29 March 2015

pizza east.

ok, enough with the pizza posts, i know!! but this one isn't so pizza-centric, so hopefully you can forgive me.

this time, i ate at pizza east, located on the first floor of the ultra-exclusive soho house, all of which is conveniently (for me) located in the west loop.

about : "pizza east offers a modern take on a pizzeria ... our passion for sourcing quality ingredients is at the heart of everything that comes from our wood ovens." menu, please! 

here's what i had ...

bib lettuce :
avocado & mustard vinaigrette.
so simple, yet so delicious. also, very easy to recreate at home. now i've gotta get my hands on that mustard vinaigrette recipe.

tuscan kale & vegetable soup :
with vegan ciabatta!
wait ... YUM!! they also prepped a special vegan ciabatta for me, which was maybe the best part of the entire meal. this soup was what you might call hearty ... a legitimate meal.

tomato & black olive pizza :
no burrata. 
hello, funny-shaped slice o' pizza. 
again with the kalamata olives! delish. and the super chunky tomatoes were lovely.

i'm looking forward to heading back to pizza east ... both to eat more of that damn good soup & ciabatta AND for more vegan 'za. check 'em out!

--
pizza east
113-125 n. green street
chicago, il 60607

25 March 2015

sunda : update.

what was intended to be a #gno on st. patty's day night turned into a date night for josh & i (hi, bae!) when the green budweisers came calling to my lady friends. (it happens, people.) so off we went to sunda in river north.

i used to hold a grudge against billy dec after the bouncers at the underground wouldn't let me & my gals into da club at my bachelorette party (5 years ago). but when it comes to food, i can forgive & forget. my first visit to sunda was a couple years ago & it was obviously time to go back.

sunda's executive chef, jess de guzman, is not only responsible for creating a separate, legit vegan menu at sunda, but he's also listed on chicago mag's 50 most beautiful chicagoans list from a few years back ... this is a guy who is winning at life, amirite?

anyway, sunda's focus is "serving a modern approach on favorites from asia." simple, straightforward ... what more do you want?

here's what i had ...

shishito peppers :
i'm normally more into the mediterranean preparation of shishitos, rather than the asian ... but this serving may have changed my mind completely. so delicious. i will say that the 1 in 10 rule for spicy peppers for shishitos did not apply here! sooo many spicy ones! but i'm a "bring on the heat" kind of gal, so i was cool. 

sweet potato caterpillar :
roasted sweet potato, asian pear, avocado, black garlic teriyaki & roasted red pepper puree. 
sometimes vegans miss out on the cool, fancy rolls that non-vegans get to eat. this one made up for that. so fancy! and BIG! i could not even come close to finishing this in addition to the other tasty items we shared. vegans also often miss out on eating sweet potato rolls, since they are usually tempura-ized & therefore, not vegan. so this was just all around good for me. 

tofu pad thai :
tofu w/ rice noodles, carrots, cabbage, scallions & tamarind sauce.
you know when you order from pad thai from any asian carry out place & you know ahead of time exactly what it's going to taste like? this was like but infinitely better. it had that same pad-thai-asian-comfort-food feel that you want from this dish, but elevated. i could eat it every day, for realz.

listen. the food at sunda was great. and with a whole separate vegan menu, i know i'll be back. there was a lot of other stuff i wanted to try! my only complaint (& i really hate to do this) was that our server was absolutely terrible. not like issues with waiting too long or not checking in on us ... more like, he was just rude. literally, just rude. it's not something i come across often & we might be able to chalk it up to him having a bad day or something ... but it really put a bit of a damper on the whole thing.

luckily, josh & i went to sprinkles after, so the evening was saved.

--
sunda
110 w. illinois street
chicago, il 60654

22 March 2015

pizza metro.

i'm sure i've noted this before, but we're big pizza fans at my office. so when friday rolls around, it's often the cuisine of choice for our big group lunch orders. one of our favorites, you ask? pizza metro in west town / ukrainian village. (or somewhere like that, i never know what's what around there.)

since my office has been ordering from pizza metro for literally the past 5 years ... i've never eaten it. when we finally made the phone call to investigate the vegan options, i was so so happy to learn that both the crust & sauce are vegan. oh, hell yeah!

here's what i had ...

marinara pizza :
cheese-less square pizza w/ garlic, pepper, olive oil, black olives & green peppers.
sorry this photo looks kind of revolting in the box w/ the lil greasy marks hanging out. but damn, was this good. if you don't like garlic, don't even bother. because this pizza is a garlic lover's dream. oh. the crust is also amazing. might be salivating a little bit just thinking about it.

will we order from pizza metro again? certainly. will i eat it again? most definitely. can't wait!

