Written by metrogirl on 29 Sep, 2004
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens: Jumping Rocks
Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive
We savored the wonders of Peggy Notebaert Museum until closing time and found we had several hours to enjoy Lincoln Park Zoo across the street before it closed. To get to the zoo, I…Read More
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens: Jumping Rocks
Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive
We savored the wonders of Peggy Notebaert Museum until closing time and found we had several hours to enjoy Lincoln Park Zoo across the street before it closed. To get to the zoo, I led my little group up to the gate to a short cut path through an often overlooked Chicago garden.
Considered one of the most important historic landscapes in Chicago, The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was built with Works Project Administration (WPA) dollars during the depression, between 1936 and 1938, to provide a "hidden garden" for the city’s residents. The site did begin as a Victorian lily pool in 1889, but its design was redeveloped by Alfred Caldwell for whom it is now named.
Alfred Caldwell was a disciple of famed naturalist landscape designer Jens Jensen. After designing this 1.5-acre garden, Caldwell became the premier landscape architect of the Prairie School. Wright and Caldwell worked together on many designs. It is often-held opinion that Caldwell was to landscaping what Frank Lloyd Wright was to Prairie School architecture. Like its architectural counterpart, the intent of the Prairie School tradition of landscape design was to help build an appreciation for the beauty of the natural environment.
the influence of prairie school architecture evident in the design for the pavilion
Caldwell's intention for the design was to reproduce a small segment the Midwest original prairie features in a calming garden retreat. He used an extensive plant palette native to the Midwest landscape, stone outcroppings, waterfall walkways all arranged around a lily pool to create with a prairie stream, replicating a creek running through an indigenous prairie. The handsome wooden Prairie-style pavilion shelters birdwatchers, photographers, lovers, and lovers of nature from sun and shower.
The many terraced outcroppings and steps of natural stones were an instant magnet for my niece. Meeting some other children, they devised spur-of-the-moment rock jumping games, much to her delight and her mother’s horror. But, shady nooks, these rocks form were designed not so much for games as to provide repose for the migrating birds that use the area as a resting site. Because of the zoo's proximity to the Lily Pool, the zoo began to manage the site for breeding birds in the 1950s and called it The Rookery. To respect the past and reflect the future, the site was renamedThe Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in May 2000.
More than half a century after its conception, it seems that this scenic glade still possesses the power to surprise and delight those of us who find this hidden gem. I don’t think that there are few other public spots in Chicago that offer the same sense of truly natural respite from the harshness of the city right in its midst.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Nurturing Nature in the 21st Century
2430 N Cannon Drive
Fullerton Parkway west of Lake Shore Drive
My niece cast a wary eye at me in the way that only 10-year-olds can, when I pulled up in front of the Chicago Academy of…Read More
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Nurturing Nature in the 21st Century
2430 N Cannon Drive
Fullerton Parkway west of Lake Shore Drive
My niece cast a wary eye at me in the way that only 10-year-olds can, when I pulled up in front of the Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. At first inspection, I had to admit that the building that houses the museum seemed overpowering in the summer heat. The massive glass widows shimmered in the hot sun as the tall sand-colored walls loomed white-hot over our heads.
The design concept for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum evolved from a metaphor of the sand dune which was the first inhabitant of this Lake Michigan shore site. The architects chose pale native shale and sea-colored glass to construct the striated, angular, and very asymmetrical walls that make up the shifting levels of the building. This literal translation mimicking the ever-changing dune was most apparent on this scorching summer day.
As we approached the entrance up the curved walkway, the harsh feel of the building was softened by the sight and scents of the profusion of native prairie flowers bending in the lake-breezes. I could see a smile starting to form on my niece’s face as she spied the gargantuan white polar bear standing on his hind legs and hovering over the entrance portico. We happened to luck upon the museum’s Free Thursday, yet were warmly greeted like paying customers and given a detailed Visitor Guide outlining that particular day’s activities and a map indicating their locations. Keeping with the museum’s mission of environmental awareness, returning the Visitor Guide at the days-end for re-cycling entitles you to 10% discount in the gift shop.
