Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Today seems like a good day for a little tour, no? In this edition of Niche, the incredibly talented Susan Dwyer of Up in the Air Somewhere takes us around her favorite spots in Chicago.
My neighborhood, east Ukrainian Village, is located in a sweet, central spot where you can walk just about anywhere. The city is expansive, but I spend most of my time within about 2 miles of my home, so that's where this little day-tour will explore.
A great place to start the day would be brunch with friends at Jane's restaurant in Bucktown. I went there for the first time for a friend's bridal shower and was instantly in love. The food is wonderful and the decor is spot on. Chicago is supposed to be known for its pizza, but I have to say where Chicago really excels is in its brunch offerings. We don't mess around.
I know Spring has only just begun, but I can't help but look ahead to summer when I think of my perfect day (who doesn't?). After you stuff yourself with brunch, if the weather is right, the best place to head is Lincoln Park Zoo. It's free to get in and only a few dollars will get you a paddle boat ride and a wonderful view of the city.
There are farmer's markets all over the city during the warmer months. They are a great place to pick up some food for an impromptu picnic. There is a large one near the zoo, but my favorite is a tiny market with just the right vendors. It's located in a little park just north of Grand Ave on the Chicago River. I love to stop there to get bread, cheese, tomatoes and sit by the river for a little lunch.
I'm really interested in looking at old warehouses and industrial areas, so one of my favorite areas is Hubbard street. There are lots of interesting buildings, galleries, design offices, and salvage shops to investigate. I always come across wonderful little things to look at.
One of my favorite little places for dinner is Bite. It serves really inexpensive, delicious food. It's next door to the Empty Bottle, a music venue and bar. They are connected through a door and you can go over to pick up a beer to have with your dinner.
The last stop on my perfect Chicago day would be the Silver Palm. The Silver Palm is a great bar built inside a restored railroad dining car. I usually go there for their incredible cocktails and delicious cornbread muffins, but they also have a full menu of southern inspired food.
My day would end sitting on the porch at my good friend and neighbor's apartment. It's truly my favorite place in the city. Life in Chicago changes with the weather, and my idea of a perfect Chicago day changes with it, but for now I can't imagine a better day.