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Desperately searching for a last minute brunch place to take my parents to Saturday morning, I came across Julieta’s after a few minutes of research. See, my parents are hard to please when it comes to the food department. They have a natural, predominant preference for ethnic food regardless of what time of day it is – and they love to try new restaurants as much as I do.
Lola Rosa is located in the heart of the McGill ghetto, making it a convenient and relatively affordable eatery for the multitude of students who live around and frequent the university campus. The restaurant is a small, vegetarian, indie-vibing kind of joint with some of the most friendly staff I’ve been in contact with in the city as of late. Here’s a unique feature of the restaurant you won’t likely find anywhere else: most of the vintage style tables in the place have little drawers filled with pieces of scrap paper with wishes, words of encouragements, notes and general comments scrawled on by previous diners. All are welcome to add their own personal messages and rummage through the ones already inside for inspiration or just for fun!
XOCO is run by Rick Bayless – you may have heard of him before. Guest judge of Top Chef on Season Four, winner of Top Chef Masters, James Beard Award winner for best American chef in 1991, national chef of year in 1995, humanitarian of the year in 1998, cookbook of the year in 2001, best chef in the midwest in 2002… The list goes on. In Chicago for the weekend, we eagerly made this our first lunch destination. Not too far from the downtown core, the place is on North Clark street, next to the Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.
Kam Fung offers the most authentic and traditionally found dim sum dishes in the entire city. Legendary by name, it is easy to see how popular they are by the hordes of people lining the restaurant entrance come noon. The best time to come in order to avoid the wait time is just before the rush, at 11:30. There is a tradeoff though – while service is quick (it always is), the food is hot and there is less clamor around while eating, there is greater variety in the dishes served during rush hour. By no means am I saying that the dishes served before aren’t good – on the contrary! There is just more choice later on. You’ve been told. For those who have never been, it is perhaps a good idea to go along with someone who has some experience in ordering dishes as it may seem overwhelming at first – people are constantly shouting, and it’s not in English. There is a regular flow of traffic in the restaurant, enabled by diners leaving after their meals or just settling in as well as the always moving body of cart ladies hawking their foods.