Chicago Restaurant Week is back and in full swing! This year, it has been extended for two weeks, not just one. And there happens to be a few vegan/plant-based restaurants to highlight. I’m definitely excited about my options and was quick to reserve a table, as the restaurants book up extremely fast around this time.
Chicago Diner – it is just that, diner vibe with really great, home-style vegan food. I like taking friends and family here because they do have vegetarian options as well. They serve eggs, cheese and the like. My favorite is the Country Fried Steak. Check out their Restaurant Week menu here.
Green Zebra – it is vegetarian/vegan fine dining at its best. I’ve been a few times and the Chef’s Tasting Menu is an amazing 5-courses of plant-based greatness. It changes frequently which makes it a fun choice. Always something new and unique to try. Check out their Restaurant Week menu here. The risotto and the white chocolate mousse sound amazing.
While out in California for work, I came across the most amazing spice shop in Santa Monica. Penzeys Spice shop is gigantic, with every quality spice and blend of spices imaginable. Their spices just add another element of flavor to any dish that I make, whether it’d be a dessert, salad or savory meal. I cannot live without them in my kitchen. And as a vegan, I find spices to be of upmost importance, a way to add outstanding flavor to any dish. My absolute favorites are:
- Green Goddess: blend of green onion, sugar, basil, celery flakes, minced garlic and dill weed (I mix it into a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar to make a fantastic dressing for my kale salad);
- Balti Seasoning: blend of green onion, sugar, basil, celery flakes, minced garlic and dill weed (I add some to my lentils or rice for a tasty curry touch);
- Sunny Paris Seasoning: blend of shallots, chives, green peppercorn, dill weed, basil, tarragon, chervil and bay leaf (I use on EVERYTHING! I sprinkle in salads, sautéed veggies, rice, stews, the list goes on and on…)
[* all seasonings mentioned above are salt-free!]
Their seasonings come in glass containers and are hand-blended and fresh. Best part, after searching the web (so to buy more spices online), I found that there are two actual shops in the Chicagoland area as well (Naperville and Oak Park – see the location information below)! Check out their website: www.penzeys.com
River Square Shopping Center
22 E Chicago Ave.
Mon.-Sat.: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM
Oak Park, IL
1138 West Lake St
Mon.-Fri.: 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Sat.: 9:30AM – 5:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM
I recently visited Kitchen 17 with a friend last week. It’s located on the north side of Chicago, right off of Broadway on West Briar Place. Walked in and was immediately greeted warmly by the owner, Don, who so kindly suggested some of their most popular dishes. And I definitely needed help deciding, as there were so many delicious options to choose from. It’s also very rare to walk into a Chicago restaurant that is exclusively vegan and one where all the items on the menu sound just as tasty as the next. I ultimately ended up choosing the Rosemary Veggie burger and a slice of lemon cake for dessert. The burger was fantastic. Very hearty, grainy and the seasonings were spot on (the rosemary was an amazing touch). The burger was topped with a hummus spread, this wonderful sesame tahini sauce and the traditional: lettuce and tomato, all in between soft, crisp ciabatta bread. Cannot forget the dessert! The lemon cake was light, fluffy and just the right amount of citrus flavor. I could have easily had another piece or two…or three, it was just that good.
*Forgot to take pictures of the food! I was so mesmerized by the meal. Next time, I will definitely take pictures and post…and believe me, there will be a next time. 😉