There I was, minding my own business on Facebook (or is that minding everyone else’s business?) and I saw it. Someone had the nerve to post it. “10 weeks until Christmas!” My head started spinning. “But … but … wasn’t I just complaining about the heat? (No.) Didn’t everyone just start freaking out that pumpkin spice lattes were back? (Yes.) Stop it already with the “Game of Thrones” memes, already! (Never!) Winter can’t be coming yet! (But, alas, it is.)
I was whipped into a frenzy like the cream on a PSL and became a woman possessed with one goal and one goal alone: find the most delicious fall foods in Chicago and eat them before it was too late. My mission was both clear and delicious. I strutted down the Red Line, ate, survived and came out the other side a happy mom in need of a gym trip (or five) and ready to tell the tale.
3938 N. Sheridan Rd.
(Red Line stop: Sheridan)
Pumpkin spice lattes not your thing? Here’s an honest truth for you: I hear you. Loud and clear. Luckily, Emerald City Coffee has your back. If you need a caffeine jolt–and which parents among us does not?–off your ride on the El (the shop is located in the same building as the Sheridan Red Line stop), Emerald City serves up delicious Coffee & Tea Exchange brews. However, a hidden gem on their menu? The Hot Apple Chaider. Think of it as the beautiful autumn lovechild of hot apple cider and chai. The taste is a refreshing warm taste of fall. Just be sure to pick up a frequent visitor card while you’re there since these things are addicting. Best of all? Emerald City Coffee has both pastries, sandwiches and other kid-friendly drink items for the little ones to sip on while feeling oh-so-hip in the Seattle-themed coffee shop.
Main shop: 1618 ½ Chicago Ave., also available at various locations across the city, such as Dollop Coffee shops, one at 824 W Belmont
(Red Line stop: Belmont or Sheridan)
Sure, you might worry you’re eating your feelings, but who knew feelings tasted so good? While pie surely is delicious all seasons of the year, I have a special place in my heart (stomach? same thing?) for a warm, gooey, flakey-crusted slice of deliciousness in fall. Hoosier Mama Pies distributes pies across the city, including Dollop Coffee shops. They just opened up their own retro-cool standalone shop in West Town, as well. Be sure to check in for their daily list of pies and dig in to a blissful taste of autumn!
2951 N. Broadway
(Red Line stop: Belmont, Brown Line stop: Wellington)
For those who still want to live in a world where neither the words “polar” nor “vortex” can possibly appear on their weather forecast but still want to enjoy the deliciousness of fall foods, Bobtail Ice Cream in Lakeview East might just be your soulmate. Sidle on up to this kid-friendly ice cream parlor and sample some of their signature Chicago flavors like Cubbie Crunch or Daley Addiction, or go for their limited-time seasonal flavor: pumpkin. The flavor says “fall,” but the ice cream says, “Don’t worry! Summer will be back soon enough!”
3258 N. Sheffield
(Red Line stop: Belmont)
Date night alert! Sometimes it’s great to get away from the kiddos and go to a fancy-schmancy restaurant and eat fancy-schmancy food uninterrupted (two words: Le Colonial. You’re welcome.), and other times maybe date night can mean sitting back and relaxing and enjoying some time alone. Sheffield’s has an enormous outdoor patio to enjoy the fall weather and an ever-rotating plethora of seasonal beers at this beer garden/restaurant. Add in some stick-to-your bones barbeque and you’re in for a laid-back fall date.