We all cherish those moments in life where we have the privilege of basking in luxury and feeling like we are rich. Last night, I was extraordinarily lucky to eat with one of my best friends at Smith & Wollensky in Chicago and got to enjoy luxury without any of the drawbacks because, well, he has the hook up.
With seats outside overlooking the Chicago River and downtown skyline on a beautiful night, we were ready to indulge. Immediately after sitting down, our drink orders were taken (I ordered a Diet Coke because I prefer soda paired with food to alcohol), and we were brought a plate of warm, fresh bread. The bread was outstanding, seasoned with salt and garlic, and it took every ounce of our willpower to turn down a second round when we finished the plate. We were voraciously hungry and there for a feast but this would be a marathon, not a sprint. More bread now would come at the expense of stomach room for steak later, so we begrudgingly delayed gratification.
The last time I was in Chicago, about three years ago, the only thing on my mind was pizza, pizza, and more pizza. However, on my most recent visit it was all about the beef. Burgers, of course.
I arrived in Chicago from Los Angeles at 7 in the morning after no sleep, because this wasn’t some ordinary red-eye. You see, I had a four hour layover in Las Vegas, where I left the airport, watched the fountain show at the Bellagio, placed $20 on black and WON while slurping down a few cocktails before returning to the airport, only to realize that I forgot to do one of the most essential things: EAT. So upon my arrival to Chicago, I declared to the only person listening – my cousin Jesica – that this wasn’t just a trip for me, but also my taste-buds and, to that, Jesica and many others directed me to a burger joint called DMK Burger Bar.
When striving to live the high life, there is nothing better than a good, honest unvegan meal at a tasty price. In Chicago, and I imagine in all other major metropolitan areas, knowledge of the specials around town allows us to fulfill our unvegan needs without crippling the budget, especially on weeknights.
On Wednesdays, Rocks, a bar with very good burgers and locations in Lincoln Park and Lakeview, has a special of $5.00 burgers and $5.00 24 oz. beers. The latter is a distinction in which I differ a little bit from some other unvegans. When I am eating, my first choice for accompanying beverage is cola and my second choice is water. As I tend to eat really fast, I really don’t like consuming alcohol with my food.
Once again, here’s a guest blog courtesy of @RGSpiegel.
This week, one of my good friends is on a week-long staycation as she transitions in between jobs. Knowing that I set my own hours, she asked me if I wanted to go to the beach. Given that it was 85 and sunny with a slight breeze, she didn’t have to twist my arm too hard to take some time off from blogging late on a Monday morning.
Perhaps one of the most uniquely puzzling marketing campaigns of the last year has been that of Domino’s Pizza. In extolling the virtues of their “new recipe” pizza and remarking on how much it has improved, Domino’s is tacitly admitting that their old pizza was not, for lack of better words, particularly good. Given that we were marketed to relentlessly by Domino’s back when their pizza was “not particularly good,” why should we give our valuable pizza dollars to them now? Even with their new recipe, Domino’s is only marginally better than upper tier oven pizzas. The answer, though, lies in their prices. Their special of three medium pizzas for $5.99 each is unmatched, right? Not so fast.
For my second meal in the Windy City, we went to a tapas place called Cafe Ba Ba Reeba. It’s a part of the Lettuce Entertain You group, which despite having a suspect name, runs some pretty swanky restaurants. Although this was a tapas place, it also had a special brunch menu that started at 11 when the place actually opened up. Arriving at opening time, we took our seats in the back, since the outdoor area couldn’t seat such a big group, then took a look at the menu.
After a couple of days in Michigan, it was off to Chicago for a wedding, but I wasn’t going to let the wedding get in the way of my feeding. My sister, a Chicagoan for the past few years, recommended we head to La Creperie, so to La Creperie we went. Having been to La Creperie a few times in the past, I was pretty excited to grab some lunch there. The place has a great outdoor courtyard that is perfect for those Chicago summers. If only they could last for more than 3 months.
A few weeks ago, I was watching a Cubs game on WGN and, being too lazy and preoccupied with whatever the internet had to offer to change the channel after the game (presumably, the Cubs lost), a special about the best places to eat brunch in Chicago came on. Featured first on this special was Nightwood, a restaurant in the Pilsen neighborhood on the South side of Chicago that served up brunch on Sundays. Although I am not one to typically seek out special places to eat breakfast or brunch (which is really just breakfast eaten later in the day because of being too hungover to move any earlier), I knew I had to try Nightwood when I saw that they served up a special unvegan treat: the bacon butterscotch doughnut. When I saw that this creation even existed, I immediately channeled my inner Homer Simpson.
The following guest blog is courtesy of Ryan Glasspiegel. Check him out on Twitter: @RGSpiegel
After living the unvegan lifestyle in Chicago for the better part of a year, I am extremely ashamed to admit that I had never eaten at Kuma’s Corner until just recently. Located off the beaten path on Belmont Avenue near the corner of Belmont, California, and Elston, Kuma’s Corner is not easily accessible to me by either walking or public transportation. Further, there is a perpetual wait time of over two hours so in addition to knowing someone who has a car, you have to be willing to stake out the significant portion of a day in order to indulge in their renowned hamburgers.
I was craving shwarma. It was late and it was freezing, so my options were limited to food within walking distance. Once again, I found myself in Lincoln Park, Chicago, and needed to find food fast. As luck would have it, I was directed to Cousin’s, a Turkish restaurant.
Cousin’s has the general ambiance of a typical Turkish or Middle-Eastern restaurant, with pictures of Turkey, arts, urns and hookahs on the wall. As a bonus, it also has some floor seating, which I can only assume is the traditional way to eat in Turkey.