COFFEE SHOP ADVENTURES: CHICAGO PART 1

Coffee Shop Adventures: Chicago

Coffee Shop Adventures: ChicagoCHICAGO, ILLINOIS — You may know that I’m a freelance writer. And that I recently moved to Chicago from Madison. Naturally that means I’ve been doing one thing: coffee shop exploration! I have a home office but sometimes I feel like a vampire so on occasion I step outside into the daylight to mingle with humans. When I visit a coffee shop, I’m mainly looking for plentiful seating, a strong (free!) wi-fi signal, and plugs abound. After that I focus on coffee and food options. (Do you know how hard it so to find a coffee shop that serves lunch?!) These are the my reviews of a handful of coffee shops I’ve visited so far.

Ipsento
Bucktown: 2035 N. Western Ave
Let’s forget about the working situation for a sec and talk coffee: Ipsento’s signature latte (pictured above) is the best coffee drink I’ve ever had. It has coconut milk. And honey. And cayenne pepper. Phenomenal. Unfortunately, I did not like the working conditions here. Most of the seating is at the back of the shop up a few stairs. It was way too cramped for me back there, but I did find a comfortable large table in the front of the shop with plugs nearby. If that wasn’t open, I probably would have left.

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GOODBYE, MADISON… HELLO, CHICAGO.

madison

madisonMADISON, WISCONSIN – I grew up in the Chicago ‘burbs. Graduated from high school outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Went to college in Madison, Wisconsin (Go Badgers!). Did a two-year stint in Columbus, Ohio. Ended up back in Madison for one year. But now we’re off to Chicago, Illinois. And we bought a condo, so it is very likely we will be calling it home for the next five to seven years.

Here is my farewell to Madison and just a few highlights and memories that will always hold a special place in my Badger red heart:

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YOUR GUIDE TO THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR

People

PeopleMINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – Before you go to the Minnesota State Fair, people will say things like, “Get the cheese curds!” “The chocolate milk is only $1 and it’s unlimited refills!” “Don’t forget to try the Australian Battered Potatoes!” And, “There’s really great milkshakes!”

All I’m thinking is Cheese curds and milk from Wisconsin — everyone knows Wisconsin OWNS dairy — and fries from Australia? And those magical milkshakes you’re talking about? It’s CUSTARD — another Wisconsin treat. So what the hell is the Minnesota State Fair known for? Wishing they were Wisconsin? Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s clean. There’s a lot of fried food. And there are a lot of people. But they’re clean, too — which is surprising. I mean, this is a state fair.

Because Minnesota has a lot of Scandinavian influences, you can get things like lingonberry shaved ice. And I recommend doing that. But here is what the locals go for:

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ONE REALLY GREAT WISCONSIN SANDWICH

Sandwich

SandwichMADISON, WISCONSIN – Sometimes you just know. It’s love at first bite.

It was just a regular Wednesday. I ordered a sandwich for delivery from Bluephie’s Downtown Deli in Madison, Wisconsin.   How’s the “Wisconsin Club?” I asked. “It won Best Sandwich at the Taste of Madison!” I was told. “Sold. Bring it to me,” I commanded.

It arrived. Slices of summer sausage. Bacon. A fried egg. Melted cheddar. And mustard — the good kind. All on a chewy pretzel roll. $6.50 of happiness. You want this. You want it now.

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EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH THE WISCONSIN STATE FAIR

CottonCandy

CottonCandyMILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – In the past two years, I’ve been to the Ohio State Fair, the Wisconsin State Fair, and the Minnesota State Fair, so although I don’t consider myself a state fair expert per se, I do consider myself educated in the ways of strategically eating your way through a state fair. While this is by no means the greatest state fair in America (see: Minnesota State Fair), there are two reasons why you need to visit it: fried jalapeño cheese curds and garbage cans that are painted like cows.

The Wisconsin State Fair is a manageable size with just enough to eat. Here’s your menu:

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