“Fuel stands for ‘food you eat locally.’ We try to source everything locally, within a 100-square-mile radius from [the] restaurant." This is how owner Tim Lenon summarized his restaurant's philosophy to Wilmette Life, and Fuel Wilmette is undoubtedly committed to supporting the region's farms and culinary artisans. Cage-free eggs and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats arrive from Wisconsin, the staff finds organic produce at area farmers' markets, and Heavenly Hearth Bread Company—located just a couple blocks away—bakes fresh batches of breads for the restaurant every morning. And the farm-to-table concept applies to all three meals. Cups of fair-trade coffee accompany breakfasts of chorizo omelets, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, or quiche brimming with seasonal ingredients. The dinner menu's selection of New American cuisine tends to change as the restaurant receives fresh bounties of meats and produce. This allows the chefs to flex their culinary muscles and experiment with international flavors while still spotlighting the local ingredients. Grass-fed beef sliders with housemade bacon embody classic American cuisine, while green lentils with roasted winter vegetables and citrus-marinated tilapia tacos demonstrate the chefs' range. Fuel Wilmette's relatively sleek, black-and-white décor stands in contrast to its menu's earthy roots, but it still embraces the same theme of sustainability. According to TribLocal Wilmette/Kenilworth, the hundreds of ceiling tiles in the dining room are made from recycled PVC pipes and the hanging lights were constructed using recycled plastics. These features blend in seamlessly with the modern room's dark-tiled floors, large front windows, and chalkboards.
There is a huge gap between what parents want to eat and what their kids do. Between picky eating habits and the lure of shiny plastic toys, it can seem impossible to get kids to eat out without having to scarf chicken nuggets yourself. Two Wilmette fathers grew tired of this cycle and the poor quality of food their kids were craving, so they decided to create a restaurant where they, their wives, and their kids could all get an enjoyable meal.
The result was Gilson’s, an American bistro that uses sustainably caught and locally grown ingredients that adults value, and couches it in a friendly atmosphere complete with a children’s menu that accommodates picky eaters without plying them with processed junk food. The bistro reflects its two identities with an outdoor patio and exposed-brick dining room, with a more upscale wine bar that caters to guests wanting to sip international vintages in a more intimate space.
For the adults, chefs specialize in seafood. They accent shrimp and ahi tuna with layers of mango salsa and wasabi mayo to create complex flavor profiles without boiling up a rubik's-cube reduction. House specialties such as the fish tacos and Wyoming bison burgers get pared down to create smaller lunch portions, alongside a selection of organic sandwiches and salads.
Founder Rick Sweitzer started the adventure travel company in 1983 before leading one of the first amateur dogsled expeditions to North Pole. Driven by his vision, the guides and instructors of The Northwest Passage lead travelers of all skill and fitness levels to some of the most dramatic terrain on the planet. Locally, the team leads outings around the Chicago area, ranging from stand-up paddleboarding classes on Lake Michigan to kayaking and camping trips in Door County, Wisconsin. As for the rest of the world, Northwest Passage sends it adventurers to conquer it locale by stunning locale during programs that include hiking across Europe, trekking to remote Polar regions, and dressing up like scientists to infiltrate Area 51.
Sweet vanilla, chocolate, and fruit flavors meld together in homemade ice creams inspired by three generations of family recipes at Bobtail Ice Cream Company. The company's roots stretch back to 1950, when Grandpa Wilcoxon handed out his first personally created treat from his ice-cream truck. Mr. Wilcoxon's unquenchable admiration for his products and his customers inspired his grandson, Jeff, to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and invent a time machine. Today, Bobtail Ice Cream Company carries on the dulcet tradition, even creating new flavors based on customer suggestions, including lemon-oreo-lavender, and Rahm Rasin—a version of rum raisin that enacts tax legislation. The unique flavors bring out the underlying notes of individual ingredients, just as the blue-and-white awning links the parlor's history to a modern sense of nostalgia.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.
The hardest part of the process at Glazed Expressions is probably picking a piece of pottery to paint. They have hundreds of ceramics available, from mugs and platters to decorative vases and trinket boxes. Once you've selected one, you can paint it however you like with a choice of glaze colors, and, for those who don't trust their freehand painting skills, stamps and stencils. Whether attending with friends, as part of an adult or kids' party, or on your own, the staff will fire your piece for you and have it ready for pickup within one week. Beyond readying pieces, the staff can also create custom ceramics, painting gifts for weddings, baby showers, or interventions for paper plate adicts per the customers' design requests.