2020 | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

As soon as I stopped by Ina Mae Tavern for the first time shortly after it opened in 2018, I knew it was going to become one of my favorite neighborhood spots. There was something about the combination of the fantastic food and homey atmosphere that really spoke to me. I had visited New Orleans for the first time only a few months before and had one of the best food experiences of my life - the moment I walked into Ina Mae, I felt like I had been transported back to the magic. Fast forward to a year and a half later, I've been back numerous times for brunch, dinner, live music, game nights, and most recently, for one of the best Mardi Gras celebrations you'll find in Chicago!

Named for Chef Brian Jupiter's (of Frontier) great-grandmother, Ina Mae is a tribute to New Orleans soul food with a blend of French, Caribbean, Spanish, and African flavors. The menu is inspired by the dishes of Jupiter's childhood and the strong southern women who ran his big family. You'll even see some of their own recipes dotted throughout the menu, like the gumbo and the fried chicken. Along with his family favorites, the menu also boasts New Orleans staples such as po'-boys, chargrilled oysters, jambalaya, seafood by the pound, and the always popular frozen Sno-Balls.


Chicago Eats: Oda Mediterranean Cuisine

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall me mentioning earlier this month that one of my goals for this year is to feature more spots in my 'hood. Typically, when I go out to eat in the Andersonville/Edgewater area, I try to disconnect from food blogger mode (aka not take a million photos and actually eat hot food!). As much as I enjoy those non-blogger meals, it means that I often never end up sharing the fab eats in my neighborhood. That definitely needs to change, as there are so many fantastic places on the far north side everyone needs to check out, starting with one of my newest favorites Oda Mediterranean Cuisine!

Tucked into the quiet northern end of Andersonville, Oda offers diners a cozy atmosphere, an interesting selection of Georgian wines, and some of the best Turkish comfort food you'll find in Chicago. Owners Marina Cardak and her daughter Tamta Meladze are well known in the neighborhood as the former owners of the much-loved Turkish Cuisine restaurant that left Andersonville several years ago. Thankfully, they're back in the 'hood and better than ever! Their newest venture, Oda, not only gives diners an authentic taste of Turkey but also features the flavors of neighboring Mediterranean nations including France, the Middle East, Italy, and Cardak's home country of Georgia.



Recent Foodie Finds

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season and start to 2020. As per usual, I spent the first few weeks of my winter break in perpetual eating mode with nonstop restaurant visits and various holiday fêtes, followed by a week of Netflix and chill (and that would be actual chill, not the other kind). Now that I've worked my way through You, Fuller House, Watchmen, and The Crown, the time has come for me to stop acting like I'm a professional lady of leisure and finish my spring semester planning (classes start in just over a week! 😱).

While I'm not one to get caught up in the New Year's resolutions hype, I do focus on meeting specific goals throughout the year. As I definitely lost my writing grove during this last round of grad school, one of my major goals of this year is to be more consistent in this space and double the number of posts from last year (which shouldn't be all that difficult considering last year was a record low for me). This is all to say that I will be around more this year - I have plans for a monthly round-up of Chicago restaurant visits, as well as a look at some of my most recent travels. Stayed tuned for some exciting content!

Here are a few of my recent foodie finds (follow me on Instagram for even more!)...

Amatriciana Pizza with tomato, pecorino, and guanciale at Bar Cargo. While Chicago may be known as the city of deep-dish pizza, anyone who lives here will tell you that the real standouts are the places that focus on light and crispy crust with deeply flavorful toppings. The Roman-style pizzas at Bar Cargo are fired in a stone oven imported from Rome and have a perfectly done crispy-tender crust that holds up well to toppings.

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