Former Yoga Trek students Kate Wester and Catherine Cappel carry on ownership of the studio passed on to them by their former instructors, leading a staff of impassioned yoga teachers as they guide students in the physically dynamic Vinyasa and Ashtanga styles of yoga. The instructors accommodate students of all skill and fitness levels except in the most advanced sessions, which transition between challenging poses at a rapid pace. Beginners and intermediate students can build up practice over time, learning to incorporate meditation and mindful breathing techniques to center thoughts while bolstering physical stamina with traditional yoga poses. Instructors help to prepare students before class by passing out any yoga mats, supportive props, or chakra-warming space blankets guests need.
Zoku's sushi chefs roll more than 25 types of maki and rustle up warm bowls of pan-Asian cuisine. Crisp and flavorful components are found in all dishes, including Chinese appetizers, Thai noodles, and Japanese sashimi. Chefs serve up artful plates dripping with sauce, bursting with color, and hoping to be discovered and offered a food-modeling contract.
It's the nuances that make each dish memorable at Lula Cafe, a Logan Square culinary fixture that opened 13 years ago. Chefs carefully layer flavors into their dishes, from hazelnut-oil-poached squash with smoked trout roe to pan-roasted mullet accented with rose-hip yogurt. Servers may present orders of seasonal soup in two parts, first pouring dry components such as matsutake mushrooms or baby turnips into bowls and then drizzling them with fresh, creamy broth. In the morning, guests can pair coffee or bloody marys with gourmet french toast, a frittata, or an omelet filled with heirloom vegetables.
In the summer, El Cid's outdoor patio bustles as Logan Square regulars share conversation between sips of margaritas and bites of the eatery’s signature fish tacos. During the winter, diners can warm their insides with the burritos that earned El Cid a Best of 2011 mention from CBS Chicago while heating up exteriors in front of the fireplace on the recently renovated upstairs level. The upstairs lounge also features a wood polished bar and hosts local musicians for live music every Wednesday night.
Though it has hard and fast house rules such as ?We like loud music and we hope you do too?because we won?t turn it down,? Handlebar is a restaurant with a soft spot for animals, the environment, and ingredients culled from local farms. The menu consists of made-from-scratch- vegetarian and vegan entrees including fried avocado tacos, ground-nut stew, and BBQ seitan. Night owls can stay up with cups of fair trade coffee and, with a kitchen open until 12:30 a.m., enjoy food into the wee hours. A full-service bar keeps craft libations pouring, and a beer garden allows each diner to pick their favorite can of PBR from the soil.
For more than 20 years, the Cerdas-Salazar family has been introducing the flavors of their homeland to anyone with an appetite, winning over diners—not to mention Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives—with their signature Costa Rican dishes. Chefs fill plates with entrees such as the El Tico—a rib eye steak or chicken breast sautéed with vegetables, sweet plantains, rice, and beans—or the classic french-bread-bundled Costa Rican sandwich made up of thinly sliced beef drizzled with sweet and spicy Lizano sauce. Even the menu's sides have their devotees: one Huffington Post blogger fell for the gallo pinto rice and beans, saying it "tasted too good to be called just a side dish." The chefs subtly work in the cuisine’s tropical influences, filling their empanadas with pineapple and accompanying every entrée with sweet plantains. The enclosed patio attracts a bustling lunch crowd on warm summer days, which necessitate a choice between cooling off with BYOB drinks or the eatery's obsession-worthy oatmeal shakes.