Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Seafood in Bucktown / Wicker Park Chicago

For a City known for it's food (or at least the quantity of food it's residents can eat) we've done pretty well considering our "coastline" is a lake full of questionable fare. If you're visiting from somewhere you can hear the waves crashing and crabs mating, chances are you're bound to crave some seafood every once in a while. Here are some options close to Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast:

The Angry Crab: These folks have a location up north of Lincoln Square as well as a new joint in Wicker Park, plenty walkable from Ray's. They opened to huge crowds at the Wicker Park spot; Angry Crab had a cult following even when it was tucked way up beyond where the Damen bus stops running, and now that it's in the center of the neighborhood, they are shelling seafood like nobody's business. Check it out at 1308 N Milwaukee Ave.

Sink/Swim: This place is nestled in a row of bars frequented by industry folk (Scofflaw, Best Intentions, Go Tavern and liquors) and as such, remains pretty steady throughout the week, especially during $1 oyster happy hour ( everyday from 9-11pm). And in their own words "although our main focus is fishes, we offer a wide range of dishes". Something for everyone. It's got sleek decor and professional staff, but I've gone there in sweatpants and not been kicked out. 

Honorable Mention: Parson's Chicken and Fish, but we've written about this place so many times that it just feels redundant to mention it for seafood as well as fried chicken, outdoor bars, winter bars, bars with games, bars with sports, hipster bars, and whatever else we've included it in.

Some popular places that require a bit more of a hike (aka public transit or an UBER/Taxi). Our local options are more laid back and casual, but these guys below could benefit from clean pants, a reservation, and a credit card.
The Publican: They just have the best EVERYTHING. Bread/cocktails/meat/seafood. You can't go wrong. ever.  Unless you're stuck with the check.

Hugos Frog Bar and Fish House: Always busy, but for good reason. (They have a location on the Near North Side, as well as Naperville, if seafood and suburban strip malls strike you as a good combo)

Shaw's Crab House: Again, one location downtown, and one in the burbs, who knew this was a thing? They offer both a traditional white tablecloth seafood restaurant experience, and a more casual bar atmosphere. So maybe just wait until your date shows up and decide which direction to go. Be SPONTANEOUS. but also, make a reservation.

There are plenty more places to get your fish on, but we aren't huge fans of pointing people towards something inside of a mall downtown, or within sight of a Cheesecake Factory, so some Magnificent Mile staples have been left out of the list.

Happy Crabbing. 


Friday, September 16, 2016

Locally Focused Events this Weekend

There's always something to do in the neighborhood, here are a couple recomendations from us here at Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast for the next few days:

Backyard Dinner: Bang Bang Pie is a neighborhood staple, just about a 15 minute walk west from Ray's, and they're throwing a benefit for a great cause this Sunday September 18th from 6-8pm. Local eats, cocktails, beer, and music will all combine to provide a great evening supporting Growing Home - an agricultural nonprofit. Check out more details at (Tickets are $75 so make your significant other pay for it if you got in a fight this week and they lost)

Andersonville City Made Fest: Sticking with the local theme this weekend, Andersonville is highlighting beer, goods, and music that all hail Chicago as their home. Breweries include Half Acre, Revolution, Empirical, and Right Bee Cider, so come thirsty - the weather is supposed to be lovely. Saturday and Sunday Noon-9pm on Clark st between Argyle and Berwyn

Bucktown 5K: Feel like having a more active weekend? The Bucktown 5K is this Sunday at 830am and runs right through the neighborhood.  Work off all that beer you had on Saturday.

And as always, keep Ray's in mind for next time your family is in town, or a staycation/vacation depending on where you call home. We serve local Ham & Bacon from Jake's Country Meats, and harvest our own herbs for our breakfasts right outside the back door!


Monday, September 5, 2016

Late Summer: What To Do And What's New

September marks the near end of Chicago's Summer season of festivals and outdoor activities, but that doesn't mean you can squeeze in a few outdoor evenings, and warm up in some new neighborhood spots if the weather turns.

What's new in the Bucktown / Wicker Park / Logan Square Neighborhood:

From: Chicagoist
Furious Spoon Logan Square: The famed Chicago Ramen spot that has made such a wave in Wicker Park has just opened up a new location in Logan Square. What this means for guests of Ray's B&B is that there is not 1, but TWO spots within a 20 minute walk to stuff your face with delicious noodly goodness. Even better? They are offering an all-you can eat deal September 5-8th, and 12th-15th (11am-6pm). For $25 you can challenge yourself and friends to financially responsible gluttony.  More info can be found via this Chicagoist article.

The Stopalong: Many people come to Chicago hankering for deep dish pizza. If you stay with us, chances are you've witnessed a heated debate or two among Ray and staff as to which is better, deep dish or NY style thin crust.  The fact is, the person writing this blog abhors deep dish pizza, and therefore is very excited to welcome a new spot to the neighborhood that is right in line with her culinary beliefs. The Stopalong opened last week, and is now one of the closest spots to both the B&B and the 606 trail.  So grab some pizza and then walk it off while you argue with your significant other about what the proper way to cut a pie is.

What's going on in Chicago at large:

German American Fest: Even though this seems to be the preferred festival for college freshman to sneak into and chorg beers, it's still a really  great weekend festival, and one of the late season's best. Easily accessible from Ray's by public transit (damen or western bus, or steps off of the Western Brown line El stop) means that you can save your money for a boot, or just fill up your commemorative plastic stein one more time. The festival runs Friday September 9th - Sunday the 11th, with a parade at Noon on Saturday. Check it out, wear some lederhosen, and ditch the healthy summer diet for beers and pretzels, we're all going to be in parkas soon anyway.

Windy City Wine Fest: If you're looking for something fun to do downtown that doesnt' involve taking a selfie at the bean, then this may be for you.  Windy City Wine Festival is exactly what it sounds like - it's a festival dedicated to the best liquid on earth (water's OK too I suppose). It's a huge ordeal, and takes place this Friday and Saturday (September 9th and 10th). Tickets range from $25-$50 and can be found here.

There you have it, go out and enjoy the last bits of Summer however you like. And then come back to Bucktown and stay with us, we'll feed you a nice big breakfast to help sop up some of that wine.