29 July 2015

tarboush mediterranean grill.

as you all now ... friday lunch at my office is always a major to do. whether it's deciding what to bbq or where to order from, it's just always a lengthy discussion. last friday, we decided to try somewhere new. enter tarboush mediterranean grill in bucktown / wicker park.

i was pumped from the get go because their grubhub page clearly states which items are vegan. (not going to say it's 100% accurate ... see feta hummus. but they're trying.)

anywho, here's what these peeps are all about : "tarboush grill is a family owned & operated restaurant, serving mouth-watering middle eastern cuisine to customers in the beautiful chicagoland area." so lovely!

here's what i had ...

veggie sampler :
 a combo plate of hummus, baba ghanouj, dolmas, falafel & tabbouleh (or other salad choice!)
... with pita & tahini sauce.
kind of the middle eastern catchall ... but i guess that's what a sampler is, amirite? this was awesomeeee. i don't care that it was served & eaten in a styrofoam container. that didn't affect it's tastiness. hummus, good. baba, good. dolmas, gooood. all in all, delish. 

it only took one meal for us to decide that tarboush is now officially our go-to for middle eastern / mediterranean food. sorry, baba pita.

--
tarboush mediterranean grill
1608 w. north avenue
chicago, il 60622

26 July 2015

barcocina.

a couple weeks back, my pal (hi, duarte!) & i made a last minute decision to grab some post-work bites ... since we had a stop to make in lakeview beforehand, trying out the (somewhat) new barcocina on sheffield made perfect sense.

le about section : "barcocina fuses traditional mexican cuisine & various multicultural cooking techniques into modern mexican fare. our fresh ingredients & three distinct beverage categories will let out your sweet, smoky & spicy side while you drink to the joys of life." cheers! 

our server lost his "vegan virginity" on me ... but he was very knowledgable & knew exactly what was vegan. so we got basically all the vegan stuff. here's what i had ...

salsa verde :
tomatillo, jalapeño & mexican oregano.
per our server's recommendation, we went with the salsa verde over the salsa roja. we were definitely glad we did. traditional, but untraditional is the only way i can describe it. really tasty.

oaxaca style guacamole :
serrano chile, red onion & lime.
what seemed to me to be some authentic guacamole ... a little more whipped than i usually go, but still delicious! we had no problem finishing this bowl. 

green mango quinoa salad :
baby greens, jicama & citrus herb vinaigrette. 
this salad was the real treat of the entire meal. i'm not a big quinoa person, but was in the mood for a salad, so i went with it. it was so freaking good. this red quinoa is infinitely better than normal quinoa & the rest of the ingredients were equally awesome. super filling (or maybe that was the pound of tortilla chips i ate), so perfect for dinner.

i've gotta say ... barcocina might become a little bit of a go-to for me in my hood. it was that good. see ya there?

--
barcocina
2901 n. sheffield ave.
chicago, il 60657

22 July 2015

cobra lounge.

there's a bar / restaurant / brewery called cobra lounge right down the street from my office ... literally, like 2 seconds away. i've been for drinks before, but never food ... & since they recently renovated, added the brewery & opened a patio, it seemed like the time had come for a visit!

here's a quick description of this joint : "the vibe here is pure rock & roll mixed with freshly prepared food, great hospitality & a live energy that is uniquely cobra lounge chicago." nice!

here's what i had ...

vegan veggie burger :
house made blend of black beans, peppers & mushrooms served on a multigrain ciabatta w/ avocado ... side salad w/ lemon-ginger vinaigrette. 
veggie burgers are hit or miss for me ... this one was surprisingly good. very fresh, great flavors ... the bun was awesome. the avocado was a perfect addition. (& is usually the perfect addition to a veggie burger.) my only complaint / question was that i'm pretty sure the base was pinto beans, not black beans. maybe they ran out of bbs. but still fine!


since cobra is so close to my place of work, it's nice to know there's always an easy, tasty vegan option just down the block. so if you're in the food looking for some beers & brews, check 'em out!

--
cobra lounge
235 n. ashland ave.
chicago, il 60607

19 July 2015

dia de los tamales.

one day last week, some of the crew at work decided to pop out for lunch & grab tamales ... i love tamales. when i was little (before becoming vegan, obvi), i loved the super commercialized ones you could get at a hotdog stand ... which as i'm googling, i'm finding out they are known as the chicago tamale. makes sense. (further digging is making me wonder if they make a veg version ... stand by.)

anyway, the kids decided to go ultra authentic (mexican authentic, not chicago authentic) & ventured down to  dia de los tamales in pilsen. i had never heard of dia de los tamales before ... but the rest of the gang here was familiar. per the website, these are "revolutionary tamales made in a chef-driven, eco-conscious kitchen."

i was getting sad that i'd be left out of the fun when our intern (hi, madeline!) informed me that they have not one, but two vegan tamale offerings. day saved!! 

here's what i had ...

two vegan tamales!
máquina verde : garlic & onion sautéed w/ garbanzo beans in a quinoa masa, topped w/ avocado hummus & sunflower seeds.
spicy black bean & corn : latin infused! 
maybe not the most photogenic of foods, but both of these tamales were freaking delicioso. the salsas were both super spicy, so i quite enjoyed those, as well. overall, two big thumbs up.

not sure if the vegan tamales rotate at all, but either way ... this place is definitely on my list of places to go back to ... asap!

