Like many Chicagoans, you may have found yourself too poor this year to take that Caribbean vacay. But that doesn't mean you have to let go of your island dreams. Instead, let the smells and tastes of Life Line Tropical Island Cuisine & Juice Bar Restaurant take you away.
The restaurant (which feels like the inside of a beachside hut) gives off all the spicy, delicious smells you'd get anywhere in the Caribbean, but for substantially less cash.
Dishes include jerk chicken ($8.59 for a whole), jerk wings ($3.99 and $5.99), curry goat ($9.99), brown stew chicken ($8.99) and oxtail ($11.50). All dishes are served with rice and peas, plantain, bread, sauce and one side. Favorite sides include the macaroni and cheese and steamed cabbage. Several variations on shrimp and catfish are available for those in a seafood mood. For dessert, choose from the scrumptious potato pudding or carmel cake (each just $3.25).
If you're not in the mood for a full dinner and just looking for a pick-me-up, give the juice bar a go-see. Favorites include the Life Line with cabbage, celery, wheat grass, spinach and cucumber and the AM Chicago with orange juice, banana, protein powder and egg.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Christy Bonstell