I was late to the ramen game. I never did the microwave noodle thing in college. But now that ramen is like the coolest, steamiest Chicago winter pick-me-up, I am glad my last roommate helped me see the light. My old apartment’s proximity to Ramen San made this food a staple in my diet. Bad day? Night before an exam? Sick? This food can do it all. It is the hipster foodie’s chicken noodle soup. Even though living close to Ramen San made it my default, I have tried lots of ramen in Chicago and this one is one of my favorites.
The Place: Furious Spoon The Neighborhood: Wicker Park, but they also have a Logan Square Location and Pilson is coming soon
I went for the first time on a cold rainy night a couple weeks ago. The kind of night that is just barely too warm for snow and you really should get delivery and stay home. But the journey (AKA 20 minutes on the the 56) to Furious Spoon was totally worth it. It is a casual spot where you order at the front and get a number so they can bring it to your table. The whole restaurant is 3 communal tables, which adds to the casual, friendly feel, but might make it challenging to eat with more than 3 other people. I went on a weekday around 8:30pm and it was not too busy, but I walked past it last Friday night around 7:30pm and it was packed!
They have quite a few ramen options, some more traditional than others. I was feeling a little sick and wanted something spicy to soothe my stuffy nose (ew gross I know) so I went with the Furious Ramen. This is a hearty one with homemade noodles, tonkotsu broth and flavored with a miso tare. I had the standard toppings which are: chashu (pork belly), white pepper chicken, marinated mushrooms, scallions, fury sauce, garlic relish, sesame seeds and a poached egg. That’s basically enough protein for a body builder. The fury sauce made it spicy enough to soothe, but not so spicy I couldn’t taste anything else. Which was good, because you want to be able to taste how well all the flavors work…and they work. Also shout out to one of the best poached eggs in all of my ramen experiences. The yolk had the perfect cheese sauce consistency.
The person I went with had the Chicken Citrus Shio Ramen which was on the lighter side. I have never had citrus ramen before. It was a little more reminiscent of chicken noodle soup if you need starter ramen for your ramen newbie friends. Most of the other ramens on the menu start pretty basic, which is nice because you can add what you want to them. They have a whole host of options from corn to cabbage to pork belly.
The Wicker Park location has a good selection of hipster canned beers and sake to help wash down your ramen.
There are no words for this place besides AMAZING. And I am not just talking about the food. This is one of the most responsible and sustainable restaurants in Chicago. Not only do they try to source their food locally and sustainably, the space is gold level LEED certified. That means it maximizes efficiency while minimizing costs and environmental impact. Obviously none of that matters if the food sucks. But the food is also out-of-this-world!
The place: Province; 161 N Jefferson St. Chicago, IL
The interior is painted pink with white ‘trees’ hanging upside down from the ceiling. It is like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but a little less trippy and a little more comfortable-classy. It feels like everyone is there to take care of you, but not in an overbearing way. A meal at Province is a relaxing experience with high quality and delicious food.
The whole menu sounded good! They do a fixed tasting menu, which I would highly recommend. You get a try a lot of different menu items and it changes often so the tasting menu never stops being an option. I wanted too many things that were not on the tasting menu, so we didn’t do it. The menu is set up with small plates that you can do tapas style and larger plates you can have as a meal. Get the tuna tacos. They are unbelievable with the chipotle salsa. It is smokey and spicy and takes the whole thing to foodie bliss. The muscles were amazing and served sans shell with chorizo.
The larger plates include Duck Paella. This is a must-try after the tuna tacos! The duck is melt in your mouth perfection. The scallops in the Scallops and Short Ribs were incredible. We shared a side of the lobster mashed potatoes. They were the best mashed potatoes (lobster or regular) I have ever had. Completely unbelievable!
The dessert was beautiful. I could have eaten it with my eyes, but my taste buds appreciated it too! The dessert menu changes, but I would recommend the shortcake and whatever version of chocolate is on there!
They have a great drink menu, but the homemade citruscello must cap off your meal.
Some things to consider: Province is great for a variety of meal price-points. You could have a huge celebratory meal here with a big group. Or, you could also come in for a more casual lunch and still have a great experience and amazing food. The service was awesome. The food is awesome. This place is just great!
Brunch is the place to start when your friends come to Chicago to visit. That way, you can decide that you actually miss them so much that you want to spend the whole day with them eating and re-exploring (read: showing off) Chicago. While everyone wants to run to the Mag Mile, a great place to start is Lincoln Park. After brunch you can walk around, do a little boutique-y shopping and grab a cupcake at Molly’s. This newish, Nutella-heavy brunch spot is the perfect place to start.
The place: Jam ‘N Honey; 958 W. Webster Chicago, IL
Nestled in the DePaul area, it had some buzz even on Monday morning. It looks like it’s a DePaul student favorite and is also popular with the young families that live in the area. And why shouldn’t it be? Each table is equipped with salt, pepper and Nutella!
The Nutella on the table is almost (not really) overkill, because the menu is pretty Nutella heavy. For example, the Nutella Banana French Toast is a must try at Jam ‘N Honey. Get one for the table to share if there are other things you want to try. The Italian Benedict was a big hit on our table. Poached eggs top bacon and cheddar risotto cakes. With spinach and tomato jam in the mix, it is healthy too. They have 5 different benedicts, which is extensive for any breakfast menu and I will be back to try them all! The oatmeal pancakes -served with lemon-blueberry compote and vanilla honey butter- is on my list of things to try when I go back.
They also serve lunch and dinner, but with a name like Jam ‘N Honey, it is definitely a breakfast/brunch place.
Some things to consider: Despite being in the DePaul neighborhood, this is a very kid friendly place. It has a neighborhood feel and is close to some LP boutique shopping. It is a great place to show off a different, but still glamorous, part of the city. There is off-street parking, but if I lived within a mile or two, I would definitely walk and enjoy the neighborhood -especially if the weather ever decides to dry up and warm up.