October 25, 2016

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Eat Like a Local: Best Brunch, Tacos, & Healthy Food in Chicago

One city that cannot be overlooked for its fabulous fare is Chicago. I chatted with food blogger Kristin, aka the @nom_stop, and she showed us that not only are the eats in the Windy City f'n delicious but they can also be nutritious.

Named in the 1980’s for its affluent inhabitants, the Gold Coast neighborhood in Chicago is filled with foodie finds fit for a king or queen. If, of course, your royal highness is up for a kickass cup of Joe, a grass-fed burger, or a full tray of tacos.

For the Brunch Queen: 3 Arts Club Café, located inside Restoration Hardware. Here, the overworked and under caffeinated (who isn’t these days?) gather for almond milk lattes and brunch fare. The posh dining room alone is a reason to visit; filled with RH’s beautiful furnishings, it is beyond Instagram-worthy.

Since they don’t take reservations, you are bound to encounter a bit of a wait, which comes as no problem when there are four floors of home décor waiting to be explored.

The Nom Stop - Best Brunch in Chicago at 3 Arts Club Cafe Illinois

The Nom Stop Over Worked Under Caffeinated T-shirt by Pyknic Best Latte in Chicago

By the second floor, I was mentally packing a suitcase and plotting my move into the place - amazing.

Best Brunch in Chicago Illinois at the Restoration Hardware 3 Arts Club Cafe

For the Taco King: Velvet Taco. This casual, counter-service taco joint is a must if you’re in the neighborhood. Everything is made from scratch, including the tortillas, which is a major deal breaker for a taco lover like myself.

Best Tacos in Chicago are made from scratch at Velvet Taco

Among my favorites was #8, a shredded pork taco with pineapple, avocado crema, and pickled onion on a purple corn tortilla, as well as #11, the grilled flank steak taco with mushroom and white queso. Game. Over.

Pyknic Hope they Serve Tacos in Hell Shirt pairs nicely with tacos

The Nom Stop outside her favorite taco joint, Velvet Taco, in Chicago, IL

For Your Healthy Highness: LYFE Kitchen. With a menu featuring baked fries, “unfried” chicken, and plenty of vegan options, LYFE has the whole “healthy but tastes good” vibe down pat. I opted for the grass-fed farmhouse burger on a gluten-free bun that did not disappoint.

Grass Fed Burger at Lyfe Kitchen Gold Coast IL Chicago

And while everything on the menu is delicious, the garlic parmesan sweet potato fries absolutely stole my heart. I now live by the motto contained in the name: Love Your Food Everyday. Let’s just say that the Gold Coast left my heart and my stomach full of nothing but love.

Nomaste Pyknic Nom Shirt paired up with a Lyfe Kitchen Burger

Follow along with me as I continue to eat my way through the city in search of the best noms! Too see more restaurant recs right now, head to:  http://www.thenomstop.com/lincoln-park-food-cng-part-1/

Get the Overworked Under Caffeinated Tee by Pyknic : HERE.

Get the Hope they Serve Tacos in Hell Tee by Pyknic : HERE.

Get the Nomaste Tee by Pyknic : HERE.

In It 4 the Long Run: Green Smoothie Popsicles

Finally, now you can have your green smoothie and eat it too!

Summer is winding down for sure, but the temps are totally still popsicle friendly. I whipped up some green smoothie pops for those days when you want a sweet treat but need your greens too.

These pops were inspired by one of Pyknic’s latest tee’s: “Avo-nly Got Eyes For You.” This tee immediately spoke to me, as an avid avocado eater/enthusiast/lover. Rather than stick to the basic (but always amazing) avocado toast recipe, I figured I’d embrace the season and get chilly on ya. This green avocado smoothie pops are a magical hybrid of dessert meets healthy green smoothie.

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In It 4 the Long Run: The Death Before Decaf Cold Brew Smoothie Bowl

I believe it was the great Patrick Henry who once said “Give me caffeine or give me death.” Just kidding, he definitely didn’t say that, but let’s be real, next to liberty, caffeine is a pretty close second.

Like many respectable humans, I’ve been a coffee fan for some time now. However, this year I started working as barista at a local coffee shop and my love of coffee has grown exponentially, which I wasn’t even aware would be possible.

It turns out making coffee all day is as fun as it sounds (when you’re a caffeine junkie). Nothing makes a barista happier than helping their customer find the perfect drink. If you’ve ever had questions about what a drink is, never be afraid to ask. Baristas are coffee lovers and love to talk shop, especially if that means helping you find your new ‘regular.’

5 Ways to Switch Up Your Coffee Shop Routine:

If you have a little extra time to sit down and enjoy your coffee try….

Extra time on your hands? Try a single origin pour over. A pour over is a single cup brewing method that takes about 5 minutes but extracts all of the amazing flavors that different coffees have to offer. Let your barista know which kinds of coffee you like, even if it’s just dark vs. light and they’ll be able to recommend a great coffee for you to try.

If you like regular coffee but want to switch things up…

If you usually go for drip coffee why not give an Americano a try. An Americano is a drink made with espresso and water. This means you’re getting the fresh, rich espresso flavors, while also enjoying a drink you can sip on a little longer.

If you like iced coffee but wish it were stronger…

Have you ever wanted ice coffee but felt it was missing a little umph? Or by the time you get to your drink half the ice has melted? Try an iced red eye. This is an iced coffee with a shot of espresso. All the iced coffee goodness THEN some.

If you’re not sure whether you like lattes or cappuccinos…

Ahh yes, the age old question: What’s the difference between a cappuccino and a latte? It’s a good question! The answer: foam. Lattes are mostly steamed milk with a very light layer of foam, while cappuccinos have equal parts steamed milk to foam. So if the foam is your favorite part stick to cappuccinos. If you prefer the steamed milk, a latte is the way to go.

If you like lattes but wish there was less milk try…

If you love the creamy texture of a latte but wish the espresso flavors were stronger try a cortado. This is basically a mini latte with the same amount of espresso as a traditional latte.

Bonus Tip:

If you’re really serious about your caffeine love why not try it in your next smoothie! Yup, that’s right, coffee in a smoothie. Not just any smoothie though, a smoothie bowl. This thick, creamy delicious breakfast will satisfy both your (healthy) sweet tooth and your coffee cravings.

The Death Before Decaf Cold Brew Smoothie Bowl


2 frozen bananas

1 Scoop of chocolate protein powder

1/4 cup of coconut milk

1/4 cup of cold brew


1/4 cup of Granola

1 tablespoon of Chocolate Nut Butter

2 tablespoons of your favorite nuts & seeds


In a high powered blender, mix together bananas, protein powder, coconut milk and cold brew until smooth and creamy.

Top with granola, nut butter and your favorite nuts and seeds.

Serve in a bowl.

Serves: 2

Time: 15 minutes

Shop our Death Before Decaf products here and here.

This post was written by Georgie from In It 4 the Long Run, all text and photos credited to her. Thanks to Georgie for collaborating with us for this post!