Chi Foods: North Side Favorites

In my blogging absence, I have definitely been trying as many amazing Chicago restaurants as possible. In tribute to my last weeks as a Chicago North-sider, here are some of my favorite North Side restaurants from the past few months:

Lowcountry (Lakeview, Chicago, IL):
Seafood lovers in Chi rejoice – delicious, shareable seafood has come to Lakeview! Pictured below is the shrimp with garlic, crab legs with all the spices, house jalapeno cornbread, and cocktails to match (Old Fashioned for me, Manhattan for my guy). Great place to go with a group, and a super fund atmosphere.

Roots (various, newly opened in Lincoln Square, Chicago, IL):
Roots has been a staple of West Town in Chicago for a while, but when they opened their Lincoln Square location closer to my current neighborhood I had to check it out. Roots boasts an extensive draft menu with a ton of local Chicago options. We tried the cheese-y – garlic bread (yum) and got 2 different types of pizza (pictured below) curated by some well known Chicago chefs. If you’re looking for a great, unique pizza option Roots is definitely one to try.

Cafe Selmarie (Lincoln Square, Chicago, IL):
An adorable spot right on Lincoln Ave in Lincoln Square, Cafe Selmarie delivers a delicious meal in a cute, bright setting. Their menu is relatively small, but they have a great variety of items. Modeled off of a quaint European cafe, you’ll see people chatting over a meal, working away, or stopping in for some amazing looking pastries in their front bakery. Their cinnamon sugar pancake topped with bacon (yes, bacon) was a fun sweet and salty mix that I definitely enjoyed.

Hopleaf (Andersonville, Chicago, IL):

Hopleaf is an Andersonville great, so if you haven’t been please set aside a night and go ASAP. Their menu is decadent, they have an amazing list of all things alcohol, and a great, cozy atmosphere to boot. Pictured are the steak frites, a Leffe Belgian beer (on draft) and duck fat donuts with salted caramel ice cream. LOVE.


The Sixth (Lincoln Square, Chicago, IL):
We couldn’t resist trying The Sixth, owned by the same parent company as Roots, when they both opened in Lincoln Square this year. It turned out to be a cute cocktail lounge with a romantic atmosphere and a lot of fun drink options. They have a small snack menu, but no other food options, with their main focus on their intricate (and sometimes beautiful) cocktails. We’re always a sucker for some fries with fun dipping options, so we had to try those on their snack menu. Definitely a fun stop before or after dinner if you’re in Lincoln Square.

Flo (multiple, newly opened in Lakeview, Chicago, IL):
Flo opened it’s second location in Lakeview on Ashland Ave. this year and does not disappoint. This Mexican & southwest inspired food makes for amazing options Brunch through dinner. We ordered Huevos Verdes (Cheddar cheese layered enchiladas, housemade chorizo, finished with green chili and fried eggs, with Flo potatoes) and the Smothered Ranchero Burrito (Spinach tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, housemade chorizo, black beans, jack cheese and pico de gallo finished with red chili and fresh guacamole and served with Flo potatoes). Not as well known of an option, but a great alternative to standard Chicago brunch fare.





xo, second.city.girl 
Nicole




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Currently: Summer 2016, or that time I fell off the face of the Earth

So for many months now I have intended to get back to this blog, which I was so excited to start. But then…life happened. Between some personal life changes, working like crazy, and trying to plow through my MLIS like a mad woman I feel like I’ve been moving in a thousand directions.

There’s been SO many wonderful/crazy/stressful(etc…) things happening over the past few months, I can’t help but do a recap post to get everything up to speed.

I’ve also been going through a huge change in my personal life, and transitioning to a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend as of June. My awesome guy got a fellowship for the next year at the University of Georgia, so for the next 11 months (who’s counting?) we’ll be keepin’ on, long distance style. It’s been a really huge adjustment, and I miss him like crazy, but we’ve already been having a blast traveling to see one another and have some great trips planned already (3 weeks to Cancun!).



Additionally, I’m prepping for a move at the end of the month with one of my best friends of a decade now into our own 2 bedroom apartment in Wicker Park. I’ve been a north-sider for the majority of my time in Chicago and I’m so excited for our new adventure in a new part of town (more on that to come).



I hope everyone’s summer has been filled with the best things that summer can bring!

xo, second.city.girl 
Nicole

Coalfire : Lakeview, great food in Chi

Pizza is one of those foods that is just too delicious. So when they opened a Coalfire Pizza on Southport, I knew I had to go.
Coalfire’s original Chicago location is down in West Town, on Grand Ave. I ironically lived a mere half mile away from that location this summer a few months but never made it over to try the acclaimed Chicago pizza. Since the Lakeview opening this past fall, I have been at least a handful of times for eating in or takeout. Both options have been great experiences.
When we dined in we tried some of the craft beer samplings, which provided a nice variety without being too overwhelming if you’re not a huge beer nut. We ordered the Bruschetta as an appetizer, which turned out to be warm and fresh all at once. The balsamic drizzle on top really solidified the dish.

