Wednesday, March 9, 2011

These Days

I have some (very few) pictures of my time in Chicago.  I apologize for the lack of pictures.  I just don't think of taking out my camera enough, and cities don't tend to inspire my creative side.....The pictures are just from one day, so a recap of my time in Chi-town:  I went out dancing with Dovile and Mara and Miguel and his friend, and us girls really danced our hearts out, it was so wonderful.  I explored a couple of other bars and cafes with Mara and Dovile.  Mara showed me her old workplace, Karyn's, which is a raw vegan restaurant/spa.  Very neat place.  I got my lunch there, while we ate at Whole Foods, where Mara got her food.  We came up with plans to run an awesome raw/vegan bakery somewhere west.......We enjoyed each other's company the next day too, working on our individual projects at a couple of cafes in Andersonville where we came across a Swedish bakery that looked quite yummy, and a very vegan friendly cafe, but no WiFi unfortunately.  Dovile treated me to delicious snacks and beer at the Paris Club that evening and then to a typical pub/bar not too far away.

Miguel often had school, but we spent our time together watching a film or two, preparing dinners together, enjoying slow breakfasts of oatmeal and tea, and the occasional Starbucks treat too :D We took advantage of his weekend by spending an amazing Friday together.  Beginning the only way a good day can, by going to Meli Cafe and having the fluffiest, strawberry and banana loaded, vegan pancakes I've ever had EVER.  Miguel got the banana pecan caramel pancakes, we sipped our coffee, and talked and laughed the meal away.  With the sun out, initially, and the temperatures in the 50's, we ventured for a proper stroll through Chicago all the way down to the beach, where the clouds moved in and the temperatures dropped.  I have a soft spot for beaches in the off-season.  They have a certain beauty to them, knowing that they are still here, and exist as more than just touristic laying grounds.  We stayed on the beach for a while talking and taking in everything.  We looked toward Navy Pier and headed that way with another coffee and maybe a bite to eat in mind.  It is a pretty neat place, and I would love to check it out in the summer, or during a warmer time.  It had unfortunately gotten quite cold by now, and a slight rain began to fall, but we had the heated indoor area to enjoy a light lunch and McCafe, and more of each other's company.

Deterred from walking by this point, we took transport back home where we readied for dinner, a planned outing to El Nandu Restaurant.  I had never been to an Argentinean restaurant, and Miguel had wanted to check it out, so away we went, running through the rain and arriving dripping and grateful for a table.  I was starving by this point and, while Miguel looked at the wine list, I had the most amazing Chimichurri sauce on the bread served to hold me over. Oh, wow, delicious. We chose the Malbec, one of my favorite wines, and we ended up having an empanada as an appetizer, and had 2 more for my main.  Miguel had a trio platter of meats with short ribs, sausage, and sweetbreads.  I admit to trying them, as I have heard much about Argentinian meats, and was surprised by how good the sweetbread was!  I have tried sweetbread before a few times, and never found it particularly appealing, but prepared this way, I understand.  The service was just how we hoped it would be, nice and slow, allowing us to linger and really relax, enjoying our last evening together.  Once we were the only ones left and were ready to go, we went to a lounge called Japonaise, where we met up with the ladies and continued the night dancing.  A really wonderful day.

I flew out the next day, accompanied to the airport by Miguel.  A rather sad goodbye.  I was just beginning to feel at home, feel comfortable, grow attached.  I'll be back.

It got to be in the 50's so we took a walk to the beach.  There is something nice about going to the beach in the cold....

We went to Navy Pier and this was the view of Chicago.  Though cloudy/rainy, still I found it nice.  Navy Pier was cool

It's what you'd call a perfect day

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