Lula Cafe

4xForth: Joan Cinquegrani of Five Grain Events by Clare Johnson

It's Friday, it's a beautiful day and it's time for another community 4xForth. Today, we're highlighting Joan Cinquegrani of Five Grain Events. As the owner and lead consultant at Five Grain, Joan effortlessly executes a wide range of events - from proposal planning to the big day (amongst many other services). With a background in non-profit work, Joan has a particular appreciation and knack for creating beautiful events on the tightest of budgets. Beyond her top-notch organizational skills, she's also a delightful dinner guest and Chicago enthusiast.

Read below and find out more about this incredible entrepreneur, planner and all-around wonderful person:

Place I frequent in Chicago: 

  1. Costco! Our favorite family outing. $1.50 hotdog/drink lunch special and so many opportunities for impulse buys. It's a blessing and a curse!
  2. Logan Square Farmers Market: We try and make it out to this almost every Sunday. It runs May-October outdoors. Lots of great fruit/vegetables but also prepared foods. My family and I go with a blanket, grab a couple tacos and horchata from the Cherub's booth and relax in the shade along Logan Blvd. 
  3. Gethsemane Garden Center: I am not a gardener but my mom is, so I have a lot of fun exploring the rows upon rows of different flower and plant options. Plug they have a fantastic gift shop. It's my mothers day go-to for a one stop shopping experience. 
  4. Humboldt Park: This giant park is so underutilized by most Chicagoans. They have a boathouse with lagoon (and new cafe!), formal gardens, lakes, baseball fields, playgrounds, and tons of green space. It's an oasis in the middle of the city and the perfect place for a walk, bike or run to get your green fix. 

Places I'll go someday:

  1. Milan: I did a study-abroad trip here and am dying to go back. My husband and I both own our own businesses so are thinking we might go live there for a few months in 2017. Trying to make plans to accomplish that!
  2. Hawaii: When I think of Paradise, I think of Hawaii. For some reason my travels have never lead me there but I'd love to go spend some extended time in Hawaii. 
  3. Alaska: Total opposite of Hawaii but I think experiencing the "wild" in Alaska would be a life-changing experience. 
  4. South America: It's a continent I haven't yet hit, and I would love to go experience the different cultures and see the sights. 

Best bites in Chicago: 

  1. Buona Terra: Seriously delicious and fresh Italian food.  If they have scallops on their daily menu you won't regret your choice.  Amazing bread with a garlic puree on every table.  Outstanding minestrone, and their Ravioli con vitello is superb.  I could go on...

  2. Taqueria Moran:  A local favorite--just down the block from where I live.  My faves on the menu are tostadas, their chicken and rice soup (big chunks of veggies, whole drumsticks, and a delicious broth), and chicken fajitas.  And margaritas for a special occasion!

  3. Lula Cafe: Everything on their menu is freshly prepared and so yummy.  A combination of very simple choices (turkey sandwich--add cheddar and bacon, thank me later) and more creative offerings.  They make a MEAN bloody mary if you are there for brunch, but go early if you don't want to wait in line.

  4. Osteria Langhe: This restaurant opened across the street from my office last summer and is a great addition to the neighborhood.  Delicious and light northern Italian fare and a nice wine list.

Favorite Podcasts: 

I don't have as much time to read as I would like, so podcasts have become my new "go to" for a little brain break while I do dishes or run around doing errands.

  1. Snap Judgment:  "Storytelling with a beat".  The stories on here are incredible--funny, scary, tear-jerking.  Each episode has a theme.  I just love hearing true stories (and sometimes fiction) about peoples' lives.

  2. The Longest Shortest Time:  This is a podcast about parenthood.  I had my second child just over a year ago and was thrown into mommy-hood in a way that I hadn't been with my first.  Colic, issues bottle feeding, the challenge of running a business with not one but two kids' needs nipping at my heels was overwhelming to say the least.  This podcast helped me hear other parents' stories and made me feel a little more settled with my current state of being.
  3. Invisibilia:  This show "explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions."  Very cool in-depth stories about how our lives are shaped by things around us.  Really cool!
  4. StoryCorps:  StoryCorps' mission is to help record audio from real people.  All the recordings are archived in the library of congress.  Looking for a cry?  You're pretty much guaranteed with these.  They are typically pretty short and capture snapshots of peoples' lives.

