a warm cardamom roll from the swedish american museum

Chicago: So many museums, so little time. Back in May I made time to visit one of my favorites–the Swedish American Museum in the #Andersonville neighborhood. If your roots are Svensk, you should explore this neighborhood/museum. Always a fun visit.

At the admission counter, a museum volunteer explained that there was a pop-up stand on the main floor serving cardamom rolls and coffee. I knew I had to take advantage, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Slightly sweet with a zingy/spicy flavor. This roll was just out of the oven so was warm to the touch.

Elsewhere in Swede Town is the mother of garden centers–Gesthemane–decked out in turquoise and yellow (the colors of the Swedish flag). It was a lovely day.

5411 empanadas

If you have a hankering for savory pastries (who doesn’t?), empanadas could/should be your thing.

The Ham & Cheese empanada from 5411 Empanadas is kind of heavenly. A baked turnover containing slices of smoked ham with bits of oregano swimming in melted mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. That’s the Ham & Cheese.

5411 Empanadas started out as a delivery-only enterprise 10 years ago and now has a bunch of locations in the city. And Houston. Your tastebuds can thank me later.

garfield park conservatory

The Show Room is pretty empty, but I always find something interesting at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Flower petals that look like a pinwheel.

Bromeliads in varying sizes and colors.

A bright pink tropical flower. So perfect.

The current main attraction is a 60-year-old agave plant whose flowering stalk measures more than 38 feet.

This agave blooms only once before dying. Bittersweet to see, but very special.

chicago’s historic pullman district

Love history? Chicago’s Historic Pullman District might be for you. Located 12 miles due south of downtown Chicago, Pullman is a planned industrial town from the 1880s plopped in a prairie.

Industrialist George Pullman constructed the town for his workers, and the town’s architecture is thoughtfully designed. To learn about the town’s unique history, head on over here.

trooping the colour

Posters from the 1920s and 30s–it’s hard to get enough of them. The mother of Chicago museums (the Art Institute of Chicago) currently has an exhibit titled “Everyone’s Art Gallery: Posters of the London Underground.” Good stuff and plenty to admire.

This 1939 lithograph by Charles Mozley is a patriotic announcement.

Other posters feature pastoral destinations.

And this one promises summer sales by the umbrella full. Happy summer.

sneaky delightful

Murals–I love them in just about any setting. From big city boulevards to unnoticed corners of small towns, I will put it in park to admire a great mural. Especially one that incorporates bright colors. I was buzzing down Chicago Avenue in the West Town neighborhood last month and–BOOM–this.

Muralist Louise Jones aka Ouizi is responsible for this treasure titled “West Town in Bloom.” Developed in collaboration with Chicago Truborn Gallery, West Town Chamber of Commerce, and West Town Bakery and Diner, this mural has massive scale. It’s the most surprising experience to experience sunflowers that easily measure more than six feet tall. From any angle, this is a great mural. It’s sneaky delightful.

Ouizi is a Detroiter, so if you visit the Motor City, you’re in luck. Detroit is home to 40 of Ouizi’s murals, many of which are memorialized in photos here.