--
pizza metro
1707 w. division street
chicago, il 60622

18 March 2015

miku sushi.

last friday, my mom & i were going to the "new home" party for her friend's boutique. (alapash, check 'em out.) we decided to grab din beforehand in lincoln square at the new miku sushi.

miku sushi is pretty cool ... very nice inside, cozy, quick ... kind of like your typical sushi place, but a bit more upscale.

anywho ... one disclaimer. i feel like you're generally safe when it comes to the vegan-ness of a lot of menu items at japanese places. so technically, i didn't ask if these things were vegan. i just assumed. i stand by that assumption, but thought i should note it. 

here's what i had ...

house salad :
organic mixed greens, carrot, tomato, fried organic tofu & house ginger dressing.
a really great version of this & a nice size, too! love the tofu option for a lil protein. 

greenday maki :
organic mixed greens, avocado, asparagus, carrot, fried organic tofu & lemon sauce. (no ponzu.)
i don't always love ponzu, so i skipped it. sad that you can't see the inside of this roll from my shoddy photo taking, but it was really good! the lemon sauce was a little weird, but besides that, i really liked it. again, nice to have a little tofu on there. something you don't see that often in a sushi roll.

miku is a great place to stop at if you're in the hood & for a light, delicious bite. oh, and it's byob. #woot!

--
miku sushi
4514 n. lincoln avenue
chicago, il 60625

15 March 2015

nightwood.

with the same executive chef as lula cafe (chef jason hammel), there is no way that nightwood in pilsen could be bad. since lula is one of my fave restaurants in the city, it's surprising that it took me so damn long to head south & eat at nightwood. but i finally did!

here's what nightwood has to say about themselves: "hand in hand with the best farmers & craftspeople of the midwest, we cook with bold simplicity & care." oh! awesome!

here's what i had ...

spinach & endive salad :
crispy sunchoke, asian pear & vinaigrette. 
we actually couldn't get over how great this salad was ... not sure how because it was so incredibly simple, but damn! it was good. the crispy sunchoke chips didn't hurt ...

vegan pasta :
w/ smoked veggies.
i didn't love this ... i didn't hate it, but i didn't love it. it was hella smoky. like, really really really smoky. i was really in the mood for pasta, so i was pumped that they had a homemade vegan version. the pasta was literally perfect. the only issue was that the noodles were kind of shaped like grubs. which weirded me out. 

 brussels sprouts :
cider vinaigrette & wood roasted pecans.
your basic brussels. when i looked back at the menu, they were supposed to come with prunes, which they didn't. maybe those weren't vegan?

marinated beets :
black vinegar & pistachios. 
if the brussels were basic ... these were ultra basic. this can happen with the vegan version on occasion. #sads.

blueberry sorbet :
now this i got behind 100% ... super flavorful, perfectly sweet & just the right size. exactly what i wanted to end my meal with!

the team at nightwood were incredibly accommodating to my vegan needs. (i was also with a gluten-free gal pal, which they were also great about.) ... so with an ever changing seasonal menu, i'll be back!

--
nightwood
2119 s. halsted street
chicago, il 60608

11 March 2015

stan's donuts.

when i heard that stan's donuts in wicker park / bucktown was offering a new vegan donut ... let's just say i was beyond excited.

but first ... the detail's of how stan's donut's chicago came to be : "rich labriola, president of the labriola baking company, partnered with stan berman, founder of stan’s donuts, to bring the more than 50-year-old donut shop to the midwest. … after seeing stan on a tv travel show & admiring his passion for his donut business, rich decided to reach out to stan. the result of the new friendship was a partnership to bring the classic california-style donuts to chicago with a labriola twist." chicagoans, count this as a win for us.

now, the pièce de résistance ... here it is ...

vegan specialty donut :
let's be honest. every kind of donut is my kind of donut. but really, this one hit the spot x infinity. it may look like your basic fluffy, sugar-coated delight. and maybe it is. but it doesn't change the fact that it's amazing.

i'm hoping that stan's will open up a lakeview outpost for convenience reasons ... because i see many donuts in my future. thanks, stan's! 

**update!! apparently, while the vegan donuts do follow a vegan recipe ... they are fried in the same vegetable oil as all the regular donuts at stan's. do with that what you will ...!

