I remember going to Oceanique when I was younger, and being bored by how long long long the meal dragged out. Now, officially graduated from college, I appreciated the meal a lot more – there is something so luxurious about an extended leisurely dinner. I went with my boyfriend and my parents, and the restaurant prepared a special Graduates menu for us!
The wine list was a book by itself, featuring pages upon pages of different vintages and grapes. So I just got a cocktail!
I’m guessing we weren’t the only family to stop by for graduation.
There were so many delicious parts to this meal. Thanks, NU, it’s been a great four years!
After long workouts with my dad, we always like to hit up Pomegranate: their chicken shawarma plate not only fills us up, but also fulfills the high protein category in our muscle-building diet!
Although it’s easy to miss from the outside, tucked away near Sashimi Sashimi on a rarely-visited Evanston street, I love the bright red interior.
My favorite part is the yogurty sauce and the vegetable kabob! Delicious!
Of course, I need some dessert. Baklava for the win!
The Experience: We always hit up Mount Everest when we’re craving a delicious lunchtime buffet. The service is fast, and the paintings are interesting.
The Food: The buffet is always warm and delicious. The drinks are cold. The paneer is yummy. What more could you ask for?
The Bill: I feel like Mount Everest is a tad expensive, so I usually come for meals with my parents. The buffet is well-priced though, at around $10/person for all you can eat!
The Experience: Dixie Kitchen, as we affectionate refer to it as, has excellent decorations. Its official name includes “Bait Shop,” and Dixie Kitchen doesn’t fail to deliver on this. All around, vintage finds and mentions of fishing can be seen; the decorations are intricate and fit with the cuisine in a cute way.
The Food: Martin and I really love coming to Dixie Kitchen for its morning brunch, which includes the amazing Jumbalaya Omelette. There is also mimosa, good coffee, corn bread pancakes, and plantains. The food is always delicious here, although it took some getting used to at first; I didn’t used to like Cajun food as a kid, but now I feel it is so homey and delicious!
The Bill: I believe our bill came to around $30 for two, which was fine because we both ate a lot, as always.
The Experience: The Cellar is the younger, hipper sister restaurant to The Stained Glass, sharing (aptly enough) a wine cellar. It is dimly lit, well decorated, and easily gets crowded on a warm summer night. There is a full bar that serves strong drinks, as well as high and low seats (ranging from the bar to a couch).
The Food: The food comes in appetizer-sized portions, and the chefs employ unique foods such as truffle, escargot, and foie gras. I am always reminded of “Ratatouille” when I eat here; the different flavors complement each other so well, it’s amazing. For example, the acorn squash dish has sweet nuts, soft moist squash, and crunchy cubes of beet. Together, in the mouth, the flavors swirl together to create an amazing amalgamation; I’ve only experienced such harmony at one other Evanston restaurant, Quince.
The Bill: This restaurant is definitely me and Martin’s go-to place for special occasions. The bill unfortunately can run up to $70 for just the two of us, but for the amazing foods, it’s definitely worth it. Check it out!
Al’s Deli and Rollin’ to Go are two sandwich shops that lie right next to each other on Noyes St. Many a hungry patron has stood between the two stores, facing the Italian flag and butter cookies in each store’s window. When I’m in the mood for something light and cold, I always go for Al’s Deli. (Rollin’ to Go’s pizza, on the other hand, is amazing and a story for another day.)
Al’s Deli is packed with foodstuffs – everything from your quotidien chips to fancy European imports. There’s also photos all over the wall and shirts with the store’s name on it!
There’s a glass counter at the end of the store, which is rather narrow due to the massive amounts of goods, and behind that is where the magic happens. Fresh ingredients are chopped, sliced, and amalgamated into delicious masterpieces.
Unfortunately, Al’s is closed on Wednesdays and only open a short time around lunch (11-4), similar to Edzo’s. It’s cheap and delicious though, and the fact that it thrives on only lunchtime business says a lot!
Cristina’s older sister Merina recommended Cozy Noodles, and we’ve been continually returning to it for over six years now! It’s an adorable restaurant, very eclectic and highly decorated.
The Experience: One comes to Cozy for the experience. The restaurant is packed full of someone’s collection – he or she has accumulated everything from lunchboxes to license plates to toy robots over the years, and they are proudly displayed on the walls of the restaurant.
There’s even a lifesize Elvis in the window, along with a Hello Kitty car and a water fountain. There are cute signs all around that say everything from, “Please (present your coupon at the beginning of the each meal, otherwise you could) save it!” to “Princess parking only, all others will be toad!” It’s really adorable.
