Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our Fair City: Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
↳Worried brow, happy tail.
↳These great danes made Mort look small.

↳Gorgeous Lake Michigan waters.

It's summer it's summer! Summer is in full swing, and I'm taking advantage of being outside as much as I can. I know that our dog, Mort, also had a winter that made him appreciate summer more. I've been trying to spend a lot of time outside with him too, without over-heating him.

In Florida, the dog beach was not possible because it was way too hot. The warm water wasn't enough to keep him cool, and there was no shade. The beautiful thing about Chicago is the fact that we have the most wonderful body of water, Lake Michigan. On the lake, there are some miles of sand for people to enjoy a make-shift beach. Near one of the harbors, north of downtown, there is a small, enclosed, sandy beach just for dogs!

I love the Belmont Harbor dog beach because it has everything a dog-mom could want:
  • •A small space, so that I can see my dog, even when he sprints across the sand to meet a new friend
  • •Shade from a big tree in the park next to the beach, that way the dogs can keep cool off when needed
  • •Being a northern lake, it's waters are always colder than Florida waters, which is a great way to keep Mort cool when he's running around
  • • It's not that busy, so there isn't a great chance of meeting unfriendly dogs 
Being that Mort is our only pet, he loves meeting other people and other dogs. On walks, he loves to touch his nose to the neighbor's dogs, to introduce himself, his tail wagging violently. He inevitably does the leash-tango, dancing around other dogs and getting each others leashes all twirled up like spaghetti. I really love seeing him make friends so easily. He's such a friendly dog, and so goofy and lovable at home. I love to remember how he didn't trust us when we first brought him home, and how now, he's let his personality shine and trusts us to take care of him. He's really so wonderful - I can't wait to adopt a brother or sister greyhound for him one day!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Ravenswood Manor: Montrose Saloon

Saturday, July 09, 2016

I'm still discovering all of the different neighborhoods and their perimeter lines. With this bar, Montrose Saloon, I believe that it's technically in Albany Park, but we stumbled upon it after an afternoon spent in Ravenwood Manor. So there, it's where Albany Park meets Ravenswood Manor. 

We were out enjoying the neighborhood garage sale in Ravenswood Manor. It's not far from the city itself, but it's so much quieter and more residential than I expected! There are lots of family homes, and many people were selling old children's furniture, toys, clothes, etc. We were hoping to find a few antiques or vintage pieces, but we went on day two of the neighborhood sale, so we didn't find anything that we wanted to take home.

It's such a sleepy neighborhood that the few cafes and restaurants near the train stop were closing in the afternoon on a Sunday. So we walked south a little to find a bar to try. We found one called Montrose Saloon - nothing frilly, but there was an outdoor patio that was perfect for a beer in the afternoon. Sitting outside, waiting for the sun to peak out from behind the clouds, we drank out of  Steigl glasses. It was one of the first warm days this spring, so we still had our coats on. The bar played some great tunes of some old and familiar favorite songs.

After a round of beers, we decided it was time for a proper dinner. We headed over to Lincoln Square, hoping to score some sausages and more beer on the rooftop of Gene's Delicatessan. Unfortunately, they were about to close by the time we made it there. We walked down the block until we found another German restaurant called Chicago Brauhaus. It was pretty large and cavernous inside, so we sat at the bar with what appeared to be regulars. We ordered a plate of sausages to share, and snacked on some rye breadsticks. There was even a musician that played the accordion at one point! It was a lovely day of exploring Chicago.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Our Fair City: Architecture Boat Tour

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

One of my favorite things to do with all visitors is to take them on an architecture boat tour. I love a city on a river. Growing up, Manhattan is nestled on the Hudson river. I love visiting Paris on the Seine River, as well as New Orleans on the Mississippi River. Not only does Chicago have the immense Lake Michigan, but it also has the Chicago River! 

Many different companies do their own architecture boat tour, and they each have different kinds of boats. Some are two levels, while others are completely flat, that way, everyone has a great view. The wonderful thing about Chicago is it's a city rich in architectural history. Twenty years after a fire that burned the city down, Chicago was host to the World's Fair of 1893. When the city won to be host to the fair, architects came to Chicago in droves as the prospect of being able to start a city from scratch. From that, the skyscraper was born!

The tour takes you on the north bank of the river, as well as the south bank, and even out to Lake Michigan so that you can look back and get a great view of the entire downtown skyline. Along the way, the tour guide mentions each notable building, the architects behind it, it's history, and what it means to the world. It's incredible to live in a city where each building is monumental not because they are old, but because they are innovative. 

Whether you want a cold beer on the boat, a glass of red wine if the sun is setting, or a cocktail when the sun is high in the sky, the boat's bar has all kinds of options. It's such a lovely way to spend time with your friends or family that are visiting. You get to share the highlights of Chicago's history with your visitors, and all the while you're sitting on a boat instead of walking endlessly downtown. My favorite view of the city is being on the river, surrounded by the tall buildings on either side. 

Friday, July 01, 2016

Fulton Market Neighborhood: Cold Storage

Friday, July 01, 2016

What I Wore 
Jacket: Sunshine boutique in Paris // Scarf: Hygge and Wool // Top: Forever 21 // Glasses: SEE Eyeware

We had a Sunday night dinner date with our favorite Chicago couple, and it was in the Fulton Market neighborhood, just north of the West Loop. Both Fulton Market and the West Loop are areas packed with great restaurants and bars. We've been to a few awesome places in the Fulton Market neighborhood like La Sirena (an amazing Brazilian restaurant with familiar dishes made of the best ingredients), Cemitas Pueblas (mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches -  paired with a Tecate - heaven!), and The Publican (where we celebrated our most recent wedding anniversary with the chef's menu). 

