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 casual 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.
Using fresh ingredients and a heaping helping of baking know-how, the pastry chefs at The Cupcake Gallery expertly whip up small batches of joy-inducing cupcakes. Choose from flavor favorites including double chocolate, caramel crème, red velvet, and German chocolate, or wade into new frosting-filled waters with maple bacon, rum cake, and cream soda ($3 each, or $30 per dozen). The Cupcake Gallery also offers specialty cupcakes, such as Twinkies ($2), and center-filled cupcakes, such as the choco-tella, a chocolate cake filled with Nutella and chocolate ganache and crowned with chocolate-and-Nutella frosting with toasted hazelnut powder ($3.95 each, or $42 per dozen). The Cupcake Gallery can make every cupcake gluten-free, vegan, or sugar-free if you call to pre-order, and all cupcakes can be un-shrunk and made into 6” cakes ($25) or 9” cakes ($38).
Chef Kasra Medhat's refined culinary techniques draw from his diverse gastronomic history, from his childhood filled with Turkish- and Iranian-style family meals to his college internship at a Chicago gourmet restaurant, as well as his catering work. Today, Kasra captains Magnolia Cafe, where he infuses all that passion and experience into his innovative French-American recipes.
In the kitchen, Kasra and staff cobble together ingredients plucked during their peak growing season in a variety of meat and seafood dishes. Upon white tablecloths, plates of appetizers and entrees meet with the house's specialty martinis and boutique wines in crystalline glasses, which are great for clinking or playing pieces from Mozart's glass-harmonica phase. Soft jazz music pulses amid the exposed brick and beams that ring the dining room, which is speckled with hanging photos of the flowers from which the establishment takes its name.
Dr. Sonia Moussa opened Clark Dental Care in 1999. Years later, when it came time to expand her practice, she decided to add another location and another Moussa—namely, Dr. Therese Moussa. Today, the duo fosters oral health during general and cosmetic dentistry services including Invisalign regimens, teeth-whitening sessions, and restorative implants. In order to successfully treat as many patients as possible, the doctors speak English, Spanish, and Arabic, which, when spoken all together, sound a lot like Portuguese.
If chef Raul Arreola could nominate an eighth wonder of the world, his choice would likely be Mexican food. He has a particular affinity for cuisine from Oaxaca, which has largely been sheltered from the outside influences that might otherwise have corrupted its distinctive flavors. Arreola left his job at Frontera Grill to open Mixteco Grill, where he pays tribute to the cuisine of Oaxaca—and nowhere else—with a menu of rich moles. Dishes such as pollo relleno and wood-grilled pork chop in mole verde have earned the restaurant a spot on the Michelin Guide's 2012 Bib Gourmand list, which catalogs exceptional food available at reasonable prices. The brightly colored restaurant has a BYOB policy, which gives guests the chance to break out the bathtub gin that came with their apartment's bathtub.