Chicago, Part I




I’m back! I had the best weekend in Chicago with my hilarious friend Elisha — we lucked out with mild/cool weather (none of the eye-watering, cheek-stinging wind I had been slightly wary of) and instead found ourselves navigating the el and buses and walking around the city feeling mighty fine! After a 5-hour Amtrak ride from St. Louis, we were famished when we arrived, so we headed straight over to Big Star for the best tacos of my entire life (being hungry had something to do with their deliciousness, but they were damn good). DSC_0007DSC_0008DSC_0010

Of all the tacos we ordered, the taco de papas con rajas was my favorite (and vegetarian!). Elisha highly recommended the taco de panza. It was all delicious — just be warned, we were there at around 2pm on a Friday and it was still (or already?) packed. Here’s the menu if you’d like to drool on your keyboard right now.


 Big Star: 1531 N Damen, 773.235-403

After we were fully functioning human beings again (did I mention how hungry we were?), we went shopping in Wicker Park, which had some really great stores. I’m so glad we skipped the “Magnificent Mile” and came here instead. Much more up our alley (though I didn’t take any pictures of the Wicker Park shopping district, I do recommend it).


Though we didn’t do much of the touristy stuff this time around, we did make a point to visit Millennium Park, where we took a zillion pictures of the “Bean” and enjoyed the views of the skyline and architecture before walking right past the ice skaters for a cup of coffee. DSC_0054DSC_0051

One of the highlights of our trip was riding the el to Logan Square for breakfast Saturday morning at Lula Cafe. It was amazing!!!


Lula Cafe: 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd., 773.489.9554


Apparently the pastry chef there is a genius — she made the above bittersweet chocolate banana turnover that Elisha and I regretted not buying 5 more of — the crust was flaky, the filling the perfect balance, not too sweet, just right. And below, red lentils with squash, topped with a poached egg for breakfast? Yes please. DSC_0029DSC_0032And an important note: we got there exactly 17 minutes after Lula Cafe opened and barely got a table — it’s amazing and worth the wait! After eating, we went right next door to City Lit Books, a great local bookstore, where a lovely man was just starting story hour for the local kiddies, playing his guitar and singing gently about his love for good books. It was so heartwarming to see kids flowing in through the front door with their parents to enjoy the morning there.


Also while in Logan Square, we walked a few blocks down to Tusk, where we chatted with the amazingly talented and friendly owner, Mary, who has curated a beautiful collection of clothing and makes much of the jewelry she sells there (both Elisha and I bought really awesome necklaces). Mary also has great vintage pieces which she sells for really reasonable prices. We were so smitten with her!


Tusk: 3205 W. Armitage Ave. (at Kedzie), 423.903.7093

Just be sure to check the hours – in Mary’s words, “I’m really not a morning person.”


We just had the best time and were so impressed with the people we met — we wanted to be friends with each and every one and bring them all back to St. Louis with us!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for pictures from the rest of our trip! Hope you had a fantastic and fun weekend!

8 thoughts on “Chicago, Part I”
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  1. From this first post looks like you really jammed in a ton of stuff into one weekend, good job! A good combo of shopping, touristy and eateries, too! Just a tip though, although it gave me a chuckle this morning, the el train is short for elevated – hence ‘el’, not ‘L’… 🙂

  2. I love that final sentiment – wanting to bring everyone home. I always struggle with awesome trips because they make me feel like my hometown isn’t awesome enough. I feel opened up by your completely different perspective.

  3. We loved Lula Cafe last time we were there. We were there for dinner though. I think they used to have a vegetarian tasting menu, they might still. I really love Chicago, though you are brave to go in January. It was reasonably mild in the Midwest though this weekend, Saturday here in STL was stellar.

    Fun trip though. We love taking the train up, though sometimes we drive.

  4. Joe got his PhD in IL, so we would visit Chicago often. I loved exploring all the fun neighborhoods and great places to eat. Seems like yall had a blast!

  5. Looks like it was an amazing trip! I made my first proper visit to Chicago (rather than just the airport) about this same time last year; it was too cold to stay outside long, but my quick visits to the Art Institute and some super-amazing restaurants convinced me I need to go back for sure. Adding these to my list!

  6. I am literally 10 minutes away from Logan Square right now (headed to lunch at Longman & Eagle after three days at Book Expo!) and just remembered to look back at this Chicago post! So glad I did. Fingers crossed that Tusk is open.

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