December 15th, 2010

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Old town charm


Pulp & Ink


The Spice House


There's a Singapore spice available here!


Old Town Oils


Funny sign in the shop


A favorite place in Chicago (besides the shopping belt :P) is Old Town. It reminds me a lot of Chapel Street in Melbourne, or Georgetown in Washington D.C. There are many shops that are fun to browse around and if I had more time, I would have crated back bottles of flavored olive oil, those spices and paper products! In fact, I regreted not doing so! I would actually put aside a day to slowly browse around Old Town and you will be able to pick up a lot of special treasures.

My favorite was the Old Town Oil shop. I still remember the lovely aroma and flavor of some of the oils that I sampled like mandarin olive oil and more. You can request for personalized oils and I wished there was something like this here and not at the exorbitant prices. It's quite a pity that most of the imported products here get insanely hiked up in terms of pricing when you get it at a fraction of the price elsewhere. Which is why, as long as my travels continue for both work and personal, I will be buying more from abroad and less from here.

Pulp & Ink
1344 North Wells Street
Chicago
IL 60610
+1 (312) 475 1344

Old Town Oil
1520 North Wells Street
Chicago
IL 60610
+1 (312) 787 9595

The Spice House
1512 North Wells Street
Chicago
IL 60610
+1 (312) 274 0378








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Benchmark




Benchmark is one of the hottest new pubs in Chicago and it is situated in Old Town. We met up with L for drinks here and got to know a few more cool friends.

The pub is housed in a two storey building and during summer, the roof is retracted back and turned into an opened air pub! However, as we visited during Fall and it was cold, it remained shut. Nonetheless, it had a great ambience, yay to no smoking in all pubs and clubs in Chicago (just like in Singapore, NYC and the major cities.

For sports fans, Benchmark is a great hang out place as there are large TV screens all over and mostly screening American football and bar food is delicious. The buffalo wings pizza that B.T had was delicious albeit highly fattening but at least it wasn't crappy bar food and worth the calorie indulgence.

That was probably the only bar that we checked out in Chicago - I tell ya, it's a sign of old age. By 11pm or so, I am about to nod off and want to go home :P

For more pictures of Benchmark, click here.

Benchmark
1510 North Wells Street
Chicago
IL 60610
+1 (312) 649 9640







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Sugar Bliss




Sugar Bliss is the second cupcake place that I checked out in Chicago and it came by coincidence. Our friend L, knew the owner of Sugar Bliss and took us to her shop which has a roaring business.

The owner Teresa started out this cupcake boutique without any prior training and spent a year perfecting her cupcakes. The signature flower pattern frosting of hers is patented and she has a loyal customer base and was even invited to The White House, yes, THE White House to meet Obama!

We were lucky to meet her in person and she was utterly generous in giving B.T and I a private tour of her kitchen! She shared about the business and showed us how the cupcakes were made. It was truly an eye-opener. I didn't take pictures as I felt that it would be intruding.

I tried the Red Velvet (of course) and it was up to expectations. The cake base was moist and the frosting wasn't overly sweet and in just the right amount. The main selling point of Sugar Bliss is that mini cupcakes are sold and you can then buy a variety to sample instead of struggling to finish a large cupcake.

Between Sprinkles which is the all-famous cupcake place that originated from Beverly Hills and started the cupcake craze, I actually prefer Sugar Bliss. The frosting at Sprinkles is tad too sweet and I landed up chucking most of it which is actually a waste. A good cupcake should make you want to eat all of it!

I'm actually done writing on my Chicago travels! Finally! It was one helluva trip! There will be one final post on other things to do in Chicago that we missed out on or wanted to do but there was insufficient time!

For more posts on cupcakes, click here.

Sugar Bliss
115 North Wabash Ave
Chicago
IL 60602-1907
+1 (312) 845 9669


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The night before the dinner

We went on an impromptu date to choose our second set of bedding, grabbed some ingredients for the dinner party tomorrow, tested out some tempurpedic mattresses and basically spent quality time together.

As he worked, I spent 1.5 hours preparing the ingredients for tomorrow so that we will save a lot of time and will be less in a rush after work.

It's not impossible to have a dinner party on a weekday, we asked my family to bring some dishes and we are preparing the rest from scratch!

The onions, carrots and celery are all diced up. The mangoes, avocados and pink ruby grapefruits peeled, pitted, sliced and stored in separate containers. And I've even pre-wrapped the asparagus with bacon. The chicken stock has also been prepared! We will save a lot of time tomorrow!

I hope the mango pavlova will turn out fine! It was supposed to include passionfruit as well but that is a rather difficult fruit to find so we are doing without it. If all fails, heh, my backup dessert will suffice. Mmm.. The Studio smells glorious right now as I'm burning my newly acquired mint chocolate candle :P

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