As a professional dancer and food lover, I have found that the two passions do not necessarily compliment one another. Embarking upon my new "adult" life in Chicago, I have come to the conclusion that it is my duty to make the two work for me. Luckily I have found a third passion, biking.
Okay, now I'm going to start gushing over this awesome city. The new bike share program, Divvy Bikes, is perhaps the best thing to happen to Chicagoans since the recent donut boom. (Ya, I'm talking to you Glazed and Infused.) Biking around the city allows us to "burn a few" in order to enjoy the amazing food this city has to offer, sans guilt. So here it is, a day of eating and biking in Chica-yummmmm.
First step, find the closest Divvy station and rent a bike for 24 hours for just $7. Or better yet, use your own!
By the Addison brown line you will find a cozy little restaurant called Endgrain. I already tempted you with donuts so I feel obligated to get you a donut for breakfast. The new kid on the block is the "doughscuit" a donut biscuit hybrid. Thank me later. Treat yourself to one of these and a coffee for just $5. If you need a little more substance try one of their breakfast sammies on a buttermilk biscuit. If you want something lighter, check out their baked egg dish, complete with squash blossoms and chèvre.
After breakfast hop on your bike and head south. At Damen and Milwaukee you will find yourself in Wicker Park. Here you can spend some time in one trendy shop after another. My personal favorite, Rudy's Roundup, is a kitschy gift shop with vintage flair.
After a three and a half mile bike ride and some shopping you are sure to have worked up an appetite. You can find my favorite salad in the heart of Wicker Park at Antique Taco, a vintage taqueria. The Antique Taco salad is perhaps one of the most well rounded meals I've found; light yet filling. Antique Taco also keeps it seasonal by adding the freshest daily produce. My last Antique Taco salad was crowned with plump strawberries that complimented the bitterness of the kale and rounded out the salty peanuts and cojita cheese. You will not be disappointed. If you are still hungry, get an order of their killer tacos. The beer battered fish are a personal favorite.
The last stop on my foodie tour is downtown. After you are finished in Wicker Park head east. You could spend the rest of your day shopping on Michigan or perhaps take a stroll around Lincoln Park Zoo. Another personal favorite to check out, The Chicago History Museum. The options are endless.
At Clark and Grand, Restaurant Beatrix awaits you. This menu is dripping with fresh ingredients. They have everything from turkey 'neatloaf' to chia seed pudding. Also, for all of you running away from the gluten monster you will find safety at Beatrix. The gluten free options are outstanding, in fact, the entire dessert menu is gluten free. Yes, you heard me. For dinner I suggest the turkey neatloaf. It's like mama's cookin' minus the guilt. Hydrate that bike ridin' bod with one of their fresh squeezed juices. Blueberry basil, anyone?
You've worked hard today, don't you think you deserve a treat? Check out their pastry case that accompanies the coffee bar. Although not everything is gluten free, it is all delicious. I suggest the oatmeal butterscotch cookie. Did I mention it is the size of your face? Perhaps it is one to split...or not.
Hopefully, this can serve as a guide to eating in this wonderful city of food without feeling like a bloated, grumpy tourist. The fresh ingredients so many restaurants use should be celebrated and balanced with an active way of life. So get out there, Chicago, and enjoy.
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