29 January 2014

pho lily.

2014 has been the year of asian food for me so far. let's be honest, no complaints. especially when you read this one ...

tonight's post : the third installment of the halley-katie-tnaya show -- vegan co-workers night out! in the midst of this snowy, cold, frigid, freezing, icy, gross winter we opted for something warm & cozy. to be honest, i'm about to change your life with this.

enter pho lily. at pho lily, they "take pride in serving the best pho." well, i can attest. it is, in fact, the best pho-cking pho. in the city. maybe the world.

here it is :

pho toppings :
thai basil, jalapeño, limes & sprouts. 
the classics in their freshest form. beautiful.

pho rau cai dau hu :
fresh rice noodles w/ mixed vegetables & tofu. no mushrooms.
holy pho deliciousness. veggies? amazing. tofu? hot & crispy. broth? words cannot describe the absolute perfection that is this broth.

instead, i'll say this : i cannot stress to you enough how badly & quickly you need to get up to uptown for the pho at pho lily ... literally. now. go.

--
pho lily
5100 n. broadway
chicago, il 60640

26 January 2014

new items : bellyq.

i've only posted on maybe a couple restaurants more than once ... not that i am exhausting my options in chicago at all, but sometimes - you've just got to return to an old favorite.

so when josh & i scored tickets to a bulls game a couple weeks ago (thanks, carlyyyy.), we decided to dine in the area ... we landed at bellyq.

since my last visit to bellyq, they have made some big changes to the menu ... lots of revisions to the old items. all of this was very exciting to me, of course.

here's what i had ...

kale & green papaya salad :
grapes, smoked onion & rice puffs.
i know i have referenced the big salad episode from seinfeld before ... this salad here is an example of exactly the kind of salad i want a big big big version of. so freaking delicious. also ... hello, kale ... i love you.

vegetarian hot pot :
soft tofu & root vegetables. no egg.
what a perfect change for winter. super seasonal root veggies = awesome. but my absolute favorite part of this soup? every time i thought i had eaten all the perfect little rice patties, i'd find another. and another. and another. i can't exactly explain to you how great the rice patties are, so i won't try. but i suggest you go over there and try them for yourself. you will be quite pleased.

griddled chinese broccoli :
asian giardiniera & lemon zest. no parmesan.
i'm always down to try a vegan side dish. and something that comes with asian giardiniera, something i've never heard of? obviously i'm going to have to order it. the giardiniera was really good and i love all greens, so this was a definite win.

bellyq also offers a sweet potato side that is vegan, which we took to go. i snacked on them the next day ... holy tastiness. 

i'd say winter is the time to head to bellyq ... hot soup, warn veggie sides, freaking amazing salad. check it out.

--

bellyq
1400 w. randolph street
chicago, il 60607

22 January 2014

protein bar.

i'm not a big chain restaurant eater. ok, that's a complete lie. i'm obsessed with chipotle, as every good vegan should be. i've even included a link, in the case that you are unfamiliar and/or not obsessed. yet.

anyway. there's one chain (ish) place i've been wanting to try for a while, simply based off of claims from several friends & family that i would absolutely love it. this legendary establishment is ... protein bar.

the reason why it has come so highly recommended to me : "we do healthy... healthier with a commitment to flavor & great service. we know you're busy & want to take care of yourself at the same time -- so we make it simple, fast & delicious to fuel your body while allowing you to take care of the other things in your life." welp. sounds about right.

so one friday, off i went into the loop to meet mah bestie (hi, carly!) for lunch at protein bar.

all packaged up, ready for immediate consumption :


here's what i had ...

green city vegan bar-rito :
marinted organic tofu, kale, toasted pepitas, chickpeas, house-made creamy vegan chia dressing & super 6 salad mix, wrapped in a whole-wheat flax tortilla. 
alright, it's got vegan right in the name. it's got to be good, right? yes. right. no joke, amazing. and uber-filling. like eat half and save there rest for an afternoon snack kind of filling. *i later found out this can be made into a salad. next time, friends.

vegetarian chili w/ onions & vegan cheese :
also, delicious. for me, chili is one of those nostalgic items. to be able to add cheese & fresh chopped onions made me so happy. this cup o' chili could have been absolutely terrible & i still would have loved it.

well, that solves it. protein bar is my new favorite lunch place in the loop. enough qualifiers there, for you? i am 100% certain that i will be back on the reg. so many items to try, so much time to try them.

