by Amanda Svachula
posted on January 17, 2019
Photo Courtesy: morganmartinez
Start your day off with breakfast at M. Henry, a restaurant and bakery on Andersonville’s main street. Decorated in warm yellows and reds, this sunny spot offers up brunch favorites including brioche French toast topped with lemon curd and raspberry coulis, and Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich (sourdough bread with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and gorgonzola). Do note that M. Henry is BYOB, so if mimosas are in order, be sure to bring along a bottle of sparkling wine.
Huevos borrachos, fried egg sandwich, lemon-raspberry brioche french toast
Photo Courtesy: Swedish American Museum
Walk about half a mile down Clark Street to your next stop, where you’ll gain an understanding of the neighborhood’s cultural heritage. The Swedish American Museum’s permanent collection, “The Dream of America: Swedish Immigration to Chicago,” offers a glimpse of immigrants daily life, as well as Swedish folk crafts and artifacts. Rotating exhibitions are not to be missed, ranging from turn-of-the-19th-century amateur photography to puppets from the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera.
Photo Courtesy: Facebook user womenandchildrenfirstbooks
Just down the street, you’ll find Women & Children First, which features a carefully-curated selection of feminist and queer titles. The inspiration behind the title of the “Women and Women First” Portlandia skit, this bookstore offers up a hefty selection of zines, cookbooks, children’s books, posters, and postcards, each labeled in colorful pen. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a poetry reading or book signing.
Photo Courtesy: elaineliu
Walk down the block to your next stop, a three-floor market filled with the work of over 100 local artists and independent businesses. If you’re looking to bring someone from home a gift from Chicago, avoid the tacky stores filled with postcards; this is the right place for you. Browse through abstract lighting fixtures, watercolor paintings, and handmade jewelry. You might find just the thing you didn’t know you were looking for.
Photo Courtesy: Alley Cat Comics
Keep your eyes open for this narrow Andersonville passageway. Through the brick tunnel, you’ll find Alleycat Comics, a colorful store selling a mix of comics, figurines, puzzles, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia. The owners opened the business with about 600 comics they had been storing in their home in 2011; its collection has only grown since.
Photo Courtesy: thehopleaf
Circle back down Clark for your dinner stop, which happens to be one of the country’s first gastropubs. Hopleaf, opened in 1992, gets its name from a pale ale brewed in Malta. Originally just a bar, it added a kitchen in 2003, right around the time gastropubs started popping up around the country. In warmer seasons, enjoy the tavern’s outdoor beer garden. The rest of the year, cozy up inside, and take in the atmosphere with a pint of beer straight from one of the tavern’s 68 taplines or from the 400-bottle list. As for dinner, try the gastropub’s most popular menu item: Atlantic mussels with frites and aioli. You can get the mussels steamed in either Belgian beer, or San Marzano tomato and corn broth. You won’t leave with an empty stomach — the pub is notable for large servings, especially of frites.
PEI mussels with frites and aioli, duck reuben with cranberry cream cheese spread
Photo Courtesy: @madonfood
If you’re still hungry for dessert, make a stop at Middle East Bakery and Grocery, a few steps off Clark St. on Foster Ave. A neighborhood favorite for 35 years, this intimate shop offers up flaky baklava, spinach-stuffed kibi, barazeq (sesame cookies coated in honey), all sorts of chocolate-covered nuts, coconut macaroons, and other Middle Eastern specialties. Not hungry after your trip to Hopleaf? Pick up one of the Mediterranean spices for cooking later.
Pie stuffed with spinach and feta cheese, homemade hummus, spicy baba ganoush, tafton, pistachio and walnut baklava
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