Pizza wise we opted for the Pepperoni and Whipped Ricotta Pizza. AKA some of the best pizza I’ve had in my life. The whipped ricotta is amazing – it adds a texture and flavor that is unexpected but really compliments the other elements. I would seriously recommend it to anyone who stops in.
Coalfire is definitely one of my Southport go-tos – make sure to check them out next time you’re in the area.

Outside the City: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Among the many things that changed for me this summer, I began my graduate program! After many months of debating about what steps I wanted to take in my career, crushing realizations that I was not ready to pursue a PhD yet, and loving the break from constant papers and readings that came with working full time, I decided to join the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign’s Graduate School in Library and Information Science (GSLIS) for my Masters in Library of Information Science (MLIS). The best part: U of I has a program called LEEP, which allows students to take the full course offerings on campus from a distance, so I can work on the program while living in Chicago!
We did have to go to campus for a 1 week intensive class and orientation, so mid-summer I packed up my car and drove down to stay at U of I for a week of adventures. I had only been to campus once before, as a freshman in high school, so I remembered almost nothing about the campus. I hadn’t considered any Big 10s for my undergrad, so I was a little apprehensive about if I would like the campus, students in my program, etc. 
Luckily, I had nothing to worry about. The campus was great for the week stay, the people I met in my program were awesome, and GSLIS was a really cool little graduate school on a big campus. Espresso Royale, which I hear is a campus/community favorite, was literally right on the corner between my building and the grad school and was perfect for my daily caffeine fix!  While I ended up having to leave the class early due to a medical emergency, I had a great time and it definitely set me on the right track for my classes this fall. 

One benefit I did discover about a big school: so much U of I pride everywhere! I bought my very first U of I pullover while I was on campus, and I’m looking forward to actually having a team to root for on TV during the college basketball/football seasons 🙂
Go Illini!

Ipsento

The second stop on my Chicago coffee project was Bucktown’s Ipsento Coffee on Milwaukee Ave. 

Ipensento is a cozy, warm little shop with a very friendly staff. Working in two jobs that involve public facing roles, I am always so appreciative when I go somewhere and the staff is friendly and helpful. The person who made my coffee remembered my name for the entire time I was there, helped answer a bunch of questions about seating, wifi, the shop, and also made me a delicious Nutella Latte.

The area around Ipsento is slightly less vibrant than that of Wormhole Coffee where my last venture took place, but it was a short walk from the Western Blue Line. I’m not that familiar with the area, so I would definitely want to do some exploring next time I’m around. 
I sat and worked for about an hour and a half in the cozy upstairs portion. I sat in an armchair which was perfect for the coding work I was doing on my computer so I could be comfy. There were varieties of tables available as well if you needed a little more space to spread out, and they had a lot of cute, vintage looking decor that made it feel like I was sitting in someone’s living room.

Looking forward to my next coffee adventure! Confession: I have already made it back to Wormhole Coffee once since my first visit, so I have a feeling it’s going to be tough to keep trying new places with all these great visits I have had so far. Stay tuned for more.

Do you have a favorite coffee shop in Chicago?

Long Overdue Return

After a two month hiatus that included a move, new job, new relationship, and about a thousand other wonderful and challenging things, I am excited to return to the blog! Many details about my past few months to come shortly. 
In the meantime, here’s a few of my favorite things right now:
1. Donuts
This might be on my list every month guys, but donuts, or doughtnuts, are literally the most delicious thing to me. As my roommate say, “Can’t stop, won’t stop” on those donut stops. My favorite of late is the Beavers Food Truck, which stops in my neighborhood every Saturday. Brunch on Southport followed by a sweet donut treat? Sounds absolutely perfect to me 🙂
 
2. New iPhone 6s 
I’ll be picking mine up on the first day, September 25, which also happens to be my birthday! Due to on unfortunate phone situation I’ve been using my iPhone 4s from 4 years ago and the poor baby is hanging by a thread. I’m so excited for the upgrade.
3. Pre-Fall
Who doesn’t love the transition from summer to fall? I love the slightly cooler temps paired with the ability to still grab a meal outdoors. I started pulling out all of my jackets, sweaters, and boots in preparation, leaving my room to be a bit of a disaster. I just bought these wine colored Toms for fall and I’m super excited to add them to my wardrobe.

4. Ellen Degeneres vs. Jimmy Fallon
I cannot get enough of this lip sync battle from last week. These two are both comedic geniuses, and just genuinely awesome seeming people. If you missed this, definitely watch.
Happy Fall, from the beautiful city!