hoosier mama pie company on chicago ave.

Pie shops have a strong butter smell. Or should, anyway. Hoosier Mama Pie Company on Chicago Avenue smells exactly that: butter and more butter.

Owner/baker Paula Haney, an Indy native, opened her pie shop on Chicago Ave. in 2009, and her pies might be the best in the city. The pie crust is buttery, flaky goodness. The fillings range from strawberry rhubarb (my fave), apple (classic), Fat Elvis (chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas, natch), to different custards and chess arrangements. Dieters beware, pie lovers rejoice. You can fork the pie menu here.

one tail at a time and the tiny dog 500 race

I love to support a great dog rescue org, and Chicago’s One Tail at a Time might be my favorite. When they announced their Tiny Dog 500 race, I knew I was all in.

People who love dogs–I get them. And people who want to reduce the number of euthanized shelter dogs–I get them, too.

Tiny Dog 500 was a fun event. Tiny competitors of varying sizes.

To see these little ones sprint down the track was more fun than I anticipated. One owner wagged a McDonald’s bag containing a cheeseburger at the finish line, and her dog hustled quickly and won the race heat.

Until next year, OTAT, and tiny dogs everywhere.

rainy monday

Had today off–a rainy Monday–so plunked myself on a Blue Line train and exited at Adams and Wabash. The Art Institute (and specifically the Manet exhibit) was my destination. But the permanent collections are such gems.

The Chagall windows. Blue has never looked so pretty.

A 1912 painting by John Sloan–one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American art.

Or this 1905 beauty by William James Glackens–you could get lost admiring it.

a warm cardamom roll from the swedish american museum

Chicago: So many museums. 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.