Wicker Park in top ten places for Millennials

One of our favorite lunch specials at $5.95 for 3 courses on Division Street a short walk from Two Urns.

One of our favorite lunch specials at $6.50 for 3 courses on Division Street a short walk from Two Urns.

Niche Ink just announced Chicago and Wicker Park neighborhood as the #4 on their list of places for Millennials to live.

25 Best Cities and Neighborhoods for Millennials

Just one more reason to stay in Wicker Park on your next visit to Chicago.  Our tip for the day:  The Bedford – a great lounge located in the safety deposit vault of a bank just 2 blocks from the Two Urns.  Stop by for a late night drink, have a little supper, enjoy all Wicker Park has to offer.

Jukebox Opera at Blue Star Wine Bar – April 13th, 2014

Jukebox Opera at Blue Star Wine Bar – April 13th, 2014

jukebox opera
On Sunday, April 13 join in operatic fun at the Blue Star Bistro & Wine Bar for Opera Inter Alia’s “Jukebox Opera”! Located just 2 blocks from Two Urns at 1209 N. Noble Street you can easily find your home after a night out at the opera.
For those unfamiliar, Opera Inter Alia offers a harmonious blend of opera and standard songs – and, as always, finishes strong with a sing-along.
This month they are trying out a new concept – Jukebox Opera – whereby the audience chooses selections from their “jukebox list” to be performed live!
Come and join the fun!
For those of you that know Blue Star’s “Cindy” – she will be performing!
NO COVER CHARGE – just order from our menu and enjoy the music.
RESERVATIONS are highly recommended as our opera nights typically sell out!
773.278.2233773.278.2233
Cafe Absinthe, French Fare in Wicker Park

Cafe Absinthe, French Fare in Wicker Park

Crab Cake first course and Beet Salad

Crab Cake first course and Beet Salad

Although we have always planned dining here, we  just never made it through the charming back alley entrance into this French bistro before today.  Just the perfect amount of lighting for a great first date or romantic dinner we enjoyed the Beet salad the Boston Lobster Salad, Horseradish crusted Salmon was excellent and the Tenderloin was also very good.  Wine was excellent and the service was superb, attentive and yet not intrusive, thorough and not stuffy.  A big thumbs up for Cafe Absinthe in Wicker Park: just enter through the alley off Damen, just north of North Avenue – follow the green sprite. About $50/person with drink.

Chocolate Strawberry French Toast

Chocolate Strawberry French Toast

Chocolate Strawberry French Toast

Chocolate Strawberry French Toast

It’s the morning after Valentine’s Day, 2014 and I decided to splurge and make a Chocolate Strawberry French Toast this morning for my guests – many who are returning guests, who all loved it and thought this was not TOO sweet of a breakfast entree; consensus was to put this in as a rotating entree at the Two Urns kitchen.

Start by making a custard of: 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup cocoa, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp almond flavoring – whisk well until the cocoa is absorbed.I cut hearts out of a hearty multi-grain bread for this special breakfast day and used two hearts per serving.  Dip hearts in cocoa custard and fry on both sides.

I also made a Chocolate Ganache from heating 1 cup whipping cream and pouring over 8 oz of 72% dark chocolate, chopped finely.  Let sit for 2 min. then stir and Voila! you have Ganache – so easy.  I put some in a squeeze bottle and kept warm on the back of the cook top as the oven was keeping the yummy muffins warm.  The rest of the ganache I am saving for making hot chocolate, yum!

Place two hearts on a plate.  Place cut strawberries on top. Squeeze some ganache on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp almond flavoring
  • pinch of salt
  • strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced in quarters
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped)
  • powdered sugar
The Haute and the Dog

The Haute and the Dog

Hankerin' for a good dog?

Hankerin’ for a good dog?

