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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, July 3

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Restaurant Fri May 29 2009

Soy, Dairy, Almond or Rice Milk?

Protein Bar with Balloons and Bicycles.jpg
There's a new place on Franklin Street across from the Sears Tower. Protein Bar lies just a few steps down from the sidewalk, in a storefront that's been carved from the face of a parking structure. It's very hard to tell that cars were, perhaps, parking in this location not long ago. The space looks bright and cheery, and with a nod perhaps to the office tower across the street, a ticker ran along the bottom of a large flat screen on the wall when I visited.

Protein Bar's offerings break down into three categories: blended drinks, savories like wraps, chili and bagels, and third, elaborate bowls of grains like oatmeal, quinoa with fresh peaches, and granola. They offer almond milk, rice milk, skim milk, soy milk and purified water as the base to their drinks. I chose soy in my Wrigley Peeled, which is a blend of chocolate, natural peanut butter, banana and ice. I asked why they don't use frozen bananas. They tried it, but didn't like the flavor as much, they told me. Perhaps it's a trade off between flavor and thickness. Although at home I'm a big fan of enough frozen bananas to make my drink achieve shake-like consistency, my drink at Protein Bar was nicely smooth, with a light chocolately flavor. They told me that many of their other drinks are thicker, however, because they use frozen fruit.

I couldn't help but try the vegetarian chili - vegan they told me. It gives a certain meatiness that comes from using TVP. It's like the chili I remember growing up with - soft bits of fleshy tomato and plenty of red beans. Except there may have been meat in my chili back in those days. There's corn, too, and the looks of celery.

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Rita Brunn / May 29, 2009 8:20 AM

When oh when will we get anything close to this amazing healthy "bar" in the northwest suburbs? It's badly needed here!

Difficult to imagine; however, some people are still drinking slurpies cheaply
made with high fructose corn syrup!!!!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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