31 January 2016

river valley farmer's table.

every time i type vegan into grubhub (which is often), a little joint called river valley farmer's table pops up. but i'd never tried it. so when my pal (hi, tedi!) suggested a lunch date there, i was all about it.

river valley farmer's table has this to say : "we are the best place around to grab coffee, tea, sandwiches & drinks while also collecting the freshest locally grown ingredients for your dinner." love it.

here's what i had ...

pickled veggie plate :
a "share-friendly" plate of house-made natural pickled farm veggies.
i love pickled things. my favorites were the beets & cucumbers (aka pickles)

bi bim bop :
curry quinoa, israeli couscous, organic mushrooms, roasted peppers, dates, shiitake "bacon," candied nuts, pepitas.
i was hesitant about this due to the mushrooms, which could not be omitted. the shiitake "bacon" was actually awesome. maybe the first time ever i liked a mushroom preparation. the rest of 'em, i just picked around.

i will say ... i quickly learned that every vegan menu item at river valley farmer's table includes mushrooms. i was about to be all about the tamales of the day, but they were mushroom tamales. oops. so basically, if you love mushrooms, this place is heaven for you.

i do want to look around the shop/grocery portion of river valley, though. there was a vegan muffin that caught my eye right when i walked in, but i forgot to grab it on my way out. there's always next time!

--
river valley farmer's table
1820 w. wilson ave.
chicago, il 60640

17 January 2016

masada.

a few weeks ago, we went on a triple date brunch date. (me + josh, my two co-workers, & the chi city vegan baby + their baby. lol.) since they are logan square residents, we decided to venture over there to a restaurant i've been wanting to try since way back when i went to boiler room.

it's their next-door neighbor, masada : "chicago's newest & best middle eastern dining experience, masada is a sit-down restaurant offering an elegant & eclectic dining experience." leggo!

here's what i had ...

vegan dolma :
grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice served with lemon sauce. 
not even joking, best dolma in the city. so legit. 
i usually don't like warm dolma ... but these were perfect. must have. could eat everyday.

vegetarian combo plate :
hummus, baba ghannouj, falafel, sliced tomatoes & pickles.
baba ghannouj & hummus = spot on.
falafel = huge & too much to eat at brunch.
but delicious. 

when one thinks of brunch, one doesn't generally think of mediterranean food. but masada can definitely change that ... they also have what appear to be awesome brunch cocktails & sangria, but i did not partake. either way, two (optional boozy) brunch thumbs up. 

--
masada
2206 n. california ave.
chicago, il 60647

10 January 2016

brownstone tavern.

a few weeks ago, we went out to dinner for the first time with the baybay ... we've hesitated since the pm isn't necessarily his best time of day. (witching hour, anyone??) but we picked a baby-friendly place to meet my cousins from out of town, so it was okay.

that baby-friendly place is brownstone tavern in lincoln square. what's brownstone all about, you ask? "the menu consists of superb bar fare including hearty sandwiches, fresh salads, miniwiches & mini tacos & unique specialties by our veteran chef." nice!

here's what i had ...

hummus & guacamole :
carrots, celery, cucumber, pita & tortilla chips.
this is kind of a perfect vegan appetizer. the guac was kind of weird, but de.licious. it was almost like a pico de gallo guac. awesome. 

barbacoa-less bowl :
veggies, black beans, roasted corn, pico de gallo, guacamole, cilantro rice. 
also quite tasty! the veggies included were kinda funny, but it was tasty, a large portion size & let's be honest ... a pretty nice, relatively healthy vegan meal for a bar! since i'm still all about the carbs, i especially enjoyed the cilantro rice. 

the staff at brownstone were super accommodating, easily answered my questions & quickly came up with the idea for my vegan entree. (josh thought that the manager was the same super nice manager from the now-closed mystic celt. (if so, this guy is on point with his vegan bar options.) thumbs up, brownstone!

--
brownstone tavern
3937 n. lincoln ave.
chicago, il 60613

03 January 2016

update : le pain quotidien.

le pain quotidien has quickly become one of my favorite places to eat in the city. they are a bit nicer than your everyday fast casual joint ... the food is delicious ... they are very baby friendly. all wins for me. ha.

anyway, the chi city vegan baby & i met our lunch buddy (hi, carly!!!) in the gold coast this time for some grub. (note ... this was a while ago now. we also met her sister, blair, another bestie of mine, at the lp location. lots of le pain in ma vie.)

all (literally all) of my girlfriends always get the crispy quinoa cakes from lpq ... you'd think that being one of the permanent vegan (& gf!) items on the menu, i would be all about it. but for some reason ... i hadn't tried them. so finally, i decided to get them on this most recent visit.

here's what i had ...

crispy quinoa cakes :
organic quinoa, hummus, avocado & tomato sauce.
i don't know why i resisted the quinoa cakes for so long ... because they are now officially my favorite menu item at lpq. (i'm thinking quinoa cakes in winter ... hummus tartine in summer.) the best part of this dish is that it has all the things. quinoa / protein? check. avocado? check. hummus? check? delicious-ness? check & check. 

i have nothing else to say, really. lpq, thanks for being awesome.

--
le pain quotidien
10 e. delaware place
chicago, il 60611

01 January 2016

best nine of 2015!

do you follow me on instagram yet? if not, now is the time!!

here are the #bestnine2015 from the @thechicityvegan instagram :
damn, i eat a lot of asian soups ... 

see ya there!