The first time I tried Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, I was visiting a friend in Columbus, Ohio. Knowing my love for ice cream, he introduced me to the shop in the city’s “Short North” district. From the second I tried Pistachio and Honey, I was hooked.
I spent the next two years searching for Jeni’s in cities I lived in. I scoured grocery store frozen food aisles, and even looked up what specialty shops carried the ice cream. When you find something good, it’s hard to live without it…Especially if it goes by the name “Salty Caramel” or “Blackberry and Sweet Corn.”
This past weekend, Jeni’s opened its first store in Chicago. I rode three trains and traveled for a little over an hour to get to the shop, but it was completely worth it…Even seeing the sign outside made me happy.
Part of the reason I love Jeni’s is because the employees let you sample every flavor. I realized over the weekend that I’ve tried most of them, except one: Loveless Biscuits + Peach. The flavor was named after a restaurant in Nashville famous for its delicious, homestyle biscuits, and is made with real Georgia peaches. I love the way the salty, buttery flavor of the biscuits compliments the sweet, juicy flavor of the peaches. I ordered a scoop, along with my longtime favorite, Pistachio and Honey.
As if one food adventure weren’t enough, I also traveled an hour and half on Sunday to meet my friends Anna and Jacob for brunch at Lula Cafe. I heard very good things about Lula from friends and native Chicagoans, and I wanted to try the food for myself.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I ordered the multigrain griddle cakes with peach compote and cinnamon butter. Little grains of candied buckwheat were sprinkled on top, and the cakes were drizzled with honey. I also split cheese and zucchini quesadillas with Anna and Jacob, which were amazing.
I don’t eat meat, but I was tempted to order what Jacob ordered: Smoked Duck Sope with plum salsa, black beans, goat cheese and a soft-boiled egg.
You know you’re at a good restaurant when everyone is eying each others food. The dishes at Lula are artfully presented, and you can tell that the ingredients are fresh. Even though I ordered heavier brunch fare, I didn’t feel overly full or weighed down afterward. I even had room to try food at the Logan Square Farmers Market, where we went after brunch.
I had never been to the market, but I liked it even more than the one in Evanston. There were more local farmers and vendors who were selling unusual (yet delicious) products: We tried everything from garlic basil butter on baguette to dehydrated apple cinnamon kale chips.
We also saw a pumpkins on a stick, which I’m still trying to make sense of…