Vegan Chicago highlights including Upton’s Breakroom, Chicago Diner, and Lyfe Kitchen. Plus sightseeing at Willis Tower, Cloud Gate, and the Pritzker Pavilion.
Hey, all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, because David and I have been traveling up a storm.
With two trips to Chicago, a visit to Minneapolis, and a wedding by the Mississippi, time has just flown by. So I have lots of travel stuff to share.
I’m starting with our explorations of vegan Chicago.
Our good friends, Kristy & Chris, were on their way to Portugal for a vacation. They added a day-long layover in Chicago, so that we could meet up there.
Whenever we are together, it’s like no time has passed at all. Before long we were literally weeping from laughter.
We got breakfast at Chicago Diner. I had the breakfast bowl. Potato hash was topped with tofu scramble, biscuits, and seitan sausage gravy.
Brown foods never photograph well, but you’ll have to trust me on this taste explosion. It was like my dream breakfast. I have been thinking about it ever since. So flipping good.
And the only thing that could have possibly beaten it in terms of flavor? One of their still-warm-from-the-oven, homemade cinnamon rolls!
People have always told me that I need to get one. Now I know what the fuss was about. It was seriously the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had.
Cloud Gate & Willis Tower
Chris had never been to Chicago before. So we showed him some of the Windy City highlights like Cloud Gate and Willis Tower, which is the second tallest building in the United States.
We took the elevator ride to the top to experience the glass floor with views to the sidewalk below. And relived some movie magic.
After much walking and sightseeing, it started pouring rain. We decided to stay cozy for the night and order in to our Airbnb.
Delivery options are meager where I live. So getting to choose from an array of choices in a vegan-friendly city was heavenly.
One delivery person brought us wine. Chris and Kristy ordered Mexican food. David and I had Ethiopian.
The next morning, we had time for one more breakfast before taking Chris and Kristy to the airport.
We went to Victory’s Banner, which I’d never visited before. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with a small separate vegan menu.
(Update: Victory’s Banner has been sold. It’s now Lucy’s Cafe. It’s still a vegetarian restaurant, and there are some overlapping menu items.)
I’d heard good things about the vegan French toast with raspberry puree on top. It was pretty tasty. Although, it was hard to beat my breakfast from the day before.
David ordered the tofu scramble and added avocado. He seemed underwhelmed by it and said that it was on the bland side.
At the end of breakfast, we all agreed that we’d go back to Victory’s Banner again, but we wouldn’t be in a big hurry.
This past Sunday, David and I were back in Chicago again for a Flight of the Conchords concert.
Their fried bacon mac and cheese pops up on my Instagram feed with some regularity. That was the number one draw of the visit.
The mac and cheese had me eagerly spearing forkful after forkful. There are so many vegan mac and cheeses out there. Upton’s did something unique that really fits their brand.
I also ordered the bacon ranch cheeseburger that uses their new burger. It was topped with their seitan bacon and the same cheese sauce that’s on the mac.
David had the diner deluxe burger with a side of potatoes.
Picnic in Pritzker Pavilion
After freshening up in our hotel room, we walked to the concert with lawn chairs in tow. The concert was at Millennium Park in the Pritzker Pavilion. The pavilion is an outdoor amphitheatre that was designed by architect Frank Gehry.
The show had a great summery vibe, with picnic blankets all around. David and I brought in pickles, fruit, crackers, and some goodies from Herbivorous Butcher.
Bret and Jemaine put on a great show, and it was fun to hear their new stuff.
I only wish we’d been able to score better seats. From the lawn, we really could only see the screens with projections of the concert.
The next morning, we got breakfast at nearby Lyfe Kitchen.
Lyfe Kitchen is non-vegan chain restaurant with designated vegan options. It’s a casual, order at the counter kind of place.
David and I both got the morning veggie wrap, which was stuffed with flavorful tofu scramble, avocado, and arugula. On the side, they had salsa.
I love the little flag in the wrap with a V, so that you can rest assured that it’s the vegan meal you ordered.
I also got a very satisfying soy latte.
The breakfast hit the spot, the price was right, and it was a good fast option before getting back on the road to Kitty Central.