28 August 2013

madison, wisconin : the great dane pub & brewing company.

a couple of weeks ago, josh & i headed up to madison, wisconsin for the wedding of one of his co-workers. (congrats to mike & amanda!) ... before the wedding, we obviously had to go somewhere to eat ... another one of josh's co-workers & uw madison alum (hi, gina!) gave us a list of options and when i saw the list, i knew there was only one place i wanted to try ...

the great dane pub & brewing company. seeing as i have a great dane of my own, this was a must.

minnie the great dane ...

i can't honestly handle how precious she is. 
(yes, i know i'm obsessed with my dog.) 

anyway ... "the great dane pub & brewing company was established by college friends ... the two dreamed of starting a brewpub that offered many varieties of house-brewed ales & lagers and hearty, made-from-scratch pub fare to accompany the beers." sounds like the perfect pre-wedding lunch spot. 

besides that, this place is heaven for a great dane lover ... simply because of all the great dane stuff. for example ...

great dane beer taps :
i want this. but i want mine to have floppy ears.
the only way they could make this place better is if they had actual great danes + great dane puppies hanging out for you to play with. great dane pub people, if you are listening. that is a freaking genius million dollar idea. you can have it for free if i can come play with the dogs any time i want. 

here's what i had ...

tomato panzanella salad :
a bed of fresh spinach and mixed greens, cherry & yellow grape tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers & asparagus seasoned with olive oil then tossed with garlic pita & served with balsamic vinaigrette. no mozzarella. 
a fresh variety of veggies, delicious dressing + any form of bread (pita is always a great choice) = summer salad win.

the great dane pub also had an order of hummus on the menu that could be prepared vegan (no feta) ... and there was a veggie burger & sandwich option too ... but i didn't ask about those. seeing as it's madison though (aka, kind of a hippie town), the great dane pub is certain to be pretty accommodating to any dietary needs. 

if you <3 great danes & great food, it's worth a visit.  

123 east doty street
madison, wi 53703

25 August 2013

indie burger.

one of my friends (hi, tedi!) & i like to try new places to eat when we hang out. a while back, we went to native foods cafe ... and on our way out, we noticed a little place across the street that looked good : indie burger on w. belmont & n. kenmore in lakeview.

we had been planning to go here for literally months. but before we ate, indie burger already had two strikes.

1. the first time we attempted to eat there earlier this summer, they decided not to open on time. ok.
2. this time, we realized they have no ac ... they also were out of la colombe coffee. sads.

thank goodness the food was awesome! no strike three!

here's what i had ...

 vegan gyro + fries:

seitan, flatbread, soy tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, lettuce & onions. 
made entirely from scratch in house.
this was listed as a special, but it's on their website all the time. delicious. a little light on the soy tzatziki (i mean, i could eat a bucket of that stuff), but besides that : perfection. the flatbread was especially tasty ... it reminded me of a denser version of naan, something i actually do miss as a veggie. 

indie burger also has a vegan chickpea burger (if you request soy tzatziki instead of regular) ... i plan to try it next time!

indie burger
1034 w. belmont avenue
chicago, il 60657

21 August 2013

comiskey park (aka : u.s. cellular field).

cubs vs. white sox - the age old debate in our lovely city.

while i hail from a cubs family, josh's are sox fans. so on a beautiful chicago summer night, we headed to u.s. cellular field : the baseball stadium formerly known as comiskey park.

 view from the bleachers :
go white sox!

"the cell" (that one's for you, josh) used to have a veggie & hummus cup (i use the word "hummus" loosely here) on the menu that was vegan. not your typical baseball park fare. but that went away this season. boo!

josh & i had gone to dinner at davanti enoteca before the game, assuming there'd be nothing really for me to eat.

so i didn't actually order any food. but i decided to do a little investigating on the vegan options at the park. i started here ... where to eat at u.s. cellular field. i found out that there are veggie dogs & garden burgers on the 100 & 500 levels ...

first stop ...
the consession stand!
i asked to see an ingredient list ... yes, the veggie hot dog is vegan. (allergens = soy, wheat & mustard). they also have a morningstar garden burger, but they couldn't find that ingredient list. now, morningstar does have a vegan burger, but they also have a non-vegan burger. so not sure which one they have at sox park, but worth asking about if you're there & hungry. 

after our tour of the outfield, we headed to our seats in the club level. but first, a stop at the bar. 

me + a cup of always delicious sutter home cab sav : 
and now, the eats ...
the club level menu :
 the v markers indicate vegetarian ... but obviously you could ask for no cheese on the chopped salad ... and i'm not sure what the point of making a tempeh sandwich that isn't vegan would be. our waitress never really came over by us, but next time, i plan to ask more questions. if you're there first, let me know!

i might guess that the lemon italian ice, fruta cup, soft pretzels & maybe even more are vegan, too. but i didn't get that far.

i'm not going to be too judgemental here. i mean, it's a baseball stadium. beer, peanuts & hot dogs are the usual food groups. but u.s. cellular won't leave you hanging. they do a good job. so don't worry. you won't go hungry. 

go sox! but also, go cubs!

