This month, I took friends from What's Cookin, Chicago on a tour of Ravenswood Corridor, located on the North side of the city. Our tour fell on the same weekend as the annual Ravenswood ArtWalk, a fair of local artisans showing off their creative talents through paint, print, photography, sculpture, etc. Aside from all the artists that come to share their work, there are some culinary folks that continually do some magic in the neighborhood too.
I've teamed up with Urban Accents, a Chicago based spice company for this tour. Urban Accents have extended a special invitation to What's Cookin, Chicago for a VIP tour with the President, Tom Knibbs. The tour included a discussion with Tom about the specialty food business, why he founded the company, samples of some of Urban Accents favorites and goodies to take home. I'll be sharing more of our tour with Urban Accents later this week so stay tuned for some in depth details about this awesome Chicago company...
After the Urban Accents tour, we enjoyed lunch at Spacca Napoli. I haven't had the opportunity to visit Italy yet, however some of my friends and What's Cookin, Chicago members have. From their experiences, many of them agree that the pizza served at Spacca Napoli is very much like the pizza served in Naples, Italy.
The focus of the pizzas served here is not the toppings, but rather the crust. You won't find thick, doughy deep dish pizza at this restaurant. Instead, you'll find crispy, light dough that's been baked in a wood fire oven. Toppings for these pizzas are kept very simple and natural, similar to what you'd expect if you ordered pizza in Naples. For lunch we enjoyed the following kinds:
Complimentary Mushroom Pesto Pizza
Salsiccia e Broccoletti
Pizza Bianca with Italian Sausage, Rapini, Fior Di Latte Mozzarella, Olive Oil
Tomatoes, Oregano, Garlic, Basil, Olive Oil
Tomatoes, Fior Di Latte Mozzarella, Basil, Olive Oil
Prosciutto e Rucola
Pizza Bianca with Provola, Prosciutto Di Parma, Arugula, Parmesan, Olive Oil
4401 N Ravenswood Ave
The cafe was pretty crowded when we arrived, most likely due to all the folks attending the Ravenswood ArtWalk. First Slice shares a space with a mini gallery of sorts full of various types of artwork. So aside from the great pie and baked goods offered here, you'll be able to walk around and check out the different pieces of art too.
Next stop was Angel Food Bakery. I previously included this place in our Cupcake Crawl and since it was in the area, we stopped here again for friends to check out. Some things folks got to try included the Red Velvet Cake, Thin Mints, Rummies (Rum Balls) and a few other kinds of treats.
After our stop at Angel Food Bakery, the rain started to fall. It wasn't too hard and we managed to get to our next tour stop - Margie's Candies. Here folks can indulge in homemade chocolates, classic and fun ice cream flavors and fresh pie. We were still a bit full at this point but it was great to check out their goodies.
Right across the street was our next stop - Glen's Diner. This restaurant has been featured on Food Network's 'Diners, Drive Ins & Dives' because of their amazing seafood offerings. At first glance, the name is misleading since 'Diner' doesn't really conjure up thoughts of great seafood. But owner, Glen, used to work for a well known seafood restaurant. He then opened Glen's Diner and continue to serve up the seafood he knows so much about. Another point of interest about Glen's Diner is that he also has Hoosier Mama pies on his menu. These pies are a local favorite. Because the restaurant was pretty crowded when we arrived, we decided to skip it and went to our last stop....
1918 W Montrose Ave