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Chicago Makes Its Mark on Nashville

Chefs and restaurateurs are expanding their Chicago brands southward to Nashville. Although Nashville is roughly 450 miles South of Chicago, the two cities have never felt closer thanks to a recent uptick in restaurant expansions and chef movement. The draw for Chicago restaurants and bars to branch out to Nashville, essentially the closest Southern city […]

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Aug 29, 2017 04:25 AM
Weekly Planner: Happy Hour at Broken Shaker

Happy Hour at Broken Shaker New happy hours are a dime a dozen these days in Chicago, but the version taking place at the Broken Shaker may be the coolest (and most irreverent) yet. It’s called the “Happy Hipster,” and it’s a playful, nostalgia-inspired combo that features a secret recipe burger with fries and a domestic beer […]

The post Weekly Planner: Happy Hour at Broken Shaker appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Aug 28, 2017 12:18 AM
The Polenta Bar Brings a Taste of Northern Italy to the West Loop

In recent years, fast-casual dining has manifested in many different ways, in part triggered like a Domino effect by companies following the Chipotle model of customized food, quick service and quality ingredients. From noodles and salads, to Middle Eastern food and poké, Chicago’s fast-casual scene has a lot to choose from, but none are quite […]

The post The Polenta Bar Brings a Taste of Northern Italy to the West Loop appeared first on Dining Chicago.

Aug 23, 2017 06:06 PM

Sweet of the Week: Pie, Peanut Butter Cookies, and Soda at Spinning J

Nostalgia is a powerful force. For a few precious moments, it smacks you back to a special memory in your life, be it an aroma, a piece of clothing, a keepsake, or a bite of cookie. The latter beget an effective bout of wistful nostalgia upon a recent visit to Humboldt Park's new Spinning J. Everything about this place, decked out like an old fashioned Americana soda fountain, sings of nostalgia. It wraps you in its warmth immediately upon entry, and it only goes up from there, with each bite of peanut butter cookie, each sip of housemade grape soda. Nowadays, it's rare to find a place in Chicago as boldly authentic and legit as Spinning J, where counter stools swivel in front of a shiny counter, milkshakes come with an adjoining tin cup, and antique-y lights lend the perfect backdrop for plates of pie and pastries and desserts galore. I usually limit my "sweet of the week" vote to a singular dessert, but in the case of Spinning J, it's impossible not to mention at least a few. 


Spinning J
Key lime-hibiscus pie at Spinning J

With a portfolio that encompasses housemade sodas, phosphates, milkshakes, pies, cookies, scones, and gelato, all in a dizzying array of flavors, it's impossible to restrict yourself to one thing at Spinning J. Thus, I went a little nuts during my first visit. I opted for key lime-hibiscus pie, peanut butter cookies, a spiced Cola milkshake, and a Jupiter grape-lavender soda. Each one starkly different and unique, brightly fresh and sweet. First, the pie was a bracing rendition of the citrusy classic, the vibrant hibiscus serving to temper the tang with its innate floral character. It also made for a strikingly beautiful slice of purple pie, topped with juicy berries and a hefty dollop of killer whipped cream. The fizzy grape soda tasted like a gourmet upgrade of classic grape soda, which just so happens to be my favorite soda from childhood. Rich with treacly flavors of sweet grape, the inclusion of lavender was another prime example of floral balance. Of the miscellany of milkshakes, I tried the Bay Rum version. Bay Rum being a spice similar to allspice, it leant a pleasant headiness to the creamy Cola creation. My absolute favorite thing at Spinning J though was the simplest item. The peanut butter cookie is, quite simply, the best cookie I've had since childhood. Specifically, no cookie has tasted this good since my Nana used to make them for me when I would sleep over her house. Creamy, soft, and flecked with crystalline sugar, these peanut butter cookies packed a powerful punch of sweet nostalgia, complete with the fork tine marks across the top of the cookie. 

A visit to Spinning J is a transportive experience for the senses, like stepping back in time to your warmest and most delicious memories. 

- Matt Kirouac

Tags: dessertsodacookiepieSpinning JHumboldt Park
Neighborhoods: Humboldt Park

Harkening back to sweet yesteryear, Spinning J is an old timey soda fountain and bakery in Humboldt Park. From the soda fountain counter stools to the pastry case brimming with...

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