Designer, author, and self-proclaimed “plant-vangelist,” Jessica Murnane is on a mission to make a difference in Chicago and beyond. Her cheerful website “So, How Was Your Day” features interviews with people of all walks of life – past guests include a Doula and an herbal alchemist – and invites readers to virtually spend a day in someone else’s shoes. Her second online venture, OnePartPlant.com, is expanding offline. Through One Part Plant, Jessica works with restaurants and hotels across the country to bring plant-based cuisine to the masses.
While she named FOUND as her favorite restaurant, we know Jessica has an imaginary Rolodex full of the city’s finest food and drink locales. To take full advantage of her insider knowledge, we asked Jessica to break down the best of the best in Chicago wining and dining. Here are her final recommendations:
Thompson Chicago: Where can you find the top cocktail in the city?
Jessica Murnane: Little Market (olmeca reposado, pineapple, chile guajillo, cilantro, pico piquin) at Mercadito
TC: Finish this sentence: You can’t leave Chicago without…
JM: Going to a Paul Kahan restaurant (Nico Osteria, Avec, Blackbird).
TC: What eatery has the best outdoor dining in Chicago?
JM: La Creperie
TC: Foodies will love the eclectic menu at:
JM: Trenchermen in Wicker Park
TC: When it’s time to try your hand in the kitchen, pick up fresh ingredients at:
JM: Green City Market
TC: Vegetarians can indulge their taste buds at:
JM: Nellcôte. It’s not a full vegetarian menu, but the veggie selections are so, so good.
TC: The best juice joint in Chicago is:
JM: RAW. Order whatever green juice they have in stock. Their almond milk is unreal.
TC: The city’s most amazing cookie:
JM: No question: Chocolate Hazelnut at Floriole.
Jessica’s refined palette goes beyond just food, of course. She put on her author and designer hats and told us where creativity can be found (and bought):
- Catch a graphic design class through Dabble
- Pick up unique gifts and knick-knacks at my favorite flower shop, Asrai Garden in Wicker Park
- Relax and unwind by taking a yoga class at Bikram Yoga River North
- Swing by Greer, the best stationery shop in the country, not just Chicago!
- Check out two of my favorite Chicago-based designers: Dana Rebecca Designs and Creatures of the Wind
- Capture the perfect Instagram photo in front of the rotating graffiti wall at Violet Hour
A believer that the best way to get around the city is “on two feet,” it’s no surprise that Jessica discovered these local gems. That said, there are some classic Chicago venues that Jessica believes are worth squeezing in:
- Lake Shore Drive: Take a drive along the lake for an impeccable view of the city.
- Harold Washington Library: My most inspiring location.
- Art Institute of Chicago: The Modern Wing and Thorne Miniature Rooms are must-sees!
- Tribune Tower: I consider the collection of famous building fragments (including the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, and the Berlin Wall) one of the city’s most under-rated landmarks.
- Poetry Foundation: A beautiful building and space not to miss.