Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park, home to many a Chicago nightspot for the local college students who populate the area, now boasts a new, kid-friendly place called Cookie Bar. It's the ideal spot for an after-school, after-theater or after-zoo pick-me-up.
Grab a glass or a shot of milk and cozy up to the bar overlooking the busy street scene in this corner cookie store. Tap to the beat of '70s tunes as you indulge in more than 15 different types of cookies, baked fresh daily, including standard favorites (think Chocolate Chip, Old School Sugar, Peanut Butter) and a series of rotating specials for the more adventuresome cookie lovers (Ginger Caramel, Black Sesame, Cardamom Crunch and more). I tried the Adult Chocolate Chip, which boasts 61 percent Callebaut dark chocolate and a hint of coconut (from the coconut oil used in place of dairy to give a chewy texture) and I was in chocolate heaven. My 9-year-old son adored the Butterfinger, the perfect combination of his favorite candy bar and cookie (sugar).
Of course, cookies will never be low-cal, but at least here they are made with zero trans-fats and best quality ingredients. "We think it's really important to stay away from additives," explains co-owner Jeff Steinberg. "We also use Callebaut for our chocolate, offer organic milk and feature Alterra organic fair trade coffee."
Your kids won't even notice that many of the cookies are gluten-free and/or vegan friendly. "A lot of gluten-free baked goods are heavy because they rely on potato starch and white rice flour, which we don't use," Steinberg says. "We use teff, mesquite, coconut, amaranth and quinoa." Gluten-free Super Chocolate and classic Chocolate Chip are always on the daily menu, as well as vegan/dairy-free cookies from Chocolate Chip to more exotic options, including Orange Blossom Cardamom and Oatmeal Chile Mango Macadamia.
To make a day of it, Lincoln Park Zoo is a five-minute ride away; the Biograph and Emerald City theaters are within a short walking distance down Lincoln Avenue.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
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