Day in Lincoln Park Tuesday, Aug 30 2011 

I spent the day off walking around Downtown Lincoln Park. I love the ambiance and atmosphere there… vintage buildings, unique stores, amazing architecture, delicious restaurants, and people who genuinely are happy being where they are at the present moment. I took the time to photograph my all time new favorite store, Rugby, which houses Ralph Lauren’s upscale, preppy collection of plush cashmere sweaters and striking blazers that are devastating to the wallet.There’s a bunch of outrageously priced “thrift store”, “resale shop” “consignment shops” around that area, but they lack true soul simply because they are bare in merchandise. In my opinion, the best thrift stores and vintage finds are in the suburbs, randomly encountered, or down Belmont and Sheffield in Chicago.

Our next stop was a place called Barker & Meowsky: A Paw Firm (for all of you pet lovers out there!). Chumchum ended up getting a bag of treats and a sweet toy made out of wood and linen for only $3.00. I love that an old, brown dog greets you at the door and the staff is so welcoming. They even gave me some samples of a cat treat (shredded salmon, ooh la la) since Chum is so picky.

We ended up eating at a restaurant called Shine, and I took photos of Shrimp Rolls;  Hot Pot Stir Fry, which is Japanese eggplant, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, lemongrass, peas and tomato in an aromatic panang curry; Shine Maki, which is crispy shrimp and cucumber wrapped in baby tuna, topped with ginger dressing; and Toro Maki, with fatty tuna, avocado, cilantro, scallion, shitake, and tempura crunch with spicy sauce.

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Japanese Tapas Sunday, Aug 21 2011 

I had the pleasure of being treated out to an early dinner at a Japanese tapas place called Tokio Pub. It’s a new concept restaurant, with a small, chic, and simplistic menu that is presented in a modern, hip, LA style decor. The food was tasty, but I would say that it definitely needed some fine tuning on the overall development of flavor and choices that are presented in the menu. My favorite? Crispy fish tacos with a spicy cream sauce and shredded cabbage. The pulled chicken tacos were great, as well, but they tasted more Spanish than Japanese to me. The chicken meatballs were very delish, but were more Indian based with their spices and sauce. I was searching for subtle, soft, Japanese flavors, which was present only in the Maki sushi roll (Spicy tuna with cilantro… YUM!)

My overall reception of the place was lukewarm. While the food was tasty, it was nowhere near as mind-blasting as I thought it would be. It’s a new restaurant, so I am sure they will perfect their productions as time and customers prevail. I loved the presentation of the food, and absolutely adore the tapas theme. My one quirk: never go to a tapas restaurant if you are starving. You end up eating much less, over ordering, and feeling overwhelmed. My eyes are bigger than my stomach, so that may explain =)