333 w. 35th street
chicago, il 60616

18 August 2013

davanti enoteca.

last weekend, josh & i headed over to ye olde comiskey park for a lovely evening watching the white sox. more news on vegan eating at u.s. cellular field coming soon ... but before that ...

we decided to head to little italy for dinner. this time, at davanti enoteca, a new-ish (opened in the last year or so!) eatery located right on taylor street.

davanti enoteca features "simple italian fare" in a "rustic wine bar & restaurant."sign me up.

here's what i had ...

warm tuscan kale insalate :
w/ oranges & walnuts. (no pecorino or guanciale.)
 so delicious. perfectly cooked kale makes for a fantastic kale salad.

cauliflower steak :
sicilian olive tapenade, ceci beans & marinated lemon jam.
yes, the marinated lemon jam looks like melted cheese. but it's not. this was good, but weird. i think it was the lemon. not a usual flavor combination. but the cauliflower was great.

vegan pizza :
red sauce, garlic & calabrian chili.  
doesn't look like much, but tasted awesome. this is my kind of pizza. super thin crust, light tomato sauce. oh, & you know my m.o. ... i saved some of my kale salad and put it on top of my pizza. buenisimo.

our server was a former vegan, so she knew what was up. and at first, she thought the pizza crust had honey in it (it used to) ... but a quick confab with the chef confirmed that it was vegan-acceptable. woop!

there were a couple other items on the menu that were adaptable, so you've got plenty of options. it's a great date night spot ... & perfect for a pre-baseball game meal.

davanti enoteca
1359 w. taylor street
chicago, il 60607

14 August 2013

le colonial.

back in high school, i used to babysit for my adorable little neighbors (who are now probably in high school). if i'm remembering correctly (and clearly, this was a long time ago!), one of their parents' favorite date night spots was le colonial, located near rush & walton in river north (ya know, right near the viagra triangle.)

so i've always wanted to try this little place. i mean, i've walked past it literally (no, not metaphorically) hundreds of times ... i eat/play/shop in that area quite a bit. and when our two-year wedding anniversary rolled around, josh & i decided that would be the perfect place to dine.

per their website, le colonial is "a cleverly crafted re-creation of the civilized, yet exotic, world of french indochina." sounds oh-so-lovely.

however, the best part about le colonial? they have a separate vegan & vegetarian menu!

what what !!!

since i have the best husband in the world, josh offered to share a couple vegan items ... and get his own, whole crispy red snapper for dinner. (ick.) 

anyway, here's what we had ... 

cha gio chay :
crisp, fried spring rolls of tofu, jicama, carrots, & asian mushrooms with soy lime dipping sauce.
best spring rolls maybe ever. one of our servers explained the technique ... you take the lettuce, cilantro, mint, carrots & jicama and wrap that around the spring roll. so it's like double layered. somehow, that made them extra delicious. they were so fresh ... which we were slightly confused about seeing as they are fried. and you couldn't taste any mushrooms, so i was happy there!

goi ngo sen :
lotus root and tofu salad with cucumbers, tomatoes & chili lime soy dressing.
also fabulous. the flavors were just perfect. i don't know that i've ever had lotus root before - and this was quite the positive first experience. completely fresh, awesome flavors. #win.

banh pho xao :
rice noodles sautéed with soy sauce, tofu, bean sprouts, green onions, red peppers & garlic chili sauce.
sadly, i was slightly disappointed here. this was good, just nothing so special (like the first two dishes!). a little bland considering it had garlic chili sauce. what i did like was that it was a huuuge plate. tons of noodles + tofu make me a happy girl. after the app & salad, i couldn't even come close to finishing this. hello, leftovers! 

le colonial is kind of a chicago staple ... they've been around forever (15+ years!). and even though they are right in the middle of all the hubbub of river north, it somehow feels tucked away & quite nicely private ... perfect for a date night or just quiet night with friends.

i think i'll definitely be back to le colonial ... for the app & salad alone ... but there are other items on the vegan menu i'd like to try, too. who's with me!

le colonial
937 n. rush street
chicago, il 60611

11 August 2013

huey's hot dogs.

when leo's coney island at southport & cornelia closed, i was sad. i loved it there. hey, i grew up in chicago, which means i grew up eating chicago-style hot dogs ... and sometimes, you (aka, me.) just can't ignore that hankering ... leo's used to have the perfect vegan chicago-style hot dog.

but fear not ... picture this : it's sunday at lunch time. josh & i obviously have not gone to the grocery in weeks (come on, you know i don't cook) ... and there's no food around. i turn to grubhub, type in "vegan delivery" & see what happens. 

