Though the chefs at Thai Urban Kitchen draw from the flavors of Thailand and Japan's street food, they aren't afraid to add in more upscale ingredients. To wit, they use gourmet cuts of meat and vegetarian alternatives to make unique twists of classical cuisine. In infusing a little something extra to their signature pad thai, they add cuts of duck, calamari, beef, and shrimp with just a touch of red apple for sweetness. On their sushi menu, chefs design creative rolls such as the Salmon Lover, which combines raw salmon, masago, and avocado with spicy mayo, all topped with pink nori and seared salmon. And to end the meal on a sweet note without having to whittle the check out of chocolate, the chefs also scoop Asian-inspired flavors of ice cream as well as 18 gelatos.
Juxtaposing with the colorful sushi rolls and eye-catching plating is the dining room's sleek decor. A monochromatic design scheme adds a touch of modernity that is not impervious to comfort thanks to high-backed leather seats. Silver metalwork and treated glass hang above the expansive bar, where bartenders pour sake by the glass or offer their favorite selections in drink flights.
Just Grapes brings the passion of wine country to Chicago by simplifying the world of wine for local consumers. A wine shop supporting the idea that wine education should be simple, fun and functional, Just Grapes specializes in private and corporate wine-tasting events, wine retail and wine education.
Native Spaniard Paola Perez imports a "carefully edited" selection of Spanish wines to West Loop wine bar Paola's Vinum, according to Metromix. Pours from garnacha to cava complement traditional Spanish fare, such as omelets, charcuterie plates, and on Thursdays, paella. All the bottles in Paola's collection are imported directly from Spain, just like the one Christopher Columbus used when he couldn't find a suitable ship.
Tucked inside the Chicago Mercantile Exchange just down the block from the historic Lyric Opera, Rivers Restaurant tempts theatergoers, after-work revelers, and appreciators of fine seafood alike. On the menu, which changes seasonally, seafood caught fresh daily takes a starring role, whether it’s sea scallops paired with asiago cheese, Lake Superior whitefish with smoked bacon, or Chilean sea bass with tiger shrimp. An extensive wine and craft beer list and selection of house-infused vodkas complement meals, and a spacious deck overlooking the river encourages al fresco dining.
Over the past four decades, Starbucks has bloomed from a single coffee shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market to more than 17,000 stores responsible for caffeinating 55 countries. The company’s smiling, green-aproned baristas have become the mascots of many people’s morning routine, pouring cups of dark, medium, and blonde roast for coffee purists and adding shots of caramel or white chocolate to more elaborate espresso creations and treats such as a Frappuccino blended beverage.
Concerned with more than flavour, Starbucks strives to fill its menu with responsibly sourced coffee, cocoa, and tea that protect the farmers and bioregions they come from. These efforts have earned the company a spot on Ethisphere's 2013 list of the world's most ethical companies.
Rittergut’s 40-seat outdoor patio overlooks the Chicago River; it’s a nice spot to sip a glass of small-batch wine and nibble from a charcuterie plate. In the winter, you can still enjoy primo river views from the sleek, dark wood and brick interior.