Thursday, March 21, 2013

Having A Foodie Blow Out in Chicago

I seriously love visiting my family in Chicago.  Love being surrounded by all the noise, the kids..a happy, buzzing household.  I love it....for awhile.  Going home to my quiet little space, I relax until the next family vacation beckons.  I'm usually alone on my family visits to the Windy City, but this last time my sister Karen came along for the ride.  The more the merrier.

I spend hours before my trips trolling around the internet finding the very best out-of-the-way places to eat.  Chicago has some of the worlds finest dining...but you don't have to spend a lot of money to eat well. I can't think of an ethnic group who's foods aren't represented somewhere in Chicago and its suburbs.  It's fun to walk around the city and pop into whatever restaurant strikes your fancy.  We've found many a place like Asian restaurant became a place of respite from a sudden summer thunderstorm's downpour.  The kids became sushi  aficionados by the end of the expensive habit so say mom and dad...Spider rolls and Superman rolls not withstanding!

But I digress.  Our first foray was heading to Wicker Park/Bucktown , a charming little area filled with lots and lots of shops.  Strolling up N. Milwaukee on our way to the Bongo Room for brunch we stopped at 
Artemio's Bakery
1442 N. Milwaukee Ave  

What to choose?

What a treasure.  If you've never been to a Latin bakery you are in for a treat.  The shop is lined with rows of glass cases holding such bakery goods as you've never seen. Sadly, there are no labels which is actually rather fun...the staff doesn't speak English; at least the ones who were there when we stopped by.  You pick up a cafeteria tray and a pair of tongs and away you go, picking and choosing whatever pastries look good.  Mexican pastries are not as sweet as what you are probably used to..which might be a good thing. Don't miss the tres leche cake.

Tucking our bags away we continued our stroll towards the Bongo Room and walked past 
Harold's Chicken a Chicago franchise specializing in Fried Chicken.  I can't say that I've ever wanted to walk away from a perfectly fried chicken wing, but brunch was calling.

We passed Pinch Spice Market  and they were closed.  Pinch strives for organic herbs and spices and I vowed to check it out after brunch.  Sadly, I was too full to look at anything related to food  so I'm saving it for another trip.

We finally arrived at our destination.  The Bongo Room may not look like much from the outside, but open that door and you are in pancake, omelet, sandwich and salad Heaven!


A regular order of pancakes is a 3 stack!  Make sure you specify you only want one.  The four of us shared three pancakes, an order of cheesey house potatoes, a BLT and a smoked chicken and pear salad.

Yes, we rolled ourselves out the door!

The Gibassier Apple French Toast with Warm Vanilla Bean Sauce
Caramel Apples and Gingersnap Walnut Crumble.

Cranberry & Yellow Corn Hotcake

Speaking of next door, to the right of the Bongo Room there is a great resale shop whose name eludes me at the moment.  It's stuffed with all things mid century and then some.  In fact, the whole area is a wealth of resale shops and trendy cool boutiques.  
                    Kokorokoko is another resale store that is closer to Harold's Chicken. Check out their blog:

You could honestly spend all day walking this section of Bucktown/Wicker Park. But we were just getting started on our food journey and had more to discover.


  1. Really enjoyed this Susan -- makes me want to go back!

    1. It would really be wonderful to get together again. It's been 5 years already!