Chicago Links Page 2

More Chicago Links!

Restaurants:

  • Earwax – a Wicker Park staple. Good food, and the occasional drawing/chowing spot for many Chicago cartoonists such as Jeffrey Brown and Laura Park. And, you know… me.
  • Hot Doug’s – The hot-dog mecca. I’m from New York, but Chicago does hot dogs better. A Chicago-style char-dog is one of the greatest creations on earth, but Doug’s does better with artisinal sausages paired with toppings to accent the subtle flavors. There’s a new special all the time. I know everyone is all aflutter about the foie gras dog that they have here, but I like to change it up with a different one every time.
  • Wow Bao – sweet and savory asian buns. These were how I’d treat myself during college.
  • Revolution Brewing – a brewery with great food and great decor (and great beer).
  • Longman & Eagle – nice whiskey bar and great food– heavy on home-cured meats. I used to live around the corner from here and would go as often as I could afford.
  • Owen & Engine – a really cozy English pub sort of place, with pretty flocked wallpaper. Right next door to the movie theater, so it makes a nice before/after-movie meal.
  • Chicago Diner – a famous vegetarian diner that does awesome veggie and vegan food, inspired by real diner dishes.
  • La Creperie – hard cider from the south of France in their rear patio space, accompanied by a mushroom and gruyere crepe. After or before a movie at the Landmark Century Theater, across the street.
  • Girl and the Goat – our friend works here, and she always smells AMAZING. Like smokey bacon. Mmm.
  • Molly’s Cupcakes – these are, bar none, the best cupcakes you will ever eat. My favorite: The Chocolate cupcake filled with raspberry puree and topped with dark-chocolate ganache. AUGH.
  • Orange – amazing brunch. Try the themed pancake flights or the “frushi.” Also juice bar! I like the pear with lime.
  • Spice – I don’t even want to consider how much money I’ve spent at this affordable thai/japanese place over the years. My regular order-in.
  • Blackbird – I haven’t been here in a while, because my dad hasn’t come to visit recently. Expensive and fancy-pants, but DELICIOUS.
  • Kuma’s Corner – amazing amazing hamburgers, but don’t go if you’re really hungry. It’ll be a 2 hour wait on a weeknight. They don’t take reservations, and they play heavy metal very loud. But worth it, most of the time. If you don’t wanna deal (which I usually don’t), go to:
  • Counter Burger – Oprah’s favorite place to get a burger! I know these have sprung up around the country, but I still love the Chicago one. Fresh/local ingredients, and I can get a burger on a english muffin, which I adore.
  • El Cid – a good, cheap mexican place in my neighborhood with a LOVELY back patio and bitchin’ palomas. Get the deep-fried burrito! I swear, it’s wonderful.
  • Hamburger Mary’s – a hamburger joint up in Andersonville with awesome waitresses and an amazing burger themed after BtVS (Buffy the Burger Slayer) that has red wine reduction sauce and garlic aoli.
  • Hoosier Mama Pie Company – OMGPIE.
Bars:
  • The Beechwood Inn – I used to live a block away from here. A nice, affordable tavern without a lot of sceney nonsense. My friend Ben works the door, some nights. Usually quieter than the other bustling Wicker Park bars, with better music and company.
  • The Double – this is our regular spot, near where we live and we love it. Henry, the bartender/owner, is awesome and knows our names. He has a puppy. He makes awesome drinks. I hesitate to even link this, as it hasn’t seemed to have caught on yet and it’s almost always not very crowded or loud, and we can hang out there all night. Also, there’s a pizza place less than a block away and we sometimes get pizza and eat it with our “spirited beers.”
  • Smallbar – I like the Logan Square one, NOT the Wicker Park location, which is loud and crowded. Our Smallbar gets bustling, but it’s always great anyway. A good beergarden patio, and decent food! Also my friends Sarah and Niles live down the block, so I can usually get them to meet me there.
  • The Rocking Horse – a dark, mahogany kinda place, with pretty good bar food and beer.
  • Quenchers – I originally fell in love with this place for its old-fashioned working photobooth and its selection of hard ciders, but the live music here tends to be pretty great too– celtic or jazz or blues, usually.
  • Hopleaf – a brewery and restaurant up north in Andersonville. A great spot.

Food Shops/cafes:

  • Wormhole – Classic sci-fi themed coffeeshop with an actual Delorean in the window. Another good place to sit and draw people.
  • Fox & Obel – this is the fancy food place where I worked for a while, slinging cheeses.
  • Pastoral – a local mini-chain of nice cheese shops around Chicago.
  • The Chicago French Market – a strange little indoor farmer’s market, connected to the train station. I like to buy their fig and black tea jam, and their balsamic reduction, and then get a cone of Belgian fries.
  • The Logan Square Farmer’s Market – our local amazing market happens every week, even in the winter! They move it into the lobby of the Congress Theater in the colder months. In the summer, it’s right on a grassy boulevard full of babies and dogs and gorgeous people.
  • Dill Pickle Food Co-Op – our local food co-op. It’s a nice way to pick up some farmer’s market products if we miss a Sunday market.
  • Miko’s Italian Ice – amazing. I like the kiwi and grapefruit flavors best.
  • Binny’s – an upscale but huge place that sells any kind of booze you can fathom.

