Mighty Fine Mexican Diner Food At Dove’s Luncheonette – Wicker Park

Dove's Luncheonette Diner

Counter seating, record player spinning some soul, and comfort food give Dove’s Luncheonette a real diner feel with welcome additions like a tequila menu.

Take a peek inside Dove’s Luncheonette via Tastemade:

Continue reading

Peek Inside Kokopelli – Grand Opening Today in Wicker Park, Chicago

 

Kokopelli Chicago Gringo en Vacaciones

Kokopelli Chicago Gringo de Vacaciones

Come with me on my sneak peek of Kokopelli – check out my appisode.

The idea of Kokopelli started from a seafood taco truck in Tijuana. On Tuesday I was invited to the Chicago outpost in Wicker Park to preview the menu. Bright pink lights from the bar bounce off the brick and wood interior giving a nice glow to the green fabric booths. Chalkboard drawings of the menu and Kokopelli dancing against the Chicago skyline give the space a laid back and cozy feel.

The menu has tacos, ceviches, mini tortas, salsas, salads, bocadillos and a couple of kids options.

We tried Continue reading

A Little Slice of New York in Chicago – Craft Pizza

Craft Pizza Chicago Devil in the White City

Craft Pizza Chicago – The Devil in the White City

Craft Pizza invited some food bloggers to dinner ahead of their June 3rd grand opening and it was delicious. Inspired by pizzerias like Ray’s and Joe’s in NYC, Craft Pizza is a little slice of New York in Chicago.

Check out this Tastemade episode of Craft Pizza.

Continue reading

Red Square: Steam, Drink & Eat at Chicago’s Oldest Russian Bath House

Image via redsquarechicago.com

Image via redsquarechicago.com

I can get a drink delivered to me in the hot tub? A group of Russian friends were happily chatting away with cocktails in hand when I stepped into the locker room to change before heading into the Turkish steam room. Sure enough I saw the phone to dial-up to order from the bar. I see why Al Capone liked to hang out here.

Check out my Tastemade video to look inside Red Square.

Red Square Call Front Desk

For thirty dollars you get Continue reading

What To Do, Eat, & See This Weekend In Chicago

Friday:

franti333a

Jammin’ at the Zoo 2013

Michael Franti & Spearhead at the Lincoln Park Zoo – Gates open at 6 p.m.

Saturday:

Wicker Park Fest – July 27th & 28th

Milwaukee Ave. Between North and Paulina, 12pm – 10pm. $5 donation at entrance. Three stages of live bands and DJs, local food vendors and art installations and kids entertainment.

TOLA_logo-300x268

Taste of Lincoln Avenue – July 27th & 28th

North Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton & Wrightwood, 12pm – 10pm. $10 admission. Live pop, rock and blues acts This year’s Wrightwood stage will showcase the beats of EDM (electronic dance music) deejays at the Wrightwood stage.

Free arcade games area in the 2500 block on North Lincoln where craft beers will also be sold as well as Kid’s Carnival.

Sunday:

Enjoy a Summer Evening in Provence with an Eight-Course Popup Dinner at Chicago’s French Landmark Le Bouchon.

JEAN CLAUDE_30 comp

Doors will open at 5:00 p.m., 1958 N. Damen. Reservations for the popup dinner will be taken every half hour. Sous Chef Oliver of Le Bouchon and Sous Chef Scott of La Sardine join forces once again to create the quintessential French eight-course menu for $80. To complement the dinner’s theme of a Summer Evening in Provence, the menu will include classics such as Braised Octopus, Rabbit Saddle, Provencal Flatbread and Honey Lavender Ice Cream.

Cheap(er) Eats For Those on A College Student’s Budget in Chicago

I’m pleased to introduce Nicole Adams. She currently works with Westwood College and enjoys designing, writing and of course eating.  She is Alicia Tastes Life first guest blogger! 

