It’s been nearly 2 months since I moved to Chicago already and it’s time to give you some updates about my new life as a foodie in the Windy City.
Chicago Food Truck by the Art Institute
Many of you showed some great interest for my previous post My New Life as a Foodie in Chicago and my recent Instagram posts since the moving, especially via my Instagram Story where I share some bites of my real life with you. And since I have even more to tell, I figured that I would simply start a series about my culinary adventures in Chicago. Take a ride and travel with me in Chicago (and around); every now and then you will be updated with my last food experiences.
My first weeks were all about discovering my new home, Chicago. As we live in the city center, everything is accessible on a walking or biking distance. Actually, I did pretty much everything using the city bike so far (I must have taken the metro a dozen times only). For sure, Chicago is less a biking city than Stockholm, and I confess that sometimes I still take the pedestrians to cross a 5 lines road (!!!), which I am not used to yet, I find it quite scary. But still, riding a bike enables you to discover so much more of a city, so it is totally worth it (note to self: buy myself a helmet for safe).
Detroit Street Art, Michigan
So what did I do in Chicago since I moved? Among others, I biked a lot, exploring the neighborhoods, I started my American culture, watching the Wizard of Oz in an outdoor cinema (I had never watched it before, my boyfriend David can still not believe it), I did sunset kayaking on the Chicago river with stunning views of the skyline by night, I had a run on the 606 – Bloomingdale Trail with a running group. I also enjoyed a Sunday take-away breakfast by the lake, went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the exhibition America after the Fall: painting in the 1930’s (loved the painting Thanksgiving, by Doris Lee), had a deep dish pizza. I explored different Farmers markets and fell in love with the Lincoln market, and of course I immersed myself in the food culture in the US, trying to find new habits when going to the grocery store (I already have a lot to say about this, maybe I should write a separate article).
I also proudly started to be an author for the French in Chicago Newsletter. My very first article was about the best doughnuts in Chicago, where I reviewed my favorite ones in the city – and yes I had to taste a lot of them for this article! I have plenty of ideas for the coming newsletters, and yes I love writing about food, how surprising, right? I also shot a cooking video for a food company and it was a lot of fun, I can’t wait to share the recipe with you. I even had my very first cooking class here, about Fall harvest recipes. I learned different new recipes with seasonal ingredients (pumpkin, apples, pears, etc.), and also some useful cooking techniques.
Lincoln Farmers Market, Chicago
Of course, the blog was a number one priority and I shot my very first recipes in Chicago – finally starting to post my recipes on a more regular basis (every Tuesday and Saturday). In case you would have missed some, see below all the recipes I published on the blog since I moved, with my personal comments:
- Rustic Cherry Galette – the cherry season is now over, but the crust will be perfect topped with seasonal fruits.
- Honey-drizzled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Stacks – one of my favorite recipes of all time. So soft!
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies – I love their sandy crunchy texture with chocolate chips. Mmmm!
- Healthy Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado Dip – already a hit on the blog. SO good and still healthy. There is no reason not to try it.
- Mini Moist Double Chocolate Coconut Bites (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) – for chocolate lovers.
- Vegan Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free) – you’re gonna love its peanut butter sauce!
Many recipes already, let’s take a break. Which of them above are your favorites? Which one have you tried or are you tempted to try? If I had to pick only one (it’s so difficult!), I would go for the honey-drizzled eggplant & goat cheese stacks. I adore them.
Ok, now let’s continue with the last new recipes published on the blog since I moved to Chicago:
- American Apple Pie – you will love its lattice crust on top for an additional crunchy taste!
- Thin Dark Chocolate Almond Snacking Bark – 100% homemade with unsweetened chocolate.
- Rustic Goat Cheese, Chorizo and Wild Mushrooms Galette (Egg Free) – the perfect seasonal rustic pie.
- Easy Fluffy American Pancakes – my favorite basic pancakes recipe with simple ingredients.
- Vegan Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower Rice (Gluten Free) – healthy, nourishing, flavorful.
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins – I love the cream cheese filling that cuts the sweetness of the muffin.
I also made some very small changes on the blog, updating the Recipe Index a little bit. You now have 4 more categories, with two dedicated to food allergies and specific diets: Gluten Free Recipes and Vegan Recipes, that complete the existing Vegetarian Recipes and Healthy Recipes. In addition, you now have a Food Series category, for a better access to my recipes per theme (always great when we are in search for inspiration). And at the very end of the index, you will now find my very favorite recipes on the blog under Del’s Favorites!
My foodie adventures pushed the boundaries of Chicago as I spent a few days in Detroit, where the contrast between a wealthy past and the later decline due to the crisis is striking in the urban architecture. There, I experienced my very first baseball game (White Socks vs Tigers) that I happened to attend by pure chance – I got free ticket just by passing through at the time of the game. Since Chicago was playing against Detroit, I couldn’t miss it. So I took my take-away food and went to see the game, struggling to understand the rules. Hopefully I went to see another game in Chicago a week later, and this time I new a little bit more (I also experienced the worse American junk food ever when going to the second game). In Detroit however, we had a nice modern dinner in a speakeasy restaurant and grabbed a doughnut in Donutville, for the record!
I also spent the last two weeks hiking and doing camping in a tent in the Southwestern, exploring National Parks across Utah, Arizona and Nevada. What a fun adventure: Zion National Park, Bryce (stunning!!), Antelope, Grand Canyon North and South Rim, and Monument Valley (Wow). Most of our meals were homemade picnics or grills on a campfire. And campfire means… s’mores! Oh yes, we had s’mores several times and I absolutely loved it; so much better when you experience it outdoors. I will probably share the recipe with you – not that it is hard to make your owns, but it was so fun!
S’mores… more please!
After this fantastic hiking trip, we ended up our journey in Las Vegas. This was quite a huge difference suddenly! We treated ourselves at the restaurant Twist by Pierre Gagnaire – who has garnered a three Michelin stars for his eponymous restaurant in Paris. Of course I loved the fact that it was all about French cuisine with a twist. The dishes were fantastic, and all our senses were awakened.
Back to reality the following day though, as we decided to get rid of our extra food from the camping by offering it to a Food Bank. We took the car from Vegas, and only 10 minutes later and a few blocks away, we ended up in a poor neighborhood where beggars and cripples were lining the streets, begging for food. We regretted that we didn’t have more food to offer them, but still I am glad that I saw this other reality of the shining city. I think it’s great that everyone is aware of this duality in Las Vegas, something you never hear about, and this is why I am sharing it with you here. I now want to be more involved in food charities, in a local perspective to begin with.
Bagel in Zion National Park, Utah
After these two resourcing weeks, I am now back in my kitchen in Chicago, where many new seasonal recipes are in the making already. I am also working on a brand new project that you should see soon enough: a very special e-book, exclusively for my readers. Stay tuned!
Hope you enjoyed my episode 2 of my Food journey in Chicago and around. Feel free to comment or ask me anything regarding the topics covered here, I would be happy to answer. Have a nice October!
When travelling to Monument Valley, Arizona
Coffee shop at Bryce Canyon, Utah
Ice cream shop at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah