I have big news for you today, as you might have already noticed on Instagram: I just moved to… Chicago! I still hardly realize it and I am really excited to tell you more about this new life experience. The American Dream is happening now, and the blog has the opportunity to complete its third twist: French, Swedish and now American!
View of a skyscraper in the Loop the 1st day of my arrival
I am actually writing to you today from our building’s rooftop located on the 35th floor, with a breathtaking view on the Chicago skyline. The weather is really nice and warm, exactly as it has been since I arrived exactly 7 days ago.
Before we go further, let me go back in time a little bit and tell you how all this happened. Lately, I had been living in beautiful Stockholm, Sweden, where I spent the last 6 1/2 years of my life, together with my boyfriend David. But in October of last year, David got the opportunity to move to Chicago for work. As I had just started a new job, I decided to stay a bit longer in Stockholm. In the meantime we started a long distance relationship.
Being apart from one another across so many kilometers is not an easy thing, so to keep sharing slices of life together, we set up a photo blog named SK945 (the flight number for the SAS route between Stockholm and Chicago). The idea was simple: everyday I would publish a “photo of the day” from Stockholm, and he would publish one from Chicago (or any other city we would be in, if travelling).
For nearly a year, we shared the best snapshots of our beloved cities until I finally moved to Chicago on August 9th. Well over 400 pictures in total. The photos are mostly about nature and urban life, the occasional food recipe from Del’s cooking twist, and you will certainly discover other news if you pay attention to some of them…
In the meantime, between October 2015 and August 2016, I visited Chicago a couple of times, and had my very first foodie experiences in the city, tasting the famous deep dish pizza (very controversial for the purist but still delicious), symbol of Chicago. During my visits, I also created a few recipes for the blog, like the Crunchy pear, pecan and chocolate crumble (to die for) or the savory Spring vegetables ricotta tartines for instance, and I even shot a baking video from the spacious kitchen located on our building’s 35th floor. Believe me, this recipe is beyond amazing: Chocolate & Marshmallow French Toast Roll-ups (you can find the video at the bottom of this article).
Now that I moved to Chicago for good, my foodie projects are a number 1 priority, and you will soon find even more American recipes on the blog. I already started from Day 2, by going to a Michel et Augustin tasting event on top of the John Hancock Center, an event organized by the French in Chicago group [if you are French or Francophile, you should have a look at the website for great foodie tips among others].
Old-Fashioned Donut from Glazed & Infused
I also started a serious benchmark about the best donuts of the city, trying different ones. When it comes to donuts, I can be very picky, and my favorite always goes for an old-fashioned one (a little bit more “cakey”) instead of the classic one (airier). Very intrigued about these two donut styles, I wondered what makes them different and found out that the classic one is baked with yeast while the other one uses baking powder instead. It is said that the preference for one or the other is often linked to our childhood food habits, which makes sense for me since I grew up with cakes in France!
So far, I identified 3 different donut bakeries you should check out. The first one is the widely popular Doughnut Vault, a tiny hole-in-the-wall that offers a limited amount of fresh-baked donuts (once they run out they close for the day), so you need to plan your trip early… or come back the following day – it is worth the wait! The second one is Glazed & Infused. Go for its classic vanilla bean glazed donut. The third one is Firecake, a donut shop that offers plenty of original tastes (I tried a mini espresso filled donut, it was just wow!). If you don’t happen to visit one of these 3 donut shops, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee is always a very good alternative as well, with a great choice of donuts in a lovely retro shop in Streeterville and several other locations.
My first week in Chicago as a foodie also includes another experience. Last Saturday, when walking around in Lincoln Park, a lovely and charming neighborhood in Northern Chicago, I stumbled upon a dream: the Read It & Eat Store. In other words, a book store about food, with a giant kitchen in the middle, used for cooking classes and other cookbook signing events.
I walked up to the store attendant and started grilling her for more information, and the day after, I stopped by again for a Food Swap plus a signing event organized by Emily Paster, the founder of Chicago Food Swap, and author of Food Swap. As its name indicates, a food swap is an event where every guest is supposed to bring two mini portions of a homemade recipe, and trade them against two other mini recipes brought by the other participants, often beautifully wrapped so that it looks like a charming present to bring back home. It is a great way to discover new recipes and also to socialize with other foodies. I had prepared my Easy homemade chocolate granola (to which I added some pecans and cranberries), and came back home with a lovely red onion jam and a decadent peanut butter and pretzel cookie dough. A fantastic adventure I highly recommend you take part in. For more details about how such an event works, mini recipe ideas and DIY tips for wrapping, go read the book Food Swap from Emily Paster, she explains everything!
Donut shop Firecake
As you can see, I already love my life as a foodie in Chicago, and of course many more foodie projects are about to come on the blog. I can’t wait to share my new recipes with you; when possible in a healthy/ier version (new challenge)! I leave you here with a few more pictures from Chicago and my apartment as I am so happy to show you my new life. More of my daily foodie routine on Instagram and Snapshat @delstwist!
Beautiful flowers as a “welcome home” gift from my other half 🙂
Chicago lake and the loop