Edgewater Produce on Chicago's North Side is mainly known as a Mexican ethnic grocery store, but the big secret is that they have excellent fresh produce at some of the best prices in the city. They frequently run specials, such as a dozen limes for a dollar, or two pounds of peaches for a dollar. The quality is comparable to what you'd find at your local farmer's market -- very good! They also have a nice meat section, and of course their selection of Mexican specialty foods can't be beat.
RL Chicago is the Ralph Lauren restaurant, and like the designer, the food is traditional, classic, and chic -- with a twist. Their menu is upscale American and very tasty, but beyond the food is the atmosphere. To die for! So rich and warm and comfortable. The decor is as mulitfaceted as the fashion line, including many photos of American icons and symbolic images. Service is impeccible and only adds to the enjoyment. This is a place to sit and savor your meal and the wonderful surroundings!
Who doesn't love cupcakes? Cupcakes bakery takes cupcakes to a new level. Now they're gourmet! They're the perfect little treat, and Cupcakes makes flavor combinations you've never heard of, including chocolate Merlot (one of my favorites), spumoni, and double coconut. Their menu changes weekly so you can try different cupcakes all the time! They also do a good job on classic, more traditional cupcakes. Their cake is moist and delicious, and not too sweet, and the icings have a great consistency. The shop is cute, and the cupcakes are priced according to their haute cuisine status (not cheap, but worth every penny). These are ideal for special occasions, incuding birthdays and other celebrations -- but they're a great treat for everyday too!
There's a good reason Chicago Magazine voted Metropolis as the best latte in the city -- this coffee shop rules! Not only is this a great place to go and drink coffee and hang out in their newly expanded store, but it's also a great place to buy beans. They are roasted in-house and are of the highest quality. The blends are skillfuly mixed and roasted and the prices are better than what you would see in other bigger coffee chains. Food and Wine Magazine also rated it one of the 10 best coffee houses in the country! Stop by and see why! I'm sure you'll agree.
Parkview Pets is a great place to shop for your pets if you don't want to go to a national chain pet store retailer where it can be impersonal and boring. They offer many of the same products at the same good prices -- and they have a large selection of organic and natural pet foods. I especially appreciate the store because they don't overlook cats and have a lot of great cat toys you don't see anywhere else. They also have pet adoption listings and can help you find a new pet if you're looking to add one to your family. This is a great store with personalized serivce, and everyone is friendly and truly loves pets!
My husband bought his new fixed-gear bike at this shop, and he was really happy with the service there. The shop offers more high-end bikes and is geared toward serious bike enthusiasts. They offered personalized service and one-on-one attention, and he was happy with their advice and expertise. It's a high quality shop with high quality gear!
Sweet Occasions in Andersonville serves up delicious ice cream and many other treats, such as baked goods and cakes. The number of ice cream flavors is astounding -- it's so hard to decide! But the high-quality ice cream is so rich and creamy that you can't go wrong whatever your decision. The atmosphere in the shop is homey and comfortable, with dark wood and an old-world feel. They also offer a great selection of sandwiches and salads, to go along with your ice cream or shake!
The Chicagoland Bike Federation is a wonderful organzation that supports bike riders throughout the area. They focus on how bike riders and motorists can get along better. They offer a lot of great classes on safety and training and even repair, all at fair prices. Visible throughout the community and at many community events, they are a strong and powerful positive advocate for bikers and bikers' rights. They make Chicago one of the best biking towns in the country!
Performance is a great place to buy stuff for your bike. They always have sales and their prices are fair and affordable, unlike some other shops that have higher prices. The only down side is the lack of customer service. I walked in the store and they didn't even acknowledge that I was there or ask if I needed help. So it's a good place to go if you know what you want -- get in and get out, and don't expect a lot of help from the staff.
Joie de Vine is the perfect little wine bar, nestled right in a small strip of stores (three) in a residential neighborhood near Ravenswood and West Edgewater. The interior is sleek and modern yet comfortable, with couches and other movable seats and tables. The bar runs the length of nearly the entire building and is flanked by cool wine racks that run up to the ceiling.The wine list is fairly extensive for this small-sized wine bar, and the prices are really reasonable, considering the high quality of the wines and their diversity. They also offer several small cheese and meat flights to accompany both red and white wines. The bartenders are attentive and friendly and are happy to make suggestions and other customers are friendly as well. This is a great place, a hidden gem!