Surprisingly, a pair of brothers runs The Cousins; the name, however, represents the restaurant’s future ownership: their sons. Until the orange and green eatery changes hands, the brothers will continue to serve up Mexican-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner inspired by their south-of-the-border roots. WGN’s “Chicago’s Best” segment named it “Chicago’s Best Breakfast” after host Ted Brunson declared the house-specialty cousins skillet “really, really good. It’s not greasy at all. The potatoes are done perfectly, the chicken breast is tender, and, actually … I love the spinach.”
Inside Tiztal Cafe, sunny yellow walls match the eggs that star in the restaurant's heaping plates of breakfast and brunch fare. Diners sidle up to white-linen tables or the long bar to dig into the chefs' take on Mexican morning meals: omelets stuffed with spicy chorizo, crisp waffles topped with pecans, and the signature chilaquiles that helped earn them a feature on Chicago's Best in 2011. Diners would be wise to pair their meals with the eatery's infamous oatmeal shake—says Serious Eats blogger Lindsey Becker, "This shake has something of a cult following…and after trying this glorious mashup of vanilla ice cream shake and oatmeal, you can count me in as a member."
Aodake Asian Bistro's chefs quickly whip up traditional and westernized Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese food. Guests order their meals at the front counter, and then head to a free table to wait for it. There, they can relax and watch TV or take advantage of Aodake's free WiFi while swirling yaki soba noodles, biting into oyster tempura sandwiches, or popping cooked- and raw-fish sushi rolls into their mouths. Aodake also has a variety of vegetarian rolls that feature the likes of avocado, sweet potato, and free-range seaweed.
The bistro opens early to ply guests with Taiwanese dan bings and Asian breakfast sandwiches. The dan bing is a savory crepe crammed with green onion, eggs, cheese, and sauce. The Asian breakfast sandwich features a fried egg, cheese, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and sweet mayo on toasted Asian milk bread.
Pilates is an excellent way to kick-start a fitness routine. The challenging movements and full-body stretching are designed to increase core strength and stamina. For your two private sessions, you’ll receive guidance from FTC-certified instructor Patrick O'Brien, who will help you transition from a stale, store-bought pretzel to a soft, fresh-baked German pretzel. Work out on both the Pilates equipment and floor mat under his supervision. He will help you correct body issues from technique to alignment and tailor the lessons to your specific physical needs. FTC is one of Chicago’s longest-standing Pilates studios, having opened in 1994. Its focus is on the human form and on making sure it operates naturally and healthfully, in line with its proper structure and function. Call to schedule your sessions.
Licensed acupuncturists Matthew Kerr and Thom Heil head up treatments at Pins & Needles Acupuncture, where they use their knowledge of Chinese medicine to assuage aches and pains. They begin each session with a consultation, during which they might view clients’ tongues to get a better idea of their bodies’ hidden goings-on. From there, the practitioners may offer dietary recommendations or remove toxins with cupping, acupuncture, or gua sha—a method that involves dragging a blunt instrument across the skin.
The stylists at Topliner Beauty Salon for Women understand the pressure to look beautiful and know that looking good stems from feeling good about yourself. Their hands-on beauty treatments, which range from eyebrow shaping and haircuts to sari setups, are also designed to pamper and relax clients. Aestheticians cosset faces with Shahnaz Husain skincare products that nourish complexions with herbal and fruit-infused formulations, whereas henna artists ink hands and feet with intricate designs including floral lace patterns.