Our Visitor Guide listed six permanent exhibits. The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven (1) is where you can get up close to more that 70 species of butterflies from four of the seven continents. You can walk through this intricately controlled 28-foot tall butterfly biosphere to experience these beauties in a natural setting. This is truly a magical space. Magically is such a fluffy word that I rarely use to describe ANYTHING. But with gentle waterfalls, whiffs and puffs of scented air, vibrant flora, and the many intensely colored butterflies flitting about you, magical is the word for this little sanctuary. You can stroll with some interesting and interested folk of all ages eagerly photographing or mingling with dozens of exotic international butterflies.
Next door to the haven is a special butterfly breeding lab not found anywhere else on this continent. There Amélie and I watched a vivid blue butterfly emerge from his chrysalis, and hang out around the edges of his glass home, patiently drying his wings for his first flight. We were enthralled with the spacious biosphere and returned several times during our visit that day.
At the C. Paul Johnson Water Lab (2) , we were shown the power of water and its influence on our lives. This exhibit will re-open as Riverworks in the late fall. It will then incorporate live animals and dynamic water play experiences to show the important work of the numerous local rivers in their support of plants, animal, and humans.
Joining the Green Family on a tour of their house teaches the little future homeowners how our homes impact the environment each day. The Extreme Green House (3) uses live animals and hand on exhibits to demonstrate how we are all connected to our environment. The best display is a model bathroom that shows the presence of bacteria on common surfaces. When a button is pushed for a black-light mode, the germs glow green against the purple-lit sink, mirror, and walls. Really icky and, of course, wildly popular.
Light, sound, and live and preserved animals in meticulously re-created environments in the Wilderness Walk (4) do more than present scientific facts about the biodiversity of our fragile Midwest ecosystem. The vignettes present a host of intriguing ecological situations with the amazingly lifelike models of the animals and plants that are necessary to ecological balance. You could almost hear the deer chewing the leaf she just plucked off a wild weed stalk.
The Wilderness Walk is linked to Hands on Habitat (5) that provides a safe space for children under seven to explore and learn about ecosystems. They can climb the two-story Mazza Foundation Tree of Life to see how trees grow and discover the creatures that call this tree home. Below the tree, they can manipulate the leaves and the creatures with colorful levers, pulleys, and wheels. I found it hard to tear Amélie away from this interactive spot.
Although the extensive glass and multilevel open-air terraces enable you to connect with nature outside while you view exhibits inside, the outdoor Greening Project Exhibits (6) enthusiastically embraces the natural landscape of adjoining park and pond. The grounds around the museum are profusely landscaped with plant communities that used to dominate the Midwestern landscape, featuring prairie wildflowers and a butterfly garden along the edges of North Pond. The open-air exhibits showcase the eco-friendly, energy-efficient building technology of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The three-story Cliff Garden, is a limestone wall that resembles natural ravine walls here in Illinois, climbing native vines, and a quiet gathering niche surrounded by native wetland plants.
The Rooftop Stop explains the process that was used to create the 17,000 square-foot green rooftop. Colorful signage explains the roof, garden, and solar panels. An interactive sculpture will spin, giving you AND the garden a brief light shower from a whimsical, colorful metal shape when you push a big green and yellow button. On this 94˚F day, this was the perfect place for several roof-top showers while getting a fabulous free 360-degree panoramic view of towering downtown skyscrapers, breezy Lake Michigan, and cool, green Lincoln Park.
Stepping back inside, we suspended our adventures for a healthy snack of fruit and yogurt at the Butterfly Cafe. The café is clean and colorful, open, and simply furnished to handle big groups of little people. The food choices were the typical cafeteria fare at somewhat inflated popular city-venue prices. A superb feature of the café is the view over the North Pond of Lincoln Park, which can serve well for inclement days. But a suggestion is to bring your own picnic lunch and adjourn to the vast green park across from the museum for your noon meal or snack if the Chicago weather permits.
crime solver insects
The much heralded special exhibit CSI: Crime Scene Insects was inspired by the fascinating forensic science featured in CBS’s popular TV show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Before entering, you are treated with a short film introducing you to the science of forensic entomology, narrated by CSI’s main character, Gil Grissom, and a real forensic entomologist, who is the technical advisor to the TV show.
