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SAVOR Graze; Jean Banchet Awards
DISH Dining Guide
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-01-26

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For those adhering to those health-related resolutions—and even for those who wish to start anew at this point—there's Graze ( 1632 W. Division St., 2401 N. Halsted St and 648 N. Clark St.; Graze-Chicago.com ), which features vegetarian/vegan items.

One of the things to like about is convenience, as Graze's offerings are available on several apps, including GrubHub, Uber Eats and more. However, those who visit the physical locations will encounter friendly staff members, a laid-back vibe ( complete with contemporary music, including tunes such as, yes, Justin Bieber's "Yummy" ) and, of course, delightful and healthful fare.

Graze offers nice varieties of bowls, oats, toast, seasonal items, and smoothies and protein shakes. Bowls, for example, include the delicious banana cashew ( with vanilla vegan protein, maca, goji berry, lime, coconut, cashews, cacao nib, hemp seed, agave and granola )—and they are customizable, as I found out when I requested the goji be removed. The hearty cinnamon apple oats contain coconut, ginger, vanilla, agave and Lil Bucks sprouted buckwheat in addition to the titular flavors, and the avocado + cucumber toast can provide some zing to your day, thanks to the addition of mint, lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

I actually plan on trying all the smoothies and protein shakes eventually, but Muscle Majik ( vanilla vegan protein, strawberry, banana, Blue Majik, coconut, hemp seed, agave and lime ) seems to be the most popular one. ( In addition, there are items such as sweet-potato soup, Buddha bowl and superfood salad. )

Make it a point to stop by Graze. Your body ( including your taste buds ) will thank you.

Note: Profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.

Jean Banchet Award roundup

More than 400 culinary enthusiasts gathered Jan. 19 at Venue Six10 for the 2020 Jean Banchet Awards.

Presented by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence are the only Chicago-based awards ceremony that recognizes culinary originality and talent throughout the region.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will host the Grand Chef's Experience at the Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., on Saturday, Feb. 8. All nominated restaurants will be honored, and event attendees will be treated to tastings from top chefs in Chicago's culinary scene. For tickets, visit CFFGrandChefs.com .

The award winners were as follows:

—Chef of the Year: Anna and David Posey ( Elske )

—Restaurant of the Year: Smyth

—Rising Chef of the Year: Jess Galli ( Middle Brow Bungalow )

—Best New Restaurant: Kyoten

—Best Chef de Cuisine: Mariya Russell ( Kumiko | Kikko )

—Pastry Chef of the Year: Craig Harzewski ( Brindille )

—Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Tatum Sinclair ( S.K.Y. )

—Best Neighborhood Restaurant: Passerotto

—Best Heritage Restaurant: Cafe Istanbul

—Best Counter Service: Publican Quality Meats

—Best Bar: Kumiko

—Best Bartender: Kevin Beary ( The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash )

—Best Sommelier: Aaron McManus ( Oriole )

—Best Restaurant Service: S.K.Y.

—Best Restaurant Design: Tzuco

—The Jean Banchet Culinary Achievement Award: Chef Ina Pinkney ( Ina's )


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