Category Archives: random spottings

Delish on Division

I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep up with how many restaurants seem to pop up on Division Street, just West of Ashland. Besides way too many sports bars, it’s also turning into quite the strip for cafes, retail shops, random nail salons and other mysterious things like Delish Diner and Bakery, a sign I spotted the other day. Anyone know anything about it? A good, classic diner may be just what the wide-side-walked street needed…not that it wasn’t already perfect with the culinary trifecta of Mana Food Bar, Caffe Gelato and Milk and Honey..What are some of your most delish Division Street eats?

Delish Diner?

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Oostburg, WI eats

A Labor Day weekend celebration with old friends in Oostburg, WI, offered some good eats, but does it get any more Eastern Wisco than being handed a bag of Gibbsville cheese curds near a blazing beach bonfire? Gibbsville is actually a small, 65-year-old family run company in Sheboygan Falls I kind of want to visit for their string cheese and spreads. They have a relatively “cheesy” recipe for “friendship” on their Web site, but they also have tips for cooking with Wisconsin cheese, and Brett Favre’s Wisconsin Broccoli Cheddar cheese soup, in case you were looking for it.

Gibbsville cheese curds and Wisco bonfires

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Coca-Cola Freestyle at Pei Wei

A preview of the new Pei Wei Asian diner chain (officially opening next Tuesday) had us stuffing our faces full of Korean barbecue beef, spicy tea-smoked chicken, pork pot stickers, wok-fried shrimp pad Thai and crab wontons, but we also couldn’t get over the Coca-Cola freestyle machine, a soda fountain of the future where obscure flavors like caffeine-free raspberry Coke, peach Sprite Zero, flavored Dasani waters and other Franken-flavors are available at the push of a touch screen (literally). The technology to create the “100-drink soda bar” involves precise measurements of various concentrated syrups and flavors spewed from inkjet printer cartridges so that raspberry meets classic Coke, strawberry meets Sprite, and peach meets Fanta with the perfect balance. Of course there’s Coke, Sprite plain-old water and the rest of the usual suspects, but there’s also lots of room for carbonated experimentation (read raspberry Mr. Pibb). Pei Wei, 2709 N. Elston, 773.687.0290

The home screen of Coke Freestyle


Sleek design, obscure flavors amid the originals

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Random photo Friday: Orange Garden

I loved this 70-year-old Orange Garden sign spotted on West Irving Park. The post-thunderstorm sunset sky didn’t hurt the setting either, and I actually don’t mind the randomness of the sections of neon piping that decided to illuminate. Now to actually eat there..anyone ever been?

spotted off Lincoln Ave on W. Irving Park

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Sprinkles storefront

So what if it looks like a bird’s-eye view of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, I still kind of like the storefront of the impending Sprinkles cupcake shop on Walton (in the old Sur La Table space). I remember writing about this place years ago, and finally, they are set for a mid-July opening with cupcake flavors like Belgian dark chocolate marshmallow and lemon-blueberry with lemon-cream cheese frosting, frosting shots, drinking chocolates and gluten-free selections. More cupcakes for Chicago? Well, they get points for a cool storefront, so why not? 50 E Walton St.

The Sprinkles storefront, taken from the 900 N. Michigan parking lot

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On the hook, part 2

Even though Rockstar Dogs in West Town is (sadly) long gone, only to replaced by a somewhat weird sort of burger joint I have yet to try, a while back I dedicated a blog post to the hooks affixed under the counter at the tiny hot dog joint. Hooks under bars or communal seating areas are the first thing I look for when I sit down, and there’s really no excuse for a restaurant not to install them for purses, coats, etc. Truly, the entire dining experience is made better because of it. I understand not every seating situation is hook-friendly, but if you head to Tru they offer up a purse “stand” or at least they used to, and Blackbird offers an optional hook that rests right on your table. Brilliant.

Hooked up at Blackbird

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Random Photo Friday: Reel Sushi

Wow, I haven’t run one of these for a while. I love this photo I took through the window of Ringo Sushi, where the interior, exterior and reflection of buildings behind me show up in the same shot. But I mainly took it to capture the film projected on the wall inside. For some reason, their sushi-time screening bugged me, while I love the way the anime films look on the wall at Sushi X on Chicago and Milwaukee. Maybe because they play actual DVDs and Ringo had some bad action flick WITH COMMERCIALS. How do you feel about movies being screened with your sushi? Mildly annoying or artsy distraction from your date?

Ringo Sushi

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Not known for: Boudin Bakery

The Portland posts are not done! I promise. I just had to share this treat I saw on the counter at Boudin Bakery in Yountville, Calif. over the weekend. Boudin has locations all over CA, and they are know for their San Francisco sourdough bread, European hearth bread, seasonal tarts, and more. But I discovered and fell in love with one of their packaged items I like to call Neopolitan ice cream, um, in Rice Krispie Treat form. Chewy, soft rectangles of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla layered brilliantly together. Yes, as good/as looks.

Strawberry, chocolate and vanilla rice crispy treat at Boudin Bakery

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