Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spring in Lincoln Park, IL

Greetings from Lincoln Park,

It is truly spring in Lincoln Park. Over the weekend, I visited my son, Patrick and his new bride Jeannie. They were nice enough to let me bunk in their tiny but oh so cute Lincoln Park apartment, overlooking Clark street between Fullerton and Diversey.

These few short blocks are a world bazaar of food and restaurants and we tried to take in as many as we could over my four day visit. On Friday night between raging storms we had Sushi at Kabuki and dessert crepes at the Coffee and Crepe House. I don't know much about ordering sushi, but I do enjoy eating it, I let Jeannie do the ordering. She selected a number of beautiful and tasty rolls and a wonderful calamari dish that was perfectly prepared. I am used to just drizzling a bit of lemon juice over my calamari, but Kabuki serves it with a spicy Bar B Que sauce that added a lot of zip to the dish.

A very interesting concept at Kabuki is that it is a BYOB establishment. Apparently there are many such restaurants that offer this and it really keeps the tab down. We enjoyed a few icy cold beers brought from home and our dinner for three was under $60.00 with tip. I wish the idea of BYOB would come around to our neighborhood eateries in the Twin Cities!

After a short walk we found ourselves at the Coffee and Crepe house. We chose two delicious crepes. the first was spread with Nutella, which I am crazy about. The chocolate and hazelnut spread was perfect with sliced bananas, folded into a triangle, the dish was accompanied by a creamy vanilla ice cream and the plate was decorated with chocolate and raspberry sauces. We also had another crepe between the three of us. It was filled with dark chocolate and raspberries and the plate adorned in the same fashion. The kids had not been there before and I think that it will become a regular treat for them.

These two small restaurants are just the beginning of many such eateries on Clark. A nice feature is that most of the store fronts are able to open their front doors and windows allowing them to offer "al fresco" dining.

During my weekend stay, we hit Starbuck, Caribu and Argo Tea for coffee and pastries. On Monday morning Patrick and I wandered into an Austrian Bakery with some very creative and beautiful wedding cakes. We indulged in a poppy seed claw, raspberry croissant and a fabulous and warm cinnamon roll.

On our way back to the apartment, Patrick pointed out the Sultan's Market that specializes in Middle Eastern Food. Wiener Circle that is a late night hot spot, with lines for Chicago style hot dogs that goes on for blocks. I am told that they have their own parking lot, which is unheard of in Lincoln Park, so while the store front looks pretty rough, it does a big time business. AndTin Lizzie's and Mickey's are popular and well know Michigan State Bars.

On another visit my husband, Bob was with us and we had a cozy brunch around a warm fire at the Galway Arms. It was a brutally cold Jan. weekend and the Irish breakfast hit the spot. Bob especially enjoyed the blood sausage with his eggs, I stuck with the rashers of bacon. On my spring visit the Galway's patio was packed all weekend long.

Basil Leaf Cafe, directly across the street from the apartment, serves great pasta dishes that we enjoyed on a summer visit, and the kids say that they eat there often enjoying a wonderful bowl of soup and lots of hot bread.

We didn't just eat, Sunday afternoon included a 2 hour stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo and the neighborhood and I even made it to the the Chicago Art Institute on this trip and took in the impressionists exhibits, which are wonderful.

Chicago is an eating town and Lincoln Park serves up some of the world's best. Now sadly it is just SLIM FAST for the next few weeks!

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

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