Best museum exhibit

Tattoo The Field Museum…

Best home furnishings

Alapash New Home (and Terrariums) 4835 N. Damen…

Best underground art space

Uptown Underground 4707 N. Broadway…

Best vintage store

Shangri-La Vintage 1952 W. Roscoe…

Best radio DJ

Lin Brehmer WXRT…

Best canoe/kayak rentals

Chicago River Canoe & Kayak 3400 N. Rockwell…

The Sweets & Snacks Expo pulls back the confectionery curtain

This annual industry convention is more overwhelming than Willy Wonka’s factory tour—but you’re much less likely to get turned into a giant blueberry. It was a May midafternoon on the first day of this year's Sweets & Snacks Expo, and I was catching my breath and charging my phone when I accidentally met the biggest celebrity at the whole three-day event.…

Best cafe/coffee shop

Cafe Mustache 2313 N. Milwaukee…

Best news site

DNAinfo www.dnainfo.com/chicago…

Best barbershop

Rev. Billy's Chop Shop 4314 N. Lincoln…

Best alfresco dining

Parson's Chicken & Fish 2952 W. Armitage…

Optimo brings back top-shelf hat-making

It’s worth the price for a quality fedora. When I bought my beautiful brown-felt fedora from him a few years ago, Optimo owner Graham Thompson was still operating out of a combination storefront and factory on Western Avenue in Beverly, where the hat-making happened on premises. Things have changed.…