The Millionaire Monk and Berry Bonds aren?t characters on some wildly eccentric daytime soap. They're just two of the cheeky names the team at Peeled Juice Bar has given to the juices, smoothies, booster shots, and breakfast blends that pack the shop's beverage-heavy menu of healthy treats. Baristas versed in the art of hand-blending drinks make a range of beverages to-order from local and organic ingredients. The staff never adds sugars or chemicals to bulk up flavors or appease mad scientists? taste buds. For customers looking for an especially salutary experience, the shop can supply enough juice for three-, five-, or seven-day juice cleanses that detoxify the body and bolster the immune system.
The juice spot's Evanston and Lincoln Park stores are both eco-friendly on the inside. The staff also keeps the juice bar's carbon footprint low by composting their fruit and vegetable matter.
"Did I like it? Do you want to get slapped? I loved it."
That was one diner's response to Ted Brunson, the host of America's Best Bites, when asked about whether or not he enjoyed Las Tablas Colombian Steakhouse's signature dish, the Entrana. This South American take on skirt steak is downright beloved by some Chicagoans. One such guest admitted to living above one of the city's most iconic steakhouses, only to find himself trekking over to Las Tablas whenever he gets a craving for steak. The thinnish strip is scored along its generous length, allowing it to absorb the super-secret eight-spice blend that's rubbed into it?only two people know the recipe. It is then served on a warmed metal plate that rests upon a wooden slab (a "tablas"), as are many of the restaurant's other dishes.
Considering how much they've been through to get to this point?including an uprooting from Colombia in the 1980s and a fire?it's probably a relief for the Suarez family that their recipes are so revered. It also helps that their menu is refreshingly simple, yet flexible. There are a few beef dishes, a few chicken dishes, a few pork dishes, and so on, but guests can also order a combinaciones, which allows them to pair two proteins of their choice. The Entrana and shrimp make a classic match, though options such as baby octopus and pork loin lend themselves to more creative pairings. Vegetarians need not feel left out, either, as there's a veggie platter, 100% meatless napkins, and a paella that blends spiced rice, beans, yuca, plaintains, and potatoes. Those starches reappear throughout the menu, and are served with most entrees.
If you're inspired by the Suarez family's cooking, you can try to recreate the recipes at home with their new product line of sauces and seasonings.
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It’s a wonder the staffers at Protein Bar have time to do anything but smile for the camera amid the maelstrom of media attention the eatery has received in recent years. The man at the center of the storm is founder Matt Matros, dubbed one of Crain’s Chicago Business’s most successful 40 Under 40 in 2012. Matros spend his youth struggling with his weight, and lost his father to a heart attack before his 22nd birthday. The shock sparked a renewed hunger for life in the young executive, who went on to shed 50 pounds through exercise and healthy eating. Along the way, Matt noticed a gaping hole in the world of fast food—where were the healthy options? He decided to throw his corporate career to the wind and pour his entire life savings into opening the first Protein Bar, a welcoming haven for the health-conscious eater. Matros’ business soon flourished into eight Chicago locations, with three more in D.C. His aim was to cut out the junk that pervades fast-food chains—refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, empty calories, and unsettling cartoon characters—and replace it with lean protein, heart-healthy fiber, and satisfying flavor. The menu accomplishes just that. At breakfast, bowls are filled with oatmeal deemed some of the finest in the city by CBS Chicago. As the hours wear on, a special mix of six types of veggies builds each salad into a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bar-ritos swap out calorie-heavy rice for quinoa and flour tortillas for hearty whole-wheat wraps. Signature blended drinks omit sugary additives for protein mixes and fruit, each named for a Chicago neighborhood, and bowls of warm, organic quinoa come topped with protein and fresh produce.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company’s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and artesian flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
When Salvatore Ferrara first arrived to Chicago in 1900, he earned a living using the pastry- and candy-making skills he had acquired in his home country of Italy. Within a few years, Salvatore opened Original Ferrara Bakery, an Italian bakery that gained popularity during the formative years of Taylor Street's Little Italy neighborhood. The bakery became especially well-known for its candies, which eventually branched out into a second business, Ferrara Pan Candy Company, the manufacturer of perennial favorites such as Lemonheads and Atomic Fireballs. In the meantime, Sal's wife Serafina nurtured the bakery, maintaining its reputation as she became known in the neighborhood as "the Angel of Halsted Street." And though the area has seen rampant transformation over the last century, Original Ferrara Bakery still stands, delighting patrons with its renowned candies and pastries.
Now in its third generation of Ferrara ownership, the Original Ferrara Bakery is run by Sal and Serafina's grandchildren who continue to adhere to their family's original practices. They use all-natural ingredients to create signature items such as cannoli cake--rum-soaked layers of fresh strawberries, Italian custard, and cannoli cream--as well as elaborately tiered wedding cakes, and bite-sized indulgences such as petit fours and Italian butter cookies. Over the years, a lunch menu has been added to the mix, offering options including Neapolitan-style pizza and chicken parmigiana.
Working in collaboration with government organizations, TeaGschwendner helped build a factory that processes tea for 130 small farmers. That's just one of the ways TeaGschwendner ensures social and environmental responsibility. Read more here.