--
dia de los tamales
939 w. 18th street
chicago, il 60608

15 July 2015

pinkberry.

i've been wanting to go to pinkberry for years. literally ... ever since larry david went there in an (iconic) episode of curb your enthusiasm. but sadly for the veg community, they didn't a vegan offering.

until now! as of a few months ago, pinkberry has vegan a tropical mango flavor. woot!

but first, a bit about this fine establishment : "pinkberry is the original tart frozen yogurt brand from los angeles, ca. starting in 2005, the brand reignited the phenomenon for frozen yogurt ... we create distinctive products by selecting & combining fresh ingredients so they taste as good as they are for you." leggo!

here's what i had ...

tropical mango dairy-free froyo :
coconut shreds & fresh blueberries & strawberries.
i tried to hold off until it was hot out to head over to old town to try this. but since this summer has been more like a continuous april, we decided on a pit stop during the old town art fair. in terms of taste, this was pretty mmm. but i was more excited that i finally got to have a pinkberry than anything else. 

if it would ever get hot out & i lived closer, i can imagine that pinkberry would be a regular stop for me. it definitely hits the spot for a cool summer treat. (especially since anthony's closed.) until next time! 

--
pinkberry
1553 n. wells st.
chicago, il 60611


12 July 2015

pick me up cafe.

sometimes my lack of knowledge regarding delicious vegan food in this city blows my mind ... for example, i've driven past, walked past, see pick me up cafe in wrigleyville about 1,000 times. never did i think it was the vegan heaven that it is.

they've got regular people food, too. but that's less important.

pick me up cafe is kind of a space-themed "90s coffee shop" as described by my friend & the most knowledgable chicago vegan there is, tnaya. (hi, tnaya!)

anyway, here's what i had ...

vegan s'mores french toast :
with vegan chocolate chips & marshmallow spread. 
i rarely get the special at a restaurant ... & even more rare for me is breakfast for dinner. but when i saw the words "vegan s'mores french toast," i absolutely could not resist. imagine the best version of french toast you can ... that's what this is. 

side of mac & cheese :
i mean, when in rome. amirite? i mostly got this because i knew i couldn't have an all sweet dinner. plus, i thought a side was going to be a small portion ... not this monster bowl. (not complaining.) i think this is the same mac & cheese that the chicago diner does, but with different noodles. delish.

pick me up is located right in that little triangle at roscoe, clark & sheffield. if you haven't been, i highly recommend you get there stat. it's no joke. also, pray to the vegan gods that the s'mores french toast is still on the specials. you won't be disappointed.

--
pick me up cafe
3408 n. clark street
chicago, il 60657

08 July 2015

dove's luncheonette.

a few weekends ago, my friend (hi, erin!) & i decided to do brunch & mani/pedis for a little girl's day. we settled on bucktown / wicker park, then landed at dove's luncheonette for food.

per the dove's website : "dove's luncheonette offers counter service morning, noon & night in the heart of chicago's wicker park. chef de cuisine dennis bernard's inviting menu delivers southern-inspired mexican cuisine ... with the spirit of genuine hospitality." que bueno, y'all!

here's what i had ...

pepper & potato hash (veganized) :
fried potatoes, shishito peppers, scallions & added avocado. 
quite good. maybe it wasn't hash-like because it was veganized. also could have done with more shishitos. duh. 

sikil p'aak :
pumpkin seed dip w/ radishes. (no crackers.)
i really wanted to like this, but i didn't the dip was a little salty ... & i was confused as to how to eat the radishes. (my bad.) i mostly just put some of it on my taters. 

things started off somewhat badly, because i was really pumped about the avocado toast. when i asked our server about it, she knew immediately that the bread wasn't vegan. this means to me that other people have asked. a vegan version of bread is not difficult. it made me wonder why not have a vegan bread or vegan bread option? especially when you have such an easy dish to make vegan. i mean, it is wicker park. they've gotta get a lot of vegans. 

the other issue? : hipster service. as first documented by jerry seinfeld & fred armisen on comedians in cars getting coffee ... erin & i experienced this in full force.

am i in a bad mood lately or something? while the potatoes were good, i just didn't feel like i ate a meal. dove's just sadly was not for me. (we made a stop at stan's after. day saved.) maybe you other vegans will fare better! 

--
1545 n. damen ave.
chicago, il 60622

04 July 2015

happy july 4th weekend!

hope everyone is having a fabulous holiday! 

here's me & minnie last year ... working our best red, white & blue :

happy 4th of july, y'all!
see ya next week.

01 July 2015

evanston : found kitchen & social house.

i've had found kitchen & social house in evanston on my 2015 eating list forever. (ok, since january. tevs.) so when i had a friend coming in town & staying in evanston (hi, jill!), it was an obvious choice for dinner.

a bit about this lovely establishment : "found is a kitchen, a social house & a restaurant with a mission. its rustic, new american dishes change with the market & season and are served in a relaxed, creative atmosphere inspired by 1920s bohemian paris & icons of the beat generation." seasonal food + paris inspirato? sign me up. nowww.

here's what i had ...

kale & swiss chard salad :
heirloom beans & grains + preserved lemon. 
even though this just looks like a plate of green, it was yum. kind of almost all my favorite things in a salad. could have used more kale, imho

white corn & camillia seed polenta cakes :
baby bok choy, radish & herbed tofu. 
mmm. really, really, really delicious. but maybe a little heavy on the olive oil. but the polenta cakes with the tofu mixed in were awesome. 

my dinner date wasn't as into found as i was ... but that's ok. i'll be back!

--
found kitchen & social house
1631 chicago ave.
evanston, il 60201