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Finding L.A. in Chicago

First year student Alwyna Lau points out where to find home away from home if you’re from Los Angeles.

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Often in transitioning to a new place, people try to find pieces of their home to help appease the moving process and foster a sense of belonging. For me, home is Los Angeles, which seems to be almost worlds away now that I’ve been in Chicago for several months, well into my first year at SAIC. Fortunately, it’s comforting to be able to find aspects of home in the new places I’ve encountered here, while still being able to experience a new city as an entirely different place. Below are a few of my choices:

Joy Yee‘s Noodle Shop

Los Angeles is notorious for having the best Asian food, as it is home to many different Asian communities. In Chicago, Joy Yee’s in Chinatown is my restaurant of choice. It’s the place to go to satisfy any Asian food craving, from pad thai to spring rolls. There is even an eye dazzling menu of bubble tea drinks to fill your heart with its fruity desires.

Chinatown – 2139 South China Place

Photo by Alwyna Lau

Del Soul

Another aspect of Los Angeles food culture that I have always adored are the many food trucks that provide budget-friendly, original gourmet food. One of the most prominent food trucks is the Kogi Korean BBQ truck, which serves a fusion of Korean and Mexican food, most memorably a mouth-watering short rib burrito. Chicago’s answer to Kogi is Del Seoul in Lakeview, serving  dishes such as kalbi tacos and kimchi fries. Though not a food truck, Del Seoul touts fusion dishes that are reminiscent of L.A. food trucks.

Lakeview – 2568 North Clark Street

Reckless Records

Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard was a haunt of mine in Los Angeles. It was the place I visited to sift through their expanse of records and to feel the unmatchable thrill of a new find. In Chicago, I’ve found a replacement in Reckless Records. Though not quite the size of Amoeba, Reckless offers a cozier environment for record shopping. Just as I would stop by Amoeba on an undemanding day, Reckless is my choice to spend my free Chicago afternoons.

Locations Vary

Photo by Alwyna Lau

Thorne Miniature Rooms – Art Institute of Chicago

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in California is a historical mansion turned art gallery. As a volunteer, I often had a feeling of serenity wandering through the halls and its lavishly decorated rooms filled with 18th century French furniture. In Chicago, the Thorne Miniature Rooms, tucked away on the lower level of the Art Institute, is the where I go to see the replicas of historical European interiors. They offer a voyeuristic yet calming experience as you wander around, peering into each tiny room.

The Loop – 111 South Michigan, Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 11

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