The exhibit intriguingly demonstrated how insects help to reveal critical details of a crime scene and why they are such valuable witnesses in helping piece together the events at a crime scene. We were able to view live and preserved insects including flies, maggots, and dermestid beetles. After carefully reading a display, we can now understand how to collect and analyze evidence from theses insects. The individually partitioned sections in the exhibit hall were beautifully constructed from small pieces of wood, fitted together like intricate puzzle-pieces, and displaying the literal theme of solving the puzzle of criminal activity.
I was surprised to see the extensive and sometimes graphically thorough displays of the "tools of the trade" of forensic medicine in this exhibition. A mock court room arrangement showed looping film-clips of actual testimony of a forensic entomologist as an expert witness. There were two different simulated crime scenes you could analyze, matching results with experts. But by far the most popular venue was a very absolutely realistic morgue refrigerator display complete with lifelike bodies in its shallow metal drawer-pans. I thought that the morgue model was a bit chilling (no pun intended) for an exhibit geared to children. But I was soon reminded by my relatives that many children are exposed to much more disturbing images on a daily basis on primetime TV.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is compact enough to be experienced in one day. However, the state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, computers, special daily-demonstrations, and microscopes sprinkled throughout may keep you lingering longer seeing nature in new ways you never expected.
admission: Adults $7; seniors/teens $5; kids (3-12) $4
Admission is free on Thursdays and on April 27, in honor of Earth Day.
Mon-Fri 9 am - 4:30 pm; Sat-Sun 10 am – 5 pm;
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day
Written by Sierra on 02 Jul, 2004
Ari Fox and Kenneth Obel are a pair of guys who love travel and food. They had explored all kinds of great places to eat and find food all over the world. But their hometown of Chicago - a melting pot of all kinds of…Read More
Ari Fox and Kenneth Obel are a pair of guys who love travel and food. They had explored all kinds of great places to eat and find food all over the world. But their hometown of Chicago - a melting pot of all kinds of cultures - didn't have a market that brought together that passion for fine and sometimes unusual foods. And so, Fox & Obel was born.
Being a total foodie, the article about the soon-to-be-open Fox & Obel, which appeared in Chicago Magazine (2000), caught my eye. Here was going to be a Dean & Deluca quality market right in the Streeterville section of town - hooray, easy access after work! When the store did open, it was with great excitement I headed over in the opening days. To date, Fox & Obel has become one of my favorite places to grocery shop, particularly when I am looking for hard-to-find items or want the best quality.
I knew it was different the moment I first walked in the door. The fruit and produce welcomes you into the door, everything high quality (organics available), very fresh.
Next is the bakery, a dizzying array of fresh cakes, pies, chocolates, breads. (Every time they're in town, my folks like to come here for their blueberry muffins). They have wonderful single-serving tarts and cheesecakes, and an awesome tiramisu.
There is a sushi counter, which will make fresh to order, and then there's my favorite part of the store: the deli counter. Forget plain old cold cuts; forget blah grocery-chain salads! Fox & Obel assures the same great quality here, with interesting and delicious items made from the freshest ingredients. Things I can't walk away from when they have them available: truffled mashed potatoes, bread pudding, turkey meatloaf, Thai vegetable salad. They'll even let you sample items. They also stock a variety of better quality deli-style meats, including an excellent Prosciutto, as well as a variety of fish, spreads, and even caviar. The deli offers specialty items around major holidays; it is best to order in advance for those.
In addition to their deli, they have their cut meats counter, which carries high-quality meats, including beef, pork, chicken and fish. They have 3 different aged beef (mmm...), ribs, sausages... I stand in front of the meat counter and just imagine all the good stuff I could cook up!
They have an excellent cheese department, where extremely knowledgeable staff can steer you to a cheese to fit your tastes. There is a fresh olive bar, which some 20 varieties of olives available. There are whole walls of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. And their freezer cases carry an interesting selection of frozen goods, including unusual ice creams (I'm fond of green tea ice cream, and it's almost always available here).
What would great food be without great drinks, however? Fox & Obel carries fresh coffee beans, a wide selection of teas, and has a very nice wine department. In addition, they carry all kinds of sauces, condiments, chips, crackers, cookies etc that you won't find in many major supermarkets. If it's too much to choose from, they have gift baskets!
