Flowers are my church, I’ve decided. Don’t mistake me, I like non-flowering plants a lot, but flowers? Their beauty inspires.
A week ago I mentioned to one of my Chicago friends that the camellia trees in the backyard of my old house in Jackson, Mississippi, should be blooming by now. Yesterday I found these beauties at Garfield Park Conservatory.
Pretty is as pretty does.
Not often that I pay $17 for a Reuben, but I gladly forked over a twenty and change because… Manny’s. Legendarily known for their corned beef (I’m sure the turkey pastrami is also great), Manny’s serves up all sorts of sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides.
It is a true cafeteria experience. Grab a tray and your spot in line.
And then let’s dissect this sandwich. Corned beef piled high on rye bread with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. (Thousand Island dressing is available on the side.)
Many side options but I decided to kick it old school with a perfectly fried latke.
Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory is a gem of a visit. Poinsettias in varying shades of pink.
Giant Swiss Cheese Plants.
A fruit-heavy papaya tree.
And an assortment of model trains (and more poinsettias).
Places I enjoy greatly–coffee shops of any size. Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea on Lake Street in Oak Park is bright and airy.
And the cappuccino was perfect.
December 1 already and downtown Oak Park is in full shop-local-for-the-holidays swing. Storefront windows on North Boulevard sparkle so merrily.
Snowflakes, sleigh bells, and strung lights for your holiday whimsy.
Chicago is like an English muffin. Lots of interesting nooks and crannies, and Chinatown has many. Tucked off Wentworth Street is Ping Tom Memorial Park. Wander down a concrete path and you’ll find yourself near the 18th Street bridge.
Not much to look at unless you walk under it.
The views are grand.
One of my favorite Chicago haunts is the Garfield Park Conservatory on Central Park just north of Lake Street. It has an Aroid House, which is a large room containing all sorts of aroids, spiky plants belonging to the Araceae family.
Plant size and form vary considerably.
Bunny Ears Cactus. Notice the tiny white clusters of glochids.
Golden Barrel Cactus.
And Queen Victoria Agave.
Admire with ease, but handle with caution.