Week #50 – Zia’s Lago Vista

If you grew up in Park Ridge like me, Zia’s Trattoria is one of the best restaurants to go to in the area (so close in Edison Park!). Even President Obama thinks the restaurant is “outstanding.” He went to Zia’s for an episode of Check, Please! when he was a state senator. (Watch the clip here.)

Well, you don’t even have to leave downtown now for the delicious Italian fare. Lakeview, please welcome, Zia’s Lago Vista!

Nate and I went on a double date with my best friend since second grade, Bridget, and her boyfriend, Trey. We were warmly greeted by the GM, Ryan, who does an excellent job making you feel right at home.

Bridget and Trey were waiting at the table when we arrived, so we hurried past the bar area into the restaurant. The big open space was nicely decorated for the holidays, and I could see a glimpse of a nice private dining space in the back for parties.

We ordered a bottle of red wine to start, followed by fried calamari for our appetizer. The menu is very similar to the Edison Park location, so I opted not to get my usual rigatoni with chicken and peas (highly recommend it!!!). Their specials are always excellent, so I chose the Delphino al ferri, which was a mahi mahi dish with calamari, tomatoes, white wine, asparagus, roasted peppers, oregano, garlic, and rosemary potatoes. It didn’t disappoint! And the portions are very generous, so I had plenty to bring home.

For dessert, Bridget and I each enjoyed a little glass of limoncello to finish our meal, just like the good old days. (Haha, should I say, just like our early 20s…)

I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant. I can’t wait to go back! Who wants to go? And I’m sure the president would approve of the new location.

Zia’s Lago Vista
3819 N. Ashland




Week #34 – Chicago Diner

As long as I’ve been working with my vegan gal Erica, she’s raved about the Chicago Diner. Our summer intern Anna also eats mostly vegan, so we figured what better time to visit the diner? Erin, who is a foodie, joined in too.

Upon entering the diner, it was a lot smaller and cozier than I imagined. We sat in a booth and figured out what we would order. A whole menu without any restrictions equals pure joy…and so many options!

We decided on buffalo wings (I’ve never had real ones!), most of us got the rueben (mine with waffle fries, of course), and two shakes to split: peanut butter cookie dough and vanilla chai.

The buffalo wings were awesome. I really enjoyed the sauce! The rueben was good, but I should have ordered it with less toppings. I could barely eat a half! And then, the most amazing part of the meal: the milkshakes. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo below, but I was in heaven. I could even eat the whip cream…which really tastes like whip cream. Light and airy…melts in your mouth!

Friends, no matter whether you choose to or not, can or cannot have dairy, treat yourself to these shakes. I promise, you’ll thank me later.

Warning: I needed to walk this meal off I was so full, so I ended up walking 2.5 miles of the way back to the West Loop! Good food and a little exercise and fresh air? Kind of a win win, don’t you think?

Chicago Diner
3411 N. Halsted