Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Urban Vegan

Lake View
1605 W. Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 404 - 1109

Lincoln Park
1550 W. Fullerton Ave
Chicago, Il 60614
(773) 472-8208


     Their website reads the "Original Vegan Thai Cuisine in Chicago" and, well, vegan Thai food it is. Urban Vegan is a place that always delivers a straight to the point, great tasting meal. This place is (obviously) all vegan .. they even have wonton soup which, to me, makes them like a vegan Thai heaven. Even better, you have several proteins to choose (tofu, soy chicken, soy fish, soy pepper steak, seitan, soy shrimp or soy chicken nuggets). It's nice to have a choice which expands beyond the tofu squares, right? If you are vegan or vegetarian and live in Chicago, you've probably already been here.. more than once.
     They have a pretty sweet lunch and dinner special and have a pretty extensive menu otherwise. Each location delivers -particularly amazing when it is winter for 6 months out of the year- and caters which makes me want to get married to just have them cater my wedding.. don't worry, I'm not running to the alter any time soon.

  Lunch special: $9.95
  Fresh Ginger - Soy Chicken
  stir fried mushrooms, fresh ginger garlic, green onion, and
  bell pepper  in chef's special sauce.
  Served with steamed brown rice, 2 spring rolls and salad
    *I was too excited and ate one of the spring rolls before i remembered to take a
       picture - judge me not 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Global Coffee and Cargo

2917 West Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252 - 0091

   Global Coffee was an unexpected surprise. I was wandering the streets of Logan Square when I happened to walk by a cute little store front lodged between a community garden and a thrift store. I then noticed and Intelligentsia coffee sign, and while I've only had coffee from Int once, I took this as a good sign. Also, if you know Logan, you know that where Kedzie and Armitage meet, there is very little to see and do so I figured this was a good as it would get. So... enter store.
Bathroom wallpaper!
   This place is adorable. The different tables and chairs along with the eclectic paintings on the wall make it feel incredibly comfortable and the couches and pillows do not go unnoticed. I picked the table by the window-front to enjoy the natural lighting from an almost warm spring day and stared at the solar system hanging from the ceiling. I appreciate personalty and this pace definitely has one. Even their bathroom is an adventure.
   Their menu is what you might expect from a small mom an pop cafe. They offer sandwiches, breakfasty stuff, some appetizers including the standard hummus platter, etc, etc. I ordered a veggie burger and had the option between chips or potatoes. The burger wasn't terribly exciting but I'm really not that picky when it comes to burgers and at only $5.50, I really couldn't complain. Oh and the potatoes where truly tasty and included in that price; amazing. And since I was going to be there a while, I ordered a brown sugar cinnamon soy latte that needs no elaboration.
   A few hours later, I walked out feeling rather satisfied and not thinking much else... and then I did some research and was truly impressed. As if supporting small businesses is not a priority for me, this cafe is actually a part of a non profit which is "dedicated to empowering individuals who in transition from a variety of circumstances, such as homelessness, recovering from addiction, low-income, .. [have] the common desire to work towards self-sufficiency ..." They have various programs, including the above mentioned garden and thrift store. The cafe is actually a part of their job training program.
   Heart melted. The end.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hot Doug's

3324 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618 
Phone: (773) 279-9550

   This place needs no introduction. If you like food, you know Hot Doug's and if you're from Chicago, then you definitely know Hot Doug's. HD is exactly what the name implies, a hot dog haven. And while there are only dogs and fries to choose from, their menu is far from limited.

   So how does a vegan end up at a place who's slogan is "There are no two finer words in the English language than Encased Meats"? Well I don't really know but I'm glad I did. And although The Joe Strummer is the only vegan dog on their menu, it is encouraging to have a meatless option in a "sausage superstore." Furthermore, it is a great place to share a meal with friends that insist they never know where to take you.
   Back to the dog. The Joe Stummer is a non-complicated, delicious hot dog. Some days all you need is classic. But don't worry, if you're in the mood to spice things up, ask for sport peppers, sauerkraut or giardiniera.. Or all three if you're really looking to go nuts. This is your hot dog, your way. 
   Oh and did I forget to mention the fries? Amazing.

Total cost:  $4.50

The Joe Stummer 
(formerly Pete Shelley. Steve Diggle & Howard Devoto)
Vegetarian Dog: Meatless... and delicious!

Condiments- The  Basics 
Mustard, Caramelized Onions, Relish, Tomatoes, Pickles, Celery Salt
Ketchup, Raw Onions, Sport Peppers, Sauerkraut, Spicy Giardiniera

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quesadilla La Reina del Sur

2235 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647 
Phone: (773) 235-8807

   It seems only appropriate that the first restaurant I would visit is Quesadilla La Reina Del Sur, or simply Quesadilla for short. This place is absolutely amazing. I don't know that words (or pictures) can actually do this place justice.
   I'll let you guys in on a little secret. I am Mexican, like born in Mexico Mexican.. and since food can be so nostalgic, I will admit there are days that I think about my mom's cooking and long for her delicious creations. It wasn't until I discovered Quesadilla that I thought I would never get to taste those things again. I don't mean to sound so dramatic but Mexican dishes are heavily meat driven and we do not discriminate which means there are a LOT of things I can not eat at family gatherings.
   Enough about me. This place is a gem. It took me far too long to discover it but don't worry, I've been making up for lost time. They are 100% vegetarian but make everything vegan and although this will sound like an oxymoron, this is the most authentic Mexican restaurant I have been to. 
   Conclusion: Eat here. Eat here often.

Pictured: The boyfriend.. I realize that burritos are pretty common, however, this monstrosity is composed of Barbacoa (roasted lamb) and Chicharron (pork skin). Yes, it is the size of grown man's torso AND you get to pick two flavors. Their menu warns "beware, this is a beast of a burrito." Noted. 

Sunday special, Pozole Verde.. I have never seen this as a vegan option. This is perfect for hangovers; commonly made with hominy, chicken and a delicious spicy broth.

Total cost: $16.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Name Is Alicia and I Love Delicious Food

Location: Chicago, IL, USA
   The truth is that some days I'm just tired of talking about all the reasons why I'm vegan. The boring and redundant question of how I get my protein is such an irrelevant question because most of the people asking do not eat meat with the intention of getting protein; they eat meat simply because they do. Too many times I mention my dietary restrictions to someone and it turns into a conversation where, even though they asked, they feel like I'm trying to impose my values on them. Don't get me wrong, it is very important to talk about the issues but for now, I just want to talk about delicious food.
   There is a common misconception that vegans are missing out on something; as if we really do eat only lettuce. I have never met a vegan that is bored with their food. It's quite the opposite, the excitement of finding new vegan creations, the challenge of making these things from scratch and the world of options that open up before you when you open up your diet to the abundance of veggies are far from boring and restricting.. So I dare say: Hi, my name is Alicia and I love delicious food. This food just happens to be vegan.

   The mission: all things vegan in Chicago.. sit back for this will take a while.