Published author and raw-food advocate Karyn Calabrese has spent decades educating people on the benefits of an uncooked but flavorful diet free of meat, fish, chicken, or dairy products. In a recent interview for the Chicago Tribune, Calabrese traced her culinary interests back to Sundays in the kitchen with her grandmother. After watching family members succumb to degenerative diseases, she was inspired to tread a different nutritional path. Calabrese has shared her vegan and vegetarian cooking techniques in numerous media, including CBS and ABC news. Four restaurants currently bear her name, vegan philosophy, and commitment to organic foods: Fresh Corner and Garden Cafe, Fresh Corner and Raw Bistro, Cooked, and On Green. The café and market offer eco-conscious shoppers a range of products, and Karyn's Inner Beauty Center provides holistic therapies such as acupuncture and individualized wellness coaching programs. The center's spa services employ natural products, some of which arrive directly from the kitchen or straight from the fields via teleportation chamber. Convenient take-home meals and a variety of events such as yoga classes and lessons in "uncooking" help patrons maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Egg rolls. Sweet and sour shrimp. Chicken Szechuan. JC's Sunnyside Restaurant has all the staple foods of Chinese cuisine covered. But the chefs also prepare dishes inspired by other countries in Southeast Asia, from Mongolian beef to Thai spring rolls and bubble tea. Tiny globes of tapioca rest at the bottom of the brightly colored beverage, floating there until someone slurps them up with a straw or rescues them by throwing a miniature life preserver.
Curry Leaf Fine Indian Cuisine welcomes diners to enjoy authentic Indian dishes that burst with flavor due to their premium spices, herbs, and other fresh ingredients. Visitors can fill up at the daily lunch buffet after a long morning of filling up a neighbor’s pool with concrete mix and wind down in the traditional dining area. The restaurant also includes a banquet hall that can seat up to 100 people, a perfect setting for memorable occasions such as graduations and birthdays.
The owners of Pita Puff imported a little piece of the Mediterranean Basin with them when they came to America. It's not a tangible object, but rather an attitude, a missive of easy-going evenings with good company and tasty food. This can be summed up in one word?Sahtain?which means, "Enjoy your food." And Pita Puff makes that an easy thing to do with their Mediterranean staples. The menu includes falafel sandwiches, lentil soups, baba ghanouj for dipping and grape leaves for finger-snacking. And then there are the items from the grill: chicken schwarma made with tomatoes, dry onions, and tahini, tender lamb shish kabobs, and beef kafta??all served with a creamy mound of hummus and a fresh salad.
Maher Chebaro styles himself a kind of cultural envoy for falafel. After running the show at several high-end restaurants in Chicago and Beirut, the gustatory evangelist opened up shop at Falafill, a decidedly accessible eatery, to broaden the fried chickpea ball's fan base. There, diners stuff artisan pitas with classic, curry, and seasonal falafel, alongside a staggering array of vegetarian sundries from the mezza bar. The buffet packs in an array of Levantine staples, such as hummus, pickled turnips, and eggplant, as well as a handful of delightful oddities. These odd offerings include wild cucumbers and taratour—the house-made tahini infused with sweet paprika and chopped parsley that the eatery calls 'the mother sauce of our kitchen." The whole process was so fun that, tucked into its positive review, Time Out Chicago couldn't resist offering up its own blueprint for building a "kind of perfect" sandwich.
The jolly coffee cup on Pick Me Up Café’s sign bears a beaming grin, promising a steamy jolt of caffeine 24 hours a day on weekends and until 3 a.m. during the week. In the ‘50s-style diner—which was featured in Time Travel’s 10 Things to Do in Chicago—patrons slide into purple vinyl booths for heaping portions of classic American dishes in original, vegetarian, and vegan form. Fried tofu rests atop an English muffin with red and green peppers, mushrooms, and spinach smothered in housemade vegan sauce, while the salmon benedict combines lox, poached eggs, and creamy dill sauce. Lunch and dinner options bring vegan burgers, falafel wraps, and barbecue seitan sandwiches to the colorful lacquered tables. To give sweet teeth a burst of energy, a lineup of shakes and espresso drinks awaits, including the Zombie, an awakening combination of three shots of espresso, two cups of coffee, steamed milk, and whipped cream.