Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blue and Yellow, Blue and Yellow...

My husband is a real city boy. He grew up right in the heart of Andersonville, Chicago's historically Swedish neighborhood. Don't be fooled by his Polish last name, Alex has good bit of Swedish blood running through his veins. He likes to go back and visit some old favorites, even as the area - now one of the city's hippest - grows and changes. The allure of the many dining options has brought me there a number of times, but it's always more fun to get a tour from a local. "That Walgreen's used to be a paint store," he says, "and that 7-Eleven used to be a White Hen." And, not without a little nostalgia, "This was the house I grew up in." (My personal favorite.)


The house he grew up in! Sorry, current residents.

Big Jones, the southern-style restaurant that played an important role in the history of our relationship, used to be a neighborhood institution called Augie's "that had an old look and an old sign and we went there after church." Here is a picture of it courtesy of Yelp. 



And here is what it looks like now!


Our visit took us first to Taste of Lebanon, located just west of the corner of Foster and Clark, for a falafel wrap. The place is small, the menu is small, but don't pass it up because the food is delicious.


It's a small, but lovely, restaurant. This was the only picture of me without food in my mouth.



After eating, we took a walk around. This is what we saw!

Swedish American Museum

This girl, checking out the merch.

Once, Alex bought some shoes here that I hated.




Yeah, Swedish flag!

Alex's dad always says this church looks like a bank. "Jesus saves... with us!"

Still full from our falafel, we stopped in Lady Gregory's for afternoon drinks. Alex had first heard about this pub almost two years ago when we were in Chicago getting married (awww!). We were only planning on drinks, but then we saw the small plates menu. I have the hardest time resisting beets when they are on a menu and, this time, I gave in. Alex got the steak of cauliflower. Sounds weird, right? Nope. It's delicious and highly recommended. We clearly have life all figured out: Day-drinking and vegetable snacks. We will be back to this place very soon. Mark my words.  






Spirit book.

Last on our list was a stop at Pars Persian Storethe loose tea store that Alex can't get enough of. Each time we visit Andersonville, he says he doesn't need any tea. Each time, we leave Andersonville with at least one bag of tea. 


One final shout out to some great places that we didn't make it to during this trip: Hopleaf and Huey's. Huey's does iconic Chicago hot dog stand without all the fuss. You can also get a killer milkshake. There are lots of hot dog places in the city (the Hotdogtown, they call it), but this one is pretty damn good. Hopleaf is well-known throughout the city for their selection of international beers. Hopleaf was a beer bar before everything else was a beer bar.

This tiny Swedish neighborhood may have a reputation for being a yuppie enclave, but it has surprising variety and is a great place to spend an afternoon.