Big Salad
Big Salad Podcast
The April Edit (and Our Chicago Photos!)

The April Edit (and Our Chicago Photos!)

Listen to a live recording of our Chicago event. Plus, three Chicago mini-itineraries.

Hi! Hope you’re well, and welcome to The April Edit! We’ve published some really fun issues this month, including:

But! Our highlight of the month, hands down, was hosting our first-ever Big Salad event. Here’s the audio recording and a few photos, if you’d like to see…

The evening event — all 250 tickets sold out in an hour, you guys! — took place April 25th at Everybody’s Coffee. I had an incredible time chatting with our special guest Hunter Harris, the Brooklyn-based critic who publishes Hung Up, a genius twice-weekly newsletter about movies, TV, music, celebrities, and pop culture.

When the doors opened at 6 p.m., readers arrived to nab seats and enjoy cookies and desserts by Lula Cafe. They mingled and chatted with friends, old and new.

After the event, a reader wrote to us, “My socially anxious self usually doesn’t go to events solo, but I knew I’d be okay coming here alone. The second I got here, I met a new friend. Thanks for always creating spaces for your readers, in the comments and in real life.” (Sob!)

We adore our readers, and they brought the very best energy to this event. The room felt electric!

Big Salad editor Kaitlyn Teer (left) welcomed everyone and did the introductions. Then, we kicked things off with live music — Bigkid (right) performed their beautiful song “Tell Me A Story,” which, in the dark room filled with people, felt almost holy.

They also led us in singing “Happy Birthday” to a reader named Nora (above right), who was celebrating her 40th that very night!!!

Hunter Harris is hilarious, and we chatted about celebrity crushes, the bright side of divorce, writing rituals, Beyoncé’s new album, Succession power rankings, dogs, everything! We’re excited for you to listen to the audio recording (and here’s the transcript).

Also, Hunter asked me, “What is your idea of a rich life?” — such a good question, and I’d love to hear your answer, if you’d like to share in the comments below.

At the end, we answered smart, funny questions from the audience. One woman shared her gratitude for fellow readers, saying, “I assume most of you are commenters, so thank you for commiserating and lifting me up. I’ve found a lot of joy and comfort from the comments section.” We couldn’t agree more.

Thank you again for reading! As always, we are so grateful to have you here. Next up, we’ll be coming to Seattle on August 21st, so if you live around there, please save the date!!!

Lots of love, Joanna (and

and ) xoxoxo

(Event photos by Azuree Holloway. Thank you to Destry Maria Sibley for editing the podcast.)

Thank you for reading Big Salad! Paid subscribers make all this possible and we’re so grateful.

Leading up to the event, we asked three friends for their Chicago recs, and they were too good not to share! Here are the best places to eat, shop, and hang out, according to Abby Mallett, our beloved Cup of Jo contributor; Claire Zulkey of

, and long-time blogger Tim Mazurek of Lottie & Doof

Restaurant: Bistro Campagne in Lincoln Square serves hearty French food, and you feel like you’re in someone’s home. The mashed potatoes are served swimming in bone marrow butter and I cry every time I eat them. 

Cafe: If your grandma was also everyone’s grandma and had a restaurant, the Sweet Maple Cafe on Taylor Street would be it. The biscuits and cinnamon roll pancakes will make you want to bang your fork on the table. 

Coffee: No one does coffee like Side Practice Coffee in Ravenswood. Filipino-owned, they make their pandan oat milk in house and serve specialty tea and coffee drinks, like the Ube Butter Cake (espresso with ube miso caramel syrup and banana milk).

Shop: Merz Apothecary (Lincoln Square) opened in 1875 and still operates as a pharmacy! It also has the best smelling soaps, perfume, and skincare around.

Pizza: I love the Neapolitan-style pizza at Spacca Napoli in Ravenswood. The mozzarella is especially good. And when visitors want ‘real’ Chicago pizza, I take them downtown to Pizano’s for red-and-white-checked tablecloths, pitchers of beer, and those really good pizza-place salads.

Bookstore: Chicagoland has great indie bookstores, but I’m loyal to the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. They offer lovingly curated titles, plus generous pours of wine and delicious snacks, and as an author, I’ve always felt warmly welcomed. Owner Suzy Takacs’ signature move for book events is ordering cakes for local authors that look like their book cover. That makes me laugh: ‘Here’s your book, now eat it.’

Coffee and gifts: The Center for Order and Experimentation is the café and gift shop where I go to buy presents for the people I love (including me!). It features a carefully curated selection of goods that you won’t find elsewhere.

Restaurant: Bungalow by Middlebrow is a lot of things — a brewery, bakery, pizza place, cafe, winery, community space. It manages to do all of them well and is one of my favorite places in Chicago.

Museum: The Renaissance Society presents contemporary art exhibitions, on the beautiful campus of the University of Chicago, featuring outstanding artists from around the world.

Park: One of the coolest things about Chicago is that all 18 miles of the lakefront are reserved for public use — which means the lake is lined with incredible parks. I have a special fondness for Steelworkers Park on the south side — which was built on the site of a former steel mill (one of the remaining ore walls has been converted to a climbing wall) and shows how beautifully nature can reclaim a formerly industrial area.

Thank you, Abby, Claire, and Tim for sharing your city with us! Readers, what would you add? We’d love to hear more ideas!

Here are the month’s most popular links:

  1. The butter yellow sneakers that chef Mehreen Karim wears everywhere.

  2. The book that transformed the way Jessica DeFino thinks about skin care.

  3. Cool, comfy pants, which Big Salad readers went absolutely bananas over.

  4. The trailer for a sexy movie Joanna watched on the flight to Chicago 👀.

  1. Cute Spring Outfit. I’m getting whiplash checking out people’s spring vibes.

  2. 11 Readers Share Go-To Recipes. “I wrote the recipe on my kitchen cabinet!”

  3. The Best Advice I’ve Heard in Ages. This quote feels revelatory.

  4. Four Fun Things. Including my favorite new hair product.

  5. Five Pick-Me-Ups that made us laugh.

  6. A Kitchen Gadget that Upgrades Everything. “I wasn't looking for love, but it found me anyway,” writes


(Chicago photo by Christopher Alvarenga / Unsplash. Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like and use ourselves. Thank you so much.)

Thank you so much for reading Big Salad. We’ve got fun issues coming up, including our swimsuit issue (send your queries and recommendations to We love having you here, and have a great week! xoxo

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Big Salad
Big Salad Podcast
Life advice, fun recommendations, and dating gossip — from Joanna Goddard and the Cup of Jo team.