Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chicago bites - Loop eats

Here are some food highlight photos from a recent trip to Chicago. Wow, Chicago is way more veg-friendly than the last time that my boyfriend and I visited, which was admittedly over 10 years ago. I've been neglecting the Midwestern foodways. We ate mainly in the Loop area, which is featured below. Next up, I'll post our Lakeview and River North finds.

First we visited Native Foods CafĂ©, which largely seems to be a West Coast chain but has outposts in Colorado and Illinois, including the one at 218 S Clark Street. The food was over-the-top indulgent. Piled-high, slathered, "cheesy," and fried seems to be how Native Foods serves things. However we didn't order anything remotely sensible.

Pictured here are the Native Chicken Wings (above) and two types of sandwiches. The Classic Deli Reuben that I ordered was greasy seitan bliss (below on left). And my boyfriend deemed the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger a must-try item for its brazenness (below on right).  The accompanying ranch dressing was rather insipid, sadly. Otherwise we were pleased with this "fast-casual" vegan chain.  


The darker photos (below) are from Haymarket Pub & Brewery, located at 737 W Randolph Street. This vegan-friendly brewpub had a fine vegan chili and truly excellent vegan burger made with beets, oats, and black beans. I feel bad to post this sloppy, half-eaten burger pic but the veggie burger was really that good. It's always surprising and delightful to find solid vegan bar food.    

Finally, we found a treasure-trove of Soul Vegan to-go items (below) at the Bockwinkel's grocery store near our hotel. We were hoping to score some plain old hummus. Who'd have thought that mixed-in with the potato salads and coleslaws we'd discover 100% vegan soul food entrees, salads, and wraps?  This deli case became our go-to spot for picnic items to take to the many inviting parks of Chicago. In fact, these vegan items were among the best stuff we ate on our trip. The tangy and spicy Jerk Steak Wrap was my particular favorite.  

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