Neighborhood Watch: Evanston

Three new reasons to explore our neighbor to the north

A spate of recent openings has Evanston blipping on our radar like never before. These three new destinations make a strong case for crossing Chicago's northern border.

Snack: Sandwiches at the new Soulwich come with the trappings of banh mi–pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro and chile-spiked aioli on an airy Labriola bun. But fillings deviate from the Vietnamese canon. Try tender pork braised in Burmese coconut curry ($8), or pork, steak, chicken or seitan dressed in a gingery, Indonesian-inspired marinade with caramelized onions ($8).

Sip: Once a stronghold of the 20th-century temperance movement, Evanston finally has its own craft distillery. Few Spirits produces gin, white whiskey, rye and bourbon, with barrel-aged gin on the way. Visit the tasting room or take a distillery tour ($10), offered on Saturdays at 2 and 3 p.m.

Dine: From the owners of nearby Bistro Bordeaux, the brand-new Crêperie Saint Germain is a petite and charming destination for an afternoon snack or evening meal. Sweet crêpes are made with organic wheat flour, and the savory ones with organic buckwheat. Supplement them with fried artichoke salad with tarragon vinaigrette ($7), and pommes frites fried in beef tallow and served with aioli ($4). 1512 Sherman Ave., Evanston; 847-859-2647