Category Archives: chicago

Chicago- Chicago Athletic Association Hotel/Cindy’s; Mango Pickle in Edgewater

On the way to and back from London, I stopped in Chicago to see family and have some new adventures. My Aunt and I lucked into a table at Cindy’s – a rooftop restaurant inside the fantastic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, formerly a private athletic club circa the 1890’s,  with an open-air terrace looking out across Millennial Park, the Art Institute and Chicago’s skyscrapers to the lake. Glorious.  I’d been curious about the place when I was down at Millennial Park and looked up to see people gathered on the rooftop terrace of the stately old building on Michigan Avenue. The restaurant has a glass roof, so full of light — and good food too (recommend the lobster roll on brioche). We wandered around the building afterwards – very old world, old money. Cool space where the indoor pool used to be. And another interesting-looking restaurant (minus the view0 – the Cherry Circle Room. Glad we were let in!

Also ate at Mango Pickle, an Indian-inspired place in Edgewater, near Emma & Rocket’s. Hard to explain the food – interesting is the best word I can come up with.

Must try again. Joined a big crowd afterwards at the neighborhood frozen custard place.

 

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L.Woods/Chicago (by way of Wisconsin) and Sapp Brothers Gas West of Peru, Illinois 

Uneventful drive from Des Moines to Chicago today on Interstate 80, which is the way I like it although it was strange to think that dirck was flying above me somewhere near on a flight to Chicago and then frankfort and Warsaw. The highlight of the drive was cheap gas at Sapp Brothers ($1.93 a gallon) just west of the bigger Peru exit where the gas was $2.24.

MAT, emma, Rocket and I had dinner at L.Woods in Lincoln woods, just west of the Edgewater neighborhood. The place looked like a real Wisconsin backwoods lodge with piney wood walls, rugged decor, outdoorsmen gear, dim lighting, leather but beyond the kitsch the food was good and yes, hearty. Excellent western style brisket, ribs and fried walleye. MAT liked table 133 (I think) in a less crowded rear room where it was easier to hear our conversation.

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Manny’s! – Chicago

chipix1 I finally got to the real Manny’s in Chicago (as opposed to the mini-Manny’s at Midway Airport) with Noah and Jill. It was a treat. Excellent kreplach soup, corned beef, pastrami, tuna sandwiches, latkes; great atmosphere (reminded me a bit of the Katz’s in NYC’s Lower East Side with its big open dining room). The cafeteria line moved quickly at 12 and all was right with the world! I’ll be back.

chicpix2

 

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Burglary on the megabus? on the road from Chicago to Dsm

Written last night (before safely arriving, an hour late in Des Moines):

There may be a thief among us, here on the Megabus bumping along Interstate 80 in rural Iowa on a dark December night, but you have to wonder why someone on this bus would leave his diamond ring and watch in his coat pocket and then leave said coat unattended during a rest stop near Peru, Illinois. As the theft, or whatever it is was, was duly reported, my fellow passengers looked aghast. Now we had to wait for the police and a possible search of the bus and us (or so one rumor went) and our 7 hour bus ride (from Chicago to DSM, which should normally take 6 hours tops) suddenly threatened to get a lot longer.

Fortunately the police arrived fairly quickly (who knew police drive White Ford 150 pickups?), talked briefly to the alleged victim and the driver and we were on the road again after a 1/2 hour delay. It was a reminder of the downside of taking the megabus (along with yakking passengers and the overpowering smell, in close quarters, of McDonald’s cheeseburgers) but there are upsides too — including the affordability ($41 for this ride) and easy on-and-off – and so I am sad to see megabus service between Chicago and Omaha end, which it reportedly will as of early January.

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The Middle Eastern Bakery, Moholy-Nagy exhibit at Art Institute- Chicago

THe Middle eastern Bakery, Andersonville

THe Middle eastern Bakery, Andersonville

img_0346The weather got colder, as expected, but the wind didn’t pick up and this is Chicago in late December so can’t complain. We had excellent middle eastern food at a restaurant in Andersonville that recently opened up in the front of a bakery/market.retail  I strongly recommend the shawafel sandwich, a mashup of chicken shawarma and falafel (you guessed it) in a wrap with bits of pickle. THe sampler plate with tabouli, hummus, babaganus, falafel was also tasty. The meat in the beef shawarma sandwich was reportedly tough. If I wasn’t taking a 7 hour bus ride back to DSM I would load up an all kinds of hard to find middle eastern goodies in the bakery/market.

near the middle eastern bakery

near the middle eastern bakery

Next stop the art institute which is always a treat. I’ve never been in Chicago at Christmas and all the skyscrapers looked Big City Magical, all lit up with holiday lights.  I bumped into my first cousin in the members lounge, which was an unexpected treat. We also got some excellent free coffee (my stepdaughter and her husband are members). Learned about the Bauhaus design movement in Germany,Europe, and Chicago at the Moholy-Nagy exhibit.img_0350

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Hollywood beach in winter, Andy’s Thai kitchen in Edgewater– Chicago

After a miserably gloomy, grey rainy Christmas Day, just seeing sunshine when we woke up today was refreshing. As an added bonus, it was also unseasonably warm, in the 50s and a perfect day to introduce Millie to the beach and lake — her first for both. HOllywood Beach was very quiet and lovely, perfect for a game of fetch. 

DInner was at the new Andy’s Thai kitchen in emma and rockets neighborhood of Edgewater. it was as good as the original one, especially the pork neck and pork belly with basil.

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Hollywood beach, Rogers Park social club, Shaw’s — Chicago

So glad I didn’t spend this gorgeous day in the car driving home to Des Moines. Instead I got a long awaited swim in a lake, which I have been longing to do all summer. Better late than never and had a great swim in Lake Michigan at Hollywood Beach, a pleasant stretch of sand a short walk from where Emma and Rocket live in Edgewater — another great thing about their neighborhood!

Later we went to a funky place called the Rodgers park social club and made our own at the excellent Bloody Mary bar, which came with a chaser of beer or cider. Explored the neighborhood a little- a food store with lots of Midwestern products (and a shopkeeper from royal oak, Michigan …my hometown area; a little sculpture garden. Tonight we had a great dinner at Shaw’s where I tried a new dish that was as good as my aunt said it was – fresh grilled tuna in a soy ginger sauce with crispy thin sliced potatoes and chives.

Great to see our longtime family friend  from Pennsylvania, Marjorie V., after so long.

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