--
stan's donuts
1560 n. damen avenue
chicago, il 60622

08 March 2015

parlor pizza bar.

let's face it, people. pizza is awesome. any time, any day ... for some reason, it seems like more & more pizza joints have opened up in chicago over the past couple of years. yea, i know. we're a pizza city. but i don't mean deep dish ... it's that tasty thin crust that's the hot ticket around town.

anyway ... parlor pizza bar in the west loop opened up last fall (i think). since it's so close to my office, it's been on my radar basically since then. welp, i finally went there a couple weeks ago!

about parlor : "located in the heart of the west loop, parlor’s menu features fresh, local ingredients for brunch, lunch, dinner & late-night service. … each & every pizza is a generous 12 inches & includes a range of seasonal, local ingredients to create the perfect, crispy neapolitan-inspired pizza." woot!

they also say that they "welcome guests from every walk of life." read : vegans welcome.

here's what i had ...

white bean hummus :
baby heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, carrots & bread.
request non-garlic bread (butter, duh). 
i'm a fan of almost all hummuses (hummusi?). this was no exception. i also loved the addition of tomatoes to the normal hummus eating instruments. 

marinara pizza :
w/ spinach & red onion. 
DELICIOUS. i was sad they don't have olives as an available pizza topping (what??), but i survived. thin pizza like this with so much sauce + watery veggies (i'm looking at you, spinach) can sometimes get a little sloppy. this wasn't too bad upon the first eating ... but the leftovers were a disaster. but that's not parlor's fault! 

will i be back to parlor pizza bar? yes. do i want some right now? yes. do i think you should try it too? yes!

--
parlor pizza bar
108 n. green street
chicago, il 60607

04 March 2015

fat rice.

i love to try new restaurants ... new to me that is, since fat rice in logan square has been around for a little while now. last december, i started a "2015 eating list" (copyright pending) & fat rice was at the top of said list.

per the fat rice website : "drawing influence from the euro-asian unions of china, india & southeast asia's colonial past, the food at fat rice combines homestyle comfort with exotic, lesser known ingredients & flavors. influences are rooted in the travels of the portuguese & the countries they touched over the past 500 years." holy portuguese expansionism heaven!

because that's how i do, i went to fat rice with an actual portuguese dude. (hi, duarte!) so not only did get to eat this tasty fusion, but i also got a mini-lesson on just how the portuguese would have prepared these items without the asian influence. foodie thumbs up!

here's what i had ...

malay vegetable curry :
seasonal vegetables, sweet potato, tofu puffs & cashew curry.
how beautiful is this? look at those colors!!! not only was it so pretty, but it was also so tasty. i love pretty much all forms of curry, so i knew i'd love it no matter what. but this dish went above & beyond my normal curry expectations. it also was just packed with veggies, many of which i did not know what they were so i did not eat. but that's on me.

fat rice has cute little icons on the menu that let you know just what ingredients / allergens are in each dish. so i had a pretty good idea when i got there of what was vegan or could be prepared vegan ... but i was especially thrilled when our server officially told me the malay curry was on that list. highly recommend & i can't wait to go back!

--
fat rice
2857 w. diversey
chicago, il 60647

01 March 2015

blaze pizza.

josh & i have pretty much maintained a pizza-for-dinner tradition every friday night for the past 3ish years. well ... i may have to start a pizza-for-lunch tradition thanks to one of my favorite new 'za joints : blaze pizza in the west loop.

blaze pizza is kind of like the chipotle of pizza places. here's why : "fresh, made-from-scratch dough. healthful, artisanal ingredients on the assembly line. inventive to classic. you decide. blazing hot oven + dedicated pizzasmith + 180 seconds = fast-fire'd, perfectly crisp perfection. sound good? enjoy the rest of your day." did you get all that?

that's right. it's a build-it-yourself pizza place that only takes 3 minutes to cook the pizza. what?

here's what i had ...

diy vegan pizza! :
tomato sauce, daiya, black olive, red onion & green pepper heaven.
note the word "heaven" at the end there. yeah, i added that on. because this was delicious! i also had some field roast italian sausage on hand to add a little protein to this bad boy, which just really took it to the next level.

listen. at lunch, blaze gets packed. i mean, packed. like, line out the door. but the beauty if it is that 1. it moves quickly. and 2. you can order ahead of time and your pizza will just be ready for you when you get there. 

lucky for me, there's also a blaze pizza near my apartment. so i'll be seeing them again soon. you should, too!

--
blaze pizza
24 s. clinton st.
chicago, il 60661