Category Archives: A New Place

Nutella Cafe to open in Chicago

In years past we wrote about the enigmatic Nutellerias  of Europe (and the short-lived Nutella cafes in North America): store/cafes dedicated to nothing but Nutella, the world’s favorite chocolate and hazelnut spread. Though the international Nutella cafes have come and gone, it now it appears that we will finally have a Nutella-only cafe of our own stateside. The Nutella Cafe will open in Millennium Park Chicago on May 31, and is officially run by Nutella’s parent company Ferrero. The Cafe will offer sweet, Nutella-based treats as well as savory non-Nutella fare. Previously, Nutella lovers in Chicago and NYC could enjoy the Nutella kiosk in Eataly, but this new cafe represents a whole new level of Nutella love (the door is even shaped like a jar of Nutella).

Nutella by Brian Cantoni

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A New Place for: Xue-hua-bing, Taiwanese Ice Cream [updated]

Xue hua bing by Kimberlykv

We are always up for a new kind of iced treat, especially the international varieties – gelato from Italy, halo halo from the Philippines and the wave of frozen yogurts from Korea – all delicious. So add to the list Xue hua bing – an icy confection from Taiwan. The name translates to “snow ice” and is a mixture of milk, ice and fruit, and each serving is shaved off of a giant ice block, and topped with fruit and other confections. There used to be a dedicated spot for Xue hua bing in Chicago – Cloud 9 on Belmont – though it has been closed for a while now. So we were excited to learn about Snow Dragon Shavery (2618 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614), which has taken up the torch as the only dedicated XHB spot in Chicago.

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Nutelleria and Eatella, all-Nutella eateries to open in Brooklyn and Montreal

We wrote previously about the Nutelleria, an all-nutella eatery that has outposts in Frankfurt and Bologna. Now have come to find out that there is also a Nutelleria opening in Park Slope, Brooklyn. However, it is shrouded in mystery. Is it related to the other Nutellerias? Is it sanctioned by Ferrero (the makers of Nutella)? There is a similar mysterious buzz circling around Montreal’s soon-to-open Eatella. All we know if that neither of these places are planning to open a branch in Chicago (though Chicago’s Eataly does have a sanctioned Nutella bar) – and we need more Nutella options here, stat!

nutelleria

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To do this weekend: Nosh, a weekly food festival in Wicker Park

Chicago is a city known for its festivals, and nearly every weekend throughout the summer you can expect to see multiple events dedicated to food, booze, music or any combination of the three. Enter Nosh, one of the city’s newest food festivals. Any weekend fair with a food theme is sure to attract us, and unlike most other festivals in Chicago, there is no entrance fee to visit Nosh.

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The goal of Nosh is to showcase a rotating selection of Chicago food producers, restaurants and food trucks (check out all vendors here). Much like Taste of Chicago, each booth sells several signature items, at varying price points, and many of the dishes are available for less than $5. The Nosh fair is located in the parking lot of Pritzker elementary school, and is going on every Saturday 11-6 until October.

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On the day we visited, there was a wide selection of different cuisines represented, from Mexican (Cherubs) to Vegan Ice Cream (Robin’s) to Indonesian (The Rice Table). Two food trucks were also present on our visit: The Eastman Egg Company and Da Lobsta. Since it is located on school property, there is no alcohol, but you could buy a selection of Filbert’s soda, Horchata and Lemonade. There was even live music when we visited. Nosh is definitely a fun way to spend a nice Saturday, and is also very family friendly. Go visit before Summer is through!

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Tracking down Turkish Breakfast in Chicago

Turkish Breakfast

Turkish Breakfast by Massimiliano Trevisan

turkeyAfter writing our recent post on Asitane restaurant in Istanbul, it got us hankering for some Turkish food. We had excellent food in Istanbul, and even some particularly good breakfasts. We enjoyed the hearty spread of baked goods, cheeses, halva, fruit, yogurt & honey and excellent coffee (naturally). While we have attempted to recreate our Turkish breakfasts on a smaller scale, it turns out there are even some places in Chicago that turn out a Turkish breakfast/brunch. Serious Eats Chicago recently had a feature on what was deemed the best place to catch a Turkish brunch, Pide ve Lahmacun (1812 W Irving Park Rd.). It was already on our list, but with this additional news, we definitely have to go!

