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You would think by reading part one of my Chicago adventure, I might have exhausted all the vegan options in the Windy City, but I'm happy to say there were many more eating adventures, including dessert, of course!
Despite being full of cupcakes from both The Bleeding Heart Bakery & Sweet Cakes Bakery, Natalie & I were not done with our sweets tour! We had a rest after our rainy day at Renegade & then we were off to Blind Faith Cafe & Bakery in Evanston, home of "innovative vegetarian cuisine" & a large selection of vegan treats. I started with a wonderful Lemon Seitan dish, my first non-baked good of the day, & it really hit the spot. For dessert, I ordered an assortment of desserts for the table to split. Once again, they were refrigerated, so my order was placed in advance. We noshed on a tasty maple spice cake with cream cheese frosting, a firm, but tasty cappuccino brownie filled with walnuts, peanut butter chocolate cake with lovely frosting, & both a chocolate & a vanilla cupcake. The cakes were all on the dry side & the frostings on the cupcakes were far too sweet for me, but Blind Faith had a nice dessert assortment, many of the items were very tasty, & I would go there again.
The next day, Natalie & I set out to bake together. With two bitches who love to bake in one house, how could anything go wrong? Well, let me tell you, it can & it did. Not once, but TWICE. The great vegan cinnamon roll experiment = FAIL. The yeast never activated, yet we kept going & ended up with half baked lumps of dough, that I still tried to eat. Natalie documented our failure best & even includes the recipe. (Side note: It's a great recipe I have used with success!)
Post baking failure, I headed out in to the rain to meet up with Kelly of Vegan Cookies fame. Let me start by saying, she's young, motivated, & writing an awesome cookie book; make her Snickerdoodles now! We met up at Pick Me Up Cafe where I had a cup of chili to balance out the sugar intake & Kelly had vegan cheese fries. Photogenic? No. Tasty? Yes. After a bit of wandering around & a photoshoot by Kelly (she took the photo at top), we walked multiple miles in the rain back towards Renegade Craft Fair, where we shopped around a bit before she had to catch a train home.
For dinner, I headed over to Earwax Cafe, the spot with a not-so-appetizing name, but a nice vegan selection. I got a Jamaican Jerk Seitan salad & sadly, it was so spicy, it was hard to enjoy. Luckily, the most amazing milkshake ever was there to keep me happy! Freshly squeezed orange juice + Temptation ice cream = OMG, so good! Seriously, skip the other flavors (I almost went peanut butter, but it was hydrogenated) & get this! I still dream about it!
Monday was my final day in the windy city & I decided to check out Karyn's Cooked for my final meal. Let's just say, I should have listened to what others had to say. I ordered Thai skewers in peanut sauce & a trio of sides which included Southern greens, cole slaw, & potato wedges. Unfortunately, the portions were small & most everything was bland & uninspiring, although with a hefty dose of salt, the greens were quite nice. For dessert, I ordered a slice of tiramisu cake, which was, of course, refrigerated. Coming in at $7, this was a pretty generous slice & probably best shared between two people. The cake was hearty & wheaty, almost like a coffee flavored bread with a creamy coffee frosting that was not very sweet. I found myself taking bite after bite, trying to figure out this cake, but I can safely say I wouldn't order it again.
So, where was the best dessert in Chicago? I think I may have found it in the kitchen of Natalie Slater of Bake & Destroy; enter the Chai-cago cupcake! This lovely spiced confection with sweet & festive Bears themed frosting made my tastebuds dance. I've heard it's a bit heard to get a reservation at the Slater household, but luckily you can check out BeBoBa for Bake & Destroy sweets. Overall, I thought Chicago was a great city with fabulous people! I'd love to go back sometime when the weather isn't such a downer & explore some more!