pictured: Bridget Houlihan (left) and Tammy Green
Leave it up to the ingenious gals at Chicagobites.com
to produce an adventure like the "we're eating cupcakes even if it rains" Cupcake Crawl. Bridget Houlihan and Tammy Green, good friends and even better dining chums, sparked the brilliant idea to expand their simple podcast food blog into more of a social-networking tool used by folks from around the world.
Putting together such a well-produced and professional blog has to take loads of time, but it's something that gives the food lovers and full-time employees a creative outlet and a decidedly delicious hobby. Chowing on all that great grub can't be so bad, can it?
Both gals are downright bubbly on their podcasts and get even friendlier if you suggest a new place for them to try; you'll even get an invite to dine with them. This welcoming gesture has led them to meet up with other bloggers, including a podcaster from England and scores of locals who just can't wait to share their latest belly-blasting finds.
Watch their site for more strokes of genius like the booked-to-capacity Cupcake Crawl (you can see the final results and mouthwatering photos on their site) and, for the record, they both put their money on Dinkel's for the best cupcakes.
What's the gist of your blog?
Houlihan: Our podcast chronicles our dining adventures in Chicago and beyond. We do a weekly show that lasts roughly 15 minutes; it's designed to be listened to during your commute.
Green: Or you can listen while you workout, so you don't feel guilty about working up an appetite. Ha! Seriously, we try to give folks the experience of a restaurant, so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to go. We hope people find it entertaining, too.
Where you tell everyone you meet that they must go:
H: Everyone, (male or female) must visit the women's restroom at the Signature Room bar on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building. That's because the view from the windows in there is spectacular! It costs roughly $8 to go to the Hancock Observatory located a few floors below, and for about the same price, you can enjoy the view from the bar as you sit with something to sip. The view from the restroom is an extra perk!
G: I send visitors to the Christkindlmarket in search of marzipan pigs and stollen. Sometimes I even send them during the right season.
Your best foodie find ever:
H: So far? Moto. It's a bit pricey but it makes fine dining fun and unforgettable.
G: The vanilla cupcakes at Dinkel's leave me speechless but with change in my pocket. Doesn't get any better than that.
I'm coming to Chicago and get one meal. Help!
H: It really depends on your price range and what neighborhood you want to visit. But Russian Tea Time is my standard favorite for guests. The food is unique and wonderful!
G: I agree with Bridget. Th e city's dining experience is too vast to shove into one meal. However, if I had to do it, I'd make you leave the touristy spots and head to Kedzie for some Middle Eastern cuisine. Semiramis or Noon O Kabab!
When you aren't loving podcasting, you're loving BLANK in Chicago.
H: City living! There is always something to do in Chicago. From plays and movie premieres to markets and street fairs, there is never a lack of fun things to do. And I love the interesting people I've met in Chicago.
G: There's nothing better than grabbing the camera and going on a photo safari around the city. The CTA, neighborhoods, and downtownóChicago always holds my interest.
Your computer is surrounded by...
H: Two empty wine glasses for clinking! That sound is our trademark, and Tammy and I often record Chicago Bites at my kitchen table.
G: Restaurant bills, take-out menus and the whiff of after-dinner mints.
Name a local blogger extraordinaire.
H: Podcasters Joe and Lisa from Cheap Date are great fun to listen to. They have the suburban dining scene covered!
G: I'd like to give a shout out to Leigh at Chicagoscope, a fellow podcaster who covers neighborhood history as well as local dining and other subjects.