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.
I love upstart independent coffee roasters, so couldn’t help but be intrigued by this Western Ave. storefront in Ukrainian Village.
And this roaster has quite the origin story. Jesse Diaz served coffee at Star Lounge in 2007. Two months into his employment, the owners shared that they wanted to sell. So Jesse got a $2,000 loan from a childhood friend, and Dark Matter Coffee was born. The coffee is great, and the blends are quirky, edgy fun.
There is Unicorn Blood.
The Bourbons of Dr. Funkenstein. (Seriously, this artwork!)
And for Guns N’ Roses fans, Warm November Rain.
The staff at the mothership location could not be nicer, BTW.
Can you imagine Swedish fine dining and an evening of miniature puppet opera (yes, miniature puppet opera) at a restaurant off Magnificent Mile in Chicago? Imagine, my friends. It was the Kungsholm restaurant at Rush and Ontario that operated the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera from 1937 to 1971. For real.
Highly detailed puppets in miniature.
The venue even had an orchestra pit (complete with hydraulic lift) sporting 52 players. This is the conductor Tosci.
The Swedish American Museum in Andersonville currently has this episodic/operatic amazingness on display. Enjoy.
Chicago’s Near West Side is a block by block experience. Not a lot of uniformity, which I find interesting.
The 1500 block of W. Adams is studded with historic townhouses and intricate brickwork.
Autumn = apples, and the Midwest and Washington State generate some pretty great ones.
The Honeycrisp–perfectly sweet and super crunchy. (You can thank the University of Minnesota for creating this variety.)
The Opal. Knockout color and great apple taste.
And Lady Alice–a touch sweeter than the Honeycrisp but very satisfying. And a great name.
Last week’s snow put the octane in trees dropping their leaves. This weekend a neighbor’s ginkgo biloba dropped most of hers.
The aftermath is kind of pretty. Piles and piles of leaves shaped like tiny green fans.
Uncharacteristic (I think) for late October in Illinois: snow and more snow. I promised myself I’d try to find beauty even when the flowers were gone. And found this shrub coated in snow. The snowy orb conjures a cotton boll from the Delta. (At least I think it does. And one of my dear readers, Judy from Corinth, Mississippi, does too.)