For baked goods that are as delicious as they are fluffy, don't forget to pick up some fresh ingredients to make sure your creation hits it out-of-the-park.
If you're planning a dinner party, pick up some fresh meats from here and please your party guests one bite at a time.
A frozen meal is just what you want when chopping, dicing, sauteing, and slicing isn't in the cards.
Skip the hassle of baking your own bread and pick up a freshly-baked loaf from Paradise Nursery and Mulch.
When your food needs a little more flavor, pick up some seasonings or spices from here and enjoy a tasty meal.
Cereal might be the best part of waking up. Pick up your favorite box today.
Oil and vinegar are great staples to have stocked in the kitchen whether your recipe calls for an acidic element or something greasy to line the pan.
If you're looking for beverages that will handle all your hydration needs, look no further. This drink will refresh, renew, and refuel your energy.
Fight for your free time by utilizing the modern convenience of frozen food, which promises to maximize your time.
These tasty and nutritious snacks will help you push through your long workday.
Add some produce to your next dinner plate for a delicious meal jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients.
You can't beat the health benefits of fresh fish, so find a few you like and get to cooking!
Get your noodle on! Paradise Nursery and Mulch has some of the best and affordable noodle and pasta options in the area.
From canned soups to canned vegetables, this store has a wide selection of tasty and healthy options.
Don't get enough dairy in your diet? Dairy products from this store are sure to deliver all the nutrients you need.
Find a large array of bold and flavorful coffees and teas at Paradise Nursery and Mulch and sip your way through tasty goodness.
For cool, refreshing H20, Paradise Nursery and Mulch's got you covered.
At Paradise Nursery and Mulch, you'll find only the best outdoor gear and equipment.
There is ample parking located within the area, making your parking spot hunting quick and stress-free.
Start with the calamari and save room for the fresh catch at Eustis' Gator's Dockside — this Eustis seafood spot has quite the selection.
Whether you have something to celebrate or just need something to take the edge off, the drink menu at this restaurant won't disappoint.
If you're in need of a booster seat, this restaurant's got you covered. This is a great spot for the whole family.
At Gator's Dockside, your large or small party can easily enjoy a meal.
For comfortable outdoor service, Gator's Dockside sets up a seasonal patio.
For convenience, inexpensive wifi is readily available.
The restaurant's noise level can be somewhat straining on the vocal cords, so intimate get-togethers may be best enjoyed elsewhere.
This restaurant's most sought after items include Gators Own Baby Back Ribs, Gators Own Famous Platter, Captains Platter, and Boneless Wing Dinner.
Gator's Dockside welcomes laid-back diners, so there's no pressure to throw on heels or a tie.
Carry-out is also available for those who prefer to enjoy this restaurant's cooking from the comfort of their own home.
Gator's Dockside is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
For easy dining, Gator's Dockside provides convenient parking in a connecting lot.
Travel by bike to Gator's Dockside and store your bike at a nearby rack.
Your tab at Gator's Dockside will usually run to about $30 per guest.
Gator's Dockside dishes up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by for your favorite meal.
Go all out on seafood with a dinner at Gator's Dockside.
Crazy Gator offers a wide variety of classic American dishes.
Enjoy a drink with your dinner — this restaurant has a full bar to serve up a glass of wine, beer, or more.
Crazy Gator is a fine restaurant for those with large and small parties.
Take your meal to the next level on the patio at Crazy Gator.
Leave the suit and tie at home — Crazy Gator is business casual all the way.
Want to enjoy this restaurant without the wait? Get it to go.
If you're hoping to make a smashing impression at your next soiree, you can also have Crazy Gator cater for you.
Parking is easy at Crazy Gator, especially those looking to park on the street or in a lot close by.
Crazy Gator makes bikers feel at ease with the multiple storage racks outside.
Meals at Crazy Gator are incredibly tasty and reasonably priced around $30.
If you're short on cash, take care of business with one of many major credit cards.
A hearty salad, juicy burger, or classic chicken — all of your favorite American dishes will be made fresh when you head to Crazy Gator.
So what are you waiting for? Come see what the highly-rated American food at Crazy Gator is all about.
Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic Drive In didn’t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959—six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic Drive In specializes in made-to-order American classics, including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic Drive In’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Nicky D's Pizza does not just make pizza. They serve decadent slices of heaven that anyone who sinks their teeth into rate high on their list.
Both low-fat and gluten-free options are available here.
The bar at this pizzeria is fully stocked, so pair your meal with a glass of wine or beer.
Getting online is easy with Nicky D's Pizza's free and convenient wifi.
Surround yourself with the wonderful weather at your next night out at Nicky D's Pizza.
Come in or stay home. This pizzeria's pickup and delivery options have you covered.
With parking onsite, it's easier to get straight to our delicious food.
Cyclists are in luck. Nicky D's Pizza provides bike parking.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all on Nicky D's Pizza's menu — you can stop by whenever the moment's right for you.
Who doesn't love pizza? And who doesn't love pizza with great ratings? Nicky D's Pizza is home to some of the best slices in the neighborhood, so order a hot one today.
Next time you're looking to indulge in America's favorite dish, call the team at Nicky D's Pizza to help you out.
You won't be disappointed at Applebee's in Eustis, where well-prepared eats and delicious drinks rule the menu.
With G-free dishes and fare that's low in fat, you won't feel guilty about dining out at Applebee's.
Enjoy a drink with your dinner — this restaurant has a full bar to serve up a glass of wine, beer, or more.
Warm weather brings out Applebee's' highly coveted patio seating.
Get online for free courtesy of Applebee's' wifi.
Between the music and the crowds, be prepared for a lot of noise at this restaurant.
No need to put on airs for a trip to Applebee's — the dress code and ambience at this restaurant are totally laid-back.
With food this good, you'll be running into this restaurant to pick it up yourself.
Applebee's' patrons can find places to park in the area.
Bikers can store their bikes safely while they enjoy a meal at Applebee's.
Prices tend towards the moderate side, with the average tab at Applebee's running under $30 per person.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of