I had mentioned in the previous post how I spent St. Patty’s weekend in Chicago. While Saturday was fun drinking in the city – literally (oy lol), Sunday was fun too! I got to have a mini blogger meet up with Diana from Veggie Next Door!
I remember I had originally started reading her blog when I randomly saw that someone had been writing about Ann Arbor, the art fair here, Seva (my favorite vegetarian restaurant here in town) and Zingermans. It turned out to be Diana and I was instantly excited about her blog because she too is a vegetarian and has some great recipes to share. We already had a lot in common and I didn’t even know her that well at the time! We kept in touch over the past 9 months, commenting on each others blogs, tweeting, sharing restaurant reviews, recipes and emailing one another. Then finally we had an opportunity to hang out this past weekend!
As it turns out, this gorgeous girl lives in the same neighborhood as my sister! Talk about small world. It’s things like this that make me realize that Chicago isn’t so big – it only seems that way. When we found out we would be in the same neck of the woods, we decided to meet up for brunch and hang out for the afternoon. It was so much fun. Plus the weather was so nice that it just made for a really great Sunday.
My sister and I met Diana at Cafe Selmaríe, which is in Lincoln Square. It’s a little French-type bistro and I’ve been wanting to eat there since my sister and brother-in-law bought their house in the area. The problem is on Sundays there’s almost always a wait since a lot of peeps dig the whole brunch scene. Luckily this time, the wait was only about 30 minutes so it worked out great because we were able to be total chatterboxes while waiting to be seated.
Cafe Selmaríe had some great options for brunch, a lot of which were vegetarian – a plus! Diana had mentioned they have a really good vegetarian chili, but sadly they weren’t serving it on this particular Sunday. Next time! They had a lot of other yummy things for us to choose, though.
The first thing we needed was something to drink. It was already getting to 80-degree weather that afternoon and three of us were parched. So we started with an Iced green tea.
It was the perfect thing on such a hot day. Oh yeah, did I mention it was March 18th? I don’t think it’s normally that hot in the city in March! As far as good goes, we all got some tasty treats. My sister got their breakfast croissant: scrambled eggs and gruyere on a croissant (she got it without ham), mixed greens salad and diced potatoes – looked so delicious! Diana ordered the wild mushroom omelet with the mixed greens salad – also looked uber delicious. I saw one thing on the menu and knew instantly I had to get it.
No…it wasn’t the corned beef hash (nast).
Egg florentine had my name all over it. I find it weird that I hate getting my eggs over easy or over medium, but poached? Love ‘em. I know it doesn’t make sense, but what did make sense is that this dish was delicious and totally hit the spot.
Diana was also the biggest sweetheart and surprised me with a little gift from her Asian adventures this past fall. She gave this little bag (that had two little bags in it!) and it was made from recycled materials.
I already plan on using them as lens bags for my camera. Thanks Diana! <3
After brunch, we walked to the Chicago Public Library branch in the area, which excited my sister since she needed to renew her card. While she was in line for that, Diana took me up to the cooking/cookbook section (WE ARE NERDS) and showed me all these great cookbooks she’s checked out before. One stood out that I plan on ordering - Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I looked through the book a the library and there were so many yummy looking recipes in there, some of which Diana had made before and recommended. She had a great idea though: let’s try our luck and see if a used book store might have the book. So that was our next stop.
Unfortunately my sister needed to head back to her place, so Diana and I continued our Lincoln Square adventure! I took her to the Ravenswood Used Books store right on N. Lincoln.
I had been there before with my sister and she reminded us about checking it out. And since Diana hadn’t been there before, it was a great idea to check it out that day. It’s a quirky little store. Literally…little!
This place is floor-to-ceiling with books. It’s so tiny and you have to maneuver your way around all the little aisles, but it’s full of so many different kinds of books – some are even super old.
We scoped out the cookbook section (duh)…after taking a while to find it (we kept passing it lol). We ended up buying one book each. I bought 15-Minute Vegetarian Gourmet by Paulette Mitchell. There area lot of great recipes in there I can’t wait to try and at $6, you can’t beat it! I didn’t find Vegan Brunch, but Amazon is a beautiful thing ;)
Once we had bought our books and had our fill of the bookstore, we walked down to the Delicatessen Meyer/Gene’s Deli on N. Lincoln. It’s a German market, which I thought was just a butcher place since they hang meats and stuff in the front window (No joke. It’s gross!), but I was surprised to see that it was a full market with produce, world items, tea, all kinds of wine and more!
After that we walked across the street to this cute little toy store, then we walked next door to the Chopping Block. This store is really great but really expensive. The entire store is basically a store for Le Creuset (drool but spendy!) and little kitchen knick knacks. But they’re best known for offering cooking classes and knife/cutting technique classes.
Once we were done buying some kitchen goodies we had to part ways, but I am so so glad I got to finally meet her! It was such a fun day and we realized we have so much in common and our significant others have a ton in common too. I can’t wait to hang out with her again maybe later on this summer when I’m back in the city or if she comes back to A2 :)
Do you like exploring your neighborhood for new stores?
What’s the best one you’ve found?