By the grace of my new employers--and Jake's unemployers--the two of us have had our first full week in Chicago off to do as we please. We've tried to diligently spend our time wisely. Jake has been job searching while I arrange the house and unload my bottomless boxes of craft supplies. Today we rewarded our hard work at home with an afternoon out in our neighborhood, Lincoln Square (we actually ride the line between Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, and North Center, which is a fantastic line to ride).
|Testing out a possible spot for consistent photos in today's adventuring outfit: thrifted skirt and tee with a gifted necklace.|
After a responsible errand to the bank to start up my Big City Checking Account, we headed to Merz Apothecary (est. 1875!). The long, slender store is PACKED with everything natural and good smelling. Natural supplements to cure all ailments! Organic beauty products! Jars full of healthy herbal teas! Prices range from the affordable to the extraordinary, and the shop will definitely be my first stop for my next paraben- and aluminum-free deodorant, facial moisturizer, natural toothpaste, and silicon-free conditioner for my upcoming no-poo experiment.
|Photo courtesy of Merz Apothecary.|
The EL's brown line is conveniently located in the square, so we hopped on for a 10 minute ride to Belmont for a visit to Kickstand, a delicious and bare-bones coffee bar in Boystown. They use a La Marzocco GB5! With a Mazzer Robur! These are the machines of my beloved home coffee shop! Nothing, I am convinced, will ever compare to what comes out of Brewed Awakening's machine, but Kickstand got damn close.
|Photo courtesy of Kickstand's website.|
After a little wandering up and down Belmont, we snagged the train back to Lincoln and hit up Gene's Sausage Shop. Gene's is a two-story gourmet market and deli, with a counter full of well-priced grass fed beef and lots of local beers. We snagged two sirloin tips, a bottle of local apple pear cider, a jar of horseradish, and a lemon for $15. Daaaang that's cheap! Living in a city where high quality food is expected has its monetary rewards. The higher demand here has definitely cut their costs, where Iowan grocery stores seem to drive prices up to likely cover for unsold products.
|Our day's wares: Onions $2/bundle, sour cherries $5/quart, grass-fed sirloin $5.00/lb, horseradish $1.29, Raw milk cheddar and hand-rolled butter $10 total, lemon 69cents, cilantro plant (not pictured) $1.|
And the best part! Just a block away from Gene's is our local farmer's market. It's small but carries anything you'd need: fruit and veggies, homemade breads and pastries, local raw cheese, organic meats, and sauces/granolas/dips. We snagged hand-rolled butter, raw aged cheddar cheese spread, three beautiful knobby onions, a quart of sour Michigan cherries, and a cilantro plant for $18! Next week we'll definitely wait to buy our produce and meats from the market, which begins conveniently when I get off work and is located literally next to my train stop. MmmMmmMmm.
|A view of the market. The "skywalk" pictured in the photo is my train stop. MMM convenience.|
Tomorrow I plan to swing by the craft store across the street and stock up on cheap fake flowers to adorn my cruiser in preparation for Saturday's Tour de Fat!