Travel

West Town

Establishment neighborhood
Ode à la Rose
2023 W. Carroll Ave., West Town
Ode à la Rose founders Olivier Plusquellec and Louis Brunet are Parisian. And to be Parisian means to know beauty—and in this case, flowers. When they moved to NYC, they were disappointed to see all the dehydrated, wilted, sad arrangements on offer. So disappointed, they decided to start their own floral delivery service: Ode à la Rose. Plusquellec and Brunet started small, working with a few florists who trained in the specific style of hand-tied bouquets that the French have mastered—and they've only grown since. The team creates incredible arrangements with accents straight from Plusquellec and Brunet's home country: gigantic, plump fuchsia roses delivered with French macarons; lilies, wildflowers, and lavender accented with eucalyptus and wrapped in raffia. No detail is too small—the packaging, the richness of the hue of the flower, you name it—and they’re experts in keeping the flowers hydrated during transit. The team delivers in Chicago, as well as throughout the Northeast and New York City (where they have their premiere location above the Chelsea Flower Market). We're just hoping a West Coast outpost isn’t far behind.
Bar Biscay
1450 W. Chicago Ave., West Town
Hugging the coastlines of Northern Spain and Western France, the area around the Bay of Biscay is the foundation for the most sublime Galician seafood, Bretagne cheese, and of course, Bordeaux reds. While this West Town eatery is about 4,000 miles away from there, the chefs have taken a valiant stab at recreating the gastronomic experience of the region. Sharing the tapas-style small plates is the way to go, the best of which include bowls of cockles doused in sherry butter, jamon serrano with manchego and pickled mushroom, and white anchovies with grilled asparagus. The best seats are the cozy wooden booths, but the long, wide bar is a comfortable alternative.
RR #1 Apothecary
814 N. Ashland Ave., West Town
Housed in what used to be a 1930s apothecary (thankfully, the original wood paneling was left untouched), RR#1 Apothecary is one of those stores that you’ll have a hard time leaving empty-handed. On offer: a dizzying array of candles, teas, and soaps, as well as kitschy prank gifts, tea towels, and novelty books. It’s pretty ideal for picking up a last minute something for the hostess, they'll even gift-wrap your selection right at the counter.
Humboldt House
1045 N. California Ave., West Town
Owner Claire Tibbs puts a lot of love into staging the beautiful range of vintage modern furniture, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry as a series of vignettes, making this sprawling space that much easier to navigate. It also means you get a pretty convincing preview of what, say, a retro brass bar cart or Hans Olsen leather chair might look like in your own home. On a smaller scale, the selection of local-designed jewelry, home goods, and apothecary items is as easy on the eyes as it is on the wallet.
Ada Street
1664 N. Ada St., West Town
The menu at this hidden gem (it's quite literally hidden near a Home Depot in an unmarked building) remains exciting: gnocchi with maple bacon, steak tartare with fried capers and egg yolk, PB&J bread pudding. In the summer, they open up a garage door in the back of the building to an open-air astroturf patio; head to the back to play a game of ping pong while you wait for your meal. The private dining room here is legendary, too—tucked away near the entrance to the main dining room, it's a popular pick for the film and music crowd.
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