This high-tailin’ sausage shop is just a short walk away from the B&B.  With daily specials and small sides of cole slaw, mac and cheese or baked beans they can also make some tofu/vegan dogs with whole wheat buns.   Dogs run about $3.5 to $5 – cash only.  Limited seating.  Just walk north of Division on Damen 2 blocks to this corner sausage shop.

Delish Diner

Delish Diner

The Delish Burger - topped with bacon and fried egg

The Delish Burger – topped with bacon and fried egg

Delish offers regular diner fare, burgers, tuna melt, reuben, shakes and sundaes in a retro decor complete with 2 sets of 1940′s kitchen table and chairs in the front windows.  A very respectable burger for $7, they have daily specials, too.  2018 W Division Street – just west of Damen.  (773) 276-5200

Nando Milano Trattoria

Nando Milano Trattoria

Nando Milano's owner will greet you with a smile

Nando Milano’s owner will greet you with a smile

We sometimes have a hard time squeezing in last minute to this wonderful,  very Italian trattoria, offering authentic home-made pastas and great Italian hospitality by the owner, Dario, who generally greets you at the door.  Luca is a wonderful server and don’t miss out on their Limoncello – a great way to end their delicious Italian fare.  It feels like Italy when we walk in here.   Kalina loves the gnocchi with gorgonzola and Kapra’s favorite is the Fettuccini Bolognese.  Al fresco dining during good weather, but  it is always better to make a reservation in advance 773-486-2636.  Located a short walk from Two Urns, just past Damen at 2114 W. Division. www.nandomilano.com

Artopolis in Greektown

Artopolis in Greektown

Greektown's perfect little pastry and cafe  is open late!

Greektown’s perfect little pastry and cafe is open late!

Artopolis is our family favorite cafe for late night nibbles and delectable desserts.  Try a  slice of hazelnut or mango mousse – you can also pick up a cake to-go or butter cookies or freshly baked breads.  This lively cafe has open windows to the sidewalk during summer and is cozy and warm in the winter serving dinner or desserts.

El Barco

El Barco

Whole red Snapper is a great catch here!

Whole red Snapper is a great catch here!

This ship-shape restaurant has lots of fresh fish in true Mexican style.  Their “coctel de camaron” reminds Miguel and me of Xipolite: hanging in hammocks, ordering beer and “coctel” as we watched the sun set on the wild surf  of the Pacific.   Served with totopos or saltines (de rigeur table side) it’s a great way to get the night started and we also love their ceviche – freshly prepared and never disappoints.  A pitcher of Mango Margaritas is the best way to really quench your thirst on a warm summer’s night in Chicago followed by the feast of one of their Parrilladas – grilled chicken, steak, seafood and vegetables for 2, 3 or more; easily shared between 3 or 4.  This is simply great, authentic “mariscos” and always takes us back to memories of relaxing vacations by the sea.

Shaw’s Crab House

Shaw's Crab House for fresh oysters and seafood

Shaw’s Crab House for fresh oysters and seafood

This Lettuce Entertain You restaurant serves fresh fish including a wide range of fresh oysters in a formal, dimly lit, dining room or a more casual oyster bar where all the action occurs. We celebrated Miguel’s birthday at their Sunday brunch in the oyster bar, with four stations of food:

  • chilled seafood with ceviche, sushi, lobster and shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, chopped salad and bagels
  • omelette and waffles made-to-order
  • breakfast meats, eggs, eggs benedict, potatoes, crabcakes, breaded shrimp, potatoes au gratin and roast beef carving station
  • mini desserts that included hand dipped chocolate strawberries, key lime tart, pot au creme, fresh fruit, cookies, mini cupcakes, creme brulee and truffle pops

‘O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
‘You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none –
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

… and you will want to join Lewis Carroll in eating one of everything, so take an empty stomach.

Live music in the evenings and it is just next to one of Chicago’s top Jazz venues: Andy’s so walk a couple of doors west to Andy’s for a Chicago Classic Jazz club.  Shaw’s Crab House, 21 E. Hubbard Street (312) 527-2722