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International Street Food Menu at Chicago’s iNG

One of our favorite dining experiences in the US was the Thai menu at Next, which was heavily influenced by the country’s superb street food. We recently learned of the new menu at Homaro Cantu’s restaurant iNG (951 W Fulton Market), which is a mash-up of elevated global street foods. The 8-course menu ($105) includes street food favorites like falafel, Korean BBQ, Tacos, Sno-Cones, and more. You can check out the complete menu on iNG’s website [pdf]. None of the interpretations are literal – check out this deconstructed riff on falafel – with pureed eggplant, Ethiopian Awaze, and a yogurt mint sauce. It’s only open for two months – so check it out soon!

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Cone: Irish Ice Cream in Chicago

Cone Ice Cream from Thrillist

Cone Ice Cream from Thrillist

Ireland

It’s no secret we are huge fans of ice cream, gelato and paletas, and we are happy when a new place for these treats opens up in Chicago. But the latest place for ice cream in Chicago fills a different (and new) international niche: Cone, an Irish ice cream shop in the West Loop (1047 W Madison St.). Until now, we never associated Ireland with ice cream, though the country’s well-known cheese and butter products, in addition to a growing dairy industry, should have given us a clue. Cone is run by Irish expat Sean McGuire, and features all locally-made ice cream. McGuire’s menu highlights some classic Irish flavors, like Guinness and Jameson, while still providing the more typical mint and Oreo, among others. The store sells some Irish candy and beverages. Though Cone may seem unusual, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Irish ice cream: it turns out Irish citizens are among the top 10 consumers of ice cream a year, even beating out Italy.

icecream2013

Per Capita Ice Cream Consumption by Business Insider

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Texan BBQ in São Paulo

brazilWe have often said that one of the things we miss most when we are in Brazil is American Barbecue.  However, we have just learned about an American BBQ joint in São Paulo, BOS Barbecue (Rua Pedroso Alvarenga, 559, Itaim Bibi, São Paulo). BOS BBQ is run by a team of Texans and Brazilians, and there is even reported to have the first American BBQ pit in all of meat-obsessed Brazil. BOS specializes in ribs and pulled pork and has several varieties of BBQ sauce to choose from (Espresso, Honey and Classic). First macarons and now BBQ – we could definitely live in São Paulo! Here is a complete review of BOS BBQ in Portuguese.

BOS BBQ

The Interior of BOS BBQ

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A new place for Haitian food in Chicago

Our first taste of Haitian food was the amazing whole Red Snapper at Le Soleil in NYC, where we enjoyed a whole red snapper and copious fixings for only $14. Haitian food, with it’s emphasis on fresh seafood, stewed meats and savory pastries, is delicious. When we got back from NYC we wanted to partake in some Haitian food closer to home – fortunately there was a tasty option nearby – Chez Violette, which recently closed. However, a new Haitian restaurant is soon opening in its place: Kizin Creole (2311 W. Howard St.) We look forward to its opening! In the meantime there is another great Haitian restaurant on Howard, Sweet Nick’s.

HatianFood

A veritable feast at Le Soleil in NYC

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A Place for Macarons… in Salvador!

franceWe recently wrote about the boom of Macarons in São Paulo. However, the trend has even trickled down to Salvador, the 3rd largest  city in Brazil. In Shopping Barra, there is a relatively new store, called Avignon, which specializes in chocolates and macarons. The macarons are R$ 4.50 apiece in come in a variety of Brazilian and classic French flavors. When we visited there were: Doce de Leite, Chocolate, Almond, Passion Fruit and Strawberry varieties. While good, the macarons were a little soggy, not surprising given the humidity in Salvador, I guess. However it was great to sample a macaron after a 6-month drought! Other treats available at Avignon included financiers, croissants and a selection of chocolates.  There is also a small menu of drinks including espresso and hot chocolate. Definitely a taste of France in Bahia!

Macarons at Avignon

Macarons at Avignon by Gabiela Baleeiro for iBahia

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Nutelleria – the all Nutella restaurant

nutelleria

germanyItalyIt is not a secret that we love Nutella. However, we are obviously not alone in our fandom of the Italian chocolate and hazelnut spread. The blog Pink Chocolate Break clued us into a new concept for the brand – 100% Nutella themed restaurants, called Nutelleria – now open in Bologna, Italy and Frankfurt, Germany. Perhaps unsurprisingly, typical fare at the Nutelleria includes Nutella-filled baguettes, croissants and crepes. Please Mind the Gap has a detailed report of a visit to the Nutelleria in Bologna. If only we had known to go there on our visit! Hopefully the Nutelleria concept will spread to other cities and maybe even other continents. We certainly think one would be welcome in Chicago.

