Monday, April 16, 2012

The vegan-friendly city of Chicago!

I was in Chicago this weekend for a friend's bachelorette party and it was the first time I've ever been (except for the airport to change planes and go somewhere else). If you haven't been to Chicago you must go! It's such a cool city with a beautiful skyline and quirky, interesting neighborhoods. I got to explore only the tip of the iceberg so Michael and I plan on going back at some point.

I'm doing a post on Chicago because I wanted to share how vegan-friendly this city is! Even the fancy shmancy places had separate vegan (and gluten free) menus which shocked me. So anyways, I had the chance to visit with my brother-in-law's lovely girlfriend Laura and she took me to a place called The Chicago Diner.

From the the blog Vegan For the People.
I'm still digesting the menu. So many choices. All of them wonderful. Laura suggested we order milkshakes and they were amazing!!! I chose the chocolate chip cookie dough and she chose the vanilla chai. Seriously, just go in there for the milkshakes if nothing else- this goes to non-vegans and vegans alike!

For food I chose the Pesto 'chicken' which includes: "fresh basil and arugula, roasted red peppers, panko breaded seitan "chicken" patty, pesto ranch sauce and melted cheeze (a vegan cheese) on a grilled artisan ciabatta". I also had a side of sweet potato fries. I'm drooling just thinking about it!
Laura, with our wonderful treats. These were seriously the best milkshakes I've ever tried!
We met up with Justin afterwards and went to Jamba Juice. You might know it. There were many other restaurants recommended during our conversations and I already can't wait to get back to see them but now my mouth is watering thinking about all the good food we will get to try! Michael and I will definitely be going to Chicago in the future. For those of you who live in the Denver airport area there are tickets to Chicago from Denver on Southwest for $70 each way. Great price and only a 2-hour flight!

So anyways, after my fun visit with Laura and Justin I met up with my girlfriends for the start of the bachelorette festivities. Nothing too crazy the first night:) We went out to eat at a Lebanese restaurant called "Kan Zaman" and we sat in a booth on a floor with pillows. So fun! There was even a belly dancer and Lebanese music. This place has a vegetarian/vegan friendly section on the menu and I ended up with the lentil soup, falafel and bulgur wheat. Yumm!

On Saturday we spent a lovely lunch at a French Vietnamese place called "Le Colonial". Did you know that Vietnam used to be a part of the French colony of Indochine? I did because I teach French *pushes up glasses*. Check out some of the photos of the interior of the restaurant here. The food was absolutely wonderful. They actually have a separate vegan menu they will give you if you ask. I'm so not used to this! I ended ordering the "Tau Hu Cari"which is: "Lightly fried tofu with eggplant, asparagus, mango, yams and cashew nuts in a yellow curry sauce". It was lovely. So nourishing and calming. I didn't take a picture of the food because this was a fancy place and I was already wearing sneakers with my outfit because I had hurt my foot (there's always something going on with me).

Photo from "Alex's Wonderland Kitchen" blog site
We wandered around and did some shopping and then went to have tea at The Peninsula, a very fancy Chicago hotel. There was a wedding reception going on that evening and we saw the bride leaving with her parents to go to the chapel (insert emotional sigh here) and we also were allowed into the ballroom to check it out as it was all decorated for the wedding. So beautiful. I did some internet searching and they actually post their vegan tea menu online! As at Le Colonial, they offered vegan/vegetarian/gluten free menus when they brought around the other menus. This really blew my mind. I guess Denver just isn't at that point yet but maybe Chicago just really is a city that caters to people with different food interests.

Photo from Hotels of the Rich and Famous site.
So I can't wait to explore more of Chicago and not just the food! You should go there too:)

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