And if all this foodie goodness wasn't enough, Fox & Obel has a café on premises, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; and they do catering. And if you still aren't sated, try taking one of Fox & Obel's classes, which they offer throughout the month on a variety of subjects, from specialized menus to wine tasting and more.
Still don't see what you're looking for? Fox & Obel take suggestions on what to carry!
In just the few short years since they've opened, Fox & Obel has established themselves as a local favorite for providing consistent, friendly, knowledgeable staff; high-quality product; and an atmosphere where truly, the customer always comes first. I love coming here and I love introducing friends to this store.
__________________Fox & Obel is located at 401 East Illinois Street in Chicago - handy on/off from Lake Shore Drive, and just a few blocks west of Navy Pier. Several bus lines service the area.
Fox & Obel telephone: (312) 410-7301
Written by Scubabartek on 07 Nov, 2000
I'm writing it as a free form, because there are a lot of places to see here, which however will not take you much time out of your day. Plus it's kind of hard to give an address for all of them, just ask the…Read More
I'm writing it as a free form, because there are a lot of places to see here, which however will not take you much time out of your day. Plus it's kind of hard to give an address for all of them, just ask the locals.
A good photo-spot is the Water Tower which is located at Chicago and Michigan avenues. It was one of the few buildings to survive the great Chicago fire of 1871. Inside there is an interesting mosaic floor inside. The Water Tower is shown on the picture below.
As you're walking through Chicago's downtown, you will undoubtedly run into some strange looking cows. That's that 'Cows on Parade' exhibit. Each one of these cows was painted by a different person (Chicago's artists I believe) and appear in truly unusual places sometimes. I believe there is around 300 of them scattered around the city.
Sooner or later you will end up at Navy Pier. It's a great place to spend a summer afternoon at. There is a Ferris Wheel and carousels for kids here, souvenir shops, ice cream, fast food etc. Also, this is a place to take a dinner cruise, or a boat tour if you so desire.
This was a fantastic place to watch the 4th of July fireworks show at. We grabbed some lemonades and ice-cream and sat on the stairs watching the show overhead. Fantastic!
Written by cls223 on 27 Feb, 2002
One of the main events for visitors to Chinatown during Chinese New Year is the Chinese New Year Parade. This year, the weather cooperated: it was a relatively mild February Sunday, light breezes, and mostly sunny. Hundreds of spectators lined the street along…Read More
One of the main events for visitors to Chinatown during Chinese New Year is the Chinese New Year Parade. This year, the weather cooperated: it was a relatively mild February Sunday, light breezes, and mostly sunny. Hundreds of spectators lined the street along Cermak and Wentworth, waiting for the parade to begin.
The police took their job of keeping the parade route clear very seriously. There was one young Chinese woman who was trying to cross a blockaded street and was stopped by a policeman. I was too far away to hear their conversation, but it was obvious that she was determined to cross the street at that particular spot, and also obvious that the policeman was equally determined that she go around and not cross there. Their discussion escalated to the point that I did hear the policeman tell her she was “about 3 seconds away from going to jail.” The young woman turned away, but as soon as the policeman’s attention was diverted, she ran across the intersection. A bit later, I spotted her on a float in the parade: a very tardy beauty queen had almost ended up in jail!
This being an election year, there was a disproportionate number of politicians in the parade and on the reviewing stand, out to meet their constituents and try to drum up votes. One of the more ironic entries into the parade was a local bagpipe contingent, complete with kilts! What they were doing in the Chinese New Year parade I didn’t quite figure, but they were good.... however more appropriate for this month’s St. Patrick’s parade!
My “aw, how cute” vote goes to the entry of an organization that helps people in the US adopt Chinese infants. They had an adorable little Chinese toddler in a child’s wagon pulled by a large Great Pyrenees dog; wish I’d been able to get a picture of them.
And of course everyone’s favorite was the Chinese dragon, all hundred feet of it, dipping and turning as it came down the street. The costumes are spectacular; take a look at some of the photos below and just imagine the work it took to make one. Once created, I’m sure these are used for many years.
Then the parade was over, and all the spectators disbursed for another year; many of them headed off to continue the celebration in one of Chinatown’s many wonderful eateries.
