Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chicago bites - A Taste of River North and Lakeview

Here is the second part of our foodie adventures in Chicago. Yesterday I featured Loop eats. Today's pics are from the River North and Lakeview neighborhoods. And the view (above) is from the John Hancock Center's bar.

In River North, we enjoyed a lovely and enormous dinner alfresco at Karyn's Cooked, 713 N Wells Street. This was our only visit to a Karyn's location in Chicago but I'd love to check out the others someday. We started our meal with two appetizers: the deep-fried Soy Buffalo Wings (above) and the messy, delicious Thai Skewers (below) in peanut sauce. I'd never encountered a flat Thai skewer before. They were challenging to maneuver but inventive to behold.

Our main dishes were the Flautas for me (above). These were tasty deep-fried, veggie-filled tortillas with great sauces and delicious sides. And then there was the Poached Haddock (below). Yes, my boyfriend went with the soy cod. Blech!--was my reaction. However he enjoyed the strong fishy flavor and strange texture. The broccoli was the real monster on that plate.

In Lakeview, we were planning on stopping at the famous Chicago Diner but the crowds and a movie showtime propelled us to Kitchen 17 instead. Located at 613 W Briar Street, this newly opened 100% vegan restaurant was the oddest spot that we visited. The menu seemed reminiscent of something that you'd make in college, probably late at night. However the counter staff was friendly, it was BYOB, and they offered free (!) self-serve lemonades, teas, and water.

We started out with the Loaded Nachos (above on left). I enjoyed the homemade vegan cheese and sour cream best in this mound. They weren't overpowering, as Daiya, Tofutti, and other popular brands tend to be. And I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak (above on right), which again was pleasant with the mildly-flavored faux cheese and peppery, flaked seitan. The rather stale bread could use some work. I guess there is no equivalent of Amoroso's rolls in Chicago?

My boyfriend also got the Supreme Pizza (below), which had a thin crust but was nothing to write home about. I think the sauce was jarred or simply bore a strong resemblance to Ragu. I hope this place keeps working on their menu and one day gives Chicago Diner a run for their clientele.    

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