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

the avena shake from irazu on n. milwaukee ave.

I wasn’t in #Illinois for more than 48 hours when I found myself hitting places that are old favorites. Of things I love very much, the avena (oatmeal) shake from Irazu on N. Milwaukee certainly places in my top ten. Irazu is a family-owned restaurant in Wicker Park that has grown over the years. The flavor is Costa Rican, and their standout dish is actually this shake. Avena con leche (oatmeal with milk) although you can choose water or soy milk. As for ingredients, I would guess a blend of ice, milk, oatmeal, cinnamon, sugar, and maybe some nutmeg.

Chicago Illinois Wicker Park Irazu Costa Rican Restaurant Avena Shake

If you’re super hungry, you can add a burrito, sandwich, taquitos, empanadas, or another one of my go-tos: the palmito salad. Be sure to have cash on hand as Irazu doesn’t accept credit/debit cards. Disfrútate (enjoy yourself).

tender

The adjective tender has a couple meanings. My favorite is probably this:

Showing gentleness and concern or sympathy

Is there anything more tender than pink hydrangeas? I think not.

Chicago Illinois Garfield Park Conservatory Hydrangeas

I visited the Garfield Park Conservatory this afternoon to get my flower fix, and fix fixed. These tiny buds and petals are magic. Feathery soft and the perfect shade of pink. How tender.

pączki for the mardi gras win

Mardi Gras is serious fun in the South–especially New Orleans and Mobile–where the Krewe fêtes are plentiful, the parades are noisy and joyful, and King Cake comes in all different flavors and varieties. In the North where you can find Polish bakeries, Mardi Gras means pączki (pronounced ponch-key). And these calorie-busting, jelly-filled doughnuts at local bakeries draw long lines.

Paczki Mardi Gras Chicago Illinois

Source: Melissa Wang via Flickr

Pączki are also enjoyed on Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), and the reason for making pączki is to use up all of the ingredients (lard, sugar, eggs, fruit) before Lent kicks in. Bridgeport Bakery on S. Archer in the South Side of Chicago has an unassuming storefront, but you’d never guess they sell tens of thousands (yes, tens of thousands) of pączki on Fat Tuesday, also known as Pączki Day. If you didn’t make it to Bridgeport Bakery this week, don’t fret. They sell four different varieties of pączki all year round.

colectivo coffee on n. milwaukee ave. in chicago

It’s not often that two of my friends simultaneously rhapsodize about the new coffee player in town (#Chicago), but they were this past Sunday. And I was all ears.

The new player is Colectivo Coffee from Milwaukee so it was fitting to find a Colectivo on N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. I pulled my rental car over pretty immediately.

Colectivo Coffee Logan Square Milwaukee Avenue Chicago Illinois

The coffee shop space is wonderfully conceived and designed. And the coffee itself is distinctive–sharp, acidic, strong. Really strong. Not for the weak willed.

Curious to try some yourself? You can check out all of their locations here.

sentimental

I’m not one to get too attached to stuff/things, but every now and then I do. And that now and then was yesterday when I asked my handyman to haul away two lovely chairs I bought years ago when I was in Chicago. Two chairs and a bulky console table that I never loved and won’t miss. But those chairs? Seeing them hauled away made me wistful, sentimental, and kind of teary sad. I suppose they remind me of the life I once had and that I currently lack. The days should get brighter soon, I’m thinking/hoping. And in the meantime I’ll focus on being positive and grateful for everything I do have, which is a lot and which includes two brand new chairs. (Not as wonderful as the older ones but they’ll do/I’ll do just fine.)