Trip to Chicago, IL

June 14th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Now that I’m back from a quick weekend trip to Chicago, I thought I’d share some pictures from the windy city and links to places my mom and I visited while we were there.

I live near Madison, Wisconsin, which is a great mid-size town with plenty to do and see. But I’m glad that the big city of Chicago is just a short drive away. There’s nothing like a weekend of scenic skyscrapers, crazy cab rides, and hitting the shops on Michigan Avenue!


Old Town Art Fair

On Saturday, we strolled through the Old Town Art Fair in the historic Old Town neighborhood. The art and live music were fun, but we enjoyed feasting our eyes on the beautiful architecture and home gardens even more. Despite the drizzly weather, our afternoon of browsing and oohing-and-aahing was well spent.


Karyn’s on Green

Dinner on Saturday was a special night out at Karyn’s on Green. I did some research ahead of time on Chicago-area restaurants that are gluten-free and found this gem while surfing the web one night. Karyn founded three restaurants in the area, this one being the more “upscale” of the three. The menu is entirely vegan with gluten-free, soy-free, and nut/seed-free options marked on the menu.

For an appetizer, my mom and I shared the Aged Raw Cheese Plate with raw crackers made from dehydrated flaxseeds and a fresh pear relish. The four different raw cheeses were made from cashews, blue-green algae, brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts. Unlike the common raw cheese recipes I’ve made in the past pureeing soaked nuts with herbs and water to yield a consistency much like thick applesauce, the raw cheeses at Karyn’s were firm and more like semi-soft goat cheese.

Aged Raw Cheese Plate from Karyn's on Green

Next we each enjoyed a salad: the Chopped Vegetable Salad with seasonal vegetables and an Italian vinaigrette, and the Arugula Salad with a blood orange vinaigrette, goji berries, and shaved fennel. The orange vinaigrette was addictively delicious. Had I been presented with a bottle of it, I could have drank the entire thing! 

For my entree, I savored the Raw Maki Roll: nori wrapped around fresh vegetables, red pepper nut pate, fresh sprouts, and a few crunchy sunflower seeds. The menu did not indicate that there would be avocado in the roll, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted a few creamy slices in my first bite.

Raw Maki Roll from Karyn's on Green

After a knock-out three course meal, dessert sounded good but would have likely overfilled me. But if I had wanted to, I could have enjoyed Karyn’s gluten-free Bananas Foster or the raw Ice-Cream Cookies. Perhaps on my next trip…


Me and my mom at Karyn's on Green


The Great Taste Cafe

I had wanted to get to another restaurant as well, The Great Taste Cafe on Grand Avenue. The entire menu is gluten-free and vegan with dishes that sound like something I would make at home, such as the green smoothie with chard, kale, cucumber, and parsley or the chard and kale salad with roasted root vegetables, pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.

If you’re ever in the Chicago area and want to try out a unique gluten-free eatery, give Great Taste a try. I’d love to hear about your experience. Someday I hope to get there in my travels.


Back in my Kitchen…

The problem with me when I eat out is that I come home from a restaurant wanting to recreate whatever it was that I enjoyed so much there. In the next few weeks I hope to concoct a raw cracker somewhat similar to Karyn’s and maybe take a stab at that blood orange vinaigrette.

I’ll keep you posted!


  1. I didn’t realize you lived near Madison. I live in Madison. Small world, eh? :)

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