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Pumpkin Bucket List

It's in the latte. It's on your neighbor's stoop. It's scattered throughout the generic canned food aisle. Pumpkins are back and they are everywhere. Before you spin off into a dizzied pumpkin frenzy, you need a handy guide for how to navigate the pumpkin waters. Herewith, your pumpkin dining guide for fall 2014: 

FIG + OLIVE
(How FIG + OLIVE does fall ravioli)

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Floriole Cafe & Bakery: Pumpkin desserts and pastries reach a fever pitch at Floriole Cafe & Bakery in the form of pumpkin sticky buns, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin clafoutis. 

DMK Burger Bar: Pumpkin pie shakes are the shake of the month at DMK Burger Bar, made by mixing vanilla ice cream with fresh pumpkin puree, malt, milk, whipped cream, and sugared pumpkin seeds. 

Milk & Honey Cafe: You can eat and drink your morning away at Milk & Honey Cafe, where cream cheese-frosted pumpkin cake adjoins coconut-pumpkin lattes. 
 
Girl & the Goat: Dexterous chef Stephanie Izard continues to dazzle with novel takes on familiar seasonal ingredients. Her latest offbeat combo finds Tasmanian ocean trout cozied up to pumpkin brandade, fried Brussels sprouts, candied pecans, and pomegranate. Across the street, Little Goat has a little Halloween fun with its new Jack-O-Lantern shake with spiced pumpkin gelato, Kilgus half and half, whipped cream, and pepita caramel corn. 

Cactus Bar and Grill: It doesn't get much more autumnal than pumpkin cider, a beverage that seamlessly blends two of the most distinctive fall ingredients in one handy, heady brew. It's on hand at Cactus Bar and Grill, where Ace Pumpkin Cider is a seasonal sensation. It's made with fermented apple juice, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, carbonated and kegged, marking the first of its kind in the Midwest. 

North Pond: Pastry chef Greg Mosko further proves his impeccable creativity and finesse with one of his latest desserts. Taking on pumpkins for the new tasting menu dessert, he's whipping up pumpkin-spiced cheesecake mousse with maple-poached cranberries, maple cranberry pearls, candied pecans, pecan streusel, cranberry sorbet, stout ale cake, and fried sage. 

Chop Shop: Vanilla vodka, Frangelico, Bols yogurt, housemade pumpkin syrup, half and half, and pumpkin puree join forces to make for one seriously rich and decadent pumpkin libation at Chop Shop. It's all finished with a toasted marshmallow because why not. 

Tavern on Rush
(Pumpkin pancake time at Tavern on Rush)
 
PUBLIC Hotel's Library Coffee Bar: Rise and shine at the PUBLIC Hotel's Library Coffee Bar. Just follow the aromatic aroma of pumpkin muffins strewn with pepitas streusel. Or pumpkin and banana breakfast bread. Or fresh pumpkin spice lattes. 

FIG + OLIVE: Pumpkin-sage ravioli is a pasta combo as old as time iteself. Or something along those lines. The one-two punch is on the menu at FIG + OLIVE, and true to form the restaurant is upping the ante on traditional templates by incorporating chicken, ricotta, charmoula, and pumpkin olive oil into the mix. 

Tavern on Rush: Pumpkin pancakes are a requisite fall breakfast. Get your fix at Tavern on Rush, where the seasonal sensations are back on the menu through December. Executive chef John Gatsos makes his version by supplementing the classic flour-eggs-milk-sugar formula with pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and cinnamon-brown sugar butter. 

312 Chicago: Pumpkin and chocolate are not frequent bedfellows, but when they do team up they work magic together. Case in point, the new budino di pane (bread pudding) at 312 Chicago. Courtesy of sous chef Luis Silva, the salacious new dessert features custard-soaked brioche bedecked with pumpkin, chocolate chips, burnt caramel gelato, and pumpkin seed brittle. 

312 Chicago
(Dessert is served at 312 Chicago)

State and Lake Chicago Tavern: It's pumpkin spice like you've never tasted before at State and Lake Chicago Tavern, where pastry chef Toni Roberts raises the bar with pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin cheesecake with honey wheat beignets, Valhrona dulcet whip, and salted pepita crunch. 

Eataly: Eataly runneth over with fresh pumpkin provisions. The produce department is brimming with local and organic varieties of pumpkins, while the bakery contains pumpkin cookies and the marketplace is stocked with Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.
 
25 Degrees: Another spot reinvigorating the pumpkin spice standard is 25 Degrees. Joining the milkshake lineup this season is their new pumpkin spice spiked shake, made with housemade pumpkin puree sauce, butterscotch caramel, vanilla ice cream, and spiced rum. 
 
Nacional 27: Pumpkin adopts a Spanish accent at Nacional 27. Here, an apt seasonal snack is their new pumpkin and goat cheese croquetas. 
 
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab: Finally, think outside the pie tin with a novel take on pumpkin pie at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab. Executive chef Danny Espinoza makes his a pumpkin chiffon pie, featuring pumpkin mousse lined in a graham cracker crust with maple syrup, candied walnuts, and whipped cream. 

- Matt Kirouac
Tags: pumpkin

This River North eatery introduced the Modern Latin craze to Chicago with an innovative food and drink menu. There's also live entertainment and dancing on the weekends, as the restaurant...

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One of Wicker Park's favorite breakfast and lunch hangouts, Milk & Honey is woman owned and attracts the stroller set during the earlier hours for locally made granola, pastries and...

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Located in the Financial District, this bar gets all the traders. It's convenient Loop location makes it an ideal after-work and happy hour destination for Mexican drinks and bar food.

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Fresh, contemporary Italian cuisine features at this restaurant adjoining the Hotel Allegro in the heart of the Loop.


Creative takes on traditional dishes made from local and regional ingredients pair with artisanal beers, an all-American wine list and handcrafted, classic cocktails in this hotel dining room.State and Lake's...

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Floriole specializes in "rustic French pastries" including croissants, gallettes and brioche. Some lunch items, namely sandwiches, salads and quiches, are also available.

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The burger trend continues with the opening of this signature burger spot in River North. It's named for the difference in temperatures between a medium-rare and a well-done burger. Executive...

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This multi-tiered dining and drinking destination is housed in a 100-year-old former auto body shop. Chop Shop, based in Bucktown/Wicker Park, offers a number of components that complement each other,...

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Joe Bastianich's 63,000-square-foot, two-level complex is an eight-restaurant "polpo," as well as a butcher, produce market and grocery with imported olive oils, wine and pastas, as well as locally sourced...

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Mediterranean-focused restaurant with an emphasis on olive oil and seasonal cookery. The New York-based restaurant has locations throughout the city, California, and now Chicago.

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