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Weekly Planner: Mezcal Dinner, Feast of the Seven Fishes

Weekly Planner: Mezcal Dinner, Feast of the Seven Fishes Mezcal Dinner at Mi Tocaya Antojeria Wine dinners and beer dinners are a commonplace occurrence around these parts, but mezcal dinners? That’s something pretty new and enticing. At the buzzy Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Logan Square, chef Diana Davila is hosting a series of mezcal dinners this winter, […]

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Dec 12, 2017 02:35 AM
Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017

Where to eat, drink, dance and be merry this Christmas. Petterino’s: Santa’s coming to town a little early this year, and he’s hungry for brunch. Pay a visit to Mr. Claus at Petterino’s, where he’ll be stationed December 16 and 17 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. both days. The perfect stopover before an afternoon […]

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Dec 09, 2017 07:40 PM
Chicago’s Weekly Planner: TWO’s Restaurant Royale

 TWO is gearing up to host its first annual Restaurant Royale Get ready for a culinary smackdown for the ages, because TWO is gearing up to host its first annual Restaurant Royale on December 13 at The Ivy Room (12 E. Ohio St., #100). In conjunction with Terlato Distell Artisan Spirits, the competition is a bit of restaurant […]

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Dec 08, 2017 05:44 AM

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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