Written by nickj on 19 Jul, 2001
My friend Harv got seconded to Chicago on a couple of days notice and was looking at spending a couple of months with nothing to do. I also know a couple of girls who live in Chicago because I met them while I was in…Read More
My friend Harv got seconded to Chicago on a couple of days notice and was looking at spending a couple of months with nothing to do. I also know a couple of girls who live in Chicago because I met them while I was in Morocco at about this time last year. That, coupled with the fact I was bored out of my mind and consumed by wanderlust convinced me it was time to visit the "Windy City".
I came to this conclusion on Tuesday night at about nine o'clock while sitting at my computer. In an internal debate lasting all of fifteen seconds I convinced myself it was a good idea, acquired a ticket via the net, asked the boss for Friday off and packed my bags. Friday rolled around with alarming speed and I was forced to lunge out of bed and grab the nearest transport in order to make my 10.30am flight. The flight itself was uneventful and I managed to acquire the much coveted four-centre-seat-spread to catch a couple of hours sleep before we landed.
The weather in Chicago was the first sign of an imminent good weekend - sunny and nineteen degrees Celsius. After the grey skies of London I felt positively giddy. I felt like stripping off my shirt and prancing around the tarmac singing. Climate does strange things to you.
From the airport I took the "el" (elevated train) downtown to Chicago to hook up with Harv. Getting out at the Washington street station I decided to take advantage of the fine weather and eschewed the classic yellow taxi for more ambulatory form of locomotion. It gave me a chance to see the city as well as catch some sunshine.
Frank Lloyd Wright spent a lot of time in Chicago and whether it was his influence on Chicago that changed it or Chicago that influenced him I'm not sure. I suspect the latter. In any case, Chicago's streetscapes are pleasing to the eye with the vast majority being dominated by solid, square, multi-storey structures which seem to be laid like ranked pieces on a chess-board. The buildings vary from stark modernistic glass pillars to more ornate pre-war constructions to baroque turn of the century buildings. The overall effect is a tidy show case of high rise architecture. The streets are also wide and pleasant in the manner of many a city planned for and built on flat ground.
I eventually found my friend's office and extracted him from a training course so we could organise our weekend. We had a few things to see but first I wanted to get in touch with the girls I met in Morocco. Harv and I grabbed a bite to eat and then hopped on the L again, this time the red-line heading for Wrigley Field. Wrigley Field is the home of Chicago's favourite baseball team the Cubs. The Cubs have an almost fanatical following in the city, not withstanding the fact that they hardly ever won a game.
We weren't actually going to a game, I'd arrived on too short notice for that, but we headed out to a bar within spitting distance of the field and settled down for a drink. After a couple of rounds in the Gingerman we sauntered off to the "Corner Pocket" and played pool until they threw us out at 1am. This, I thought, was a particularly good demonstration of stamina from me since it was about 6am in my timezone.
The next morning I slept in a little, but not long enough to spoil the chance to take advantage of the sparkling weather. We strolled up through the town and over the network of canals that used to be part of the trading empire that was Chicago's lifeblood. We eventually hit the expressway on the edge of Lake Michigan and grabbed a cab down to the waterfront and the Field Museum of Natural History.
The Museum was relatively interesting but the two key exhibits that both Harv and I would have liked to have seen were unavailable. The first was Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found. Sue was unavailable because she is powdering her nose for her grand unveiling on May 12th. The second was the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit which was unfortunately sold out. How exactly you could sell out the ability to view a bit of parchment wasn't made clear to us but the Dead Sea scrolls were unavailable too.
The museum's exhibits were relatively interesting but consisted largely of the usual collection of sacred artefacts stolen from an indigenous people, this time of course the American Indian. The totems in the Field Museum are impressive and would be more impressive still if they were back with their original owners instead of crammed into some dimly lit corner of the Museum.
After the museum we braved the arctic winds coming off Lake Michigan and strolled back into town. As we headed back to Harv's place in the quaintly named "Streeterville", we got a taste of why Chicago is called the windy city. In the space of four stops on the metro the temperature dropped ten degrees, the wind picked up and mist rolled in off Lake Michigan.
After a brief sprint home to collect some more clothes, we spent the rest of the afternoon strolling around the shops on the swanky Michigan Ave and then headed out to meet up with some more friends. We met them in a pub called the "US Beer Co" which specialised in. . . well you get the idea. They had just been out to barrack for one of their friends teams in, that un-American of all things, a rugby match. Their team had unfortunately lost quite heavily. Since the girls were already over tired and we didn't want to waste Sunday sleeping in we headed off home before midnight.