Thank you for sharing, Joan!

Your comments about the Logan Square Farmers Market have me missing summer already. Tacos, family and a picnic in the shade? What a beautiful family tradition! We applaud you for your tremendous ability to manage an incredibly successful business with family and life - a juggling act that many Forth members understand - and we wish you the best of luck in your Milan pursuits!

Follow and keep up with Joan on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

4xForth: Devron Enarson of Dev Photography LLC and Paper Doll Club by Natalie Pavela

4xForth-Dev-Enarson-Chicago We're so excited to feature Devron Enarson for today's 4xForth. You may remember her from last year; Dev so graciously hosted our 2013 Autumn Salon in her gorgeous studio and you can read about her experience and see here studio space. Dev is a multi-talented lady - photographer at Dev Photography LLC and co-founder of Paper Doll Club. We love the idea behind Paper Doll Club - it's all about encouraging and building-up girls. They invite you to gather your girlfriends for a fun event filled with make-up, hair-dos, cocktails, and a photo shoot!

Today Dev is sharing some awesome tips - helping you appreciate this colder season with a few things she's looking forward to this winter and sharing the inside scoop on products she can't live without. Learn about the websites she loves and the places she frequents around Chicago. Happy Friday friends!

Things I'm looking forward to this winter

1. Being an introvert. I've been exploring how to give my inner introvert her romp in the woods these days. I love being extroverted and all that jazz, but winter is a time that calls us indoors - and inward too - if we give ourselves the right space to do it. I'm committed to being kind to myself in that way this winter.

2. SOUP. Need I say more? I could live off of soup all winter and thankfully I have an enthusiastic soup lover as a husband so it works out well for us. Soup also let's me continually use my favorite kitchen pot, my dutch oven. It's even yellow to put a little sunshine in my life while I cook!

3. Yoga yoga yoga. I just joined Corepower Yoga and I'm gonna milk that membership all winter long. Heated rooms? I'm in!

4. Christmas lights. There is no magic like tiny light bulbs on green wire all plugged into each other! The effect is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Magic! It ALMOST makes up for the sun going down at ungodly early hours this time of year....(almost)

Products I can't live without

1. This might be cheating since they are not products you can buy, but I can't live without my home-made beauty products. It also may sound very snooty, but I don't care because I love them so much and they enrich my life! I feel good about putting simple and preservative free things on my face and I zen out when I'm making them. It's a win-win situation. Plus, once your in the groove of making them it's really much more lazy than it sounds. I've also enlisted one of my closest friends to join me on product making days which makes it even more enriching, and less work!

2. Dry shampoo. Ahhh, an extra day of no styling (let's be honest, it's more like three days). My favorite brands are Big Sexy and L'Oreal.

3. Already mentioned in my winter section but it gets another nod here - My Dutch Oven. It's a pot, it's a roaster, it's a frying pan. It can be used on the stove top or in the oven, or both in one recipe if needed. Perfect for roasting veggies or meat for a soup and then transferring it to the stove top to simmer everything with broth for an amazingly complex soup. Yum!

4. Espresso maker. I have a DeLonghi. One of those supped up ones that you push a button and it does everything for you, including grinding your beans on the spot. I would never have paid the $1,200 price tag on it (I got it for a crazy unreasonable deal) but now that I've enjoyed 5 years of bliss with this guy it would have been so worth it if I had.

Websites I love

1. - She's a writer, a photographer, a recipe maker and a stylist. I try not to hate her too much, and the quality and haunting beauty with which she does everything has me going back to her every time.

2. - This site is for photographers but could just as easily translate to any profession. Love the crazy good info she gives for free, and one of these days I'll put all her good advise to use.

3. - I'm one of those people with a "complex" bra size. Simply put, I can't go to a store and buy a bra. No no, I have to order mine special, and this is where I do it.

