On our first trip into the city, my mom and I were discussing the food plan, and we emphatically agreed that, along with deep dish pizza and Chicago dogs, we were not going to eat anything that we can get in Arkansas.
What was the first thing I ate? A Jimmy John's turkey sub. And, yes, those are available at a handful of places in AR.
I was hungry, and our hotel wasn't near any eateries, and the train station conveniently had a Jimmy John's inside. So much for foodie plans.
But we still managed to eat pizza at the founding restaurant for Chicago deep dish. Spinach, mushrooms, cheese, and sauce piled thick on a crispy crust. Yum.
The Chicago dog. Also good.
On Friday, I went to the city by myself for the day. I started at the Lincoln Park Zoo, but didn't stay long. The zoo was amazing. So wonderful that all I could think about is how much I wish my kids were with me to enjoy it. I left before I got to weepy, and spent some time walking around the Lincoln Park conservatory.
After that, I hopped on a bus uptown, and ended up walking a number of blocks to make my connection. In my wandering, I chanced upon Wrigley Field just before a cubs game.
This was unplanned, but I snapped my picture and continued on to somewhere oh-so-much more exciting: Anthropologie. Now I understand what all of the fuss is about. Their clothes: so stylish. Their houseware selection: I'd like one of everything. Their price range: way out of my thrifting budget. But it was inspiring. And it gave me all kinds of DIY ideas. But, really, just being able to browse around a store on my own was all that I needed. That and the porcelain egg carton for our countertop.
After some shopping, I stopped at Southport Grocery and Cafe for some lunch. I enjoyed my lunch (ramps and asparagus omelet) with a pot of tea and a good book.
Saturday afternoon, the weather turned cold and drizzly and miserable. Which made the trip to Chinatwon all the more interesting.
My mom and I huddled under the umbrella together, discovered that a good bathroom is hard to find, and all of the shops will call the police according to bright signs on the front windows.
The bakery cases held all kinds of treats, some more appelaing than others. Bean paste pastries? No thanks. But we split a flaky coconut cream turnover and it was tasty.
But the real excitement was in the Chinatown Market. I ended up buying all kinds of groceries: tea, dried mushrooms, gummy candies, cookies for the kids, and black sesame seeds. I would have bought more if my carry-on bag would have allowed.
But the poultry at the meat counter? That wasn't so enticing. Not even the black chickens.
Over the course of the weekend, I also enjoyed a Jamba Juice smoothie and some Dunkin Donuts, neither of which can be found in AR. But a Starbucks stop also sneaked in at one point. But since they were at almost every corner, it was inevitable.