I've worked at the Reader since 2007 and have been a staff writer since 2010. I write Key Ingredient, a chef-to-chef recipe challenge that won a James Beard award in 2011, and Cocktail Challenge (a similar ingredient challenge for bartenders). In addition to reviewing restaurants and bars, I write about local beer, spirits, and cocktails. Most of my articles focus on booze or food, from Illinois's first farm distillery to why Chicago's food truck scene is stalled. I also like to document my personal failures, like getting lost on a bike ride to the Indiana Dunes or making mozzarella that could double as a SuperBall. Semicolons are my favorite punctuation mark.
Wicker Park’s Tropikava Kafe serves up an alcohol alternative that promises relaxing, even euphoric effects.
by Julia Thiel | May 25, 2016
The whimsical twist on the typically stuffy steak-house format would benefit from a little discipline.
by Julia Thiel | Feb 16, 2016
by Julia Thiel | May 27, 2016
The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of several local organizations that encourages horticultural therapy.
by Julia Thiel | Mar 13, 2019
When you're stuck with 50 kegs of ale slated for Trump Tower and then Donald insults Mexican immigrants, what do you do?
by Julia Thiel | Jan 24, 2019
From a toolbox to a 30,000-square-foot brewery.
by Julia Thiel | Jan 17, 2019
by Julia Thiel | Nov 19, 2018
Not even pig's blood or stinkbugs daunted our intrepid mixologists.
by Julia Thiel | Aug 16, 2018
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