Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chicago Chow: Vegetarian Fare

Eric C. M. Basir of Photo Grafix submitted this piece that he wrote on local vegetarian fare.

Almost every genealogy conferences has vegetarian attendees. I'm one of them. Like most other vegetarians, I find myself compromising by eating at places such as Taco Bell, or a Mexican or Italian restaurant (hoping that they didn't cook my beans or pasta in bacon grease). Sometimes a buffet style establishment is okay. However, don't compromise while you're in Chicago.
Read About Vegetarian Fare

Chicago has some of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country. There are also countless South Asian or Indian vegetarian restaurants as well. While you're in town consider getting a meat-free meal at some of my personal favorites. Use the links for driving/public transit directions from the Hyatt Regency O'Hare (Rosemont Convention Center) for each location. Double-check them for yourself the day you're ready to go.
Chicago Diner (Northern end of Chicago, closer to downtown)
3411 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6696

Although I haven't been to this one for over a decade, their reputation for good meatless cuisine is untouchable. It can get a little crowded in there. Check out the website and you'll see what I mean!

Public Transit: Less than an hour from the conference site.
Car: 30-40 minutes (or slightly longer, depending on rush hour).
Soul Vegetarian East (South side of Chicago, near I-94 south)
203 E. 75th St.
Chicago, IL 60619

This one is my favorite. Do you want "soul" food that doesn't clog your arteries and is still 100% vegan? This is it. Founded by a community of African-Americans who re-claimed their lost Hebrew ancestry and formed a community in Israel, not only will you enjoy the wide variety of vegan dishes, but your eye will be treated to beautiful artwork, photos, and the clothing worn by the staff (many are fluent in Hebrew too)!

My favorites are the vegan gyro sandwich and the freshly-made juices. My favorite, and most lethal, is the one made with everything, including garlic! They also make and sell awesome dairy-free ice cream. Visit the deli next door to buy food to take back with you to the hotel.

Public transit: 1.5 hours
By car: 30 minutes (or slightly longer during rush hour)
Blind Faith Café (Evanston, a suburb on the north end of Chicago)
525 Dempster Street
Evanston IL 60201

I've been eating out at this place since the early 1990's. Nice atmosphere, lot's of food, excellent baked goods, and plenty of vegan desserts! I personally like the blueberry pancakes. However, everything I've eaten there has been excellent. Parking isn't always easy. You may need to park a block or two away.

Public transit: 1.5 hours
By car: 30 minutes (or slightly longer during rush hour)
Slice of Life (In Skokie, almost a straight shot by car from the event hotel)
4120 West Dempster Street
Skokie, IL 60076

Public transit: 1 hour
By car: 30 minutes

Do you need certified Kosher and/or vegetarian? Then this is the place. Their slogan is "a unique natural vegetarian café." Indeed it is! Although they offer fish, everything else is purely vegetarian. My wife and I had our wedding day dinner at this restaurant, and we recently had our 10th anniversary dinner there as well.

My favorites are their salads and chili. Appetizers, pastas and Mexican-style dishes abound. Parking is abundant. They are closed during the Saturday shabbat (sabbath), but they are open from after dark until 12:30 Saturday night!

More restaurants can be found here

See for the public transportation trip planner.
See for driving directions.

Thanks Eric!


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