The Run Down

On a wet and dreary day, you might find the urge to cancel plans and just hole up inside your house. Well, we've got something better in mind to cure those rainy day blues. We're headed to Wicker Park where we're going to warm up with a full service tea ceremony and taste specially curated teas from all across East Asia. Afterwards, we're keeping the regional theme and headed up the street to one of the earlier ramen shops in Chicago before the whole ramen trend took hold. Here are the details.

1. Tea @ Easthill Tea Co.

2. Ramen @ Ramen Wasabi

1. East Hill Tea Co.

Our first stop is at a tea house which offers a tea experience unlike any other in the city. For the tea connoisseur, this is heaven in a long narrow tea house. For tea casuals like us looking to learn more about tea, this is heaven in a long narrow tea house.

As you walk in the front, there’s a bar where you can post up. Keep on going to the back and there are a few small tables to settle into. The environment is casual. You had some people working on laptops and others keeping electronics at bay and engaging in good old style conversation.

If you take a seat at one of the tables in the back, you’ll order and be served at your seat. There’s a huge menu of different teas, and if you’re not sure which one’s to order, you can also do a flight and try different combinations.

The tea flights are $20 for two people or $30 for four people. You get to pick 3 different teas, which are brought out and served in different custom tea pots designed for a specific type of tea.  Most teas can be steeped twice, meaning at a minimum, you can get at least 6 pots of tea. We did the math and that’s a lot of tea.

2. Wasabi

Back in 2010, there wasn’t much of a ramen scene in Chicago. That all changed when Satoko Takeyama open Ramen Wasabi in Logan Square. At the time it was this cool hidden gem of a place in a neighborhood that was starting to get noticed by more and more people. Fast forward today, and Logan Square looks completely different and there are ramen shops everywhere.

We’re here, however, because this is still one of our most beloved places to go for ramen. It also helps that its just a few blocks north from East Hill Tea Co.

On most nights, this place is packed to the rafters. It’s for good reason though, because they’ve been consistently delivering a damn good bowl of ramen since they opened back in 2010. The one drawback is that they don’t take reservations, so expect a little wait if you’re coming during prime dinner time. 

If you do have to wait, they’ve got a whole menu of Japanese whiskey calling your name at the bar. Not a bad way to kill some time. 

Onto the actual food itself. Pictured above on the left is their staple tonkotsu ramen. Noodles are dense and provide a nice bite, but it’s the broth that makes us fans. The broth packs a lot of umami flavor and leans slightly to the sweeter side compared to a lot of other places in Chicago. If that’s your thing, then come here.

If you want a noodle dish, but want to try something other than traditional ramen, then get the tsukemen. It’s cold noodles, served on the side, that you dip into a warm bowl of shoyu dashi broth.

For tsukemen, the noodles are the star of plate. It’s got a similar flavor profile to ramen, but dipping the cold noodles into the warm broth gives you maximum control over its texture and how much broth is absorbed.

That does it for this guide, but if you’re still looking to explore the area more, you can check out our other nearby essays or just send our text message concierge a note.