Welcome to Sophia's Blog
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my latest creative endeavor: starting a blog. My goal here is simply to practice weekly writing whether it's reviewing the latest films, shows, records, books, etc. or just rambling about the goings on of the world around me.
To start, here's a bit about me. I'm Sophia Rana, a research analyst by day and aspiring artist and musician by night. I am currently based in Chicago, IL and enjoy traveling around the city to try new food and find new music venues. Here are a few of my local favorites to get a taste of my taste:
Ordering In: Naan on Devon - Indian so authentic that my Dad considered moving here the first time he tried it (my Dad is from Pakistan so that's saying a lot.) If you're not used to South Asian spice, tread carefully. My usual is the veggie biryani, spicy chicken tikka, and garlic naan.
Eating Out: Bienmasabe - I never knew how much I loved Venezuelan food until I ate here and now it's my go-to location to take guests from out of town. Their arepas are incredible and on Wednesdays you can get their signature arepas for only $10! My usual is tequeños and a create your own arepa with black beans, fried plantains, and Caribbean cheese. They’re also BYOB so grab your favorite refreshments and hit them up for an early dinner on Wednesdays to make sure you get a spot.
Street Eats: Elote Carts - If I’m out on the town or just hungry coming home from work I’ll usually hit up the ethereal elote man. These dudes are usually found on the street around busy areas with a cart, an umbrella, and a hilarious amount of elote, tamales, and/or raspados. My usual is elote with extra tajin!
Intimate Rock Music: The Metro - Located in the heart of Wrigleyville, The Metro hosts the likes of local bands you’ve definitely never heard of to rock legends like Metallica and Green Day. The venue has a max occupancy of 1100 so there is no such thing as a bad spot in the house. A great place if you like intimate rock shows that bring the sound right to your ear holes.
Tour Music Venue: Aragon Ballroom - A classic Uptown staple that will take your breath away from the moment you walk in. The architecture is enough of a reason to buy a ticket to whomever is playing tonight, and the vibes are always immaculate in my favorite place to see bands rolling through town. The inside looks and feels like an expansive castle and when you’re on the floor it feels like you’re somehow outside. Look up and there is the galaxy of stars. Look behind you and the pillars of a Moorish castle make you feel like you’re in some kind of Game of Thrones fever dream.
Ya Like Jazz?: The Green Mill - A stone’s throw from the Aragon is the historical Green Mill where Al Capone enjoyed a cocktail or two. This cash only jazz haunt makes me feel like I walked into the 1920s from the decor to the cash register (which I think is the same one from when they opened). I love coming in earlier in the evenings to listen to some high quality jazz and have a drink with friends.
Going Outside: Foster Beach - Ever since I moved to Chicago the thing that captivated me the most was the lakeshore. I think it’s incredible that such a massive metropolis has direct access to beaches and a Great Lake. During the warm months you can find me at Foster Beach soaking in the sun, munching on some mango paleta, or embarking on a paddle board to see how far I can make it before I fall off. I love the water and always try to get out to the lake as much as I can when the weather allows it.
That’s my usuals in a nutshell! If you’re a local you can tell that I frequent the Edgewater, Uptown, and Wrigleyville neighborhoods the most, but you will find me exploring all over the city when I have the time and energy.
I hope you enjoyed the small peek into what I love about my local Chicago and stay tuned for more about where I go, what I do, and what’s happening. To say goodbye and thank you for reading, here's a picture of a cool rock someone placed in the knot of a tree in Andersonville.