The weather outside is finally starting to warm up in the Midwest and luckily for me, my travels brought me to Chicago recently. Whenever I get to travel, even to a city I have been to 20+ times, I take advantage of exploring new parts of the city and diving into the local food scene. I am a very active Yelp! user when it comes to finding the best food spots. I am a very visual person. Makeup and styling has the effect of making you visually aware of the choices you make when it comes to choosing attractions and restaurant options. I am big on viewing images of food on Yelp! before hitting the pavement to find food.
The first spot I want to highlight is a breakfast spot called Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. There are multiple locations in the greater Chicago area. The food was pretty good with very standard breakfast items. My recommendation: share everything! My boyfriend and I ordered hungry, basically the same idea as shopping hungry. DON'T DO THIS. We each ordered a breakfast plate, which came with a side of toast or pancakes, and obviously we went for the pancakes. We got through maybe half of the plate of eggs and hash browns. I touched one of three pieces of chicken sausage, and a quarter of my pancakes. This place is NO JOKE when it comes to food portions. We left full, so mission accomplished.
A few days later I had remembered seeing Kelly Rizzo from Eat, Travel, Rock mention Antique Taco's on her Instagram. I then realized there was a market a short walk from me that had an Antique Taco’s inside of it. Once I arrived at the Revival Food Hall I knew I made it to a spot I would be raving about when it came time to write this post. Revival Food Hall is an all-local dining concept spotlighting the best of Chicago’s acclaimed culinary scene all under one roof. The massive, 24,000 square foot marketplace is located in the heart of Chicago’s central business district, on the ground floor of The National – a restoration of a historic 1907 Daniel Burnham-designed 20-story building. This cornerstone of The Loop neighborhood opened in 2016, and boasts 15 fast-casual stalls featuring many of Chicago’s favorite neighborhood restaurants in a grab-and-go setting, plus a handful of all-new concepts debuting from several acclaimed Chicago chefs. Knowing that I would be in taco heaven during a trip to California the next week, I took advantage of the unique options in front of me. I ended up ordering from Danke which impressed me with by offering duck liver mousse spread on a sandwich. Danke bakes their baguette in-house daily and you can purchase a fresh loaf to-go for $3. I ordered the Special Sandwich which had Duck Liver Mousse, Schweinebauch, Gruyere, Smoked Pickled Onion, all on a Whole Grain Mustardon House Baguette. I am a sucker for Duck Liver Mousse on toast, so I ordered it. The flavors were so unique and paired well! I ate every last bite of this sandwich and it filled me up so, again, mission accomplished! Danke also serves beer & wine and I happened to be ordering during happy hour. I indulged in a glass of Rose at $1 off the normal price. I am looking forward to trying different food items at the Revival Food Hall next time I am visiting the Windy City.
I made my way to first DRAFT, a very quaint local sports bar twice during my trip. first DRAFT is a craft beer-focused hot spot with 64 draft lines, over 100 options and 20 plus styles. I didn't take many photos here, because I was watching a hockey game during both visits. I am no good at focusing on anything but hockey when it's in front of my face! Order the brussel sprouts, they are amazing! I had the Clubhouse Turkey sandwich and a burger. Both solid options. Happy with the service, Diana was a real gem.
The last spot I want to highlight is Umai. At Umai, the experience is meant to be a series of sensations to be shared and lingered over, whether it’s a cozy meal for a few or a lively evening out. The interior of Umai has a modern-lofty feel with an artistic decor of Japanese mural on the wall. This place does ramen very well. They have a little bit of everything so I ordered sushi and ramen to split with my cousin. They separated our ramen before bringing it to our table, which was a very nice touch. Pro tip: add the black garlic oil for $1 more. YUM!
If you try any of these spots in Chicago let me know your thoughts! Happy eating!