Welcome to Part Two of my Chicago eats recap! Part One featured vegan diner food and fantastic pho, and Part Two only gets better.
After slurping pho for lunch, S and I switched to forks for our dinner experience. The next restaurant on the docket was Karyn’s on Green, where we transitioned from a fast-casual lunch to a fancy-schmancy sit-down dinner. I dined at Karyn’s Cooked last year, so I knew I could expect delicious, delicious eats from a Karynian establishment, and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t have a photo, so you’ll just have to trust me. S ordered a pizza with arugula, caramelized onions, potatoes, and a cheezy topping, and he graciously let me share, so I can vouch for its deliciousness. I chose the Sweet Pea Risotto, which features white truffle oil, sweet peas, and pea pods. I’m not sure I can adequately describe how fantastic this was. Perfectly creamy, the entire risotto was infused with a delicate sweet pea flavor, turning it a gorgeous shade of light green. The crispy pea pods were a perfect textural counterpoint to the otherwise creamy dish – it was very well-balanced. It was also quite filling; S had to help me finish it. I’d absolutely love to recreate it, but I’m not sure I could do it justice!
Beyond its amazing food, Karyn’s had fantastic customer service. Through some oversight or miscommunication, S and I weren’t given menus for about ten minutes after being seated (we did have bread with an herbed butter to munch on, however), and our server was extremely apologetic and offered us a round of free drinks on the house. We both chose the specials of the night; S’s featured muddled watermelon and other things I can’t remember, and mine was a minty, chocolaty affair that was a rich, creamy delight. We rounded off our meal with a to-go dessert, a chocolate-peanut butter pie that I might have eaten for breakfast the next morning. Maybe. I can’t say for sure. Overall, our experience at Karyn’s was fantastic, and I still dream about my risotto.
Our final eating destination was a new-to-Chicago establishment, Native Foods. The Wicker Park location opened in early August, and it seems like it’s already gained a fan following. We just beat the lunch rush on Sunday and sat outdoors munching on a meatball sub (S) and a chicken-ranch burger (me). This is the type of thing I’d never make on my own, so I loved the opportunity to try it!
Native Foods does faux-meat really, really well, so it makes total sense that their new location was hoppin’ on a Sunday afternoon! My chicken-ranch burger was the special of the day, so I got a free side. Obviously I chose the sweet potato fries, and they were crispy, sweet, and salty perfection. I also got a lavender lemonade, which hit all the right notes – tart and tangy with the slightest floral flavor.
And that’s all she ate! Despite trying four fantastic vegan-friendly restaurants, our Google doc has many more options yet to be tasted. I resolve to one day try the famous Chicago Diner, Handlebar Bar & Grill, the Loving Hut, the Green Zebra, and one (or two… or three) of the vegan-friendly bakeries in Chitown.