30 May 2016


memorial day bbq? no, thanks. instead, let's talk italian food ... some of the best italian food i've had in a while, tbh.

monteverde is awesome. here are the reasons why :
   1. it is helmed by sarah grueneberg of spiaggia & top chef fame.
   2. super accommodating to me (le vegan) & my pal (gluten-free).
   3. the food is incredible.

before we get into the eats ... here's a bit more about monteverde : "cooking with a traditional heart & a modern hand, monteverde offers food that is soulful, surprising & filled with storytelling." see? you can already tell it's good.

here's what i had ...

oma's green mountain salad :
little gem lettuce, avocado & crunchy vegetables. 
vegetables crunchy as advertised. entire salad delicious as expected.

artichoke & truffle polenta :
this was originally a crostini, but it wasn't vegan or g-f, so they made us a special version. i could eat crispy polenta all day, erryday. so this was a match made in heaven. 

gnocchetti sardi :
fresh grated tomato, oven-dried cherry tomatoes & basil.
UGH.SOOO.GOOD. i inhaled this bowl of pasta. (which was actually more food than it looks like in the photo. i blame the bowl.) it was just the kind of pasta / italian that i love ... simple ingredients & full of flavor.

asparagus :
i'll never say no to a side of asparagus. exhibit a. two thumbs up.

the problem with being a foodie & having a food-centric blog is that i often only go to a restaurant once or twice, even if i want to go there more ... gotta get around, ya know? but with monteverde, i want to go back again. and again. and again. and again. and this time, i'm certain i will. it's great for a girls night out, a date night ... or whatever.

i think i just read they do a kid's menu, too. so once the chi city vegan baby is putting more into his mouth than he is throwing on the floor, i plan to bring him back, too! can't wait!

1020 w. madison st.
chicago, il 60607

22 May 2016

black dog gelato.

after our delicious lunch from vegan now in the french market, we knew dessert was an absolute must. (when isn't dessert a must, amiright?) luckily, right.next.door. to vegan now is ... black dog gelato.

black dog gelato offers "gourmet artisanal gelato & sorbet." thumbs up for vegan sorbet. 

here's what i had ...

chocolate sorbet :
i mean, it's chocolate sorbet. what could be bad? 
nothing. nothing could be bad. 

there are a couple other black dog gelato locations in the city (one in roscoe village & one in ukrainian village). i'm looking forward to trying more sorbets in the near future!!

black dog gelato
131 n. clinton st.
chicago, il 60661

15 May 2016

vegan now.

there's a little place that i'm sure most of you know about in the west loop called the chicago french market ... it's awesome. it's literally like being in a market in paris ... or barcelona ... or florence ... you get it. it a "european-style indoor market." capisce?

the french market is super vegan-friendly ... my typical go-to is saigon sisters, because, well, pho. but now, there's a new girl in town & her name is, wait for it ... vegan now. woohoo!

vegan now comes from the creators of original soul vegetarian on the south side ... they're also the makers of that delicious vegan mac & cheese you can find at whole foods. (post on my fave grocery store mac & cheese options coming soon ...)

anyway, vegan now is a "one of a kind culinary experience in innovative vegan cuisine." does it get any better?

here's what i had ...

vegan now! 
collards, cheesy potatoes, bbq tofu & cornbread.
i mean, if this isn't southern food, then i don't know what is. this was an "everything was delicious" situation. cornbread could have used some vegan buttah, but that's okay. i pretty much devoured the entire container. this is also a prime example of the photogenic-ness of food not being equal to the tastiness. woot!

other positive things about the french market / vegan now ... 1. free parking. 2. perfect spot for lunch w/ non-vegan pals. 3. vegan dessert option located next door to vegan now. (stand by for next week on that one.)

so don't delay. don't go vegan later. go vegan now. (hahaha.)

vegan now
131 n. clinton st.
chicago, il 60661

08 May 2016

strings ramen.

it's no secret that i love an asian soup. i would live off of pho if i could. (josh & i literally order from fuh once a week. it's not okay.) anyway ... when strings ramen started following me on instagram, i knew it was time for a visit! the baby & i went with a renowned chicago ramen connoisseur, my galpal ilana. (you may recognize her name since she works at ramen-san ... a spy! kidding.)

anyway, strings has two locations in chicago ... one in chinatown & one in lincoln park. due to proximity, we opted for the lp spot.

about strings : "while other restaurants may serve ramen along with a number of other entrees, strings ramen focuses specifically on ramen." great news for ramen lovers! bad news for vegans.

here's what i had ...
(apologies in advance for the turrible pics. it was dark in there.)

shishito peppers :
all shishito peppers = good shishito peppers. lil' kick to these bad boys with the added seasonings on top. mmm. 

shoyu ramen :
ramen-less ramen. wah wah. like ramen-san, the noodles at strings aren't vegan. i have so many issues with this, but you can just refer to that post for the reasons why. the broth was really good here, i will say. but a bowl of mush + broth isn't like the most amazing lunch, so it was kind of a fail for me. 

if (or when!) strings gets some vegan noodles, i will be back! until then ... off to fuh or slurping turtle or pho lily or etc. etc. etc. 

a side note : per their own website, traditional ramen noodles are vegan, but they use egg as a substitute for one ingredient. ugh, boo. 

strings ramen
1629 n. halsted st.
chicago, il 60614

01 May 2016

coalfire pizza.

hey, y'all. we were out of town in columbus, o h i o last weekend, so i missed my post. but this one will make up for that!! 

last summer was the summer of pizza ... yet somehow, i didn't get around to coalfire pizza once it opened down the street on southport.

(ok, that's actually a lie. josh & i attempted to go to coalfire on our anniversary at the beginning of august when i was 38 weeks pregnant. you wouldn't think it'd be too crazy on a thursday evening, but it was packed with families & kids. i had a legit mental breakdown being surrounded by all those kiddios & we had to leave ... after we had already been seated. ha! not kidding!)

anyway. now that i have a babe of my own, it was no problema! we ventured out for a ladies + baby night with his nonnie & auntie.

a bit about this place : "at coalfire, we serve a thin crust, coal-forged pizza which emerges slightly charred & bubbly from our 800 degree oven fueld by clean burning coal." hence the name.

here's what i had ...
house salad ;
bibb lettuce, radishes, herb vinaigrette. 
i don't understand why a super simple salad at a restaurant tastes infinitely better than it does if i make it at home for myself. literally, this was a 3-ingredient salad ... & it was awesome. 

vegan pizza :
sweet onion, garlic, arugula, calabrian chiles & olives. 
look at the sun just shining down upon this amazing vegan pie. my only problem with it was that it was so good that i could have eaten the entire thing by myself ... but luckily, i am able to exhibit self-control on occasion & stopped at half. #winning

coalfire has several things going for it in my book. 1. baby friendly ... 2. vegan friendly ... 3. damn good. it'll definitely be a staple for us this summer. 

coalfire pizza
3707 n. southport ave.
chicago, il 60613