The Food: Cozy has pretty good food; there’s nothing spectacular about it, but I’ve also never had a bad experience either. It can get pretty crowded on Friday nights, since it’s BYOB and Evanston is a college town. There’s a liquor store right across the street too, so it’s pretty much as convenient as you can get.
Although there isn’t any Mango Sticky Rice on the dessert menu, there’s some delicious mochi that comes nicely decorated.
The Bill: Cozy is a lot cheaper if you come for their lunch specials, which Evelyn, Cristina and I used to do all the time during our IMSA Mentorship lunch breaks. The dinner is a little bit pricier, coming to approximately $25 for two.
There is something so delicious and hip about fancy cupcakes. Ever since visiting More Cupcakes in Chicago, I’ve become hooked on Red Velvet. (Thanks to Kevin Li for tagging me on More’s Facebook page, thus earning me and Martin two free cupcakes!) There’s also a Flirty Cupcakes van that drives around Evanston, which brings delight everywhere it goes. It’s the new Ice Cream Truck; and instead of chirpy music, they use Twitter posts to announce their presence!
The Experience: Tiny Dog is relatively new, and still rather unknown, I think. It’s brightly decorated, with periwinkle blues and a whimsical green. Very cute.
The Food: Cupcakes are always good! I like Tiny Dog’s smaller, moister cupcakes much better than Fraiche’s monster cupcakes. We got Red Velvet, Salty Caramel, and Strawberries and Cream. There was even a Dillo Cupcake in honor of Dillo Day! They weren’t particularly amazing, but weren’t terrible either.
The Bill: Our bill came to $10 for three cupcakes, which is a little expensive, but still cheaper than Chicago bakeries like More or Sprinkles.
Memorial Day morning was the day after Spring Formal, and I woke up starving! My first thought was of Dixie Kitchen’s brunch menu, but unfortunately, they were closed for the holiday. Their next door neighbor, Le Peep, was open though, so we hopped right in.
The Experience: Le Peep has a homey feel, with simple furnishings that include an occasional chick statuette. Their menu definitely has some personality – dishes are named “Wanderer,” “Nomad,” etc. We came pretty near closing time (2PM), and so things felt a little rushed, but we still enjoyed a full meal.
The Food: I compare every breakfast and brunch place to my gold standard, Walker Brothers. Le Peep was not bad at all, especially the delicious Gooey Buns™, which is an English Muffin with brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon and cream cheese! Ingenious! The omelette itself felt lacking, especially considering the Dixie Kitchen Jumbalaya Omelette I was craving. The coffee was Butter Pecan flavored, which was delicious; the coffee didn’t seem very strong though; I’m pretty sure I had several cups before feeling awake.
The Bill: There’s a nice student discount here, and the meals are decently priced. I believe our final bill came to $25, which is not too bad.
Overall: Le Peep is a nice Evanston breakfast joint, although it is quite far down south. I prefer Dixie Kitchen to it, and so almost never go, but it’s not bad at all. Official website; Yelp.
When Martin and I are in the mood for breakfast, but don’t want the crowded feeling of Fraiche, we head for Noyes Street Cafe. This is a little European diner that appears to be run by a Greek family; it hosts a nice variety of dishes. There are so few restaurants along Noyes St., and Noyes Street Cafe is probably the nicest one there.
The Experience: Noyes Street Cafe is usually quite empty when we go, although I’ve seen it get crowded on Saturday nights. There are vintage French advertisements on the brick walls, and it’s a full-service, sit-down type of restaurant. There’s a small selection of wines, and for brunch on the weekends, they also offer my favorite, mimosa! The service is quite prompt when it’s not crowded, and not bad even when it is packed.
The Food: Noyes certainly doesn’t have bad food, per say, but there’s nothing too spectacular about it either. We ordered omelettes, with toast and pancakes, and I also had a cup of coffee. The pancakes can’t really compare to say, Walker Brothers, but they were decent, as was the omelette. The lunch and dinner here are a little better, serving steaks, sandwiches, and pasta, but none of the meals I’ve had here were especially bursting with original flavor. Nevertheless, it’s one of the only sit-down restaurants on Noyes St., so we end up going to it more often than not.
The Bill: Since it’s a full-service restaurant, Noyes St. is rightfully a little more expensive than its neighbors. Our brunch bill came to $26, which I thought was a little expensive for the semi-delicious food. Especially when compared to Mandarin House, a little Chinese/Korean restaurant across the street, which boasts lunch specials less than $10, it’s a little pricey.