Checkered tablecloths and vintage black-and-white photos from the 1940s evoke small-town Tuscany at Lauretta's Italian Bake Shop & Cafe, whose chefs have assembled authentic Sicilian-style cuisine for more than 30 years. Homemade pomodoro sauce mingles with the porcini mushrooms and caramelized onions that fleck risotto, and fresh baby clams or mussels frolic through linguine entrees. To create paninis, chefs crown toasted ciabatta bread with such accoutrement as jarlsberg swiss cheese, yellowfin tuna imported from Italy, and childhood memories of revered measuring cups. Diners complement bites with Italian beers and wines, including a crisp, fruity prosecco and a medium-bodied chianti, whose tart red-fruit and chocolate flavors pair well with spinach ravioli and still-life paintings of Hershey's bars.A family-owned Chicago bakery furnishes the eatery's fleet of traditional italian pastries, such as cannoli and more than 30 kinds of italian cookies. Lauretta's Italian Bake Shop & Cafe also proffers comprehensive catering spreads, dishing up pans of lasagna, ravioli, and chicken marsala that can feed 15 partygoers or more, or custom orders that can sate finicky flatware.
As a branch of the not-for-profit Advocate Health Care system, the Advocate Condell Centre Club has filled two 60,000-square-foot locations with fitness amenities for exercisers of all ages and ability levels, captained by professional and welcoming staff members. The club's philosophy follows the Advocate network's holistic approach, taking on a mission of all-over wellness with features for exercise, rehabilitative therapy, sports performance, and spa services. Much like a territorial wolverine, each of the facilities' elements—from a trove of resistance-training machines to a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes—occupies its own specialized area. Lake County magazine and Libertyville Patch have highlighted the club for its weight-loss systems and free training program for cancer patients, respectively.
At The Original K-9 Cafe, chefs mold fresh, natural ingredients into dishes fit for humans, but specifically crafted for their canine friends. With an eye on nutrition, they whip up tasty Muttloaf, stuffed manicotti, and even “Yappy Hour” drinks such as the Muttini, which boosts digestive health. The menu also includes fresh marrow bones and other deli eats, desserts such as mini peanut-butter bars, and Bowser Beer, a brew concocted from beef broth. Pups can chow down on healthful meals every day thanks to weekly meal plans, or unwind after frustrating weeks of building oubliettes for mailmen with brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
At the spa, relaxation comes in the form of paw massages, nail clipping, and conditioning fur butter treatments that undo damage done to pooches’ coats. The boutique also helps owners dote on doggies with gifts including college jerseys, toys, and treats.
Sweet Whimsy pleases palates with a plethora of French-inspired pastries, breads, and other treats. All of its delectable baked goods are expertly created using high-quality ingredients such as Cacao Barry chocolate, Jr's Country Acres free-range eggs, and organically grown fruits. Like the temperament of a moody GPS unit, the bakery's menu varies daily, offering edibles ranging from classic cookies and breakfast pastries to more risqué dessert derivations, such as flourless chocolate cake with bacon and green-tea cake with orange-ginger frosting. Myriad flavors of muffins, cupcakes, tarts, cakes, crêpes, and pastries wait to tempt taste buds and tease the eye, including fanciful Frannies, pastries named and modeled after pastry chef Joshua Baudin's favorite goose. Recently introduced savories include a selection of homemade breads, such as brioche and focaccia, as well as spoon-ready soups ideal for thawing frozen tonsils before ultracompetitive caroling slams.
Sixty years has seen Tastee Freez transform from a cozy two-man operation to a gargantuan national franchise, with more than 100 locations decorating the United States like sprinkles. The menu is casual but diverse, ranging from cheeseburgers and corn dogs to frothy shakes and 97% fat-free ice cream, which can be customized with candies and fresh fruit. Patrons may also request one of Tastee's signature Freezees, available in flavors such as Oreo, Butterfinger, and Reese's Pieces.
Voted Best Indoor Playspace by Nickelodeon's Parents Connect, Chelsea TreeHouse has since flowered into a 2,000-square-foot, three-level play palace where children frolic and tumble on a host of pint-size attractions. At the new location, kids can learn about gravity on five exciting slides and on swinging bridges, or gather to construct a miniature particle accelerator in a separate toddler area. Parents can view their tots from afar while perched on leather couches and comfy chairs. The fresh-faced facility also boasts its own basketball court where kids showcase sweet, tube-socked moves. Though not included in today's Groupon, the TreeHouse crafts a wide assortment of healthy snacks, ranging from guilt-free fruit and homemade baked goods to hearty soups and stacked sandwiches alongside a gourmet coffee bar. A generous admission policy grants children all-day access to the play land, foregoing the need to switch disguises after every restroom break.