s always wins all the prizes for the best Italian food in Colorado Springs. It’s delicious! I recently took the photos for their website and one of my best friends, Janel, works there. But I’m not biased, I’ve been going there forever as you can see by these camera phone pics!