enter huey's hot dogs, located in andersonville ... now today, i wouldn't say i was actually craving a vegan hot dog. but eating one is so rare, i couldn't pass it up : "whether you want a classic chicago-style hot dog, a specialty sausage, or one of our many vegan specialties, huey’s has a huge menu to explore." woohoo!

here's what i had ...

vegan chicago-style hot dog + vegan beer brat:
mustard, onions, relish, pickle, tomato, sport peppers & celery salt.
note : you see NO KETCHUP on that list. this is important.
ok, clearly i did not need two dogs here ... but i had never had a vegan beer brat and wanted to try a little of both. sue me. both were freaking.amazing. exactly what a delicious chicago-style dog should taste like.

one of the huey's hot dogs yelp reviews says that this make for some awesome vegan hangover food. this time, i wasn't in need of a hangover cure ... just regular old food. but either way, i highly highly recommend.

1507 w. balmoral avenue
chicago, il 60640

07 August 2013


chef bill kim is kind of an all-star in chicago ... he's got belly shack, urban belly, and most recently : bellyq, located near ogden & randolph in the west loop.

"forged from a unique partnership between chef bill kim, cornerstone restaurant group & michael jordan" ... let's stop there. mj? that mj? what? amazing! ok, continuing ...

"bellyq redefines asian barbecue ... chef kim & his expert team take the best seasonal, locally farmed ingredients & craft them into a menu that’s bursting with flavors, from bright + crisp to smoky + earthy ... this is food that will spark your imagination as it satisfies your belly."

this information is quite true. i've been to bellyq about five times now. it's right near my office, so we have a lot of work events there. i get the same thing every time (there are three vegan items on the menu) and this visit was no different.

here's what i had ...

addictive edamame :
soy balsamic.
delish. i sometimes hate ordering edamame at restaurants. i mean, you can make it at home in two seconds. but this version is definitely worth it. 

rice puff & spinach salad :
 avocado, green papaya & tomatoes. 
 i didn't order this last time i visited bellyq... and this time, it was so much better than i remembered. fresh ingredients + great flavor.

vegetable tofu hot pot :
 rice cakes, mushrooms, zucchini, bok choy, onion & cumin. 
every restaurant i visit that has a hot pot on the menu, that's what i want. but usually, they aren't vegan. but at bellyq, vegans are lucky. and this is so so so good ... maybe not ideal for a hot summer night, but still : a+++. i love the tofu + rice cakes and the broth is super spicy. doesn't really get better.

me + hot pot slurp :

cute girlies :
kayla, jessie, blair, me, carly. xo.

the food at bellyq is fantastic ... the drinks are fabulous ... and it's just a generally fun place to wine & dine. check it out.

side note : bellyq also has a lunch situation ... here's my post from a while back : bq2go.

1400 w. randolph
chicago, il 60607

04 August 2013

antique taco.

since antique taco opened last summer, it's been on my mind. i've heard great things ... and after one of my gal pals (hi, jessie!) instagrammed a photo of her kale salad a couple weeks ago ... i knew it was time to head over. stat.

per the restaurant website, "the story of antique taco comes with many drafts, but the goal has always been the same: to eat good food!" well, great! so off, i went ... w/ my bestie (hi, carly!) in tow.

here's what i had ...

agua fresca :
pureed fruit, simple syrup & fresh lemon juice.
i can't remember what the added fruit flavor was, but this tasted just like delicious pink lemonade. refreshing after the hot days we've been having in chicago. i normally wouldn't order something so sweet, but when in rome. (i actually said this to the guy at the counter. i don't think he found it as funny as i did. story of my life.)

antique taco salad :
kale, daily picks, spicy peanuts, onion, cranberries, sesame & pomegranate vinaigrette. (no queso fresco. no tortilla chips.)
i love me a good kale salad. like, really love. so i was pumped for this. a pretty ideal summer salad. bright green kale, various fresh summer fruits + a light, delicious dressing = salad perfection. more on the sans tortilla chips bit later.

market mushroom tacos :
pumpkin seeds, arugula & radish. (no guajillo cream.)
ok, it's not secret that i surriously hate mushrooms. but i thought i would try one of these bad boys just for fun. (maybe i like to torture myself a little bit.) arugula, radishes, seeds, tortillas = good. mushrooms = bad. but carly really enjoyed them. so obviously it was just me.

antique taco is good. but there is a negative. no vegan fryer ... one pot o' hot oil for tortilla items + fish. ick. this means that the tortilla chips & sope (the sope of the day could have been prepared vegan besides this) are not vegan. so no chips + guacamole for me. which i had be looking forward to all day. major sads.

buuut. the kale salad was yummy... and the 'shroom tacos are probably pleasing to most. so vegans, it's definitely worth checking out.

1360 n. milwaukee avenue
chicago, il 60622