The next morning we rolled out of bed and strolled through the town again before heading out to the Adler planetarium near Meigs Field. The planetarium features the usual museum style astronomy displays and the "world's most advanced" big screen projector. This one, the narrator explained, was powered by real-time feed from a computer rather than which use the old photosensitive pigments on strips of celluloid method. The show was quite inspiring and made even my bloated ego feel astronomically insignificant.
After the planetarium we had time enough for a comprehensive and leisurely lunch in another ubiquitous American restaurant chain (TGI Friday's I think). Over lunch Harv and I talked about life, unrequited romance and high explosives as we are want to do. My plane was leaving at 5pm so I headed off soon after that and caught the train back to Chicago O'Hare for the six hour flight to London. I landed at 5.40am at Heathrow and was straight back into the office where I managed to remain upright for eight solid hours before I went home to collapse.
Travelling in America is easy and involves none of the incipient paranoia that a foreign country normally induces. Sure, crime rates may be high in America and the bad guys all carry guns, but at least they're polite about robbing you and you'll know when they're asking for your wallet because they'll be doing it in English. Still, the most dangerous thing you'll usually face in America is being mowed down on the sidewalk by an overweight bus driver from New Jersey.
I liked Chicago more than either of the other U.S. cities I have visited, San Francisco and Seattle. Both of the west coast cities felt cramped to me, too many people in too small a space. Chicago has a real sense of space and presence.
Chicago is the sort of city I could settle down in if it weren't for the six feet of snow it sees every winter and the lack of sea-side. I'd like to go back to Chicago some day but there's an awful lot of places to visit between now and then!
Written by tvlgrl on 01 Jun, 2004
From Lake Shore Drive to the Magnificent Mile, Chicago is designed for FUN. With major museums and attractions, all within the same area, anywhere you go, you're destined for a good time.My journey started at the Museum of Science and industry; for a small fee…Read More
From Lake Shore Drive to the Magnificent Mile, Chicago is designed for FUN.
With major museums and attractions, all within the same area, anywhere you go, you're destined for a good time.
My journey started at the Museum of Science and industry; for a small fee ($9 for adults), you have access to one of the major museums in Chicago. The exhibits ranged from space travel, with pieces of actual space shuttles, to a lifesize airplane, that you can actually go in and out of. It even has a forensic files exhibit, where you can see your fingerprint, and an explanation of how your print is different than anyone else's. There were a lot of other things on display here as well, you just have to check it out.
Then it was on to Navy Pier right down Lake Shore Drive. Lake Shore Drive in itself is a beautiful sight, with several tour boats you can take to go around Lake Michigan...The Sea Dog is a speed boat, good if you have children. It was a fun ride...and for Adults, if you want a romantic ride, the Odyssey dinner cruise. A nice dinner, lunch or moonlight cruise makes any day special aboard this yacht. Prices vary and can be kind of expensive.
Also Navy Pier, hosts the children's museum, of Chicago, an IMAX movie theater, a ferris wheel, merry go round, with several specialty shops and restaurants, to make for a fun day, even if that is the only place you want to go.
