>Some of Chicago’s Finest

>I believe in supporting local, small business, and fair trade in every possible way. Here are some of my go-to places in and around Chicago.

CHICAGO DOWNTOWN FARMSTAND : gotta represent my turf! The farmstand only sells produce and food products made/grown within 250 miles of Chicago; most vendors though are within Chicago limits. sweet! Located at 66 E. Randolph, right across from the Cultural Center, in the theater district, and kiddie-corner to MIllenium Park- it’s in a bangin’ location.

INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE: Conveniently located across the street from the farmstand lies this beautiful coffeeshop (others in Chicago are in Lakeview & on Jackson). As direct coffee buyers and supporting fair trade, enjoying a morning cup of coffee doesn’t have to have you feeling guilty. One of their supports to local lies in their milk. From a kick ass farm in Illinois that treats their cows right- Kilgus Farms, you can rest assured your latte is brewed without rGBH & other yucky hormones. At this location be sure to admire the photography displayed throughout the store. In house barista and the city’s best photographer-I’m biased-Joe Lieske, has some of his incredible photos to keep your eyes pleased while enjoying your brew.

DOLLOP COFFEE: THE gem of Uptown. Serves local coffee and tea from Metropolis. They serve up the best chai lattes on this side of the mississippi. It’s a place with much character. The back room provides the finest of environments to loose yourself in whatever your coffee shop forte may be. Curl up on a couch or comfy chair and just enjoy in the joy of dollop.

UNCOMMON GROUND: Uncommon has it all: delicious, locally sourced food (Devon location even uses food from its rooftop organic garden), local brews, organic wines and drinks, beautiful art throughout, and local musicians can be heard just about every night. As members of Slow Food Chicago and Green Restaurant Assocation, their business practice and vision(s) are an excellent model for eco-conscious biz.

MARION STREET CHEESE MARKET: Go here if you want to get lost in a world of chocolate, wine, beer, cheese, and essentially the best of the best. It’s divine and they have a cafe that I cannot wait to try. Be sure to indulge in some truly amazing chocolate and wash it down with the best coconut water I’ve ever had brought to you by Taste Nirvana. Woah!

HEARTLAND CAFE: Love this place! I love even more that my Grandma used to eat here back in the day when she was a Chicago resident and my Mom was a little one. Their eclectic menu will have everyone from vegans to carnivores fully satisfied. Their cornbread is fantastic… don’t miss out!

GREENHEART SHOP: Right in the heart of Division street in Wicker Park… this fairtrade shop is full of awesome, awesome treasures! As one of their volunteers, I’m certain their practices are truthful and worth investing in. You’ll be sure to find something unique and funky!

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