Monthly Archives: June 2014

Evanston Find

It may seem unnecessary to go to a dentist in Skokie, or a hairdresser in Evanston, since there are so many options closer to home.  Besides my confidence in my dentist and my hairdresser, I like to have an excuse to go to Evanston, and try to co-ordinate my appointments in the area, leaving time for lunch, and a visit to one of my favorite antique shops, Secret Treasures.

Often, my choice of restaurant is determined by where I can find a place to park.  This last week, I was steps away from Lyfe Kitchen, and made that my stop for lunch.  Approaching the entrance, I crossed the plaza of the building, which had quite a bit of outdoor seating for the restaurant.  Once inside, I found the restaurant airy, urban, and inviting.
The ceiling calls for special mention.  It is veryIMG_0614 sculptural and the recessed lighting is attractive.  The patron has three choices of water – chilled, carbonated, and one other.  The flatware is substantial and well designed.  Other unusual features were the herb “condominium” IMG_0617– a three-tiered structure under grow lights with labels on the

Now on to the food.   There is a stand with menus adjacent to the entrance.  The patron can choose from an “E” menu, (for people who can eat everything)
a “V” menu (vegetarian), a “GF” menu (gluten free) and a
“W and B” menu (for wine and beer).

At the counter, I ordered a gluten free sandwich with grilled chicken and avocado.IMG_0613  I was given a GPS device to take to my table to guide the server when she came with my order.  My sandwich was well-prepared – flavorful, and the chicken was not overcooked or rubbery.  It was just a bit crispy, but tender.  Perfect.  The plate had a garnish of greens with carrot shaving.  But that was all. I felt the plate should have had something more – maybe fries, chips, or a serving of salad.  I left somewhat hungry.

Once home, I checked the reviews for Lyfe Kitchen, and found several other reviewers with the same complaint – not enough to eat. One reviewer said the meal seemed more like an appetizer.  I contacted the restaurant through their website, saying that they seemed to have so many things right, but felt that they need to provide the patron with a more generous serving of food.  I was pleased to get a very prompt response, not just to my initial email, but also to the follow-up message I sent.

The Evanston location is quite new.  It has many things going for it, and seems to be a good fit with the Evanston market.  It will be interesting to follow up and see if they provide a more generous meal.




Another Happy Surprise

Last Saturday was one of those days that combined a variety of interests – family, antiques, food, and a chance to watch the Belmont Stakes.

We made plans with a niece and nephew to spend a couple of hours at the Grayslake Antique Market.  It was a beautiful day for the outing and we even made purchases – I found a great Deco toaster for my booth, and our niece and nephew made a find of some Waterford wine glasses in their (discontinued) pattern.

Afterward, the plan was to go to a restaurant or sports bar where we could have something to eat and watch the Belmont Stakes.  We wound up in Libertyville, feeling there would be a number of options available.  We checked out a few places that we rejected – either they were bars with little or no food, or they were restaurants with no TVs – and finally wound up at Chili U.  There is a lively bar, and a quieter room in the back.  It was a fortunate choice.

While chili is definitely a featured item on the menu, there are also sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, sides, and a selection of appetizers and desserts.  The surprise was that the menu   identifies gluten free and vegetarian options. (The online version doesn’t exhibit the icons.)  You can build your own chili with a variety of bases, chills and toppings or you can select a “Chili We Make”.  I chose a “chili you make” with gluten free pasta as the base, Midwest Chili, and a variety of toppings.

IMG_0582Chili U has other surprises.  A visit to the very-nicely appointed restroom reveals some little Barbie and Ken vignettes built into the wall.   This spoof of Kate and William is just one example.

The Belmont Stakes was the one disappointment that day. It would be so exciting to have another Triple Crown winner.

I’d definitely go back to Chili U again.  I’m glad we found it.  It exhibits originality and the wait staff is helpful. Libertyville was also very lively – nice to see a conventional suburban downtown doing so well.