I never thought I'd say it, but the time has come for me to leave my beloved Roscoe Village neighborhood behind. It's not that I don't love her any longer; it's just that I've exhausted all of the dining opportunities within a three-mile radius. I've chowed at every taco joint, cozy Thai restaurant and quaint sandwich, from the good (Volo) to the very good (Victory's Banner) to the holy-moly-this-is-awesome (Kaze Sushi). I'm craving new horizons and new haunts so it's simply time to move on.
I thought when the time came for me to move, I'd hightail it to a remote village in Mexico or the lush mountains of Bali. Instead I've decided that I want to stay in sweet old Chitown and buy a cute little place by the lake. What 'hood have I chosen?
Well, at the very top of my list is East Rogers Park. I'm diggin' the vibe and the lake proximity, but mostly I'm excited to burn a new trail across a different part of the city. The thought of figuring out where I'm going to find a finger-lickin' pork tamale and late-night hand-cut French fries is making me passionate about food—and the city—all over again.
For the past few weeks I've been researching real estate like mad and slogging though all the choices that are out there—which, surprisingly, are not too many. And I've been doing it with the help of one of my favorite food finds right by my side: the incredibly delicious Robey Pizza Company.
Sure, this corner side pizza house is a Roscoe Village mainstay, but for some reason I've only eaten there once and wasn't very impressed the first time around. This past visit, something changed. I needed a break from the excruciating research, so I jammed over to pick up my take out. When I got my bulging bounty home, I unpacked it all and hopped back online to continue my research.
photo: Misty Tosh
Every new home I discovered on craigslist.com was met with with mmmmm's and aaaaahhhh's—not because the condos were so fabulous, but because the Italian sausage and gooey mozzarella cheese pizza was utterly divine. The crispy thin crust was wood-fired perfectly and the quality of the spicy sausage was better than one usually finds at a typical pizza place.
I'd gone a little buck wild and ordered a few sandwiches as well (gotta sample everything) and both had the exact precision needed for a superior sandwich: warm crusty bread (wrapped in wax paper no less) and hyper-fresh ingredients. My brilliant red tomato, basil and wet mozzarella sandwich gave Pane's Bread Cafe a run for its money and the grilled chicken pesto sandwich with mozzarella and tomatoes was enough to make me shake off the veggie blues for a bit. Now that I've re-discovered you Robey, it'll be hard to let you go. Nahhh! Not that hard.
The Final Rave: Digging through the litany of baloney of housing out there is a rollicking and sometimes heart-wrenching experience, but with the soul-satisfying honesty of a good meal, it somehow made finding the perfect place to live all the sweeter. And, by the way, I do believe I've found the perfect place. Bellyaching opportunities abound in a new 'hood and I can't wait!
Keep It Going:
Eat it: Jamaica Jerk
This little strip of Howard has got to be the next boomtown and it all starts with the fiery chicken and super sweet desserts at this little chicken shack.
Do it: Sweet Magic Studio
Now that I'll be moving to a new 'hood, perhaps it's time to take up a new skill: Belly Dancing. This E. Rogers Park studio offers up classes three times a week.
Explore it: Argyle L stop
Hop off the train here and be totally transported to Little Vietnam. Funky grocers with things you've never heard of, crazy teashops and delicious Asian restaurants are on every corner.
Get crazy with it: Evanston
I mean, come on! A whole new dining mecca is just sitting there waiting for me to bike on up for a visit. What exciting times!