Lincoln Park Farmers Market, Chicago Il
My husband and I spent few days on vacation in Chicago, a city that I had never visited before, I have to admit that I had underestimated what a great city it is. Really, if it weren’t for for nasty winters I would pack my bags and move there tomorrow. It has all of the greatness of New York, but without all of the rush, glam and stress. Everyone seemed so down to earth, laid back and really nice. This isn’t to say that New Yorkers aren’t nice, some of my closest friends are New Yorkers born and bred, and this isn’t anything against my beloved New York, but wow Chicago was fantastic.
We stayed in the Loop, in a hotel that had seen better years, but the price was right and when you don’t know a city it is hard to know where to stay in areas other than downtown. The Loop was shiny and beautiful, though what I really loved about Chicago were the neighborhoods and the El most of all. Elevated trains make me giddy, trips to Queens from my apartment in Manhattan were always exciting, taking the N train over the bridge and seeing the choppy urban landscape below me, it brought the child out in me staring out the dirty windows in amazed wonder.
I regret not having sought out Slow Food’s guide to Chicago, or some other guide to the local foods in the area, because despite the fact that we ate well, we didn’t have the easiest time finding spots, spiraling into a tourist’s vortex of unawareness. Our first night was disastrous, eating at a pub a block away from our hotel, thinking it almost impossible to screw up a cheeseburger, so wrong we were. We went for an Italian restaurant called Vivo on Randolph Street in the West Loop the next night, the first that we have been to since moving to the US 9 months ago. It was delectable. My husband had a Spaghetti e Vongole that made him feel like he was eating in the Port at Anzio and I had Fettuccine with a Lamb Ragù that was incredible. It was by far our best meal in Chicago.
Of course we tried the famous Chicago deep dish pizza, or stuffed pizza as it is called in some places. This is where our pizza snobbery came out, we both liked it, but wasn’t something we were going back for. I can imagine, from what I have heard about the winters in Chicago, that this would create great insulation to keep you warm, but there was waaaay too much cheese oozing out of it. The crust was buttery and delicious, but I haven’t been dreaming about it since we left.
I am sad about not having tried the hot dogs, we grabbed a dog from a vendor at Millennium Park with the poppy seed bun, but it didn’t have all of the fillings that makes Chicago hot dogs so unique. Another time, another trip.
The pictures that you have been scrolling through while I have been babbling away about unrelated things are from the Farmers Market in Lincoln Park, which we stumbled upon after breakfast the day that we left Chicago. We had visited friends in Lakeview the night before and having fallen in love with the neighborhoods outside the Loop, decided to take our beloved El to Lincoln Park to find breakfast. We found this wonderful market as well.
For a Wednesday morning this place was really bustling, I have never seen my late afternoon market on Daniel Island so crowded. This was also a market that only sells food products, a number of them sold vegetables, others cheese, mushrooms and baked goods. Of course the foods that were selling were completely different than what I can find in South Carolina, the climate is so drastically different. I envied the raspberries and greens that are harder to find here, though I bet our South Carolina peaches could beat those Michigan peaches any day.
After visiting this market I was even more convinced that Chicago could be a place where I could make my home, though I am still a bit unsure about those winters. When friends who grew up in the mid-west tell me that it is THAT BAD, I am pretty convinced that they are. I will let my fate decide what metropolis it wants to take me to, though it really does need to be a metropolis, I’m not joking around about that. These city mice need to get out of the sticks.