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A New Place for Falafel: Falafill

Falafill
Various Locations in Chicago, IL

The Eaters – especially L – are pretty particular about falafel. It’s no exaggeration to say we make a point to try falafel in pretty much every city we go to. In all our travels, a few places stand out above the rest. Pita Inn in Skokie has some of our favorite falafel in Chicagoland; while the expanding fast-food joint Maoz remains our all-time favorite, owing to their great falafel and toppings. Maoz’ Philadelphia location remains the standard by which L judges all other falafel, a shining beacon of perfection on the Delaware River, never to be equaled….Until today.

We like the logo!

Falafill, a brand-new falafel lunch spot in the Loop, may have perhaps the best topping bar we have ever encountered, and while its falafels may not be as good as Maoz, the topping bar and the excellence of the falafel otherwise may actually put this place over the top in L’s rankings. Falafill starts out appealingly, with a sleek and appealing dining area decorated with falafel witticisms perfectly suited to the Facebook generation. On the food side, the simple menu is complemented by an impressively wide range of sodas and juices: M got a mango yogurt drink , while our old salty yogurt favorite Ayran was also available. The menu is simple. Pick your falafel (classic, curried, or seasonal – all with fries)  in a pocket or a bowl ($5.95/$7.95). The seasonal falafel when we visited was white bean, and we heard from our dining companions that it was out of this world. L opted for some classic falafel and M for the curried, and a side of some sweet potato fries ($2.95).

The toppings bar at Falafill. Amazing.

Both falafels, curried and classic, were cooked to order, and perfectly spiced.  L’s classic had the hallmark appealing green color that means there ‘s fresh parsely and cilantro inside. Yum! The fries were also tasty and crisp, not soggy like many other sweet potato fries. Yet what REALLY sets Falafill apart is the Mezza bar, where you can select all the toppings you want for your falafel. As expected, the salad bar contained hummus, baba ghanouj, lentils, tatziki, harissa tabbouleh, all middle eastern standards we love. In addition, we were really excited to see some awesome new flavors at the bar, including cracked wheat with pomegranate, beets, toum (garlic sauce), zough (jalapeno sauce) black bean and corn salad, and cabbage and mint. Each order of falafel includes a trip to the salad bar, and there is no limit to how many toppings you can add. For those who are obsessed, you can order simply a bowl ready to fill with mezza toppings ($6.95). All in all, for under 8 dollars you can create an out-of-this-world falafel experience with a wide variety of contrasting flavors that will have you full for days. Falafill is now one of our go-to Loop lunch spots, and like L has sacrilegiously stated: if not her favorite falafel place in the United States, it is definitely giving Maoz a run for its money.

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British Pasties in Bridgeport at Pleasant House Bakery

Cornish Pasty by Uglix

What with the Diamond Jubilee reaching fever pitch, you might find yourself hankering for some British food while stateside. Though Chicago may be flooded with Irish (and even Scottish) pubs, it is also home to some pretty good British food. We were very pleased to learn that the historically Irish neighborhood of Bridgeport on the south side is home to a couple of noteworthy British options. The first is Bridgeport Pasty, a food truck which was recently awarded 3rd place in the World Pasty Championships. The pasty (rhymes with “vast”) is a filled savory pastry that originated in Cornwall, and is now found in countries with large amounts of Cornish immigrants (such as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where there is even a PastyFest). For other British cravings, a bricks and mortar shop also in Bridgeport, Pleasant House Bakery (964 West 31st Street) is known for its savory pies. So there are definitely some places for homesick British and American Anglophiles alike.

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A new place for… Açai bowls in Chicago

One of our favorite things to eat for breakfast is an Açai Bowl, one of the few recipes from Brazil that we have NOT been able to perfect back in the states, sadly. So we were very excited to learn from Chicagoano about the opening of Brazilian Bowl in Lakeview (3204 N Broadway). The store, specializing in Brazilian food (including some of our favorite salgadinhos), opened its doors over the weekend, and our friends who went said they are fans. We are looking forward to going to Brazilian Bowl to test out some Açais very soon!

