The Ultimate Chicago Foodie Bucket List

The Ultimate Chicago Foodie Bucket List

Foodies, listen up.

As a native Chicagoan (well, okay, Chicago suburbian), I have been to Chicago countless times, and one of the number one reasons is because of the food. Sure, there are other cities such as New York and Los Angeles with amazing, hard to beat, food, but I believe Chicago wins the trophy. Here are nine places you may want to try on your next Windy City trip.

1. Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe

Three words: Oreo. S'more. Pancakes. From many different varieties of pancakes, french toast, and waffles, to classic breakfasts, none of your choices can be wrong. This popular brunch destination has a HUGE menu, so there is something for everyone. The wait can be very long due to its popularity, but it is well worth it. Tip: Try the kiwi lemonade!

2. Sprinkles Cupcakes

Chicago isn't Chicago without a Sprinkles cupcake. Although you can find this sweet cupcake shop in other cities such as Orlando and Houston, this place completes the Chicago experience. These cupcakes are topped with mounds of sweet frosting and the cake is flavorful and delicious. They even sell "pupcakes" for your furry friends! Tip: I recommend the lemon cupcake!

3. Lou Malnati's Pizza

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats Chicago style deep-dish, especially New York. Chicago is the best spot for pizza in the United States. It stars with a thick buttery crust, topped with slices of cheese and then covered in tomato sauce. I'm salivating right now just thinking about it. Tip: Lou Malnati's also has thin crust pizza, salads, and more!

4. Bombo Bar

Bombo Bar is small, but a cute little shop connected to Bar Siena. It's most famous for its hot chocolate, which comes in flavors such as Smore's (served with a smore's donut, Hershey's chocolate bar, and a cookie) and Funfetti (served with a funfetti donut and a cookie). Bombo Bar serves other items as well such as gelato and donuts that you can fill yourself! Tip: Bombo Bar also has a matcha drink!

5. Eataly

Although there is a shop located in New York as well, Eataly is an amazing place for your Chi-town bucket list. It boasts a meat station, focaccia station, pasta station, gelato station, and even a Nutella station which serves crepes! Tip: The focaccia is delicious!

6. 3 Arts Cafe

Located inside one of the largest Restoration Hardwares to ever exist, this cafe is the epitome of beauty and class. The atmosphere is what attracts Chicagoans and even non-Chicagoans alike. The room is decked out in fountains, chandeliers, and plants. What's even more amazing is the food. Tip: Try the truffled grilled cheese. It's buttery, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

7. Sweet Mandy B's

Sweet Mandy B's is probably one of the most unique bakeries in Chicago. From cookie dough sandwiches to mint chocolate brownies, this sugar shop has a large variety of treats for everyone. Tip: Try the frosting-topped sugar cookie. It's huge but amazingly yummy.

8. Summer House Santa Monica

It's beautiful here, and the atmosphere is gorgeous. This restaurant basically feels like you're smack dab in the middle of L.A. As well as being artsy, the food is great. You can choose from pizzas, salads, and many more salivating items. Tip: The cookie skillet with ice cream is pretty damn great.

9. The Hampton Social

We all know that Chicagoans flock here for the atmosphere and the "Rose all Day" sign. But along with that, the food is great. You can choose from seafood entrees, salads, and pizzas. Tip: Take a picture by the sign!

If you're planning on visiting Chicago soon, I would definitely try a couple of these places. It will make your trip well worth it!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.


Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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The 4 Best Dairy-Free Ice Cream Brands To Treat Yo' Self To This Hot Summer

Whether you have a dairy or lactose sensitivity or just chose to make some dietary changes, you do not have to miss out on ice cream!


Have no fear, you are not stuck with only fruity sorbets for the rest of your life! After discovering that I was lactose intolerant, I was worried that I would not be able to eat some of my favorite desserts ever again. Yet I was surprised by the number of non-dairy ice cream choices and the companies that made them.

Here is a list of the four best non-dairy ice creams on the market:

1. So Delicious.

This brand makes their ice creams out of cashew milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk. Across all four of these dairy alternative milk to choose from, there are 30 different flavors available in pints. There are a dozen different ice cream bars and sandwiches, and 6 "no sugar added" options that So Delicious makes in addition to their pint desserts.

Their line of cashew milk frozen desserts are my personal favorite because it includes the flavors "Chocolate Cookies n' Cream" and "Dark Chocolate Truffle." The cashew milk desserts are nearly the same in texture compared to dairy-based ice creams. I have not tried every single flavor available from So Delicious, but I am excited to taste-test the collection. The chocolate desserts, even the dark chocolate ones, do not taste bitter. Freshly opened, you can scoop directly out of the pint right away!

2. Coconut Bliss.

26 flavors of coconut milk frozen desserts, ranging from "Chocolate Dipped Raspberry Acai Bars" all the way to "Vanilla Bliss Coconut Sandwiches." Coconut Bliss pints are smooth, delicious, and every single one of their desserts are gluten-free, organic, dairy, and soy free.

Each flavor I've tried of their's is incredible. Even some of my friends and family have started eating Coconut Bliss just because they like it better than ice cream containing dairy. Their website details all of their desserts and even shows the ingredient list and nutritional information. So if you're curious, you can go online and read about your flavors of choice. You can then create your own 6 pack of pints and have it sent to your front door. Products ordered online are shipped in Styrofoam coolers and packed with dry ice.

3. Talenti.

Though the selection is limited to five flavors of sorbet, Talenti's dairy free desserts stand out because of their smooth and rich flavors. I will always suggest their "Roman Raspberry Sorbet." The great thing about this brand is that their flavors are intense and you feel satisfied with just one serving of half a cup. Their "Cold Brew Coffee" and "Peanut Butter Fudge" sorbets are very popular as well. With the exception of their "Cold Brew Coffee" flavor, their sorbets are vegan and kosher.

4. Arctic Zero.

Made from whey protein, these lactose-free frozen desserts come as dipped bars and creamy or chunky pints. My top flavors include: "Cake Batter Bars," "Cookie Dough Chip," "Brownie Blast," "Rocky Road Trip," and "Cookie Shake."

There are four different flavors of dipped bars, seven creamy pint varieties and five chunky pint flavors. Arctic Zero's frozen desserts are harder than the other brand's products listed above. The package suggests to thaw your dessert out on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes or microwave for 30 seconds before you try to eat it. Personally, I microwave their pints for 20 to 25 seconds because my microwave is potent and I don't enjoy soupy ice cream. Their flavors are accurate which is where their strength lies. I recently purchased their "Cookie Dough Chip" and I can attest that it tastes exactly like regular cookie dough ice cream.

Enjoy your summer and treat yo' self!

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