Chicago, in fashion, the soft drinks, expansion
Oh Columbia!
From Paris, incentive, like Cream of Wheat invented,
The Ferris Wheel!

A few weekends back I had the privilege of visiting my lovely, radiant friend Maggie in Chicago, along with my gorgeous gothically-inclined friend M.E.. Among other things, we argued endlessly about which building was the Sears tower, stayed out way too late, got cute new haircuts, and looked for vegan friendly restaurants. Oh, and we also rode the ferris wheel down at the waterfront!

The last time I went to Chicago (ages ago, when I was foolishly in love with Big Ten Frat boy... oh man) all I remember eating was deep dish pizza... and beer. And while both of those have their charms, this time I was hoping to see a different side of Chicago.

The ladies in Wicker Park

I knew right away I would like Chicago more this time- mainly because of the Sufjan Stevens album "Come on, Feel the Illinoise!" (what a classic.) I did think Chicago has the same fin de cicle air about it that I expected from that album- the occassional art nouveau and art deco touch, huge old trees lining the street, senselessly huge buildings springing out of the horizon... its gorgeous! A lot like New York City, but cleaner. :)

We did manage to find a few restaurants to service our picky crowd. One such restaurant was "Manna"- an omni restaurant with plenty of vegan options in the Wicker Park neighborhood. In addition to a cute server, this place had some great treats I think I could manage at home. For example, the watermelon, tomato and cucumber salad with a nice bite from fresh jalapenos.

Next up was "Bi bim bop"- a Korean dish my friends were familiar with but I had never had before. It was basicaly roasted veggies in a spicy chili sauce with brown rice... sounds simple, but it was so good! I especially dug the inclusion of okra, which is something I rarely ever eat, but always love.

I actually found a recipe for the stuff and I plan to make it soon. It was a perfect variation on fall comfort food.

We also got desert (as girls are wont to do) and had a yummy little rasberry tart with walnuts and some delish house-made sorbet. All in all I thought this place was great and would definitely give it a go if you are in the hood. It also, I must admit, cleansed my mind of the hideously stupid "Wicker Park" movie starring Josh Hartnett and an array of confusing yet sexy females vying for his attention.

For the rest of the weekend we went to some house parties and stuck close to home, which was, of course, perfect. We ended up eating at the house and gorging on candy, so there wasn't really anymore restaurant reviews to share.

But hey, Chicago! I dig it!



Liz² said...

yum! as soon as you make that Bi Kim Bop you have to have to post your veganized version! And I'm glad your trip was fun (cute haircuts and ferris wheels = hurray!). :D

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

It sounds like you had a great trip! And wahoo for it not being for Big Ten Frat Boys (though in my neck of the woods it would be Big Twelve frat boys).

I second Liz's request that you post that Bi Kim Bop recipe as soon as you make it!

bryant terry said...

hey t,

just wanna let you know that my next cookbook is called "vegan soul kitchen."



take care,


T said...

How cool is that! I'm definitely going to have to pick that up.