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.

mario’s italian lemonade on w. taylor

Need to beat the heat and to kick it Little Italy style? Mario’s Italian Lemonade on W. Taylor is a sure prescription.

Chicago Illinois Little Italy Mario's Italian Lemonade Taylor Avenue

Founded in 1954 by Mario and Dorothy DiPaolo and still operated by the DiPaolo family today, this lemonade stand is a beloved gathering place. It serves Italian ice in an assortment of flavors. The signature lemon ice includes pieces of lemon rind and zest, which balances this drink’s sweetness. If salty snacks are your thing, Mario’s sells seeds, nuts and my favorite–pickled lupini beans, which you can eat with or without the shells. Nom.

a perfect cup of espresso: the Franziskaner from Julius Meinl

Sometimes the smallest of experiences can transport you to across-the-world places. A cup of espresso from Julius Meinl in #Lakeview did that for me earlier today.

Chicago Illinois Lakeview Julius Meinl Franziskaner Espresso

It’s the Franziskaner–a double shot of Viennese espresso with steamed milk and a dollop of whipped cream. To visit Julius Meinl is like stepping into an Austrian cafe. All of their drinks are made to order and served on a silver tray with a spoon, complimentary caramel biscuit, and glass of ice water. I savored every bit of this espresso drink. Lovely taste-of-Vienna experience.

the ukrainian national museum on w. superior

#Chicago is a diverse quilt of a city. Interesting neighborhoods in all corners and in between. A Near West Side neighborhood gem is the Ukrainian Village, and a gem in this gem is the Ukrainian National Museum on W. Superior. Founded in 1952, this museum boasts a cool collection of fine and folk arts. This painting by Yuri Olishkevych draws the viewer in.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Yuri Olishkevych painting

On the second floor is a huge collection of pysanka (Ukrainian easter eggs). These tiny decorative eggs take, on average, four hours each to paint.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Pysanka Ukrainian Easter eggs

There is a room devoted to portraits of Cossack military leaders. This is Yurii Khmelytnsky, who spent a portion of his life as a monk.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Yurii Khmelytnsky painting

There are also instruments to admire.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Instrument

And then the traditional Ukrainian embroidered items–shirts, dresses, coats, collars, you name it–are boldly colored and patterned. Much to learn and appreciate here, and admission is just $5.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Traditional Ukrainian embroidery

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Traditional Ukrainian embroidery

the renumbering of chicago streets in 1909

Chicago street numbers are wonderfully orderly, and we can thank the Chicago City Council for passing an ordinance in 1908 that established numbering rules and systems where chaos once reigned. If you’ve visited Chicago or call it home, all you need are coordinates (the north/south/east/west blocks) to find a specific address. The new numbering system took effect on September 1, 1909, and if you’re really lucky, you can find buildings with both numbers.

Buildings with both numbers are pretty uncommon. In the 25 years I called Chicago home, I only found three buildings with both street numbers intact. The older street number is usually reflected in a stained glass transom window above the door, as in the three-flat at 1107 S. Racine.

Old street n

Earlier this week in Lincoln Park I found this on the 2000 block of N. Dayton. Squeal. What a cool surprise.

Want to nerd out and learn more about the renumbering plan and implementation? You can read up on both here.

a chicago hot dog

Saw this print yesterday at All She Wrote in Lincoln Park and had to have it. Since relocating back to #Illinois, I’ve noticed all the hot dog stands. They’re everywhere, it seems.

Chicago Illinois food hot dog

And a Chicago-style hot dog is distinct from other dogs. The ingredients? An all-beef frankfurter tucked into a steamed poppy seed bun. Add yellow mustard, white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, and sport peppers–topped with celery salt. Ketchup is a major no-no, as in no ketchup. No ketchup ever. To read up on this distinct dog, head on over to this Chowhound article here.

the national museum of mexican art in pilsen

In the heart of #Pilsen–on 19th Street between Wood and Wolcott–rests the National Museum of Mexican Art. If you’re a curious sort (I am) and love museums (I do), I would put this one on your map. It has permanent collections featuring ephemera, folk art, paintings, sculptures, prints, and textiles. Some items have significant age, dating back to periods from ancient Mexico. Others are more contemporary, and these captured my full attention this afternoon.

Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago created a large (10 feet wide by 8 feet tall) mural consisting of arranged chaquira beads in wax on plywood. Intricate design and bright colors. Love.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago

Rocío Caballero’s works are more figurative and symbolic. There is Leccion 19: La case de entomologia.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Rocío Caballero Leccion 19: La case de entomologia

And also ¡ Yuppy Yuppy !

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Rocío Caballero Yuppy Yuppy

Painter Alfredo Arreguin accomplishes amazing layers and details with his oil paintings. There’s this 2009 canvas titled Adelita.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Alfredo Arreguin Adelita