People can't get enough of the drinks here that take refreshment to the max.
Mountain Market Cafe's selection of bread goes great with any meal you were planning on making.
Get your noodle on! Mountain Market Cafe has some of the best and affordable noodle and pasta options in the area.
Stay healthy on the regular with the produce available here. It's super fresh and can be used with any meal.
A classic breakfast option, cereal is always good to have on hand. A box is sure to ease everyone's morning appetite without taking too much time off the clock.
Next time you're in a rush, check out the amazing TV dinners available here to get you going out the door.
Craving a late-night snack? Treat yourself to a canned good from Mountain Market Cafe and satisfy your craving.
H20: The essential element for every human being. Stay hydrated everywhere you go with a bottle from Mountain Market Cafe.
When you have a hunger craving in between meals, these snacks will come in handy.
Meat lovers rejoice! From chicken to beef to pork, the meat selection here is sure to please.
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.
The frozen food offered here is so delicious you won't even be able to tell it wasn't home-cooked.
For dairy lovers out there, this store does dairy right, so make sure to pick up some on your next trip.
Packed with essential nutrients, be sure to try walk away with some delicious fish for dinner.
If you like to try out different recipes and experiment with different flavors, you will love the selection of spices and seasonings that this store has to offer.
Make your own salad dressing in a snap! Oil and vinegar are essential components for a number of common creations, so make sure these guys always have a place in your kitchen.
Experience a new blend of coffee or tea from Mountain Market Cafe and sip your way to happiness.
Find parking easily in one of their many available spaces.
Snack on tasty pub fare at Mickduff's Brewing Co., a local favorite.
Gluten-free dishes with fresh flavors await you at Mickduff's Brewing Co.
Complement your meal with a beer or wine from this restaurant's delightful drink menu.
Eat out with the little ones at this restaurant, and don't waste time scurrying for a sitter.
Check out the brews and bites at happy hour, and kick back without spending a fortune.
Wifi is on the house at Mickduff's Brewing Co., so you can stay connected on your mobile device.
Be sure to check out Mickduff's Brewing Co.'s outdoor seating when the climate is right.
Weekend diners may find themselves waiting for a table, as Friday and Saturday nights tend to draw a crowd.
Don't sacrifice comfort for style — Mickduff's Brewing Co.'s dress code is business casual, so guests can look and feel great.
Looking for something delicious to serve at your next party? Mickduff's Brewing Co. also offers catering.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
Parking is accessible and not far from the restaurant.
At Mickduff's Brewing Co., bikers can lock their bikes safely outside.
Meals at Mickduff's Brewing Co. are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.
Easily charge your payment using one of many major credit card options.
Wake up early to catch a bite of Mickduff's Brewing Co.'s breakfast, or swing by later for some tasty lunch or dinner.
So when you're in the mood for some tasty pub food, make your way over to Mickduff's Brewing Co.
Wrap up your busy week with a signature pizza or custom pizza at Mackenzie River Pizza Co.
Easy-to-please items run throughout the menu — pizza and pasta are big here — so everyone can find a familiar favorite.
Whether you have something to celebrate or just need something to take the edge off, the drink menu at this pizzeria won't disappoint.
This pizzeria welcomes kids, too, so you can feel good about bringing the whole family.
At Mackenzie River Pizza Co., the prime seating is on the patio. Come check out what all the buzz is about.
Get online gratis thanks to Mackenzie River Pizza Co.'s complimentary wifi.
Mackenzie River Pizza Co. is a suitable restaurant for both large and small groups.
Mackenzie River Pizza Co.'s dress code is casual — diners are welcome to dress up (or down) to their comfort level.
This pizzeria accommodates your schedule. Pick it up yourself or have it delivered to your door.
At Mackenzie River Pizza Co., you can park quickly and safely in a lot next door.
If cycling is more your speed, you'll find plenty of space to stash your bike outside the pizzeria.
Mackenzie River Pizza Co. may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
With a casual atmosphere and great pizza, you can't go wrong by dining at Mackenzie River Pizza Co.
So when you are in the mood for a tasty pizza pie, make your way over to the highly-rated Mackenzie River Pizza Co.
Enjoy delicious Italian cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere at Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe.
Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe also offers dishes without gluten, so that every stomach can find something to satisfy.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
No need to splurge on a babysitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at this restaurant.
The patio tables outside of Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe are the perfect spot for a summer meal.
Gather up your friends, coworkers or family members and head to Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe for a group meal.
Save your formal dress for another occasion — a nice top is the perfect fit for Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe's business casual code.
Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
Need to get out of the house? Order and pick up from this restaurant.
Parking is easy at Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe, especially those looking to park on the street or in a lot close by.
Menu items at Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe tend to be mid-priced, so expect to plop down about $30 per person to dine here.
Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe accepts major credit cards, including Discovery and AMEX.
So give your taste buds a delicious dose of Italian cooking from Ivano's Ristorante and Cafe today.
Valentinos Take N Bake Pizza's piping pizza is just as hot as its ratings, and customers call this tasty spot one of the best around.
Gluten-free and low-fat are not one in the same, but this place serves them both.
Be sure to complete your meal at this pizzeria with a drink from the pizzeria's full bar.
At this pizzeria, everyone will find something they love — kids included!
On warmer days, take advantage of Valentinos Take N Bake Pizza's outdoor seating.
Enjoy this pizzeria's cooking from your own home with their carryout and delivery options.
The pizzeria has catering services as well.
Take your vehicle to dinner
nearby parking is plentiful and will not pose a problem for drivers looking to dine.
When melted cheese and quality crust is all you can think about, it may be time for a hot slice or two. Experience pizza at its best when you order a pie from top-rated Valentinos Take N Bake Pizza.
When pizza's on the mind, there's no going back. For quick pies that no one can stop talking about, get the best of the best at Valentinos Take N Bake Pizza.
Why not keep it casual tonight? Head on over to Valentinos Take N Bake Pizza, where you can enjoy a delicious variety of pizza and a casual, care-free atmosphere.
After learning about Valentinos Take N Bake Pizza, you definitely just found your new pizza place.
For a quick Mexican meal, Jalapenos is a go-to option.
Health nuts will love Jalapenos for its gluten-free and low-fat menu options.
Pick your poison and toast your evening — drinks are also served here.
This restaurant welcomes kids, too, so you can feel good about bringing the whole family.
During the summer months, don't miss out on Jalapenos' outdoor patio seating.
Your group can sit comfortably at Jalapenos, a local restaurant.
Drift away from stuffy dress-code conventions and dine in comfort at Jalapenos.
Catering from Jalapenos will take your party to the next level.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your grub to go.
Street and lot parking is simple near Jalapenos.
Bike parking is quick and easy at Jalapenos.
Treating yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank, come taste the great dishes Jalapenos has to offer.
Jalapenos accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and all major credit cards.
Stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner — Jalapenos serves up all three meals.
If you have had a long and hard day, swing by Jalapenos and enjoy a Mexican meal in a laid back environment.
When you're ready for a delicious meal, pay Jalapenos a visit and taste the many flavors of Mexico.
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