Our friends made reservations at Cold Storage, which has only been open since December. Nothing says the start of summer like a crisp rosé wine paired with some refreshing seafood. We opted to share a few small plates of seafood. Having lived in Florida these past few years, we had to say yes to some ceviche. We also tried  the beef tartare - which was SO much better than the last beef tartare that I tried in France. Of course, we indulged in some delectable oysters. 

We enjoyed a range of oysters from the west coast to the east coast. Our server walked us through each oyster that the chef suggested and their defining characteristics. We tried ones from Norway, from Maine, and from Washington state. The ones from the coast of Norway lived in extremely cold seas which you could taste in the saltiness. The Maine oysters also had a bit of saltiness, but it was less briny since the waters were warmer, comparatively. Lastly, we tried the oysters from Washington state. With the warm Pacific waters, these oysters were almost creamy! 

It was fun trying all the different types of oysters, and savoring each for it's unique flavor. Sharing a bottle of rosé made the night even more enjoyable - our first rosé of the season! Recently, I've been in a wine rut. I buy the same wine every week at the grocery store because I know I like the wine, and I like the price. To change this, I signed up for a wine subscription! I signed up for Club W/Winc. Currently I'm ordering 4 bottles a month, which is my average. I requested 3 reds and 1 white, since I typically prefer reds over whites. What I love is that I took a quiz and it suggested wines based on my palate! From there, each wine that came has a matching card that describes the notes of the wines scent and taste. There are also meal pairings with recipes, and even videos on the app! I once took a History of Wine class in college, and I loved tasting different wines and finding the unique notes in each of them. This is a way that I can continue practicing trying to identify the different notes on my own.

To get a $13 credit (that's a bottle of wine on the house!) click my referral code here! Also, check out their blog post about pairing the houses in Game of Thrones with wine. I always figured I'd probably be born a Stark!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Fair City: Chicago Athletic Association

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Whenever we have visitors, we love to take them to Chicago Athletic Association. It's name is true to it's history. It used to be an athletics club, which was recently renovated and it's classic architectural details were restored. The famous serial killer and con-artist, HH Holmes, was a member during his time here in Chicago circa 1893 - when the World's Fair was here.

It's now a space like no other, and it's a hotel so you can stay there during your visit if you wish! There used to be a pool, as well as a basketball court that you can have events in. There are wood panels were re-purposed from the old fencing club that line the interior of the elevators. The different restaurants and bars within the Chicago Athletic Association are what really make the place unique.

  • Starting from the top, Cindy's Rooftop is the perfect place for a warm afternoon. The terrace overlooks The Bean, Millenium Park, Lake Michigan and more. It's a stunning place to show guests! You can see some photos from our last visit on this post.
  • The hotel lobby reminds me of the libraries in books like Harry Potter and at ivy league schools. We love to sit in the plush chairs by the fireplaces and order some wine and a cheese plate. Also - their burger is very good! 
  • For a special occasion, I would definitely recommend the Cherry Circle Room. I have not personally dined here for dinner, but I have had dessert and port. It was the most beautifully crafted plate of dessert! 
  • For a fun night out with friends, I love the Game Room. There is the largest indoor bocce court that I have ever seen, and there are tons of shuffleboard games to play! I did not know that I love shuffleboard until celebrating a friend's birthday here. The best is that the games are free, you just need to reserve a space for your group!
  • There is a super tiny (8 seats!) bar called Milk Room, which boasts a cocktail menu featuring rare ingredients. We have toyed with making a reservation (months in advanced) for a special occasion. 
  • Where the pool used to be is now a space for pop-up bars/lounges! The recent pop-up was called the Cherry Circle Yacht Club, which was perfect because it aired America’s Cupsailing competition that was taking place on Lake Michigan! I learned that the athletics club use to have a boat, and it was named The Cherry Circle.
  • Lastly, there is Shake Shack on the ground level! It has outdoor seating on Michigan Avenue, which is perfect to grab a burger after exploring downtown, or to take a frozen custard to-go for a stroll. 

Lately, I've been thinking about friendships. I'm lucky to have a best friend, and many dear friends. I find these friends truly inspiring, I can talk to them about anything, and they are always there for me when I need an ear. I like to think that I give them the same respect. I aspire to drop everything if there is ever a moment that they need someone to be there for them, like they always are for me. However, I've had these friendships for years. As I grow older, I find it increasingly harder to create new friendships like these. I'm coming up on one year of living in Chicago, and not having a "best friend" locally has been weighing on me more. I miss having a friend that I could go out with for a glass of wine after dinner, or to go to brunch with, or to even just cuddle up on couch together, binge-watching our favorite TV shows. I know that building relationships like that takes time, so I'm just trying to be patient while looking for the Iliana to my Abbi, or the Samantha to my Carrie. In the meantime, I've been cherishing the memories that I've had with my dear friends, and my heart is open to new ones.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Casimir Pulaski Day

Monday, June 20, 2016

↳I'm at a bit of a loss for words lately. So instead of words today, here are a couple of photos from a really good day. We got to be tourists with S' mom when she visited in May. Here, brunch at Milk and Honey.

Walking through Wicker Park

The Walnut Room restaurant in the old Marshall Fields

The Bean

Drinks on Cindy's Rooftop. It was sunny and gorgeous and cozy. We lounged on the outdoor furniture, which was so comfortable. It was a weekday, so it wasn't too busy.

Eataly for lunch. We enjoyed a pizza from their pizza oven and some cheese and charcuterie. The pizza came out fast, and hot! It was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Michigan Ave
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