From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic? powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers? cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit pur?e forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.
If you've been bowling in Chicago, chances are pretty good you've been to a Chicagoland Bowling establishment. With member centers from the north to the south, the organization connects pin destroyers all over the city. The advantages of this network include tournaments that span the entire region, scholarship programs for talented youth bowlers, and a cornucopia of options for clowns who juggle bowling pins.
Sweet Whimsy pleases palates with a plethora of French-inspired pastries, breads, and other treats. All of its delectable baked goods are expertly created using high-quality ingredients such as Cacao Barry chocolate, Jr's Country Acres free-range eggs, and organically grown fruits. Like the temperament of a moody GPS unit, the bakery's menu varies daily, offering edibles ranging from classic cookies and breakfast pastries to more risqué dessert derivations, such as flourless chocolate cake with bacon and green-tea cake with orange-ginger frosting. Myriad flavors of muffins, cupcakes, tarts, cakes, crêpes, and pastries wait to tempt taste buds and tease the eye, including fanciful Frannies, pastries named and modeled after pastry chef Joshua Baudin's favorite goose. Recently introduced savories include a selection of homemade breads, such as brioche and focaccia, as well as spoon-ready soups ideal for thawing frozen tonsils before ultracompetitive caroling slams.
In French eclairs, German streudel, and Polish kolaczi, the bakers at Sugar Hills Bakery let their European inspiration show. Regardless of whether a recipe comes from across the Atlantic?the staff also makes cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, and wedding cakes?all of Sugar Hills? baked goods are all made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
From the Revolutionary War onward, tea has never truly regained its once-prominent place in American culture. So when Gerri Gwarnicki relocated from her native Ireland to the Chicago suburbs, she decided to reintroduce the concept of high tea to her neighbors. To give the experience a proper feel, she dons Victorian attire before manning her vintage teacart. As guests recline in the quaintly decorated tearoom, she brings out trays filled with cups of steaming tea and a choice of eight finger sandwiches, such as the classic cucumber and watercress or the open-faced roquefort and pear slices. When the chattering and clinking of antique dishes and silverware slows, she refills her cart with a range of English desserts. Guests can try one of the assortment of petit fours and pastries, a slice of homemade rhubarb and apple pie, or the homemade scones layered with fresh lemon curd, strawberry preserves, and soft fluffs of devonshire cream. Gerri also curates events for little girls, in which they can sample the high tea while donning playful hats and learning the proper etiquette for eating your napkin.
Day in and day out, Metra’s northwest train pulls into the Des Plaines stop, just opposite of Pop O Licious Popcorn. A brick building on the corner, the shop brandishes a bright blue and yellow sign with promises of fresh-made, gourmet popcorn. The family of popcorn pioneers creates more than 60 varieties of classic and flavored kernels each and every day, from staples such as butter, kettle corn, and caramel corn to innovative flavors including creamy dill, hot cinnamon, and even fruity tutty. For casual snacking, the shop owners can scoop the fresh-popped kernels into bags that come in four sizes, while gift-givers and musicians in need of a new drum can order their snack in a decorative tub. Beyond popcorn, Pop O Licious purveys Maurice Lenell cookies and handmade milk chocolates.