If you’ve ever been to Chicago, you are probably aware of the thriving food scene. With multiple restaurants on each block, its not hard to get lost in the chaos. Prior to planning this trip, I spent a lot of time carefully researching some local gems with the highest ratings. I figured this would be a good way to start. Since I knew I would be on foot majority of the time, I made sure to flag any places I wanted to try in Google Maps so that I could visually see each restaurant throughout my treck, this ended up working out really well for me. Part of my mission; how much food can I sample in 36 hours…below you will find the absolute best of what I enjoyed during my time there.
2 words: Spicy, Chihuahua….curious? Keep reading…
I am so glad I ventured over to Mercadito. Let me preface this by saying that generally I DO NOT like corn tortillas, it’s a texture thing for me. Somehow I missed this little tidbit about Mercadito and when I found out (after we had been seated) I was a tad bit disappointed if I'm honest. In that moment, something in me said “just give it a try anyway.” The fillings looked too good to be denied and the photos were so attractive.
Ya’ll, when I tell you these are absolutely, positively, the BEST (mini) tacos I have ever had in my entire existence (thus far), I am not lying. I think the white corn made all the difference. We ordered 2 different types of tacos + an order of flautas and some drinks. Their camaron (shrimp) taco has this delicious smoky “chihuahua cheese” sauce that had a little kick to it and was absolutely remarkable. I also sampled the carne tacos which were topped with a "leek-poblano fondue and avocado salsa" (words from the menu). The drinks served as the perfect compliment to this tasty meal. Thank you Mercadito for completely changing my view of corn tortillas, I cannot wait to go back!!
Wild Berry Café
It’s not often that I become a repeat offender of visiting the same restaurant when I’m away from home. Truth be told, I’ve thought of these pancakes on and off for three years--the time between my last bite. I’m going to go ahead and let it be known that pancakes are not highest on the list for me in terms of most loved breakfast breads. I will go on record and say that these are my absolute faves. I think it’s the ultra fluffy nature of these cakes that had me thinking about them for 3 years. The value of what you get at Wildberry coupled with the magnificent flavor combinations is hard to match.
As if donuts and ice cream sandwiches weren’t enough by themselves. Firecakes mixes the two together for a really fun treat, perfect on a hot day. This tender donut did a great job encompassing the right amount of sweet vanilla ice cream. The best part of this childhood favorite is a homemade caramel drizzle. Yum yum!
XO is yet another Instagram find I was clamoring to visit for quite a while. This cute little gem far exceeded any expectations I have for marshmallows and when I say marshmallows don’t think of those adorable jet puffed pillows in the bag at your local grocery; think out-of-this-world, bursting with flavor, party-in-your-mouth, clouds of joy (phew). Yeah, so I got the chance to sample the Lavender Honey, Nutella, Cookies and Cream, Salted Caramel, and Champagne marshmallows. Each one MUST have been infused with each flavor matching ingredient. I also tried the Cookie Dough Marshmallow Cup and Frozen Hot Chocolate. Each item I tried at this café wonderland was fit for a queen (or king). I am thrilled that I got the chance to visit in person but even more thrilled that I can make the memories last by ordering my favorite flavors online.
Goddess and the Baker
As soon I entered, I immediately noticed the beautiful décor and a large glass display of baked goodies. I am ashamed to say that I did not try any of the baked goods but they did look amazing. I was forced to give my stomach a bit of a break at this point lol. However; I did enjoy a healthy and hearty bowl of oatmeal with berries as well as a drink aptly named “Ginger Tonic.”
I’m already compiling a list of places to try the next time I’m in Chicago. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading until the end!