Two for Two: Logan Square

After a really wonderful time away (see here), it honestly wasn’t until I was on the plane back to the U.S. that I started thinking about, you know, being back in the U.S. That first week was fairly chill (as have been the subsequent weeks, too). I may get into that side of things in a future post, but for now I want to focus on much more important matters: food.

As it happened, I had two separate plans for the weekend after I returned. One, a chance to catch up over dinner before a friend jetted off on her own travels. The other, brunch with my cousin who’d been feeding my cat, so I could get my keys back and check out a local gallery he was interested in.

Both occasions took us to Logan Square, that hip, quickly-gentrifying neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. Indeed, when I moved back to the city two years ago and inquired with locals what neighborhood might be the closes to my dear Williamsburg, to a person they all said Logan Square.

And they’re not entirely wrong. On the cusp of becoming so cool it’s not cool anymore, Logan Square is just north of the famed Wicker Park, that hipster bastion of yesteryear (you know, like 2010). Everyone who can’t afford it these days is going just a few stops up the Blue Line to Logan Square, with its tree-lined boulevards, indie coffee shops, brick two-flats and great restaurants.

I don’t get to this trendy area as often as I’d like. For one, I’m off an entirely different train line. And also, my natural state is solo Netflix bingeing from my couch. (Kidding…I think.) My point is, I was glad for the excuse to enjoy good food with great company at new-to-me spots.

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Bit of a (Chicago) Day

I took an extended break over the holidays; in all, I was off work from December 16 to January 3. With Christmas and the New Year in there, I had a few plans lined up, but generally the time was my own. I went to see a movie on a Tuesday afternoon. I finally washed the five loads of laundry I’d been putting off as long as possible.

As the days wore on, though, even I had had enough time on my couch. So I set about deciding how I’d like to use the remaining days off, knowing all too well that if I just hibernated the whole time, soon I’d be back at work wishing I’d made more of my break. My list included getting to the library, choosing a few meals to make…nothing glamorous. I also included having one Chicago Adventure before vacation ended, something to get me out of my apartment and into the city.

You may recall my penchant for local adventures. I made them a staple of my all-too-brief time in NYC, and I tried to keep the tradition going once I moved back to Chicago. But then life happened and I’ve been hard-pressed to get out and about as much as I’d like.

I decided to keep it simple and put my Art Institute of Chicago membership to good use, spending an afternoon wandering the Warhols and Monets. When a friend said she could join me, the afternoon turned into a welcome chance to catch up, too.

On my way downtown, I got an email alerting me that I’d won a ticket to that night’s performance of The Nutcracker. Between the amazing reviews of The Joffrey Ballet’s re-imagined production and my own depleted bank account, I knew the only way I’d be able to see this one would be by the luck of the draw. And sure enough, I’d won!  I decided I’d find a place for dinner before the show, and just like that, I had one heck of an adventure ahead.

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Curtain Call (x4)

In a series of happy accidents, I found myself catching not one or two live theater productions recently, but four Broadway-caliber shows within a matter of days (two of them actually on Broadway).

It started with a pair of tickets to Hamilton here in Chicago, tickets I’d purchased in March of this year and had all but forgotten about until September when I had to confirm they weren’t for a weekend during the Festival. Thankfully, they were for the Saturday immediately after, meaning the Universe did me a massive solid in rewarding a lot of hard work with a very awesome evening. What’s more, I got to take my kid brother with me. He’d read the companion book for a school project, so he was game to check out the real thing. What’s more, he’d never been to a professional production like this, so sharing that experience with him…priceless.

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