Extra creamy and creatively flavored, Jeni's has a remarkably ability to make other ice cream seem one dimensional—like it's missing something. Though Jeni's has been shipping to Chicago for years, I was still excited when the company announced plans for a permanent scoop shop in Lakeview.
One of Ed's best sellers is his baked version of S'mores. Marshmallow fluff and Hershey's chocolate bars (a requirement for any classic s'more) are sandwiched between two layers of buttery graham cookie.
I'll repeat what I've said in the past: in terms of sweets, Chicago is a blessed city. In no particular order—because it was hard enough to pick my favorites—here are my top ten for the year.
Ahh the caramel apple. What other treat gives you such sticky, crispy, crunchy satisfaction while simultaneously reminding you of the best of all seasons? I can't think of any, but maybe that's because I'm distracted by the addition of chocolate to this caramel apple.
I have attempted my own oatmeal smoothie creations in the past but was always disappointed in the result: a half mealy/half viscous not-quite-liquid that I couldn't decide if I wanted to drink like a smoothie or eat with a spoon. Tiztal's creation, on the other hand, somehow transforms oatmeal into a delightfully drinkable treat.
With caramel literally oozing out of cracks in the chocolate, this bar begs to be stickily pulled apart and eaten with a steaming cup of coffee or tea on a chilly fall day.
Though the chocolate chip may entice with a beguiling top hat of extra chocolate chips, skip it in favor of the Chocolate Oatmeal. Sporting some beautiful lacey butter and brown sugar edges and a deliciously chewy center, this is one oatmeal cookie unmarred by the inclusion of raisins.
Don't write off what appears to be just another cupcake truck. Surprisingly enough, a cold and creamy treat can also be found at Sweet Ride in the form of their simple Banana Pudding. Nilla wafers and slices of fresh banana are nestled among layers of vanilla pudding so thick and creamy it could almost pass as custard.
Until recently, my Greek pastry knowledge was limited to that king of Greek sweets: baklava. I set out to correct this embarrassing gap in my sweets consciousness this past weekend at Artopolis.
It may not look like French toast, but Nellcôte calls it Pain Perdu ($18 as part of their prix fixe brunch menu). They even take their French chateau concept a step further by topping it with "Crème Chantilly," which is just vanilla-enhanced whipped cream en Français. But they could call this cream bread, and I'd still take every single out-of-towner here for the next 10 years.
Jessie Oloroso, the head of Black Dog herself, was kind enough to give me free reign in her kitchen to see how she makes the shop's most popular flavor: Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel gelato.
With National Ice Cream Month slowly winding down, it seemed like we needed one last crazy way to celebrate. And what better way to do so than to try to eat one ludicrously enormous sundae? And no sundae in Chicago seemed to fit the bill more than the World's Largest Terrapin Sundae at Margie's Candies
Though you may usually hear "Ada Street" and "cocktail" in the same breath, this is the kind of restaurant you visit for one thing but leave remembering another.
Lincoln Park has transformed for Green City Market on a sun-drenched Saturday morning, and there's a line forming at a corner booth, as kids, dogs, and shoppers queue up to make their purchases. It's not kohlrabi they're gunning for (though I wouldn't blame them if they were), but one of Seedling Farms' super-refreshing cider smoothies.
When was the last time you had carrot cake? Yeah, it had been a while for me, too. But when a friend couldn't stop raving about the "best he's ever had" carrot cake at Julius Meinl, I figured it was worth a bike ride up to the Viennese pâtisserie's newest location in Ravenswood.
The wacky spring weather Chicago has experienced over the past two months has at least one silvery lining: the arrival of the strawberry sundae ($10) at Nightwood. Pastry chef Matthew Rice jumped at the chance to transform simple berries into his strawberry sundae—an elegant, balanced version of a childhood favorite.
These days, peanut brittle doesn't get the respect it deserves, relegated as it is to grandmothers' holiday tables and that unappreciated space on the Candy Land board. Zingerman's, I believe, could single-handedly reverse this.
Even as the city acclimates to the idea of trendy doughnuts from fine dining vets, a $5 frosted ring of dough is still gutsy. When 2 Sparrows first opened, attention centered on the signature maple-bacon doughnut and foie gras-cherry Pop-Tart, but a new tiramisu-flavored doughnut trumps both of those creations.
Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop doesn't have all the over-the-top Athenian accoutrements of some of its Greektown neighbors: no blue and white tile motif, no mural of the Parthenon, no flaming cheese served tableside. But what it does have is some of the best baklava in the city, featuring dozens of layers of flaky phyllo that crack and wilt into one syrupy, nutty bite.