Summer is just flying by, as it seems to always do. But I had such fun this summer exploring Chicago’s restaurant scene. From donut to sports oriented to Sunday Supper to Korean to health conscious restaurants, I found favorite dishes everywhere! Whether you live in Chicago or come to visit, the information below hopefully piques your curiosity to dine at the numerous places I am sharing.
Let’s start with breakfast. Well, not really breakfast as donuts are perfect any time of day, right?! You know how they say “don’t play with your food”? At Doodles Donuts, you are encouraged to doodle on your donut! This super cute place is set up to be easy to run in and pick up some treats, grab your coffee and head out for your day. Or, you can grab your friends and hang out in this inviting space. There is even a section where you can have little gatherings like book clubs, kids’ parties, etc. But, back to the donuts.
The assortment is extensive which of course makes it incredibly difficult to choose the one (or ones!) you want. We chose a little selection that offered different tastes and textures. And of course, the must have donut that we can doodle on:
Chocolate Old Fashioned
Blueberry Fruity Pebbles
White crème Doodle Donut
Who can have breakfast without a little bacon? This thick sliced cherrywood smoked Wisconsin bacon is gluten free with no additives and fillers.
So, what is doodling? You get to choose a vanilla or chocolate crème filled donut and then pick the color frosting you want to draw on your donut with. Personalizing it comes in as many creative designs as you can come up with. It’s all about your imagination after all. Check out my design:
Next time you are in the mood for a sweet treat or want to bring some happiness to your friends or colleagues, stop by Doodle’s Donuts in Old Town. This simple pleasure will make your day.
There once was a tradition in families where every Sunday night, the family gathered around the table enjoying a good meal and the day’s stories. Thanks to Floriole’s Restaurant in Lincoln Park, those moments can once again happen. Sunday Supper occurs one Sunday a month where you will dine on a three-course meal centered on a seasonal ingredient.
On a recent Sunday, we enjoyed a fresh corn focused dinner with ingredients from local farms. Each dish had corn as the key flavor. And there is nothing like crunchy, sweet corn to make a meal! The three courses we enjoyed were:
Cucumber ribbons, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and pepper vinaigrette
Sweet corn risotto and goat cheese stuffed squash blossom
Buttermilk corn custard tart with caramel corn
What I just loved about this meal was how much the sweet corn flavor came through in a way that fit the course. Whether it was crunchy like in the salad or creamy as in the risotto and dessert, it was a delicious dinner. The Chef’s attention to detail in each dish was obvious from the appearance, flavor profiles and of course, taste.
The story behind Floriole is one of love and passion for their business. Starting at Green City Market selling their amazing handcrafted French pastries to opening their restaurant and expanding beyond sweets to breakfasts and lunches, Chefs Sandra and Mathieu Holl developed a loyal following. Influences from Chef Mathieu Holl’s upbringing in France can be seen in the types of dishes and pastries served at the cafe. As much as is possible, they are using local ingredients showcasing their support of their community. They are also using organic flour and sugar, Valrhona chocolate, European-style butter and cage-free eggs.
Floriole is a neighborhood place. Comfortable. Welcoming. Delicious. And now offering Sunday Suppers as a way to share their dinner recipes with you and your family and friends.
To learn more about their menu and Sunday Suppers, please visit here
There is just nothing like being able to sit outside on a gorgeous day (or night) and enjoy a great meal, cocktails, friends and soccer! At Heineken Pub 97, you can do all of that in one place. This full service restaurant and bar designed by soccer lovers, for soccer lovers, is an easy place to hang out on the north side of Chicago.
On the evening we were there, games were being played on the field, diners were cheering on their teams and we were ready to join in the fun. Given the variety of people at our table, we were able to order dishes to appeal to every guest. We started with the Fire Pitch Chips and Dip – homemade chips with Pub 97 special seasoning and cool French onion dip — which was devoured in a short time.
To the All Star Wings with buffalo and BBQ sauce
To the house-made black bean burger with mango chutney and roasted red pepper aioli
and Pub97 burger with Angus beef, bacon, cheddar and Pub97 sauce.
This was a menu that made everyone happy. Whether indoors or on the patio, Heineken Pub 97 is a casual sports themed environment with a menu to please.
As a neighborhood place, you should know that:
- They are open for lunch on Fridays
- Have weekly Sunday movie nights with $2 specialty popcorn
- Celebrate the English premier league with a full serving of English breakfast
Bring your friends, enjoy a good meal and have fun! Cheers!
There is something so reassuring when you walk into a restaurant knowing that any dish you order is Gluten-Free, Nut-Free and made with Non-GMO ingredients. A new restaurant in the heart of Lincoln Park aptly called Green Bean, will become your new favorite local place to grab a quick salad or sandwich.
