If you're headed North, take the train to the Damen Brown Line station. There are plenty of culinary adventures to be had within walking distance of this quiet residential stop, including a candy shop, brunch favorites, modern Thai food, and a delicious variety of ready-made foods.
Find Your Sugar Fix
Amy's Candy Bar (4704 North Damen Ave.) is barely a year old, but it's already my go-to spot for treats. Amy has packaged malted chocolates, taffy, sour belts and every flavor of gummi imaginable to tempt young and old alike. If candy isn't your thing, get a scoop of ice cream or a scrumptious cupcake. Don't leave without picking up her specialty: sea-salted caramels. My favorite has passion fruit and mango in a pucker-worthy combo.
Humpty Dumpty's Kind of Brunch
I rarely order the same thing, but Over Easy (4943 North Damen Ave.) keeps winning me over with Sassy Eggs -- two eggs perfectly prepared and served over cheesy chorizo spiked hash browns, topped with red peppers, sour cream, and a wallop of guacamole. If you like your brunch sweet, then Banana Spiked French Toast with rum sauce and candied pecans will make your morning. I like coffee with brunch, but I always get the Freckled OJ, too.
Late Night Satisfaction
For those times I need Almond Pad Thai or to pick up a bag of wasabi peas after midnight, I head to Me Dee Cafe (4805 North Damen Ave.). There are more traditional Thai restaurants in town, but I like this friendly little spot for its updated, small plate approach. Menu highlights include the Sunny Sunny, an appetizer of fried quail eggs with soy sauce, a nicely spicy Basil Fried Rice, or a traditional curry.
Cleetus Will Feed Us
City Provisions (1818 West Wilson Ave), is the deli/brunch spot by Chef Cleetus Friedman, who also leads farm dinners out of the location. I like to stop in to see what culinary envelope-pushing is afoot, like a honey cider or housemade deli meats, and browse a curated selection from local food producers.
There's no reason to board the train hungry when so many culinary gems are within an easy walk of the station. Make Damen your next stop!