With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Logan Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.
The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Gourmet ice creams are freshly crafted on site from Marble Slab’s original recipe, enticing customer's eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which an ice cream chef then hand-folds in atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom-designed flavor masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts, or in the capable hands of a catering team for sprucing up special events such a corporate get-togethers or school functions with portable marble slabs or sundae bars in tow.
Cupcakes Bakery's dedicated dessert connoisseurs rise early six days a week to bake a fresh batch of cupcakes and cinnamon rolls from scratch with all-natural ingredients. They drizzle gooey cinnamon rolls with icing and pipe swirls of frosting atop crowd-favorite red-velvet cupcakes, which are more popular than denim-suit Fridays at a bank. Newly added cheesecake cupcakes come in original, blueberry, chocolate, and strawberry flavors. The bakers stock displays with menu staples such as chocolate chip and orange creamsicle, and they don't skimp on their toppings, wedging an entire Oreo atop the Oreo cupcake, for example. They also whip up special flavors daily, such as chocolate-peanut-butter cupcakes on Wednesday and Saturday and pineapple upside-down cupcakes on Monday, Thursday, and Rube Goldberg Day. The confectionary roster also changes with the season to highlight its flavors, such as autumn pumpkin and boreal gingerbread.
Upon first glance, Le Roi French Bakery looks a bit like a castle. Roses and metal curlicues line the space, where bakers flit in and out of a pair of saloon doors. Named for the French word for king, this bakeshop’s confections are enchanting and majestic, like a towering mountain of Magic 8 balls. At the counter, a brightly lit case brims with classic European treats such as éclairs, napoleons, tarts, and parfaits. The scent of espresso wafts by as staffers froth fresh milk for lattes and cappuccinos. Like a fairy tale about princes and princesses, these details inspire daydreams as patrons leaf through albums stuffed with hundreds of custom-cake ideas, including tiered wedding cakes adorned with fondant flowers and round delights flanked with fruits, frostings, or ladyfingers.
After a day at most salons, you might look better for a few weeks; after an hour at Permanent Beauty, you might look better for several years. That's because the center specializes in permanent-makeup applications, during which skin artists apply long-lasting, mineral-based pigment to eyes, lips, and brows. The pigments are designed to fade gradually over time so clients can change makeup styles and shades as they age, change their hair color, or disintegrate into their component Transformers. Ever conscious of sanitation, the technicians use brand-new materials and equipment on each client. The end result is that clients achieve the dramatic glances, full lips, and expressive brows they’ve always desired but couldn’t obtain without betraying Mr. Potato Head’s trust.
A smiling sunflower beams from Lollicup’s walls, menus, and cups. It’s an appropriate emblem for a teashop that specializes in whimsical drinks flavored with cotton candy, bubblegum, and passion fruit. Drink slingers pour more than 170 tea- and milk-based beverages and anchor them with tapioca, pudding, jelly, and tiny anvils. Though the drinks may be kid-friendly and colorful, Lollicup’s curators take the ingredients seriously: they select only the freshest cassava root for their boba and brew green and black teas from high-quality leaves.