Lunch Event: New Native Foods West Loop

Well, after what felt like a long hiatus, I’m officially back for the first day of summer!

Last week I was asked by the amazing people of Native Foods to come to their new West Loop location for lunch before the restaurant opens (it just officially opened yesterday!) to sample all of their delicious food. This means I could try an appetizer, entree, side dish, dessert, and drink…for free! Of course I said yes, and what made it even better was that I could bring my friends along, and they could enjoy lunch for free, too. (What a genius marketing strategy, people.)

So some of my co-workers and I walked over to Presidential Towers, where the restaurant is located, on a beautiful Friday afternoon. We checked in, and were given an orange ticket (kind of like a Wonka golden ticket!) to get our free lunch.

Now, I’ve been to Native Foods before--the first time for my blog–and I always order the same thing: the Yo Amigo Taco Salad with avocado and a Lavender Lemonade. Why? Try them and you’ll understand how delicious this combination is. So, I decided to branch out.

I ordered the Nuevo Native Nachos for my appetizer, which I couldn’t stop eating, so I couldn’t finish my Twister Wrap with crispy chicken (although it was tasty, too). I also ordered the Lemon Dill Potato Salad (yum) and the Oatmeal Creme Pie for dessert (extra yum) but brought them home because that is an insane amount of food. And washed it all down with a Lavender Lemonade, of course.

I should also mention that I was able to try my friends’ Native Chicken Wings and love the Native Sweet Potato French Fries. The seasoning on them is heavenly!

Long story short: try Native Foods. Over the past year or so, I’ve met people here for lunch that have never been, sent them here as a fast casual restaurant suggestion, and I don’t know anyone that’s ever disliked it–honestly! One of my best discoveries from the blog, for sure.

Native Foods West Loop – Open Now!
14 South Clinton
West Loop

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Google City Experts Party at Threadless

I think Google and Threadless are both pretty cool, so when my friend Erica told me about the Google City Experts party at Threadless, I had to RSVP to see what it was all about.

I wasn’t exactly sure what a Google City Expert was, so I Googled it (hehe): The Google City Expert program brings together the most active users on Google Maps who write reviews and upload photos of local places.

Sounds right up my alley!

My friend Sandra, Nate, and I arrived at Threadless HQ, walked past the parked food trucks (good sign!), and into a sensory overload: lots of people, awesome music (think Beyoncé and Aaliyah), another food truck, photos on the wall, an airstream, photographer, custom map making, and so much more.

Here’s a short list of some of the highlights (the pictures tell a lot, too):

Custom Chicago Maps: At our first Inspiration Station, they silkscreen maps of Chicago onto paper, and then you could customize your map with colored stamps. I included a home stamp for our place in the West Loop, a martini glass stamp in River North, a puppy stamp by Montrose Beach, a tree stamp by Lincoln Park, and more.

Picture Time!: Sandra and I took pictures with the photographer at the “photo booth”.

Pancakes for Dinner: We sampled Babycakes Gourmet Food Truck: strawberry cheesecake, peanut butter cup, and red velvet pancakes–yum! I think the red velvet were my favorite!

Button Up: We made our own buttons using magazines they had at the station. I made Nate an espresso maker pin (he loves ours at home) and mine was cat flexing her muscles (because I’m tough, right?).

I think I can speak of all of us when I say this was a fun event! The photos don’t even do it justice, but be sure to check them out. Thanks, Google and Threadless!

Threadless
1260 West Madison Street
West Loop

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The Perfect Winter Lunch at Urbanbelly

We all know this winter has been unusually awful, so it’s good to find meals and recipes that make you feel warm and cozy as the snow falls and the wind blows. Enter Urbanbelly.

Nate suggested this little gem after our visit to the Chicago Auto Show last week, and it was excellent. Urbanbelly just joined our neighborhood months ago, housed in the same building as bellyQ on Randolph Street.

We walked in, and were warmly greeted by a host/waiter standing behind an order counter. He told us to take our time browsing the menu. We decide to sit and one of the restaurant’s communal tables to decide what to order.

Nate returned to the front to order. We opted for three pieces of pork and cilantro dumplings that are pork pot stickers with soy-balsamic sauce and pickled cabbage. The sauce made these pot stickers–hands down. I added more sauce that was on the table to enjoy.

Next for me was the Urbanbelly Ramen: Ramen noodles with braised pork belly, mushrooms, and egg. The pork belly melted in my mouth. The broth was flavorful with a kick. Nate had the Shrimp Udon Soup: thick Japanese noodles with shrimp, fish cakes, bok choy, and mushrooms. From the number of pepper flecks in his soup and the amount of water we drank, I’d say his had some heat!

I finished my meal by enjoying a small kettle of Jasmine tea–delicious. Nate tried it and loved it, too.

Delicious food, stellar service and close by? We will definitely be back for more. (Hopefully the temperatures warm up soon!)

Urbanbelly
1400 W. Randolph
West Loop

Urban Belly
1400 West Randolph Street
West Loop

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