Today, as I was unpacking Boxes 80 – 90 (just eight more to go…seriously) it occurred to me that I have not one but two bicyles. And now that I'm living in a more bike-friendly city, maybe I should ride one.
So I took out The Madelief Gazelle, which I bought at London's Bobbin Bicylces on St. John Street. Huge basket and all.
I swung by Copenhagen Cyclery on my little ride around my new 'hood. My bike is Dutch, not Danish. But I figured they'd like me anyhow. And they did! The guy working today was not only exceedingly lovely, but he was an encyclopedia of Dutch bike knowledge. Apparently, Gazelle is endorsed by the Dutch royal family. He installed my Kryptonite bike lock (New York Lock, STD), checked out my handlebar alignment, and even raised the kickstand a bit. All for $10. God bless America.
Afterwards, I headed north on Milwaukee, east on North Avenue, and then south on Ashland. While I was heading down Ashland, I saw the restaurant Schwa.
Looks like it's out of business, doesn't it? It's not. It's just one of the hardest restaurants to make a booking at in Chicago. One of these days, I'll get around to calling.
I kept going down Ashland until I hit Milwaukee again. Then it was south on Milwaukee to Chicago, where I went west. And ran into Alcala's.
For some reason, there are more than a few stores in my area that offer "Ropa para Caballeros." For those of you with less than four years of high school Spanish, that means "Clothing for Cowboys." Look…someone even took at taxi there!
Let me just clarify…there are no cows in Chicago anymore. Really.
After this, I continued west on Chicago to Damen, where I made a stop (future post…future post) and then continued up north to the Wicker Park Farmer's Market.
Americans like gourds this time of year. The sad thing is that we don't eat them. We just display them. Yes, I'm serious. So this farmers' market is selling all these gourds, but no one is buying them to eat them. They will just serve as center pieces on suburban dining room tables.
At the Wicker Park Farmers' Market, I stopped at Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods, attracted by the large Union Jack. Spencer is from the UK. I tried to engage him in idle chit-chat, but something wasn't working. Maybe it was because I was still wearing my bike helmet (awkward). I bought some pork & herb bangers, and I tried to explain that I had lived in the UK for nearly seven years so I understood the British bacon vs. American bacon thing. No dice. I think Spencer really wanted me to buy some bacon.
After the farmers' market, I headed back up to North Avenue, and then went immediately south on Milwaukee. I kept going for a bit until I saw this sign in a shop window:
So I kept going…yes, I spent a lot of time today riding in a big circle. Eventually, I found myself back on Chicago Avenue, where a wine shop had jumped out at me earlier in my trip. The Noble Grape.
I asked for a drinkable red, less than $15 a bottle. Preferably less than $12. For $9 (plus tax), the Noble Grape suggested this Spanish Garnacha. I popped it into my backpack (a little awkward for the bike basket) and headed home.
I think I'm going to like my new neighborhood.