Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicago, the Sugar Shack; part two.

Please head over to my new blog at TheUrbanHousewife.com, where you'll find this post & more!

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!

38 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Too bad we weren't in Chicago at the same time!!

tofufreak said...

wow too bad most the desserts were refrigerated :(

still looks like a fun time :D

aTxVegn said...

Chicago seems like a great place to be veg. You've had a wonderful eating tour!

Danny G said...

Who the fuck can spend that much fucking money on shit that tastes like wet cardboard? Wicker Park sux n00b!

River said...

Earwax Cafe! That's hilarious!!
Chicago should hire you as their vegan food advertiser! Your reviews and awesome pictures make me want to travel there and eat all those goodies!!

herbstsonne said...

Haha, Hooker St, that's awesome!

havecakewilltravel.com said...

I've always wanted to go to Chicago! especially because it's nicknamed Windy City, I feel like I'd fit right in. if you know what ah mean.

Natalie said...

In defense of Earwax, it used to be a record store. It was so fun to have you here, thanks for visiting!

Urban Vegan said...

Chicago is such a great vegan city.

What a cute, saucy photo of you!

Kati said...

I can't believe I never tried the vegan milkshakes at Earwax! I seriously feel like I missed out. At Karyn's, I highly recommend the chocolate cream pie, the coconut cream pie, or the coconut cake. Those are all definite winners in my book.

...barbara... said...

so i am back from making the snickerdoodles and...no for real i would be if i had an oven....only another month and a half......
chicago looks rockin though....
and chai cupcakes.....my brain cannot even register that right now or it may cry and flee from the abuse of knowing it is not being fed that.....

JohnP said...

I am overdue for a visit to my friends in Chicago, and am taking careful notes from your adventures!

Bianca said...

Cool! The Blind Faith Cafe was the vegan place I ate at when I visited Chicago last year (or was it the year before?). I remember an excellent slice of chocolate cake from there and the seitan jambalya was amazing!

Amey said...

dang... your vegan travel-ganzas always look like so much fun! Veg tourism is great. You should be writing the veg travel guides for VegNews!

DJ said...

Wow, sounds like you had an awesome time - shame about the dud cakes - I'm always gutted when I buy uninspiring vegan cakes. I'm like 'C'mon, this is what the world thinks we eat!! Pick up the pace a bit!'

pixiepine said...

I loved Earwax Cafe when I was in Chicago. Fun fun!!

JennShaggy said...

Thank you! What can I say...I had The Itis for some nacho cheese breath. Mission accomplished. Good thing I'm single.
My parents live in SF. Sugar Beat is definitely on the agenda for my next visit, along with long afternoons drinking at Herbivore and ridiculous smashing-out at Cha-Ya. I'll bring you by some Vegan Twinkies.

Joanna said...

i'm eating some yogurt for breakfast right now but would much rather be eating that chocolate cake!

Happy Herbivore! said...

caaaaake.

shellyfish said...

Holy crap - I just gained 5lbs reading about all that fantastic Chi-town food! "With two bitches in the house..." I was cracking up on that one. And I DO think the cheeze fries look beautiful!

Rural Vegan said...

You'll be very pleased to know that the recipe for the Diner's Reuben was in last month's VegNews. Good thing because no one would ever guess the right ingredients. If I remember correctly it includes pickle juice and beets!

quarrygirl said...

all that food looks really good, but you got my mouth watering most over the shake! i haven't been to chicago in ages, and i never did nearly a good enough job at vegannin' it up. i will have to return and check out some of these places!

Jes said...

Chicago is definitely one of my favorite places to eat! Looks like you scored nicely!

mad about udon said...

WOW! Food overload! I'll definitely look up this post when I (eventually, hopefully soon!) visit the Windy City.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Boy are you lucky! The food the desserts, are you sure you are in Chicago and not Heaven? :o)

Marzipan said...

Agh! I love your blog! Punk rock AND cupcakes!
I'm living 1 year as a 50's housewife and documenting it on my blog, My 50's Year.
You might like it!

terryhopeless said...

Wow you're making me miss Chicago something bad! I've only been a few times and made it only to Earwax, and the train close to Chicago Dinner wasn't operating that weekend. Sigh.

I feel the pain of when bad baking happens to good people! Good thing sounds like Chicago is overloaded with such good things to eat to fill the void.

Animal-Friendly said...

You've dined at more vegan restaurants in Chicago than I have, and I've lived here all my life!

The Lemon Seitan actually is a dish that Blind Faith Cafe has changed and added back to their new menu, so I'm glad to hear it's good and I'll be sure to try it next time I get down to Evanston.

Bethany said...

This travel log looks to tasty! I really want to go to chicago now. Your trip sounds extra special because you got to hang out with really cool people while you were chowing down on all that amazing food.

I think those fries were photogenic ;-). They looked really good to me.

kindkitchen said...

Looks like you had a delicious time in Chicago! So cool that you met up with Kelly, too.

Love the pic of you on hooker street haha

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

No fair... why don't they have any of these amazing restaurants in Texas?!

veganbilly said...

trust me, she's only cute in pictures. in real life she's like a bathrobe from hell.

Malissa said...

aww, dang...i keep meaning to write you since my schedule wasn't so flexible when you were in town. as far as our food safety laws go here, i'm so used to refrigerated baked goods in chicago, i don't even think it's strange! also, in defense of earwax...they've got a couple really good chefs on staff now and the place will be seriously rockin by the time you plan your next trip out here!

Vegan_Noodle said...

I love that photo of you and the Hooker sign post :-)

Chicago sounds like a sweet trip!

rachel said...

How do you eat so many yummy things and stay so svelte? I am turning into a very curvy vegan! :(

I love your blog! Keep up the great work!

Vivacious Vegan said...

Your posts about Chicago make me want to go back. I love that vibrant city and if it didn't suffer from such grueling winters I'd probably live there.

I never thought about asking to have the desert taken out of the refrigerator case early to come to room temp. That's a great idea because, like you, I'm not fond of cake/cupcake at refrigerator temps.

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