Theaters and stuff:

  • The Landmark Century Theater – for the art movies and stuff. Located, weirdly, in a big mall-space type thing.
  • Evanston Space – a gorgeous little concert space up in Evanston. Great acts (mostly folk and folk-rock) play here, to a small, pretty room and good beers.
  • Logan Theater – our cheapo second-run theater. It old and dirty and hilarious and we ADORE it. We’re there like every week.
  • The Chicago Public Library Downtown – in a fascinating, huge building downtown, this place is amazing (and air conditioned in the summer). Go all the way up to the reading room atrium at the top.
  • The Cultural Center – this place hosts all kinds of great performances and stuff, but it’s lovely to see even when there’s nothing going on. It’s a gorgeous space, with a lovely stained-glass dome. In the basement is an art gallery. The first floor is a writers’ room, providing a nice space for writers to come and work.
  • Daniel Knox – an incredibly talented local Chicago musician, who plays and sings dark, broody and hilarious songs on the piano, and who I’ve seen play in so many little performances that he says hello to me when we run into each other at comic shops.
  • The Music Box Theater – an enormous and amazing old theater that shows great old films, hosts festivals, and does 24-hour movie events and midnight showings.
  • Lillstreet Arts Center – a cool place to take classes in almost any art you can think of! Nora teaches various textiles classes here. I’m taking a metalworking class right now. There’s also a pie cafe on the first floor with some of the best pie in town.
  • Gorilla Tango Theater – a neat little box theater with awesome shows, including a series of geek girl burlesque shows, themed after Super Mario Bros, Glee, LOTR and Star Wars. They also teach classes in acting and burlesque.
  • Chicago Botanic Gardens – Way up north, this whole area is really really beautiful. Even if it rains a little and you have to ride your scooter all the way up there and your legs go a little numb from being on the seat so long.

Stores:

  • Quimby’s – the seat of Chicago’s indie comics scene. Awesome books, events, and people. A must-go for all comics readers who visit Chicago.
  • Myopic Books – a cool used-bookstore that winds and towers and crams. A fun place to go on a first date or to get lost alone there on a winter’s afternoon.
  • Chicago Comics – awesome place. Great comics. A little more “comic shop” and a little less “indie book pubs” than Quimby’s.
  • 3rd Coast Comics – up on the north side, Terry runs a great shop. Cool events and signings, and very friendly peeps.
  • Women and Children First – a great women/queer focused bookshop in Andersonville. Amazing people come to sign here, and they host lots of amazing events. Also I had a signing here when French Milk came out.
  • Unabridged Bookstore – a great great little bookshop over in Lakeview. They have a whole room downstairs devoted to travel! And a top-notch young-adult section.
  • Working Bikes – this place, while ironically a little hard to get to if you don’t already have a bike, fixes up old abandoned broken bikes and sells them (and assorted parts) very cheaply. They also run workshops to teach you how to fix your own bike, and winterize it, etc.
  • Sifu Design Studio – a cool craft store that hosts neat events, like a crafting/sci-fi night, and various book-signings and workshops.
  • Wolfbait & B-Girls – a pretty Logan Square shop that sells locally-made handcrafted clothes, goods, jewelry and other cool stuff.
  • Tulip – a women-focused sex toy shop.
  • The T-Shirt Deli – iron-on decals and customizable t-shirts, presented as you would sandwiches in a deli. Adorable and a fun little adventure.
  • The Threadless Shop – like threadless shirts? Like ‘em without the shipping cost, and with the ability to try them on first?
  • The Brown Elephant – a big ol’ resale shop that benefits the Howard Brown Health Center. Good source of used furniture and odd little objects.
  • Crossroads – I know these little clothing retail shops are all over, but the Chicago ones are very nice, and almost totally clothe me.
  • Buffalo Exchange – what I said about Crossroads applies here, too.
  • American Science and Surplus – a strange place filled with surplus items– toys, test-tubes, hazmat suits, all kinds of stuff! Good for art project needs and a fun field trip up through the Polish bakeries of Milwaukee Ave.
  • Genuine Scooters – this place is awesome. Up north on Damen, it’s where I used to go in college to drool over their Stellas and Vespas, and where I eventually bought my Buddy Italia scooter!
  • Gethsemane Gardens – a gorgeous garden and plant store.
  • A New Leaf - A plant shop and florist, with lot’s of beautiful little things. Staffed nearly entirely by SAIC students and grads.
  • Genesis Art Supply – the best art store in the city. Tiny and labrinthine, with lot’s of specialized things and a whole section devoted to comic art supplies. They always have my favorite pens in stock.

More Awesome Stuff:

  • Chicago Derby League – The Windy City Rollers. My idols, my faves.
  • FKA – a monthly queer dance party up north that we usually go to, despite my complaints about how crowded it gets.
  • Queerer Park – a better monthly queer dance party, with themes and a changing location.
  • Critical Mass – Chicago is an amazing place to be a cyclist. Flat, wide streets, comfortable bike lanes… If it wasn’t for the bitter, icy winters and scary drivers, it’d be pretty perfect. So there are a LOT of cyclists here. Critical Mass is a big monthly bike ride. I like the Halloween one best. Everything is more fun when everyone’s in costume.
  • The Dog Beach – I don’t have a dog, but I sometimes wish I do. That’s why I like to go to the dog beach and watch the pooches frolic with the blue of Lake Michigan behind them.

Outside of Chicago:

  • House on the Rock – a four-hour drive from Chicago, but worth it. Just… just so worth it. And on your way home, stop at:
  • The Wine and Cheese Chalet – to buy Wisconsin wines and beers, to accompany squeaky cheese curds!