Chicago is making headlines (and this time, for all the right reasons). If there’s one thing Chicagoans can agree on, it’s the love of the beer! (See what I did there?) With over 2,500 breweries city-wide, the drinks are flowin’ and us city-folks are getting through the cold stuff one sip at a time. Most breweries offer free brewery-tours, sips and lessons — which make for a great company party, or casual night out with friends (just ask my hangover). I’m sharing my top 5 with ya’ll, but feel free to chime in with your favorites, too!Lagunitas: (2607 West 17th St.) Lagunitas is the popular ‘new kid’ in town (opening last year) and making waves throughout Chicago. Located in an old steel distribution plant in Douglas Park, Lagunitas is the biggest brewery in Chicago. The tasting tour lasted over an hour, but I can’t be too sure since we got the samples well before the actual tour! The staff let us play in ‘adult daycare’ which included a piano, life-size jenga, arcade games, oh — and beer samples, plenty of beer samples! Don’t forget to stop by the taproom where you can enjoy pretzels, sandwiches and the most rad staff ever. The best part? The tour/samples are free! Make sure to check the website, and arrive early! (First come, first serve)Revolution Brewery: (3340 N. Kedzie Ave) Another Chicago favorite — Revolution facilitates a 60-barrel brewhouse. Learn how brewers mash, boil, and brew (while enjoying a cold one, or five) Fun fact: Revolution is the second biggest brewing production facility in Illinois; filling kegs, cans, and bottles for distribution across home sweet home, Chi. Who knows, you may look at those bottles a tad differently after this one! Oh, and a sample of beer is provided for free! (Cuz ain’t nobody got time to pay…)Haymarket: (737 W Randolph) The former Rock Bottom brewmaster is cookin’ up some fun for us Chicagoans. A great place to catch up with friends, grab dinner and stay awhile — a long while. Enjoy a brewery tour with some free sips, of course — and prepare to learn a new thing or two about Chicago’s history, and the stuff you’re sippin’ on! Make sure to check-out the menu, there’s a lot to study!Half Acre Brewery: (4257 N. Lincoln) We just love a feel good story, and this brewery- tour shares Half Acre’s humble beginnings, to sweet, sweet success. Tip: Get there early! It’s a hoppin’ place, and took a couple tries to get in the tour. There’s a lot to see, too — from brewing equipment, and fermenters, you’ll definitely earn some bragging rights to share at the office. They take great care of you here, with several pours of your choice. Check-out the beer menu before you go!Goose Island Clybourn: (1800 N Clybourne) Think of Goose Island as the poster child of Chicago (Too far?) — See where it all began in 1988 with a behind-the-scenes historic look into brewing, 6 fresh samples of beer selections and your very own Goose Island pint glass to cherish the memories! Ask a lot of questions, these guys are knowledgeable, and up for a discussion session post tour. Reservations are required (which is awesome, so you’re not spending half the night in line) — Cheers, Chicago!Cheers, Chicago! Use hashtag #ChicagoBrew and show Groupon some of those sips!Read More
Plass Appliance and Furniture
Plass Appliance and Furniture
Plass Appliance and Furniture
Dim sum…what is it exactly? When I’m explaining it to someone who has no clue, I try to compare it to something similar. Lately, I’ve been referring to it as the Chinese version of Spanish tapas. Essentially, its small Chinese dishes served on plates or in steamer baskets that are shared and typically consumed during brunch or lunch.There are two ways that dim sum is served in local Chicago restaurants: off a cart where you select items as they pass by or off a paper menu with pictures of the items available. With a paper menu, you indicate which items you want and the server brings the items to your table.Regardless of how it’s served, I always recommend asking for the paper menu if it’s your first time. Why? You’ll get a better idea of what is offered and what things are as the carts pass. If something catches your eye on the paper menu and you don’t see it on the carts, you can ask your server about it and they’ll find the cart that has it or ask the kitchen to prepare it.If dim sum is being offered on carts, the carts will move throughout the restaurant stopping at each table and the server will visually show you what they have on their cart. Oftentimes, similar items are grouped together on the carts. For example, one cart may have multiple types of dumplings while another cart will contain various fried foods. As the server shows you what they have, say or nod yes and they will put it on your table. After they have placed the item on your table, they will also mark it on the sheet placed on your table when you were seated. This sheet tracks what items you have ordered and the size so that you will be charged accordingly upon completion of your meal. Each individual item is usually categorized in 1 of 4 price categories: small, medium, large and extra-large. The great thing about ordering items off carts: immediate consumption!If it’s your first time eating dim sum, my safe bets are: shrimp and pork shu mai dumplings, fried shrimp rolls, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf with chicken (this typically also has Chinese sausage and a hard- boiled egg), bbq pork steamed buns, shrimp dumplings, fried taro and egg custard tarts. I think this combination gives you a decent variety that allows you to try some staples but also venture out slightly. Some of the items will come with a dipping sauce. Others you can dip into hoisin (slightly sweet), soy sauce or chili sauce. I tend to mix hoisin sauce with a bit of chili sauce and use that as my dipping sauce for items that don’t come with one.For me, the beauty of dim sum is that you get to try a wide assortment of items. Even if you order something you don’t love, the portions are typically small enough that you don’t feel guilty not eating it all. On the flip side, you can order more of things that you love! Shu mai is one of my favorites and we normally get two orders for our table if we have a group of four. So tell me, do you dim sum? And if so, what’s your preferred dim sum restaurant and which items are your favorites?Read More
For many January is all about detoxing and cutting back on all the sugary sweets and heavy meals from the holiday season, but I for one am never one to say no to dessert. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m always thinking about that sweet bite to finish off a meal and am constantly on the hunt for the best cupcake, cookie, etc. in the city. In my hunt for the perfect treat I’ve come across some great and some not so great sweets. Here is my list of the best of the best in Chicago.Sugar Hills Bakery I first tried Sugar Hills Bakery cake pops at a private event and had to pull myself away from the dessert bar. They have classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate and vanilla In addition to their cake pops they have a great selection of cakes, cookies, pastries and macaroons. They have a location in Chicago on Addison as well as in Wheeling and Algonquin.Chicago Cupcake Tour To get a real taste for the Chicago cupcake scene, spend an afternoon on a sugar high with the Great Food Tour tour guides. A few highlights on the tour include Sprinkles (check out the cupcake ATM), West Town Bakery (try a cake ball if you need a break from the cupcakes) and More cupcakes, which features a savory BLT cupcake.Forever Yogurt It’s both a blessing and a curse that a Forever Yogurt is conveniently located on my walk home from work. It’s so hard not to stop by for their cake batter flavored fro-yo topped with rainbow sprinkles, waffle cone pieces, M&Ms and cherries at least once a week. It’s frozen yogurt so that means it’s lighter and makes it acceptable though in my opinion. Great American Cookie Company A giant cookie cake from Great American Cookie Company never fails to remind me of my childhood when we would get these for special occasions. With Valentine’s Day coming up, treat your sweetie to a sweet treat with a personalized cookie cake. In addition to the traditional chocolate chip cookie cakes, there have sugar cookies, fudge brownies, cheesecake brownies and peanut butter cookies. They also do fun custom designs for the Super Bowl and other special occasions. No matter what your taste buds are craving, Chicago is not going to let you down when it comes to sweet treats.ParagraphRead More
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