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A New Place for… Thai Groceries

Having just gotten back from Thailand we were eager to try recreating some of our favorite dishes at home. There used to be a store on Argyle appropriately called “Thai Grocery” but it closed semi-recently. Without any other obviously-named choices, we were pleased when we randomly saw a sign on a store on Dempster proclaiming “We now carry Thai Groceries”.

The aptly named Uni-Mart mainly sells Filipino food (both in a restaurant and grocery store), there was a healthy helping of Thai food mixed in. There was a huge selection of canned Thai sauces and bags of cookies, but what most intrigued us was the beverage selection. Happily, we found both of the items (both beverages) that we were looking for – Milo ($3.25), a powdered chocolate malt drink and loose Thai Tea ($1.85).

The Thai Tea was an especially fortuitous find since we like to brew our own Thai iced teas and all of the blends we had tried in America had not been up to snuff (Thai Tea is very fine, full of red dye and contains other spices like Vanilla and cinnamon). We are happy to report that it was worth many times the $1.85 we had paid for it. We are looking forward to visiting the Uni-Mart again to sample some more Thai groceries and hopefully try out some Filipino food too, a regretfully blank spot on our global food quest.

Uni-Mart
7315 Dempster Street
Niles, IL 60714

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A New Place for… Brazilian Groceries in Chicago

Well it may not be new, per se, it is new for us. Pepe’s Supermercado is a combo liquor and food store, with a Brazilian Grocery selection about equal to Brasil Legal, the Brazilian general store just down the street on Western, but with a much larger alcohol selection.

Pepe’s had a selection of Brazilian cookies, sodas and snacks as well as a refrigerator full of chouriço and caipury cheese. Needless to say, everything is a tad pricy, but is comparatively good. We found a bag of tapioca flour for 2 dollars cheaper than we found at Whole Foods. Forget about the Pao de Quiejo mixes – now we make our own from scratch.

Supermercado Pepe’s
2335 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL

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When does Rick Bayless’ Xoco open?

September 8! (Rick Bayless says so himself).

Read more about Xoco and its menu here.

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A New Place for: Garifuna Food

garifuna_flag I know about Garifuna culture primarily through my interest in Punta music, and the food sounds equally as amazing! Garifuna culture is an Afro-Latin and Amerindian culture primarily centered in Belize and Honduras. However, short of going to Central America, I figured I would never be able to taste Garifuna food for myself. But, as this post might indicate, there’s a new place in Chicago where you do just that, Garifuna Flava (2516 W. 63rd, Chicago, IL). The food is a mixture of unique soups and stews often featuring fish, and an array of Belizean / Caribbean favorites like tostones. The Reader did a piece on Garifuna Flava, and it seemed very positive. [Update: Check out our review here]  As a bonus, the Reader has a list of other Caribbean places in Chicago

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A new place for Rick Bayless: Xoco

Mexico FlagMaster of Mexican food, Rick Bayless is opening a quick-service takeout place, Xoco, on the near north side, adjacent to his other restaurants. According to Bayless’ blog, xoco is slang for “little sister.” The spot is going to feature Mexico-city-style street food. Given that it’s a takeout place – we’re figuring it’ll be more in our price point than stalwarts Topolobampo and Frontera Grill. Tasting Table has an awesome preview of Xoco, with a preview of the menu – including churros made with Oaxacan chocolate and barbacoa tortas. Natural Home Magazine has an interview that highlights the sustainability of the new resto. Opening is slated for the last week in August, according to Bayless’  Twitter.

[Update August 25] We have a confirmed opening date – September 8th.
[Update August 28] We even have a menu, from Thrillist.

Xoco
449 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL

Also, here’s an Oldie but a goodie – Rick Bayless eats his way across Pilsen – from Time Out Chicago.

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Friday Foodie Links: Hello, Goodbye

Goodbye: One of our favorite Madison Restaurant, Restaurant Magnus is changing its menu from Brazilian/Pan-Latin to Norwegian! It seems the Brazilian chef has left, and that since the owners and sous-chef are all Norwegian they thought they would make a go of a new Scandinavian menu. While we’re sure Norwegian food will appease some, we are not pleased. The new menu starts on June 1, so try to get some chimichurri while you still can.

Hello:
However, we are heartened to hear that Chicago’s reigning king of the Mole, Geno Bahena is going to be opening a new restaurant on Monday called Los Moles, specializing in nothing but mole! The restaurant is located at 3140 N. Lincoln Ave.

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