And if you decide to leave the confines of Navy Pier, you can go down the magnificent Mile, and do all the power shopping you can do. Not to mention all the other sights, The field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Sears Tower, Chicago can truly be Your Kind of Town too. Close
Written by ifor_gal on 28 May, 2007
If you have the means to leave the city via rental car or perhaps enlisting a friend to drive you, you should check out Mitsuwa Japanese market which is located right of the Kennedy expressway on Arlington Height Road in Algonquin. Only 10 minutes from…Read More
If you have the means to leave the city via rental car or perhaps enlisting a friend to drive you, you should check out Mitsuwa Japanese market which is located right of the Kennedy expressway on Arlington Height Road in Algonquin. Only 10 minutes from O'Hare airport, you can skip the flight to Japan and experience a close encounter to the country right in Chicago's own northwestern suburbs. Mitsuwa is a Japanese owned chain which also has large markets in several cities in California, and one in New Jersey. The marketplace is very clean and not overwhelmingly Japanese so to scare off those who aren't familiar with the food and customs. When you first enter the marketplace, there's a liquor store to your left filled with all kinds of imported beers and sakes from Japan. You can either choose to go grocery shopping first, or after you experience all the little specialty shops and food court, or you can do it the way I do. I like to eat in the brightly lit food court first, then go and shop so to walk off all the deliciously affordable meal I just consumed! After taking a trip to visit my friend in Japan, I got hooked on this fun, yet complicated dish called okono miyaki - consider it a Japanese style pancake. In Japan, there are restaurants that specialize in this and basically each table is equipped with a flat top grill where the guests choose their own ingredients and grill their batter. Since they can't do that in a food court, the cooks at Otafuku-tei have a pre-made batter filled with veggies and meat and make your Okono-miyaki hot off the grill when you order.I also like Kayaba which has a plethora of combo dishes or bentos. You can get donkatsu curry or tempura, and udon made a variety of ways. The portions are satisfying and the taste is of typically Japanese restaurant quality. Typically combo platters run from 5-8 dollars at Kayaba. The dishes at Otafuku-tei run from 3-8 dollars. There are also a sushi counter, Ramen, ice cream, Chinese, and a Korean counter if you'd like something different.After eating at the food court, I like to walk around the grocery store and look for items that I can keep around the house and cook up last minute meals for guests. Curry mix, udon noodles and soup base, panko (good for all sorts of fried fishes, meats, and veggies), and of course Japanese candies. After spending most of my money, I make sure to allot at least $10 for the Hippo bakery. If you've never tried Asian pastries, you're definitely missing out! Asian baked goods tend to be much lighter and less sweet than western baked goods. The fillings are made up of red and white bean, sweet potato, fruits, and custards. They make for great mid-morning snacks at work with coffee.Overall, Mitsuwa Marketplace is a fun place to go if you'd like to know more about Japanese cuisine and culture. Close
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 31 Oct, 2006
The first night of the 2006 IgoUgo Get-Together was held at Cubby Bear's, a bar located in the historic Wrigleyville District in Chicago's North Side. Cubby Bear's is located across the street from historic Wrigley Field, home of those "Lovable Losers," the Chicago Cubs.…Read More
The first night of the 2006 IgoUgo Get-Together was held at Cubby Bear's, a bar located in the historic Wrigleyville District in Chicago's North Side. Cubby Bear's is located across the street from historic Wrigley Field, home of those "Lovable Losers," the Chicago Cubs.
On the cab ride into Wrigleyville from Oak Park, I saw Wrigley Field in its glory across the road in lights. Darn! I wish that the get-together was in August or September, so I could have caught a game there. My sister and brother-in-law caught a game at Wrigley Field in 2001 between the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Mom, Dad, and I were home in Donnelly and would get updates on ESPN and a chance to catch Erika and Todd in the stands. No dice there, but Erika did call from Wrigley Field to say hi and let us know that they were having fun. We could hear the public-address system in the background and envied Erika and Todd for being there.
Wrigley Field is the second oldest baseball stadium in the USA, next to Boston's Fenway Park. Built in 1919, it was owned by the Wrigley family, those of the famous chewing gum and newspaper publication family. Since 1919, Wrigley Field has been the scene of many a Cubs' heartbreak. The most recent heartbreak was in 2003, when the Cubs made the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins. The Cubs had a chance to make their first World Series since 1945, but a foul ball that could have been caught by the Cubs' Left Fielder Moises Alou was grabbed by an overeager fan, and it was curtains for the Cubs and tears for the fans. Most of us Red Sox fans can sympathise with the Cubs and their fans, because that year, we lost to the dreaded "Evil Empire," the New York Yankees, in the bottom of the 9th inning on a home run by Aaron Boone off Tim Wakefield. Until 2004, the Red Sox, White Sox, and Cubs had the longest period between World Championships. The Red Sox's curse ended in 2004, the White Sox in 2005, but the poor Cubbies have still to make the show and win their first World Championship in 98 years.
I stopped drooling at Wrigley Field to go inside Cubby Bear's, which is a local hangout for the college crowd and other residents of Wrigleyville. There are weekly concerts there, and the bar is split into the main bar and a smaller bar, where the get-together was held. IgoUgo members were greeted at the door by members of the editorial staff and given name tags, along with souvenir T-shirts and tote bags. Umbrellas were also available, but I didn't think it would fit into my suitcase.
