Talk of The Town: December 2023


The end of another year is nearly upon us! So this month, Talk of the Town is skipping ahead to the end, from the end of a meal to the end of the road. Join us on this journey from a vegan North Shore bakery all the way to Istanbul, the of the historic Orient-Express Train.


From soup and salad to the main course, no meal is complete without dessert. Here are some of our favorite places in and around Chicago where you can find that happy ending!

Daisies | 2375 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago: Cited by the New York Times as one of the 50 most exciting places to eat in the country, Daisies is best known for its handmade pasta. The starts and entrees truly are delicious, but we especially love the desserts created by award-winning Executive Pastry Chef and partner, Leigh Omilinsky.

Maple & Ash | 8 W. Maple St, Chicago: Be sure to save room for dessert at this upscale steak house. Our favorite is the Sundae Service Tower featuring a bowl of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams presented alongside an elegant 2-tier silver tray laden with all sorts of toppings from classic hot fudge and whipped cream to Luxardo cherries and pecan streusel.

DeEtta’s Bakery | 428 W. Fifth Ave, Naperville: Since 2009, owners Morgan and Kevin Tyschper have been delighting customers with scratch-made baked goods. For a sweet holiday ending, try their traditional Yule Log and festive, seasonally decorated cupcakes, cookies and petit fours.

Blind Faith Cafe | 525 Dempster St, Evanston: Established in 1979, this North Shore icon is famous for its globally-inspired vegetarian menu. For a sweet ending to enjoy at home, their bakery offers plenty of vegan, gluten-free and no refined sugar options including cobblers, cakes, cookies, and pastries.

Elske | 1350 W. Randolph St, Chicago: With award-winning Pastry Chef & Co-Owner Anna Posey at the helm, this modern Danish-inspired restaurant offers tasting and à la carte menus enhanced by a tempting variety of innovative desserts. Stand out sweet endings include lemon verbena tapioca with watermelon and spruce, as well as a sunflower seed parfait with sour honey, licorice and bee pollen.


Essayist and novelist Pico Iyer wrote that “the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” But alas, some journeys do come to an end – whether you’re traveling by road or rail…

According to the original 1926 plans, Route 66 began in Chicago at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue and ended at 7th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. A decade later, the route was extended to reach its official end point closer to the Pacific Ocean at Olympic and Lincoln Boulevards. But thanks to modern marketing savvy, the “End of the Trail” sign for Route 66 now sits at the very edge of the ocean at Santa Monica Pier, a popular tourist attraction.

The only official section of the Pan-American Highway as conceived in 1928 runs from Laredo, Mexico to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unofficially, multiple roadways in the USA and Canada are now considered part of the system. Incorporating these routes, you can travel the 30,000-mile route in its entirety from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to its end in Ushuaia, Argentina at the tip of South America.

Built in 1892 for passengers of the fabled Orient Express, the opulent Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul was the end of the line for passengers on this luxury rail journey from Paris. Among the hotel’s notable guests, Agatha Christie is said to have written Murder on the Orient Express while staying in Room 411.


Ask three people to cite their favorite movie ending, and you’ll likely get three different answers. Here are some we love for their emotional impact and surprise twist. Warning, this article contains spoilers!

Set during World War II, the ending of Casablanca is legendary. After bidding farewell to the love of his life, Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, decides to join the Resistance with Louis Renault, played by Claude Rains. As they walk across the foggy airport tarmac, Rick declares “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” It’s a meticulously filmed scene and a simple line that evokes themes of duty, sacrifice, love and friendship.

The Shawshank Redemption offers a deeply satisfying ending. The escape of Tim Robbins’ character, Andy Dufresne, and the exposure of the prison warden’s corruption are gratifying enough. But it’s the final scene, when Andy finally reunites with his former prison mate Red, played by Morgan Freeman, that perfectly captures cinematic themes of friendship, hope, and, of course, redemption.

Packing a punch, the ending of Planet of the Apes is a surprise twist. Kneeling in the sand, pounding his fists as he yells “You maniacs! You blew it up!” Charleton Heston’s character George Taylor finally realizes that what he thought was an alien planet is Earth itself—thousands of years after a catastrophic war destroys humanity.

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