Archive for CHI

Travel – CHI – Loving Hut

Over the weekend The BF & headed out to Loving Hut.

I’ve been wanting to go, so I was super excited for the experience. The nice thing about Loving Hut is they label everything on the menu – Soy Free, Gluten Free, & Low Sugar. No worries about if it’s Vegan or not – it’s ALL VEGAN! It’s fab to be able to go out and pick anything off the menu, no worries, no explanations, now worries!

The atposhere is very casual. You go in, select a table (which is numbered) they give you a menu and then you figure what you want, walk to the counter & order.

So..what’d we get….

Starter: Steamed Dumplings

I love dumplings…enough said.

Starters: Drumsticks
Starters: Drumsticks – dissected!
mtbVegan: Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob
mtbVegan: Dol Sot Bi Bim Bob – inside the bowl

This was a really great dish. I loved the way it was served within the dish is was cooked – the brown rice was below all the veggies & tofu. Because the dish was so hot the rice got ncie and crispy which went well with the overall dish.

The BF: Forever Love

This had a wonderful sauce with it, very good. Of course The BF though it needed more sauce (what can I say the man loves huge portions & lots & lots of sauce). I thought it was just fine the way it was.

mtbVegan: Green Tea Cheese Cake

I was intrigued by this menu item…green tea cheese cake, really? So I got it. It was different, but still very good. Not too sweet (its marked as Low Sugar too). The crust was fab and the cheese cake was thick. The green tea flavor took a few bites to get used to then it rocked.

The BF: Carrot Cake

Most of you should know I do not like carrot cake. I’m a Spice Cake fan and all too often I get lame slices of carrot cake because people seem to think its the same (read: it is NOT). This carrot cake had great texture, flavors, the icing was super yummy. Even though I don’t like carrot cake, this was a good carrot cake.

Overall – I really enjoyed Loving Hut. It’s a bit out of the way for me, but it has huge menu and just a good vibe.

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Travel – CHI – Bleeding Heart

Last Friday I went to a Ladies “Non-Valentine” Night Out at my friends church. One of the events that night was cupcake decorating and since I’ve vegan that was a no-go for me. BUT, my friend scored a vegan chocolate raspberry cupcake from Bleeding Heart Bakery as well as a Raspberry Bar (which we split!).

Both were wonderful and I am really beginning to love Bleeding Heart!

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Vegan Chicago Meetup – Veggie Bite

For February Vegan Chicago headed to Veggie Bite for lunch. It was a great meetup, large group (over 80 RSVP’d!). I know the concept of vegan fast food doesn’t sound appealing to people. But I think Veggie Bite does a very good job of making it as healthy as possible. Their menu is large, the food tastes great (since I’ve been there several times), it doesn’t ever seem or feel too greasy “fast food” like. By far they have the best french fries around.

So this time at Veggie Bite I opted for the Chili Cheese Fries!

I also got the BBQ Nuggets, which were good, but not what I think I really wanted (or what went best with the fries…I thin k chix free nuggets would have been the better combo).

Then for dessert I got a slice of Strawberry Cake (because who can say no to cake?! Not this vegan).

As always, I have a great time with the Vegan Chicago group. I can’t wait to see what next months meetup is.

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Veganniversary – 3 Years!

My 3 year Veganniversary was on January 17th! The delay in my posting was simply due to my computer crashing, being busy, and…well there you go. But my friend Amy D. and I got together for dinner to celebrate my 3 years of being vegan (Before which I spend 9 years as a vegetarian – which mean’s I’ve saved over 1,000 animals from being slaughterer.) So, of course I wanted to celebrate that!

We went to the Chicago Diner and noshed on some wonderful sweet potato fries as our appetizer (they were super yummy!)

Shared Plate of Sweet Potato Fries!

For our main dishes we both had Gluten Free dishes (Amy’s GF, and the diner has some great options)!

Amy: Avocado Tostado’s
Mine: Pumpkin Tamale’s

Let me start by saying how wonderful the Pumpkin Tamales were…no really – amazing. Filled with black beans, wonderful sauce, sauteed greens…yummy! It was one of the monthly specials, so I jumped on board to try it out…very pleased with my choice.

Desserts…we’re celebrating, of course we needed dessert! And yes, we even got more fries.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ice Cream & Sweet Potato Fries (what, they’re good!)

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Vegan Chicago Meetup – Ian’s Pizza

Last weekend Vegan Chicago had it’s monthly meetup at Ian’s Pizza in Wrigleyville. They serve up vegan pizza’s with Teese and Upton’s products. We each got 3 slices of pizza and I tried one of each…there was the Vegan Dimo (tomatoes, spinach and mozarella soy), The Chicken Seitan Taco (buffalo chicken seitan, pico de gallo and cheddar soy), and a 3 Veg (portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers and spinach with mozarella soy).

My personal favorite of the night was the Vegan Dimo – it had the best flavor and texture of the 3 options. All were really good though and it’s wonderfult o have a pizza option here in Chicago.

Have I mentioned how much I love being part of Vegan Chicago? No…well I do, a lot. Everyone in the group and at the meetups is wonderful. Afterward we even went on a mini pub crawl. I bailed out around 9pm since I was tired and had to head to MKE the next morning. But it was a blast hanging out with everyone!

