Maki Sushi & Noodle Shop earned city-worthy praise in both the Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune for the elegant simplicity that characterizes both its menu and décor. Japanese letters run down the floor-to-ceiling murals that color the bright eatery’s mint-green walls, flanking a sushi bar centerpiece where more than 20 seats rest courtside as master chefs prepare soft shell crab, homemade dumplings, and crispy rangoons. They also churn out fresh sashimi and dozens of signature maki rolls including Crazy Crunch filled with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and tempura crunch topped with wasabi mayo and unagi sauce. The clean lines of the eatery’s exposed brick pillars and polished wood-grain floors spill over into lunchtime bento boxes, which compartmentalize protein such as crabmeat fried rice or chicken katsu. Delicate flutes of martini glasses filled with fruit-infused takes on the classic cocktail. Equipped with a glass-enclosed wine cellar, Maki Sushi’s lower level lounge plays host to private get-togethers, corporate happy hours, and very short games of hide-and-seek.
Inside a cheerful café marked with a striped awning, chefs dote on hot pans that cradle delicate French crepes destined to encapsulate sweet or savory fillings. Cream of the Crêpe's batter whisperers take pride in the smallest details of their crepes, demanding that each flaunts a flaky texture, toothsome filling, and crisply ironed handkerchief. Crepe masters fill the edible envelopes with eggs and cheese during breakfast, grilled meat and crisp vegetables during lunch, and fresh fruits or decadent spreads during sweet-tooth attacks. Artful baristas grind Lavazza coffee beans to brew into drip coffees or strong espressos topped with scoops of frothy milk. Between customers, servers wipe the granite counter and set vases bursting with flowers on every table, where the blooms soak up light reflecting off the café's sunny yellow walls.
Northwestern-trained dentist Dr. Jonathan Yahav specializes in a patient-focused style of general and cosmetic dentistry that minimizes discomfort during procedures, enlisting the help of a professional anesthesiologist when necessary. At the three Chicago Smile Center locations, including one in the John Hancock Center downtown, patients receive all manner of dental enhancement and maintenance with the benefit of Dr. Yahav's 20 years of dentistry experience. Additionally, the dentist maintains his chops with esteemed membership in professional associations including the Chicago Dental Society, the American Dental Association, and the National Academy of Tooth Fairies.
Al Ferreri, his sister Frances, and his brother-in-law Chris Pacelli Sr., developed their signature italian-beef sandwich out of necessity in 1938. The economic depression made meat harder to come by, so the trio of sandwich makers made their supplies last by cutting thinner slices of roast beef.
Their business started with them feeding guests at family weddings, delivering meals to local hospitals, and catering the country's first food fight, but they soon founded a more permanent curbside food stand in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood. Despite their relatively humble beginnings, Al's Beef & Nancy's Pizza rapidly expanded and now boasts franchises throughout the Chicago area and across the country. The family business has garnered plentiful acclaim throughout the years, having been named Adam Richman's best sandwich in the Midwest on the Travel Channel show Best Sandwich in America in June 2012, appearing on Richman's Man v. Food and earning a place on Esquire's list of The Best Sandwiches in America in 2008.
The cooks begin every morning by roasting cuts of beef for the day, kneading fresh pizza dough, and cutting french fries with an industrial-strength laser pointer. The hearty italian-beef sandwiches can emerge from the kitchen with simple, unadorned meat or with blankets of melted cheese and spicy housemade giardiniera. The pizzas range from crispy thin-crust disks to deep-dish pies with 2.5-inch-thick crusts, supporting any combination of the 24 available toppings, which include oven-roasted garlic, baby spinach, and bacon.
If customers arrive at Mrs. A Cupcakes @ The Pickwick at the right time, they may meet the owner?s 5-year-old grandson, who greets them with a hello and an eager recitation of his favorite cupcakes. Mrs. A runs her namesake bakery along with her two youngest daughters, making it a true family-operated business. Each morning, they arrive bright and early to bake the day?s goods from scratch using fresh ingredients.
Although the bakers also make cookies and donuts, cupcakes are their specialty. Varieties change daily based on seasonal and available ingredients, such as the apple- pies and pumpkin- cream- cheese cupcakes they whip up in the fall. One mainstay, the red- velvet cupcake, is crafted using traditional Depression-era techniques, adding a smidge of cocoa to the batter and shredded stock certificates to the frosting. Other offerings echo the family?s Filipino heritage, such as the ube cupcake, made from purple yam, and the made-to-order buko- pandan cupcake, created from coconut meat, condensed milk, and the fragrant extract of pandan leaves.
Affresco celebrates the delicious culinary heritage of Sicily with house-made sauces that blanket handcrafted pizza dough and pastas. Each succulent cut of fish or meat arrives fresh, never frozen or teleported, to fill out mouthwatering plates of Italian fare with authentic flavor. Fresh salads combine crispy greens with rich cheeses and house-made dressings, and wood-fired ovens cure tasty thin-crust Sicilian pizzas. In addition to munching on satisfying dinner fare, patrons relish in the Sunday brunch menu's eye-opening frittatas and cappuccino-infused utensils. Scoops of imported gelato and sorbetto end meals on a decadently dulcet note.