Always ready to make lemons out of lemonade, we got a room in downtown Chicago and I set about the business of happy cow'ing a dinner venue. I happened upon a chain of restaurants in Chicago: Karyn's On Green, Karyn's Cooked, and Karyn's Raw. We were staying walking distance from Karyn's Cooked and more than happy to make the trek in eight-thousand degree Chicago weather (with 99% humidity). OK, maybe I wasn't thrilled to make the trek, but when we got to the hippest, trendiest vegan restaurant I have ever been in, my mood instantly lightened.
Here is my theory: Chicago is a big foodie town, and to compete, Karyn and her staff have to maintain a certain level of service, excellence, and delicious food. The restaurant was entirely vegan and the service was warm and friendly (unlike some places in Los Angeles where the wait staff is stiff and not a little bit rude)
After salivating over the menu (remember we had been stuck on a plane all day), we started off our meal with delicious "buffalo" wings. They were so delicious that we had made it halfway through the plate before it occurred to me that I might want to take a picture.
I followed this course with one of the most amazing bowls of pasta I have ever had in my entire life. While I'm sure that my hunger had something to do with it, it really was exceptional. Pasta was tossed with spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, and a healthy dose of olive oil. Sitting here writing about it is making me hungry. I will say that the bread was not the best of my life, but I didn't really expect it to be. While we were eating, Karyn herself made a stop in and dropped off some flyers at our table. She was awesome, super-skinny, and tanned within an inch of her life. Not many women can pull it off like Karyn can.
After dinner, and even though I wasn't really THAT hungry, we splurged and ordered some chocolate cake with vegan ice cream on the side. My boyfriend wisely reasoned that we weren't going to have another opportunity for vegan cake for the next couple of days, and I decided to accept his premise and his conclusion. The cake was great, but nothing compared to that amazing pasta. I really should try to recreate it on my own.