--
protein bar
235 s. franklin street
chicago, il 60606

20 January 2014

shiso japanese restaurant.

one day, my vegan gal pal (hi, tnaya!) & i were looking for some fresh air out of the office. after much discussion on where to eat lunch, we eventually landed on sushi ... which led us to shiso japanese restaurant, located on north avenue in old town.

a quick bit about this hip joint : "shiso presents a pleasant japanese restaurant & sushi bar where you can enjoy flavorful, unique & healthy cuisine." just what we were looking for.

here's what i had ...

 vegetable maki :
top : kampyo roll - marinated sweet gourd.
bottom : avocado roll - obvi. 
it doesn't get much more basic than this. 

but that's not always bad. in this case, we were wanting a quick, healthy bite. so these two delicious little rolls were pretty much ideal.

shiso is definitely a place i can see myself returning to for the following reasons ... 1. quick. 2. easy. 3. byob. can't go wrong.

--
shiso japanese restaurant
449 w. north avenue
chicago, il 60610

12 January 2014

pegasus restaurant & taverna.

ah, another week that josh had off work = another trip to greektown for lunch. this time, we headed to an area staple : pegasus restaurant & taverna.

pegasus opened in 1990 (woah!) with the aim of "educating diners about the delights of greek cuisine" and featuring a menu "comprised of true mediterranean cooking that our families grew up eating & we are proud to serve our guests." i'm on board!

here's what i had ...  

fava santorinis :
split pea, fava bean & roasted red pepper puree w/ virgin olive oil. 
a break from the usual hummus ... and overall, quite tasty.

vegetarian dolmades :
grapeleaves stuffed with rice & spices.
i always love dolmades & these were a perfect version.

elliniki :
greek classic salad w/ lettuce, tomatoes, onions, kalamata olives, pepperonccini & green peppers. (no feta.)
a super classic greek salad. you really just can't go wrong. everything was fresh and delicious, just how i like it. 

with so many options in greektown, pegasus is a fab contender when choosing a place for lunch or dinner. there are plenty of other vegan items on the menu, as well. so definitely worth a visit to this chicago staple.  

--
pegasus restaurant & taverna
130 s. halsted st.
chicago, il 60661

05 January 2014

arami.

first post of 2014! happy new year, everyone! let's get this food party kicked off ...

ok, i know sometimes (aka, almost always) sushi posts are boring. i mean, as much as a i love a good, perfectly fresh avocado roll, it's pretty much the same every.single.time.

however, this is not another boring sushi post.

here, we have arami, a sushi bar in ukrainian village ... per their website, "updated traditional feeds the urban dweller at this innovative sushi &  japanese kitchen spot. enjoy high quality sushi in our peaceful, natural, garden like atmosphere." ah, zen dining. just how i wanted to start 2014.

and here's the thing about arami. it's not just avocado rolls + cucumber rolls + boring veggie roll central. you'll see. here's what i had ...

nira yasai :
garlic chive, vegan lemon mayo, pickled pear.
vegan lemon mayo? sign me up. now. this was my favorite of the 3 rolls i had/shared. super flavorful & just generally good. see what i meant?

kabocha yasai :
saikyo miso & white soy. 
a little more traditional, but still ultra tasty. (for non-vegs, this came with honey + almonds on top.)

nasu yasai :
eggplant & peanut red miso dressing. 
another super fantastic roll. eggplant & i have only a so-so relationship, but this preparation worked quite well for me.

my only issue with arami is ... that it's not the place to come if you are hungry. the rolls are pretty small ... so as delicious as they are, they won't fill you up. 

see? i told you this wasn't a boring sushi post. 

--
arami
1829 w. chicago avenue
chicago, il 60622