It was great seeing members from the get together in Vancouver like zabelle, travelprone and her son Mark, and others, and it was great to meet new friends and members, like Ed Hahn. Most of the time was spent eating from the buffet and catching up with old friends. Zabelle and other members gave little speeches, and I enjoyed the ambience of Cubby Bear's. The bar we were in had shirts of many of the Cubs greats, such as Ernie Banks and Ron Santo, and the baseball playoffs were on the big-screen TV.
The party broke up at about 9:30pm, but we met up again the next few days to sightsee and for other adventures.
Cubby Bears is free to enter except on concert nights. Then it's about a $5 to $10 cover charge to get in. They have a good selection of beers and other drinks and is a good place to meet the locals.
Wrigley Field is across the road on Addison, and it is advised to buy tickets to the games early, because they can sell out fast, even if the Cubs are in last place. Bleacher seats are the least expensive way to get the Cubs experience.
Written by GB from Devizes on 16 Oct, 2006
After having rushed around at breakneck speed since Wednesday and feeling the need for something a bit less frenetic, Carole suggests that a ride out to Chinatown might be a good way to relax on this warm, sunny morning. We take the “El” from Oak…Read More
After having rushed around at breakneck speed since Wednesday and feeling the need for something a bit less frenetic, Carole suggests that a ride out to Chinatown might be a good way to relax on this warm, sunny morning. We take the “El” from Oak Park to State & Lake where we switch to a Red Line train that drops us at Cermak-Chinatown. The station sits at a higher level than many others and from our vantage point, it’s clear that this is no ordinary Sunday for the inhabitants here.As we descend from the “El” into the thronging crowds, it all falls into place. It’s October 8th, and as the huge banners tell us, it’s China’s National Day. Wow – what timing on our part!Almost immediately we are being swept along on a tidal wave of locals, all very evidently intent on having a darn good time. We stop for 15 minutes or so to watch the incredible Jesse Wright Tumblers, more about them in their own entry. We walk beneath the green and red gate and wander down S. Wentworth Ave. to the sounds of banging drums and crashing cymbals, with ornate, colourful dragons weaving their way between the marchers and those photographers standing in the road to catch that special shot.It’s a magical atmosphere and I have to say that I see very few “non-Chinese” faces. Everyone here, from the youngest child to the tiniest, wizened old ladies and gentlemen is hell-bent on enjoying themselves and don’t seem to care who knows it. I click away at the myriad signs that line both sides of the street advertising everything from Buddhist Temples to Dim Sum restaurants, it must be fantastic here after dark.Carole tells me that she would like to eat and she steers us to the Evergreen Dim Sum restaurant where we take a table and order cold soft drinks as it’s so warm outside. We are the only “foreigners” in here, a good sign we reckon. Soon, a young girl wheels the cart to our table and we choose four of five of the dishes which are steaming hot and exceptionally tasty. I even manage to use the chopsticks without spilling it all down my front although we do ask for forks just in case. After 15 minutes or so we are replete, I ask for the bill and am amazed to see that this feast has cost us all of $11.50, great value indeed.We return outside to the balmy sunshine and spend a while exploring some of the shops selling tea, herbs, spices, fruit, and vegetables, most of which I can’t even identify. We also stop for a while to look around a Buddhist bookshop and are greeted warmly by one of the monks. We have a quick look down one of the side streets and find a beautifully carved black statue of Confucious, perched upon what looks like a granite plinth. There’s no translation underneath and as my Chinese is non-existent, I have no idea as to what the wording says.Just to the north of the main street here is Chinatown Square, divided into the old and newer areas and again, we wander around the busy little walkways that are lined with yet more restaurants and grocery stores. Rather surprisingly, there are also Thai and Vietnamese eateries here but most now seem to have dropped the blinds after the lunchtime rush. The main square is ringed with twelve statues that represent the various animals used by the Chinese to denote the years within their 12-year calendar cycle. It is without a doubt a magical place and we continue to wander at our leisure, taking in the sights, smells and sounds that pervade the warm air on what for me is becoming a wonderful day. Close