4. It's not so much a website as an Instagram feed: @katiacarletti. She's a ceramicist from Australia and one day I will own an entire set of dishes from her! Rustic and whimsy meet in her work to surprise me, make me smile, and feel at home all at the same time. She sells hanging planters at

4 places I frequent in Chicago

1. The Logan Theatre. $6 movies and a full bar in an vintage theater. This is the only place I'll go when I want to see a movie by myself!

2. Just around the corner from The Logan Theater is Lula Cafe. A tried and true Chicago classic, but I can't leave it out just because most people have probably heard about it. It's for sure my breakfast place of choice, and I'm a professional breakfaster.

3. Revolution Brewery Tap Room. When Rev Brew opened this place so close to us (Avondale) we became instant regulars! We've since tapered down a bit, especially since the masses have, rightly, begun coming as well. But, it's still a perfect place to gather with a group, bring your own food (might I suggest sushi from Lawrence Fish Market?) and sip their beer in a warehouse environment. You'll feel very cool. Oh! And they have free popcorn!

4. For fancier drinks I always revert to The Violet Hour. I know, I know, just like Lula Cafe this is far from a Chicago secret but the fact remains that they make a damn good cocktail! I'm a gin fanatic and their selection of gin cocktails is superb. With homemade tinctures and specialty sized ice cubes they lure me in through thick and thin. My secret to enjoying this place the most? Go at 5:00 on a weekday to avoid a line that NO cocktail is worth. Yeah, I'm old(ish).

Thanks for sharing Dev! My dutch oven is also my favorite cooking vessel and we say three cheers for embracing your introverted self this holiday season! We love your food and drink recommendations - and ordering sushi to the brewery tap room - genius. If you ever need extra hands next time you're making homemade beauty products, call us in to join in the fun!

Stay in touch with Dev on twitter and instagram, and follow along with Paper Doll Club on twitter, instagram, and their blog as well!

4xForth: Co-founder Kelly Allison by Natalie Pavela

4xForth-Chicago-Kelly-Allison Each Friday we're highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago places and restaurants, hearing what websites she's all jazzed about, and gaining some inspiration from destinations she's dreaming of traveling to next.

It's 4 x Forth Friday

Today we're learning lots of great things from photographer and Forth co-founder Kelly Allison!
Her faves after the jump.

Kelly's Picks:

Places I frequent: 1. Lula Cafe -- Home cooking at its best! 2. Green City Market -- Perfect for browsing, tasting, indulging! Local farmers meet locally sourced food tents, all consciously delicious. 3. Yearbook -- Not technically Chicago, but damn worth the trip to Forest Park 4. Sweet Mandy B's -- A cupcake that is easily worth a thousand words. I could eat them daily.

Places I'll go someday: 1. Argentina wine country -- because, why not? 2. Iceland -- I'm enamored by this country & its vast landscapes 3. Costa Rica -- beaches. Yes, please! 4. Istanbul -- the food, the culture, the color, the architecture. All of it is amazing!

Best Bites in Chicago: 1. Perennial Virant -- I've long loved the pickling & preservation techniques of Chef Paul Virant. His down-home St. Louis style is elevated so carefully & intentionally; you get inspired & sophisticated dishes that are still rooted in Midwestern tradition. 2. Arami -- two words: uni shooters. 3. Honey 1 BBQ What can I say...I like BBQ, and this is THE BEST. 4. Las Asadas Chicago has so many amazing taquerias to choose from, it's hard to pick just one. But for the perfect carne asada taco - cilantro, onions, and steak that is tender, juicy, with just the right balance of chew & crunch from the fried fat - well, this place nails it.

Sites I lurve: 1. Design Files: Inspired interiors & great artist features. The Tasty Tuesday features are especially dreamy & have inspired many a Forth Chicago recipe. 2. Poppy Talk Handmade: Like a perfectly curated & more digestible etsy. Perfect for garnering inspiration, or finding a special gift. 3. SF Girl By Bay: Lovely, happy, lovely, happy, grand. 4. Herriott Grace: Beautiful food, beautiful photography, beautiful products. Everything Nikole Herriott touches is magic.

Thanks for sharing Kelly. We crave chef Virant's dishes and Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes on the regular. And we're totally venturing out west for a trip to Yearbook soon.

Follow Kelly's work at, on her blogPinterestInstagram, and Twitter.