In Evanston — a town where you learn about most all things by word-of-mouth — my discovery of this new spot came at the end of a text string. While choosing a restaurant for a night out with friends, the conversation ended like this: … there’s also the new place La Principal but no idea what their atmosphere is like. Wait, what? A quick look revealed photos of a glowing corner on Main street and a simple menu of Mexican small dishes. We took the kids and went for a family dinner that night. Days later, on an unusually warm and grey afternoon, I sat down with Eric Young, its chef and managing partner.
Heidi Serwer—singer, guitarist, and songwriter—has always been into music. One of her earliest vivid memories is hearing Debbie Harry sing, then rap, in the Blondie song, Rapture, while listening through headphones as a young girl growing up in Michigan. But it wasn’t until Heidi was in her late-twenties, living in Chicago, when she decided to play guitar. The urge to write her own songs followed. This past December, Heidi released her first EP, Stranger, and played it before a crowded room at one of her favorite Chicago venues. For Heidi, who is also a busy mom of two children, playing guitar and songwriting, are as much a part of daily life as packing school lunches and the occasional date night. For more on how she mixes music and motherhood, read on.
Rebecca Wheeler is a Chicago-based cooking instructor who guides food tours through some of the city’s cultural neighborhoods. Over the years, Rebecca has spent time in kitchens in Chicago and around the world. She has been to cooking classes in India, Thailand, Italy and Paris. And beyond that, Rebecca has sought out home cooks and chefs who have inspired her: an Indian cookbook author in Brooklyn, an Italian grandma in Umbria, and the chef of her favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago. For more than a decade, she taught cooking at The Wooden Spoon, and for the past ten years, has been running her own business. Rebecca is also a mom, dedicated to family dinner and to eating well. For more about how she navigates motherhood, food and travel, read on.
When we lived along Southport Avenue in the city, the Viennese coffeehouse Julius Meinl was a few blocks away. It sits on a corner and always got great natural light. And I loved their petite cups with the red fez logo. Now that we’re a little north, I was happy to see a new place, Coralie, open up. It also sits on a bright corner and serves Meinl coffee and other sweets. Yesterday, I stopped in for a croissant and a chai tea.