Breakfast with Locals
August 15, 2010

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Thanks for all of the interest in my summit recap and in my presentation! I promise to give you all info on how to view the talk when it’s available. Stay tuned.

It’s a beautiful day in Chicago, folks. My day started off with a nice workout in the Hyatt gym, a cup of coffee, and a little preliminary packing. Then, it was off to brunch in Logan Square with my Chicagoan friend Marc. Marc had suggested that we get out of the downtown area for a while and have brunch at Lula’s, a cafe that’s known for it’s fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. After Mara confirmed that Lula’s is indeed much loved by those who know good Chicago grub, I was pretty excited to try it.

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Lula did not disappoint! Killer menu, with at least two vegan/veganizable brunch items, and a generally fresh, healthy feel. I loved the heirloom tomato decoration (Sabrina, this is right up your alley!)

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The menu:

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After yesterday’s oatmeal mishap, I was sure to ask if their house oats (which were steel cut and organic) were vegan. They weren’t, but our awesome server assured me that they could be prepared vegan. And they were. And it was good:

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I added some of the Justin’s maple almond butter that I found at my hotel cafe this morning. Not my favorite ingredient list, but it’s a good way to have some healthy fats at the ready when you’re on the go, and it sure tastes awesome:

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Marc got the pancakes, which looked great:

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And I think we both agreed that the coffee was top notch!

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As was the view:

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My only complaint was that the portion was a little small – I think I’m the only person I know who consistently finds restaurant portions to be far too tiny, rather than too large! So I followed it up with a bit of fresh fruit:

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Brunch was refreshing in all of the right ways. After two days downtown, in tourist-ville, it was lovely to escape to another neighborhood. After a weekend full of food talk, it was great to switch topics to literature and music. And of course, good food is always restorative!

After brunch, Marc dropped me off at my hotel for checkout. Before I could go, I had to pack up all of my swag from yesterday’s summit! It’s too much to list, so I’ll let photos do the talking. Here are the vegan goodies I’m bringing home with me:

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And the goodies that I knew I wouldn’t use, so I gave them to Marc:

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As well as a beautiful and fragrant soap that Mara was kind enough to give me last night:

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And world class Fitnessista macaroons from Gina. Wheeee! I can’t wait to eat these!

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I gathered up my netbook and wandered around the lovely Millenium Park for a bit:

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I love the architecture in Chicago:

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Though no city ever competes with NYC for my devotion, I am so glad that I visit Chicago often. It’s a great city, and it boasts so many great blog friends. Not to mention two of my fave authors!

Now, I’m settled cozily at a Caribou Coffee, getting some work done in the glow of free WiFi:

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In a little bit, Gina and Mara will pick me up for one final bloggie lunch/hang. I’m going to miss them so! I’ll be back with my final travel recap late tonight or in the morning.

In the meantime, a little culinary housekeeping: a few of you have tried out my dehydrator free energy bars and found that they’re not holding together (which makes for awesome grawnola, but not an awesome snack bar experience). Sorry guys! This wasn’t a problem for me, but just in case, I think you should try upping the agave/maple syrup to 6 tbsp in the recipe if you intend to make it – I edited the recipe to reflect this. You may also wish to add 1 tbsp more of flax to the mix. Also, do NOT forget to very gently cut the dough into bars after an hour, then let them go for another few. If you try cutting after they’ve dried out too much, they will indeed crumble in your hands. Good luck, and I hope this fixes the issues!

xo

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    25 Comments
  1. I’m pretty sure there is lanolin in those Adora chocolates because I was a bit bummed and put them back. Not sure if you ended up giving them away but just wanted to give a heads up 🙂

  2. I love Lula’s it’s an awesome place for any meal! It was great to hear your perspective on your eating and lifestyle choices! I’m not vegetarian or raw but I love to learn about different ways of eating and incorporating it ALL into my diet. Looking forward to reading your blog.

  3. I was delightfully surprised to see my (practically) sister-in-law sitting at the table in your picture of Lula’s…what a small world! I always like going out to eat in Chicago when we visit.

  4. I moved to Logan Square last year and Lula was the first restaurant I went to! And ever since then it has been a favorite! Great choice!!

    PS I love your blog!

  5. Random comment, but you made me miss Caribou! We lived in MN for 6 years and went to Caribou weekly (at least). That picture of the cozy lodge like decor made me a little nostalgic and misty.

    Glad you had a nice weekend.

  6. I said this on Gina’s blog yesterday…this is NOTHING BETTER than getting away from the commotion of a conference and getting out from the 4 walls of the hotel and the ummm…company Kool-Aid so to speak 🙂 It’s all lovely no doubt, but in moderation! I call it the Vegas Hotel phenomenon where after awhile you just HAVE TO go outside, get fresh air, get away from the surreal oftentimes overstimulating nature of these types of things!

    Seeing these pics of Chicago make me miss my hometown; but I look out the window and Im in San Diego, cannot complain! But how fun for you to go to Lula and Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, etc all the little neighborhoods and get away from the Loop and downtown chaos.

    Anyway Gena I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts this weekend; I know it wasnt easy to keep up this pace but I appreciated them all!

  7. Haha my friend has the same problem with the oatmeal in our dining hall! Apparently there’s not supposed to be anything but oats and water in it, but there is always butter or milk. I’m glad the restaurant was able to make accommodations!

  8. Thanks for answering my question about “Skinny Bitch” from your last post! You make a really good point. Since I read it after already establishing my reasons for going vegan, I didn’t consider the kind of message it sends to those new or unfamiliar with veganism. Thanks for the insight!

    As a midwestern-er, I miss Caribou Coffee! Hope you enjoyed it!

  9. I myself use 2 cups of oats to make my portion of oats…and that’s dry oats, mind you. So I totally agree. The portion is simply not enough! 😉

  10. Oooh I haven’t read any of James McManus’ work. Which do you reccommend as an introduction? ( I am guessing it’s not the poker books)

  11. I totally agree that I leave restaurants either too full or not full enough. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground!

    Chicago is a gorgeous city. Thank you for the wonderful photos!

  12. Ooh, Lula Cafe! I lived just a few blocks from there when I lived in Chicago. Next time you’re visiting Chicago, I’d recommend Lula for dinner!

  13. Love that photo of you! Gorgeous! 🙂 Big portion of vegan steel cut oats? No problemo. Also, my maple cinnamon almond butter will knock your socks off.