Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

rosas loungeA new Mexican fusion restaurant is getting lots of kudos from food critic, Phil Vettel,   Dos Urban Cantina (2829 W. Armitage Ave) for their unique take on Mexican cuisine – both chef/owners are previously Topolobampo veterans . Opens daily at 5 pm.  Combine this dining experience with a visit to one of the top 5 “storefront” art galleries in  Chicago, Art on Armitage, (4125 W. Armitage Ave) curated by local artist, Mary Ellen Croteauknown for her bottle cap portraits.  Plan your visit towards the end of the day and take in some great blues in one of the ‘down and dirty’ blues clubs Rosa’s Lounge (3420 W Armitage Ave) opens daily at 8 pm.  You can catch the Armitage bus west near  the Western Stop of the Blue line at Milwaukee or at Cortland and Ashland, just a short walk north of us.   Or drive – plenty of on-street PayDisplay parking on that part of Armitage.

Ukrainian Village

Ukrainian Village

Did you know that Two Urns is less than a mile from the heart of the Ukrainian Village?  Just southwest thrives a Chicago neighborhood rich in the history and culture of the Ukraine.  Take a short walk west on Division to Damen then south to Chicago and west to one of Chicago’s few Ukrainian restaurants, Old Lviv  (2228 W Chicago Avenue 773-772-7250 – closed Mondays), serving a full buffet with Ukrainian fare:  stuffed cabbage, chicken,  borscht soup and much more that will get you in the mood to explore the rest of Chicago’s Ukraine.  Across the street at Oakley is Sts. Volodymyr and Ohla church (2245 W. Superior) and north one block is St. Nicholas Cathedral (835 N. Oakley).  Ann’s bakery (2158 W Chicago) has freshly baked breads and other imported jams from the Ukraine available and is our go-to place for paczkis (poonch-kees) a traditional Pre-Lenten  treat.

The Ukrainian National Museum, is at 2249 W. Superior, just south of Sts. V&O at Oakley; the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art  at 2320 w. Chicago Ave. (open Noon -4 pm Weds-Sundays)  hosts local and Ukrainian contemporary art exhibits.

Ukraina Deli (2340 W Chicago) is also a favorite of ours with meats, cheeses and traditional Ukrainian desserts to-go.   If you wish a patisserie-style  cafe, a little farther down Chicago Ave. is Shokolad Pastry and Cafe (2524 W Chicago Ave.), a lovely spot to get a cappucino and dessert or brunch.

The Ukrainian Village is filled with lots of 3 and 6 flat apartment buildings and well-coiffed fronts, so feel free to weave your back through any of the residential streets between Chicago and Division.  Although the church is Russian ortpysanky2hodox, if you are still looking for ecclesiastical treats, Holy Trinity Orthodox church at 1121 N Leavitt (just off the end of Division’s Restaurant Row) is one of Louis Sullivan’s jewels.

An annual Ukrainian fest is held each September and you can pick up dyes and pysanky tools at the local gift shop, Delta Ukrainian Enterprise, 2222 W. Chicago Ave.  Orthodox Easter falls on May 1 st this year.

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.