My Kind of Town- Chicago Weekend Recap Part One
First off my apologies for the recent radio silence. Due to some seriously bad travel karma (re: many flight delays and cancellations) our quick weekend in Chicago was extended by two extra days. I learned quite a bit about coping with travel interruption and am excited to share new travel tips tomorrow!
Although the loooong trip home was stressful, the actual weekend was quite fun. We got to see friends, eat amazing food and even check out the Chicago Green Festival- a green living expo at Navy Pier.
On Friday night we had dinner with friends at Karyn's on Green, Karyn Calabrese's fine dining vegan restaurant. I have read about Karyn's mini vegan empire in Chicago and was very excited to try her crown jewel. As I have mentioned before I am not always the biggest fan of specifically vegan restaurants. Many of them tend to skew towards "faux food" or "vegan junk food. I eat a plant based diet because I adore vegetables, so they last thing I want is a vegetable in disguise as a burger/chicken wing etc. As a rule I stay away from any faux meats, or tofu as they are just too processed for my taste.
At Karyn's on Green I was able to find a number of simple, vegetable centric dishes that suited my tastes. I also appreciated that on the menu each item was marked (R) raw, (GF) gluten free, (SF) soy free, or (NF) nut/seed free. It certainly saved me a lot of time when deciding what to order!
We started our meal off with an Aged Raw Cheese Plate with wild arugula, white balsamic, and kiwi relish for the table. These nut cheeses were really excellent, and somehow lighter than any nut cheese I have had before.
For my entree I had the Portobello Steak with braised dandelion and a tempranillo reduction. This may have been one of the most flavorful roasted Portobello's I have ever eaten. The red wine reduction made it incredibly juicy. I have big plans to try this one at home.
One unexpected item on the menu was a shot of digestive enzymes. I loved how they came served in a champagne flute! Elegant and good for you! Here's an idea: all restaurants that serve cooked and hard to digest food should offer digestive enzymes on the menu for their guests. Hey, a gal can dream!
Overall I enjoyed my experience at Karyn's on Green. We were slightly disappointed that due to an earlier power outage in the kitchen most of the desert menu was unavailable. I would have loved to have tried the Sweet Pea ice cream!
Saturday day was spent browsing the Green Festival. There was so much goodness to be had there I am saving it for it's own post. Stay tuned!
Saturday afternoon my friend Cari, a newly minted Chicago resident, took me to check out Peeled one of Chicago's few juice bars. Peeled offers juices and raw foods as well as cleanses. I was hoping to pick up some Norwalk pressed juice to go for the following morning. Sadly, they explained to me that the Norwalk juices are made to order for their cleanse clients. I guess Chicago is not quite New York with it's the grab-and-go pressed juice options.
I was in the mood for a green smoothie so I ordered the Green Day Live- a blend of greens, celery, green apple juice, avocado, lemon, parsley and a pinch of himalayan sea salt. It was quite tart from the lemon and green apple juice, but I really enjoyed it. I rarely find a green smoothie that I do not like!
Sadly, most of Sunday and Monday were spent at O'Hare trying to get home to New York. However, Tuesday morning I discovered Protein Bar, a "high protein food and drink bar" near our hotel. Most of the items on their menu were not for me. Too much protein powder and "boosts" for my taste. But they had a juice bar!!! I got Doug and I each a Hi-5 and a Market to help us prepare for the journey home.
While making my way out of Protein Bar I noticed this sign on the napkin dispenser. I could not agree more! 100 calories of Oreos and 100 calories of avocado are not created equal at all!