Start off with a fruit infused water called a Stoned Fruit Water. Choices like Raspberry Mint, Strawberry Blueberry and Cucumber Cantaloupe will offer a refreshing start to your meal.
Mike, Chef/Partner, of Green Bean, designed a menu that makes ordering simple. You choose a theme from options like:
Griller: Pineapple, asparagus fresh mozzarella, blistered tomatoes, mixed greens and spicy mango sauce
Spanish: Mixed greens, black beans, fresco cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, crispy tortillas, creamy cilantro and chipotle dressing
Greek: Feta, Greek spices, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, mixed greens, balsamic vinaigrette
Asian: Red cabbage, spring mix, broccoli raab, mandarin oranges, pan fried rice noodles, Thai chili sauce
Caesar: Romaine lettuce, cucumber, Parmesan cheese, croutons, Caesar dressing
Caprese: Tomatoes, red onion, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive and balsamic vinaigrette
Once you have chosen the flavor profile you are hungry for, then you determine if you feel like eating a salad, Panini or wrap and whether it will be filled with marinated chicken, marinated steak or portabella mushrooms.
And then the hard part, do you get the sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli or the namesake tempura battered green beans with teriyaki dipping sauce. If you said “both”, you are smart! The sweet potato fries taste exactly like what they are: sweet potatoes. No greasy oil flavoring from the frying process. They are crispy and unbelievably good. The tempura battered green beans are lightly fried leaving the green beans crunchy and flavorful. Another hit!
This next dish screams comfort food especially in the upcoming cold weather. Green Bean offers a Japanese Rice Ramen soup that is either filled with vegetables, pork or chicken. This is what you would call a hearty soup. We chose the veggie option and had a big bowl of bright and colorful vegetables topping the rice ramen noodles. The other notable thing to mention is that these were not mushy, overly cooked veggies. Their natural texture was still present making this dish more than soup but a meal.
Desserts and coffee
Now this Black Forest dark chocolate mocha is a sweet treat in of itself made with Ghiradelli raspberry and chocolate sauce and topped with homemade marshmallow (flavor of the day) whipped cream. On a blistery winter day, this will warm you up inside and out.
There is just something about real Italian gelato that elevates a dessert to something special. Green Bean continues their flavor combinations by creating these gluten free muffins filled with gelato and drizzled with chocolate, raspberry or caramel sauce. A few of your choices are:
Chocolate cupcake with salted caramel gelato
Blueberry cupcake with cheesecake gelato (catch the connection for those blueberry cheesecake lovers)
Chocolate cupcake with raspberry gelato
If you are looking to grab a quick bite to eat and your goal is to make smart choices, Green Bean has many options for you to choose from. They also offer catering services and delivery should that be of interest to you. For any gluten free friends, you will have more options than you realized here. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did!
Coming to Urban Belly is like walking into my friend’s kitchen. The environment is welcoming, the food is fabulous and the bar offerings are fresh and unique. Some of the dishes we had this evening are ones we have had before which is a bonus. Tonight though, we were there to check out their new bar offerings from The Booze Bank.
So here is how it works, you choose the main drink you want and then add the spirit from the Booze Bank. For example, you may feel like having a ginger infused vodka, lime and bubbles cocktail otherwise known as the Hidden Dragon
Or a Brass Monkey, a passion fruit drinking vinegar, Kirin Ichiban, gin and Kirin frozen topper
If you are looking for a simple refreshing non-alcoholic drink to go along with your spicy Kimchi, then try this Mint Matcha Iced Tea
And now, the food!
Sweet Potato and Maple pot stickers with feta and arugula
Pork and cilantro pot stickers with soy balsamic sauce
Pea shoot – wok friend jasmine rice with scrambled egg, tofu, pea shoot and madras curry
Phat rice – wok fried jasmine rice with scrambled egg, lemongrass chicken, pork belly, braised beef and pineapple
Wheat Berry Bibimbap – warm wheat berries, tofu, kimchi, eggplant, cucumber avocado
Eggplant – marinated Chinese eggplant with cilantro and crispy shallot
Kimchi – spicy Korean condiment with Napa cabbage and sesame
If you have not tried Korean food yet, this is the place to come. Whether you are vegetarian, pescetarian or meat eater, you are going to discover dishes that will become your favorites. And then you too will become a regular at Urban Belly! You can try The Booze Bar and all the creative ingredients to make thirst-quenching cocktails during Urban Belly’s Happy Hour from 4 – 6 pm as well.
If you live in Chicago or are coming for a visit, stop by any of these great restaurants for a good meal and fun time. I know you are going to enjoy them as much as I did!