Dani’s Guide: December

Dani_Header_FinalGo Sip: Owen and Alchemy

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Certainly not anything new, and certainly not anything unknown. Arguably the best place for juice in Chicago, Owen and Alchemy boasts a unique artisanal approach to juice making and vegetarian dining. Thanks to executive chef Jared Van Camp (one half of the rad establishment) of RM, Nellcote, and Kinmont his health trick turned into a Chicago health nut essential. If you live in Logan, Wicker, or any of those surrounding hoods I am sure you have already heard of Owen & Alchemy. You may have even purchased one or more of their goods offered in other local boutiques and chic hotels on Randolph street. 

While I’ve never been a big juice fanatic, I enjoy the efforts of any nutritional and savory labor. I am however a very big fan of aesthetics. Well placed interior decor, minimalist additions and organic accessories are key to my ideal environment. Owen & Alchemy seamlessly combine the two. A place with a dark, sleek, and simple interior paired with a plethora of curated greenery to breathe life to an almost monolithic theme. An array of cold press juices, nut milks, smoothies, and light snacking is available daily until 7pm on most days. And although I visit Owen & Alchemy several times a week, I couldn’t pin point a favorite juice yet. But don’t worry, the welcoming staff is more than happy to give tastes of any and all the juices of interest. Check it out, grab yourself an 10$ juice and enjoy. P.S. for every glass bottle returned is a 1$  credit to your next purchase!

For more information visit: http://www.owenandalchemy.com/

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 Go Eat: Pizza East

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I don’t know about you but I am a big fan of carbs. Breads, noodles, pizzas, beer and more. Italian food especially holds a dear place in my heart. I’m not talking about the American version of Italian like Olive Garden. I prefer it hand made or in the very least done very well. Which is why I have about 2 places only I go for my Milano fix, the true italian fixings. Pizza East of Soho House Chicago  (along with 3 other locations in the U.K.) definitely stands to be a contender. Let me be clear: although pizza is italian, I am not saying Pizza East is a noteworthy Italian dining experience unlike any other. But I am telling you it is a damn good pizza place with all the right essentials: anti pasti, salads, prosciutto and cheese.

First and foremost, get  the  garlic   bread. Not only is the presentation a mouth watering experience, but it tastes damn good too. If you ask any of the staff they’ll mention the whole cauliflower. It’s served with lemon, yogurt, and chili and literally the most satisfying head of cauliflower you’ll experience. The heirloom beets with fregola and mint were a personal favorite and offers a light alternative and refreshing addition. The pizzas, oh dear heaven the pizzas! Brick oven cooked so the pie is thin but enough to fortify. Ten different options for toppings, there isn’t a wrong one to choose, the burrata with tomato and black olives is a simple but perfect dish easy for anyone. The crispy pork belly, mushrooms and mozzarella to the eggplant and pesto there is literally something for everyone. And if you still feel unsure, ask your waiter. The staff is super helpful, friendly, and giving. Always offering another or more or what I could need. Pair this with a bottle of wine, finish me off with an espresso, and send me home. 

For reservations and more information: http://www.pizzaeast.com/chicago

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Go Listen: This American Life

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For those very few Chicagoans who commute, it’s best and usually preferred to occupy your brain while doing so. Listening to music, watching Netflix, reading a book, or listening to a podcast. And since my Spotify playlists have become the company’s music box I try to avoid listening to that which reminds me of emails, 30 minute lunch breaks, and an exhausting 8 hour work day. Podcasts have set me free. Well, sort of. TED Radio, All Things Considered, Pop Culture Happy Hour, and of course This American Life. But most recently (I say this with shame, but better late than never) a new series from this podcast has turned my Thursdays into an investigative whirlwind. I won’t go too deep into the show ‘Serial’ nor try explaining it. All I will say is go download and listen. Guarantee you’ll spend the next 8 hours listening intently. ENJOY. 

This American Life is a weekly radio show produced by Chicago Public Media and broadcasts to over 2 million listeners. With numerous awards and titles such as most popular podcast, it’s produced television series has went on to win several Grammys as well. No doubt, this podcast rules all. Every week is a new story told from a new person from around the way. Mostly true, always delivered better than expected. I remember the first few times I listened to a story from the podcasts and noted that right when I had a leading or inquiring thought, the story would answer it or address it. It’s like it read my mind! Each podcast is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour keeping you on pins and needles until the very end. You can subscribe for free weekly episodes or download past ones for the cost of a song on iTunes. If you are doing any kind of traveling this holiday, highly suggest you give this a try while you wait to board.

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Go Dance and Decorate: A Very She & Him Christmas

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With classic ballads like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” the clad man and woman duo offer a modern version to the Holiday jams we love. Whether you’re putting up the (mini) tree, decorating the casa with paper snowflakes (yes, I am doing this even though I live alone) this album gives even the most goth of them a holiday cheer. Zooey Deschanel’s voice and pitch is perfect for the folk adaption of some of the more jolly of these tracks. No to mention that this being the third studio album from She & Him, it seems they would agree. And in the giving spirit, the band donates 100% of the proceeds to the 826 National non-profit organization for writing and tutor centers. Does it get any better?

I am sure there are plenty of other favorites from the likes of my girl Mariah Carey, Sinatra, and Nsync but nevertheless no guide in December would be complete without some classic holiday suggestions.

To purchase or listen to the album: http://www.sheandhim.com/

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Go Shop: Humboldt House

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Tucked away on California avenue between Augusta and Thomas lies this magical little home goods boutique. Carefully crafter and curated pieces range from bath salts and customized cards to textile rugs and mid-century modern furniture mixed with bohemian aesthetics to fill the home and heart. The simple aluminized sign on the entirely glass store front silently welcomes the noticing eye, the creative, the interested passerby. Having opened not too long ago in the Spring of 2013, many have taken notice including local magazines and media as well as Free People. 

I’ve driven by, almost became neighbors of, gotten coffee a block down, had snacks at Rootstock across the way, and swooned over the plant shop next door. This shop has always kept my attention and continued to captivate my interest. I was not surprised that upon my first visit to the shop, there were about 1000 things I wanted to take home with me. Marble elephant fixtures, locally made jewelry and gem stones, crystal paper weights, and so many succulents you could scream from joy. The staff is super friendly, surprisingly trusting (obviously unaware of my clumsy tendencies), and very informative. Sometimes old rap gems are playing, sometimes cool waves of indie tunes from the likes of Beach House and more. There i If you live in the area, have a  coffee shop near by, or love Humboldt Park itself, this shop is worth your time and trip. 

For hours of operation and more: http://humboldthouseco.com/

XO,

Dani

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