Cheap(er) Eats For Those on A College Student’s Budget

–on behalf of Nicole Adams of Westwood College

Chicago is a big city with a diverse population. As immigrants from all over the world have arrived at the Windy City, they’ve brought their various culinary traditions with them. Chicago college students and residents, therefore, have a lot of opportunities when it comes to affordable ethnic dining.  It’s nice to actually take advantage of the idea of “a little goes a long way”.  Perhaps, you can spend your remaining budget on a special night out at Blackbird, or a nice slow food establishment.  In the meantime, the question remains, where can I find the best food in town for the best price?  I have chosen an array of cuisines and neighborhoods.  Here are just a few spots you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking for a hip, cost efficient place to dine.

Image via city-data.com

If your palette longs for red pasta sauce or grilled calamari, consider Lucia’s on North Avenue. Lucia and Dominick, the friendly owners of this long-established Italian Restaurant, have managed to keep this gem a neighborhood go-to. The options are endless.  When it comes to take out, they are very fast and efficient.  This Italian eatery has it’s own deli; so don’t hesitate to order a fresh made sandwich or custom salad (most under $10).  If you do decide to cozy up and eat in the dining room, be sure to note the BYOB option and no corking fee.  I would recommend pairing your own wine from home with the Artichoke Ravioli.

Image via farm4.staticflickr.com

Sultan’s Market is another idea of a generously priced, yet tasty, place to throw down some George Washington’s.  For only $2, you can order the Baked Spinach Pie or Grandma Zarifa’s Lentil Soup.  Of course, Hummus and Curry Basmati Rice are also great items on this Mediterranean inspired menu, but one of the biggest perks is having small and large portion options.  The ingredients are flavorful and taste is authentic.  Sultan’s Market has been in Wicker Park for years, and they have recently added a new location in Lincoln Park.

Image via city-data.com

Saving the “latest for last”, it’s not easy to fight the craving for fast late night tacos. Wicker Park’s standing tradition of a 2AM Flash Taco had to make it to this post.  As the previous statement implies, it’s obvious that this is where you would most likely spend the latter part of your evening.  Flash Taco originated when two Mexican immigrants began selling delicious tacos in Humboldt Park from an ice chest.  Flash built on this idea and tradition that his ambitious parents started and Flash Taco has become the perfect place to get filling, satisfying food.  Most items are under $6, and the Steak Burrito or Chili Relleno tacos are the way to go.  Don’t forget to order a horchata to sip on while you wait.

Hopefully these suggestions will meet any time crunch and budget on your next cheap eat outing. Another suggestion, that I’ve recently found useful for finding deals on good food, is the Scout Mob app.  You can download to any Smartphone and is available and free to Chicago subscribers.  The site most recently featured 50% off Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant in Edgewater.  If you need your olive tapenade fix, there’s a 50% off deal for Atomix Coffee in the Ukrainian Village.  The deals change, but the app is nice to have as a reference when trying to meet the right match, on any occasion, for your taste buds.

Consuelo the Food Truck – Big Star Chicago

Image via facebook.com/pages/Big-Star-Chicago

Big Star is one of my favorite taquerias in Chicago from the Johnny Cash records to the perfectly sweet and sour San Antonio Sling (Herradura Plata, St Germain & Grapefruit) enjoyed while sitting on the patio in the Chicago sun  = heaven. Every taco on the menu is worth eating. My favorites are:

Tacos Al Pastor marinated, spit roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion, cilantro

Tacos De Pescado beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayo, cabbage, cilantro, lime

The downside to Big Star is that it is constantly packed. So if you don’t like to wait keep an eye out for Consuelo, the Big Star food truck. She’s coming for you. Right now the truck is unlicensed but Big Star has gone ahead and started serving food regardless. There are lots of laws that food trucks have to abide by so Chicago doesn’t have as many food trucks as other cities. I am hoping this changes.

Big Star will post dates and times of where Consuelo will be on their Facebook page.

