Chicago: Day 2 Adventures!

I am loving this short, little trip to Chicago! We have no agenda and simply go wherever the wind takes us. Since it is pretty windy here, that can be quite far! :)
On our second day in Chicago, we spent the morning exploring Evanston, which is a suburb north of Chicago and home to Northwestern University. 
We walked down to the beach and saw another view of magnificient Lake Michigan. Clearly, this was not a good day for the beach as we were literally the only ones there (except for a couple of birds and a tree...)

The weather was actually quite average for this time of year, but since the temperatures in Chicago have been quite above average for most of Spring it felt downright cold! It was in the 40s but I wished I had my winter jacket on all day. Or at least some gloves.
We did find this strange place that seemed like it was hovering between a hockey rink in the winter (with a tree in the middle?!?) and a pond in the summer. Right now, it was just a little awkward.

I fell in love with these little lilac twigs! I’ve never seen these flowers before. They look just like lilacs and smelled like lilacs but weren’t a bush. I need to convince my mother to add these to her garden. They’re wonderful!

For lunch, we had a low calorie, high nutrient meal of stuffed cheese pizza at Giordano’s. Delicious.

Afterwards, I was still chilled, so we went to Argo Tea for something warm to drink. Strangely, their tea looks like ice cold beer...

In the afternoon, we grabbed our luggage and headed into downtown Chicago where we saw this remarkable parking ramp!

We’ve been taking the train most places, and it is quite handy. However, our train ride back into the city from Evanston was horrible. The driver would speed up to 40 mph and then immediately slow down to 10 mph only to speed up to 40 mps again. It was so bad, we got off about 10 stops early just to walk and shake off the motion sickness. I get motion sick pretty easily and so I’m usually prepared with my common preventions. None of those worked on this driver. I was so happy to not be on that train. We took the train again in the evening and it was smooth as silk. :)
After a long walk with our bags through downtown Chicago, we arrived at the Art Institute of Chicago and spent the rest of the afternoon there.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

Water Lilies by Claude Monet
American Gothic by Grant Wood

I'd love to have a funky chair like this for our dining table!

For dinner, we headed to Quartino, an Italian tapas restaurant. This place was fun and lively! A tapas restaurant serves small plates that are intended to be shared with the other people at your table. So, how does that work with a vegetarian and a meat eater? We usually order a majority of vegetarian dishes and then Martin orders 1-2 meat dishes. Since he has a bigger appetite than I do, it works out just fine.
This cheese was fantastic! It was hard and salty, which went well with our dry red wine. I could have eaten the apricot butter with a spoon it was so good. Plus, the little cast iron pan was so adorable, I almost took it home with me!

Everything deep fried is better, right? Martin thought so. He loved those polenta fries and he doesn’t really like polenta. I love polenta and thought its flavor and texture was hidden too much by the thick breading. Still, I had no trouble eating every bite!

Martin said the chicken was good. I’ll take his word for it.

I was super excited about homemade gnocchi. I know how much work it is to make good gnocchi. Unfortunately, it was disappointing. The gnocchi tasted like raw flour. Plus, the sauce was not seasoned correctly. Typically, the sauce is made with pork, but I requested it without it and the cook didn’t make any adjustments to the dish at all. :( Thus, a bland and uninteresting dish.

We hooked up with our couch surfing hosts in the evening. They are fun and have an adorable dog and very cuddly cat. Who knows what tomorrow will bring! :)