I’m here again to celebrate my 1st Chicago anniversary, part 2. Last Sunday I started my top 10 foodie experiences in the Windy City. Discover 10 more today!
1. Chicago smells… chocolate!
When walking downtown in Chicago, you’ll probably notice this enticing smell of chocolate in the air. It’s something magical for all chocolate lovers, and especially in Winter when it’s very cold outside and you fancy a hot chocolate to warm you up. Each time, it takes me by surprise and puts a bright smile on my face. The origin of this enticing smell? The Chocolate Blommer Company, located on West Kinzie Street near the Chicago river. With the winds going est, it brings this delicious cocoa smell directly to the loop!
2. Chicago Breakfast Yoga Club, a new project!
A food blogger passionate about breakfast + a yoga teacher = a breakfast yoga club. That’s pretty much how it all started. A friend and yoga teacher from Sweden first came to visit me in Chicago and we launched our first event. It was a success and we had a lot of fun. A few weeks later, Del’s cooking twist teamed up with Steph B. Yoga to launch the Chicago Breakfast Yoga Club, a brand new concept in Chicago! We had a rooftop edition in the beginning of summer and will hold our next session on August 27th. Register now, there are only a few spots left!
3. My favorite coffee shops in Chicago
Whenever it’s possible I like to work from a coffee, and I’ve got the occasion to try quite a few in Chicago. Coming from Sweden where everything is cozy, I can be very picky before I find a place I like. I’m in love with The Allis in Soho House, for its inviting open layout in an industrial building, playing between rustic and chic. You go there for their incredible tea time with a selection of small pastries to share. I also like Dollop Coffee, Pickwick Coffee Roaster and Gaslight, the 3 of them for their modern and slightly hipster style, with a great selection of pastries. For a more cosy experience in winter with a firepit and homemade cakes, the place to be is Eva’s cafe. I also like Caffe Street, a great place to work, with great music and oh wow, their croissants and chocolate croissants taste just like the French ones, love it! Fancy an ice cream? Try Black Dog Gelato, open in summer only with just a few tables. They serve incredible ice creams. I also fell in love with the delicious PB & Jelly Cookie from Warm Belly Bakery. My next must try: the Nutella Cafe!
4. How I teach to make French baguettes in Chicago
Yes you read it right. Baguettes in Chicago! Once in a while I teach Americans to make some French baguettes, in partnership with La Boulangerie. During our 4 hours workshop, my students get to make their own baguettes and various breads, as well as some other French pastries such as the famous baba au rhum. The class always starts and ends with a BYOB tasting with bread, cheese, and other French delicacies. Interested in the next class? Contact me in private for more info.
And don’t forget my Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza, a must try!
5. My favorite food, ingredients, dishes in the US (so far)
In my previous episode (Celebrating 1 year in Chicago – part 1), I told you about my food habits at the grocery store. Now which products are on my shopping list every so often? They are some basic I always buy: bananas, spinach, fresh berries, oranges, lemon, avocado, natural oats, peanut or almond butter, tahini, chickpeas (or hummus when I’m lazy), organic unsweetened almond milk, raw nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds), red lentils, cheese, olive oil, and bread (all kinds, depending of my mood).
Of course, my basket can vary a little, depending on the season and my temporary cravings. I sometimes can’t resist to the fresh sweet cornbread from Mariano’s, some tortilla with a fresh guacamole, and the Milano’s cookies filled with dark chocolate. I’m crazy about them, and they are the only cookies I buy (when I buy some). In fall, I add sweet potatoes and all sorts of pumpkins to my shopping list.
Then of course there are a few baking basics in my shopping list: organic all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, raw sugar, light brown and dark brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, unsalted butter, chocolate chips (good quality only), flaxseed (I use them to replace eggs in vegan baking), and raw unsweetened cocoa powder.
6. Eating vegan (even vegetarian) in Chicago: quite a challenge!
When a vegan friend came to visit me in Chicago, I understood how hard it was to find vegan places here, in comparison with Sweden. The confusion between vegetarian and vegan is a common thing, and very few places actually serve vegan food. As you know, I am not vegan myself but I find this cuisine very creative and appealing, so I like to try vegan food and recipes every so often. My favorite little coffee place that serve vegan food is RAW (the location on 51 W. Huron Street, not the one at the French Market that is really not cozy). They serve fresh daily and always very creative plant-based dishes, juice, smoothies and snacks, in a warm and welcoming ambiance. As for the restaurants, I recommend Bad Hunter, that I mentioned in part 1 already, as they have a entire vegetarian menu, as well as an entire vegan menu, alongside with the classic one. If you are into Indian food, there there are two vegetarian Indian restaurants I like, Pub Royale, an anglo-indian style pub, and Uru-Swati, on Devon Avenue. This last place is very authentic and doesn’t look so appealing at first, but the food is extremely tasty and is definitely worth a try!
Healthy Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado Dip, for all sweet potato lovers!
7. Food bloggers in Chicago
Moving to Chicago was for me the occasion to be closer to my American readership, and also to get to meet food bloggers I had been following for quite a while. A met Swedish and French bloggers in the past (Hi there!) and it’s always very fun to meet people who share the same passion as yours.
I was e-friend with Peter from Feed Your Soul 2 for quite a while already, and we spent hours talking about food blogging in a coffee. I also meet my idole, the one who made me start my own food blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction! She is absolutely incredible, super nice and sweet in addition to be extremely talented! She is about to release her 3rd cookbook about cookies by the way, so head over to her blog to order your own copy before it’s sold out! Last but not least, I briefly met Erin from Erin’s Inside Job, for a personal training session in Chicago, and since then I have been following her incredible fitness and food journey on the blog and I love her style and passion in life.
8. Chicago Farmers markets: eat seasonal!
When Summer is here and until mid-fall, I love to explore the farmers markets full of fresh fruits and vegetables coming from farms near by, in Illinois for most of them, Wisconsin sometimes. My favorite one is the one located in Lincoln Park (literally in the park), held twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. There, you’ll find a large choice of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic products, freshly baked pies and even some beautiful wild flowers! I also like the Farmers market from Wicker Park, near to where I live, even though it’s much smaller.
9. Food and wedding: topic of the year!
And of course the big topic of the year was our wedding! Not exactly linked to Chicago since it took place in France, but we took inspiration from our three cultures (Swedish, American, and French) to make this magic day happen. We crafted our menus ourself, with the help of Paper Source, which became one of my favorite shop in town, and got lovely dessert plates from the wedding shop BHLDN, that I use every so often on the blog. We also spent quite some time to compose our wedding menu, and you can find on the blog some recipes that directly inspired/influenced us: lavender honey madeleines (edible gift to our guests), blackberry lavender cocktail, gravlax salmon, crispbreads, raspberry rose pavlovas…
10. And now, what’s next?
As I’m starting my second year here in Chicago, they are many new projects with the blog that awaits me that I won’t develop here to keep some mystery. There are also many new places I’d like to try (secretly I would love to have the opportunity to go to Alinea, Grant Achatz’s 3 Michelin star restaurant), many new foodie travel experiences within the US I can’t wait to share with you already. And if you have any request or topics you would like me to talk to you about, please let me know, I’m always open to new ideas. You can also subscribe to the newsletter, where I share some seasonal inspiration once in a while.
My Top 3 Recipes on the blog right now: