trish takes on chicago

Hi foodie friends!

This past weekend I went to Chicago to visit my best friends who are lucky enough to be interning there this summer.  We rode there in style, mega-bus style.  I thought the 6 1/2 hour drive wouldn’t be so bad, since last time I did it I finished not one, but two of the Twilight books. And it was broad daylight. But this time, it was more of a red-eye drive.  We left Cleveland at 1:00am and got to Chi at 6:15am.  Let me tell you, riding the mega-bus at night is no walk in the park.  Even with my ever-so-addicting-BFF-earplugs, I could not sleep.

$1? Really? More like $90!

i’m addicted to CVS earplugs

 It didn’t help that the mega-bus website failed to mention that they don’t believe in heat.  Are you sure the tickets said Chicago?  Because something tells me we’re going to Antarctica.

One decaf Starbucks coffee with soymilk and stevia later, we finally arrived in Antarctica Chicago, the city that never sleeps.  Go figure.

Ok, so NYC is actually the city that never sleeps. But who’s counting?

* * *

The girls took us to Yolk for breakfast. Not the place to go if you’re vegan, as you can tell from the name .  (Unless you’re one of those vegans that maybe eats eggs once in a while, but that doesn’t ring a bell.)  They did have a tempting veggie burger, but it was 7:30am….ew. I split the iron man omelette because it was about the size of my head. Don’t you love when restaurants charge $2 to split something? I sure do.

the iron man: egg white omelette with sliced mushrooms, avocado, tomato, onions, green pepper and salsa

Lunch was great, mostly because it was right next door to the love of my life,  Trader Joe’s. E.leaven was a cute cafe with sandwhiches, salads, breads and pastries.  I got the bean burger, which, according to the oh so credible fella at the restaurant, was made of “pretty much fava beans, chick peas, some other kind of beans, and corn flakes.”

I asked for fruit instead of chips, but of course they still gave me the chips, meaning I ate both the fruit AND chips.

Uh, Corn Flakes? Are you sure you didn’t mean whole wheat breadcrumbs?

Ok, fine.

We saw Chicago’s sights, shopped stared at clothes we couldn’t afford, talked about seeing the Bean but didn’t actually see it, and then…for the first time, I ate a….

CUPCAKE. This is no normal cupcake.

Love at first sight bite.   Sprinkles cupcakes are like delicious cupcakes on steroids.  I love the pristine look of the place–simplicity at its finest.  I feel like I’ve been lied to my whole life.  I had never had a real cupcake before Sprinkles.  Let me tell you, it was worth the wait.  Hands down, best cupcakes I’ve ever had.  Lemon coconut, red velvet (and a vegan version!), dark chocolate, cinnamon sugar, black and white, pumpkin….but my fave was pumpkin and dark choco 🙂

Does that justify spending $42 and then some on cupcakes because we tried to use a gift card that was redeemed six months ago?  Yes.

Does that justify  us eating twelve cupcakes in one weekend, mostly after waking hours? Uh, duh.

SO WORTH IT.

V FOR VEGAN!

Going out at night in Chicago was SO fun.  Add in three best friends?  That’s a recipe for perfection right there!Foodwise,  lunch the next day was  at Oak Street Beach.  It took maybe three days for the food to come, but the veggie tacos minus cheese/sour cream were delish.  

black beans, roasted corn, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole

After a less than 20% tip, the gals and I headed to the beach to snooze.  We then walked to Navy Pier to stare at McDonald’s 50 cent cones and then settle for Starbucks iced coffee instead, obviously.

Dinner consisted of TJ’s spinach and romaine with cucumbers, tomatoes, edamame, and TJ’s champaigne viniagrette. And a hundred handfuls of TJ’s popcorn.  Nothin fancy.

Fast forward to the next day when we downed Chipotle  like we had never seen food before.  I’m addicted to Chipotle’s guac.  And the fact that it’s free with a veggie bowl is like a gift from God.

nothing unusual

So, you may be wondering, who is this  Trish chick?  Trish is the muscle spasm in my back that tried to ruin my day.  It’s this painful little bugger on my scapula that likes to act like she’s gonna go away and then come back and kill me again.  I’m not quite sure why I named her Trish, but it stuck.

Bottom line, Trish was not invited to Chicago.  She sure  knows how to rain on my parade.  Darn you, Trish!

Anyways, dinner that night was DEEEEELISH. We  put on our birthday suits and headed to Kinzie Chophouse.  I didn’t get steak, but hey, my salad was pretty unreal. 

nicoise salad: arugula and radicchio with haricot verts, endive, capers, kalamata olives and potatoes in a shallot vinaigrette

I highly reccommend this place! They make a darn tasty salad, so I imagine that the steaks aren’t bad, either.

My last fabulous meal was at Eleven City Diner. I really love this place–tons of options and a great atmosphere.  

 The veg options on the menu ranged from salads to veggie burgers, but I really wanted something better than a salad with raw vegetables on top.  I wanted to go out with a bang.  So I got the new Balsamic Magic Shroom Burger and it was GREAT!  I know you wouldn’t think that a mushroom could taste that meaty, but let me tell you, this thing really blew me out of the park.

oven roasted balsamic portabello mushroom, pesto, lettuce, tomato, sesame bun, pickle, fries

I already miss Chicago like crazy.  There were tons of vegan/raw restaurants that I wanted to go to, but most of them were far from where we were.  Next time I visit Chicago, I would love to go to one! 

Till then…let’s just hope that Trish doesn’t come anywhere else that she’s not invited.

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