For those of you who can’t get enough of hot dogs there is an option for you too. I tried it and it is good but huge and very spicy:

Sonoran Hot Dog crispy, bacon wrapped, all beef hot dog, pinto beans, lime mayo, mustard, onions, hot sauce, on a bolillo roll

Image via Food and Wine

1531 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

Big Star Chicago.

Chicago « Renegade Craft Fair & Other Weekend Fests

Even though the weather has indicated summer is over and fall has arrived it’s still nice enough to enjoy some of the last Chicago festivals this weekend. Here are a few of my favorites:

Image via withlovexox.com

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago – One of the best fairs to showcase handmade crafts and art. The emphasis for this fair is on original DIY works by artist. Even if you don’t end up buying anything it’s a visual treat to see new ideas and work that you won’t see at other Chicago fairs. Now for the real reason I love this fair, the FOOD:

Food will be available for purchase from Antique Taco, Big Bite Catering, and MANA Food Bar, while Black Dog Gelato and Puffs of Doom will be selling sweet treats. Intelligentsia Coffee will be on-hand providing your caffeine fix.

Beer will be available for purchase from Goose Island, and wine will be available for purchase from Lulu B.

via Chicago « Renegade Craft Fair.

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts–  This is a great fest for families and art lovers. Artists in almost every medium will be represented including photography, printmaking, mixed media, ceramics, clay, collage, fiber, glass, sculpture, furniture and more. Unique and original artwork is on sale in all price ranges.

The Festival also hosts children’s entertainment featuring puppet shows, interactive arts and crafts and activities to foster an appreciation of fine art in the youngest participant. The Lakeview East Festival of the Arts hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Saturday) and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sunday).

Image via gozamos.com

German American Fest – This is truly a party starting on Friday evening through Sunday in Lincoln Square. There will be a parade on Saturday at 2pm ending in Lincoln Plaza. Lincoln Plaza  located at Western, Lincoln and Leland. Admission is free. Entertainment-wise there will be traditional cultural programs with participation of many societies, plus German music for your singing and dancing pleasures. Last but not least great FOOD and lots of German beer. There will also be activities for children.

Free Things To Do This Weekend – Art & Farmer’s Market

Image via scheeringafarms

For those of you not going to Lollapalooza, Chicago offers several free events around town. Here are just a few:

Neighborhood Farmer’s Markets. Great chance to support your own neighborhood or get out and explore a neighborhood that is new to you and eat some good food.

Bridgeport Farmers Market: Saturday 7 am  – 1 pm at 35th & Wallace  Chicago, IL 60616

Farmer’s Market: Portage Park, Sunday 10 am – 2 pm at Central and Berteau Ave in Portage Park. The Friends of Portage Park website also includes a great feature called What’s In Season growing chart. You can track when your favorite foods will be ready to eat.

Wicker Park and Bucktown Farmers Market: Sunday 8 am – 2 pm in Wicker Park, 1500 N. Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Lincoln Park Farmers Market: Saturday 7 am – 1 pm at Lincoln Park High School Parking Lot, Armitage Ave. & Orchard St., Chicago, IL 60647

FREE ART!

Chicago Cultural Center on Washington Street across from Millenium Park is a beautiful building and center that offers free concerts, art and houses the worlds largest Tiffany stained-glass dome.  Just walking around the building is enough to get your art fix. Some free current exhibitions:

Chicago Landmarks Before the Lens: Features black and white photography of 24 landmarks and historic districts from various artists.

Movie Mojo: Hand-Painted Posters from Ghana: Posters from the 1980s that are Ghanaian takes on Hollywood, Bollywood and other cultural movie phenomenons.

Public Group Tours are presented Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1:15pm. Located at Randolph Street lobby, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602

The University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art is another great source for (free) art. Including works from Warhol in its current exhibitions:

Go Figure: The human form as interpreted by nine different artist using various art mediums.

Warhol at Work: Portrait Snapshots, 1973-1986: Polaroid and black and white photographs taken by Warhol of his friends, parties and the New York streets.

Have a great weekend!