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Travel – CHI – Earwax Cafe

I finally made it to Earwax Cafe…seriously, what the heck took me so long! To help recover from NYE we headed out for what I will call brunch…becasue The BF opted for lunch (it was 1pm afterall) and I opted for breakfast (I heart breakfast). The menu looked great, loads and loads of vegan options – one thing to note is that they only take cash, so bring cash! They do have an ATM inside in case you forget.

It was hard to decide but once I sauce the special of gingerbread pancakes with vegan cinnamon butter…I had to have it.

The pancakes were really good, thick tasty goodness. I loved it!

The BF got the Sweet Spiced Jerk Sandwich with a side of slaw. He was highly disappoint in the slaw, just not what he was expecting. But the sandwich he loved. I snagged a bite and it was good…sweet spicy goodness.

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Travel – CHI – Karyn’s on Green

I’ve been wanting to go to Karyn’s on Green for a while. The menu always looks intriguing and creative so when Andrea was down to dine at Karyn’s we went!

Who wouldn’t love a restaurant that’s slogan is “Making Vegan Sexy”

We were both stoked to be there and upon checking the drink menu we got started with a Fall-gria (Red Wine, Combier, Peyrot Private Reserve, Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Orange, and Cinnamon Simple Syrup) Yes, it was incredible.

(picture: Andrea)

They brought us some crusty bread and a herbed butter for it while we pondered the menu…and boy did we ponder…but that bread was pretty good with the buttery spread (yum!)

After chatting for quite some time we settled on an appetizer. The Mixed Basket…which consisted of a nice pile of all things fried (Oh so healthy I know, but oh did it taste fab!) The contents were tempura cauliflower, avocado, mushrooms, and a pile of fries. They came with two dipping sauces; a BBQ Sauce and a Sweet Soy Sauce. The BBQ went incredibly well with the fries, and avocado. The mushrooms and cauliflower seemed best with the soy sauce. It was pretty amazing and I really enjoy the avocado – although I would like to try this with a slightly spicy tempura batter…might be good.

After looking over the menu I also opted for the French Onion Soup…since my last bowl of French Onion Soup was consumed back in the 1990’s…seriously. So I couldn’t help myself and had to try it.

The soup was really good. Great flavor, tender onions, nice and thick…the crusty bread soaked in the broth was delightful. I was very impressed by this soup.

For dinner we opted for a crazy variety, 1 pizza, 1 large plate, 2 sides.

Pizza: Arugula – it came with sliced yukon potatoes, caramelized onions, and topped with Arugula

The pizza was great, the combination of the potatoes, onions, and cheese with the arugula was interesting and went well together. I’m not sure what kind of cheese they used but it was a nice mild flavor. I only managed to eat one slice, since I consumed a bowl of soup just prior…oy so full!

For our side dishes we settled on the Sweet Potatoes with Dandies (first time having sweet potatoes with marshmallows)

Not only was the presentation wonderful with each side being served in small caste-iron pan, but the dish was wonderfully sweet, but not over done. The firmness of the marshmallows played well with the tenderness of the sweet potatoes.

Our second side dish was the roasted brussels sprout. It came with a cerole mustard sauce…and well, I loved it.

The sauce went so well with the brussels sprout, the sprouts were very tender and perfectly prepared. If you like sprouts, you need to eat these…love at first bite.

No really, I loved that sauce…so much so I dipped my bread in it too.

(picture: Andrea)

For our Large Plate we opted for something simple, The Penne Marinara. To some it might seem almost too simple a dish to try when checking out a restaurant for the first time. But I think it’s the perfect dish to try…if a restaurant can make something simple so well that says a lot. I’ve been to plenty of “fancy” restaurants and they do a fantastic job with presentation and taste on exotic dishes, but the basics always seem off. So with the Penne Marinara I was pretty excited to try it. Pasta – perfect, sauce, wonderful. Not too sweet, not too salty, seasoned so well…I could smell the wonderful tomatoes and basil once the placed the dish in front of us, it made my mouth water.

We were both very pleased with the dish, but also so full we only managed to eat a few bites each (we really wanted to have dessert too…so we saved room).

So we had the leftovers boxed while we contenplated the dessert menu…

(picture: Andrea)

We were torn between two dishes; Banana Fosters or the Poached Pear. After a glowing recommendations from a fellow patron, we opted for the Banana’s Foster.

To say it tasted incredible would be an understatement. It was so wonderfully deliciously, textures were great and flavors intense, and it all played well together. This was a fantastic choice.

The entire process, seating to completion of dessert took 3 hours. No really, 3 hours! Not once during the meal did I feel rushed or like serve was slow. It was all at the perfect pace. I’m sure I could have polished off most of the food, but I think opting for leftovers was a good idea. I enjoyed chatting with Andrea a great deal, I’m so sad she’ll be heading back to NYC next week and we won’t get to hangout more. She’s a great gal and a good friend!

So, what did I think of Karyn’s on Green…it was amazing. I will be back, every dish was wonderful and I would change nothing. Wonderful atmosphere, great food all prepared to perfection…it’s poised to become a favorite of mine. Now…I just need to try brunch, because breakfast food is key in my book (but seriously, the brussels sprouts were my favorite…that sauce I’ll have dreams about and will try to duplicate myself…it was so good!)

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