Chicago Life and Style.

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Month: June, 2011

Food in Chicago

I just finished a fantastic breakfast at Sunrise Cafe on Chicago Ave.  It’s a nice unassuming, simple diner where most people are regulars.  Best fruit cup around too.  It’s the simple things that make me happy when it comes to food.  I have had the pleasure of eating at Charlie Trotter’s for the full out foodie experience with the wine paired to each course and indeed it was amazing– but exhausting too. And, let’s face it, I’m certainly not going to eat like that every day. Sometimes, simplicity is best. In fact, when you have kids, and work and a household to run, sometimes simplicity is the only option!

Well, what could be more simple than a picnic? It just so happens that tomorrow is International Picnic Day. As I look at the weather, it looks like it might not be the perfect day for a traditional outdoor picnic on the grass BUT there are plenty of other options.  My favorite is of course, Horticulture Hall at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  A large glass enclosed room surrounded by outdoor gardens, with a beautiful Turkish fountain and fruit trees inside, can you imagine a nicer place for a picnic?  Not to mention that it’s free to get in and if you aren’t a fan of sitting on the ground, there are tables and chairs just waiting for you to bring your friends and family and a nice simple repast. After you enjoy your meal you can walk around the grounds and indoor gardens and enjoy the natural beauty of the place. If you are more adventurous and want to explore some outdoor picnic venues, you can check out any of the Park District sites or the Lurie Garden in Grant Park, 5 acres of natural wonder along the lakefront.

Just as we can’t eat at Charlie Trotter’s every night, it’s probably impractical to plan for a picnic everyday. SO, what to do for all the days in between?  Well, if you are totally awesome and full of time, creativity and energy, you either grow your own food and cook every night or even belong to a organic food co-op that delivers sustainable food right to your door from a local farm.  If you are like me, however, you end of scrounging around in your fridge/pantry for whatever is handy and end up eating fast food crap more often than you’d like to admit.  Well, now there is a wonderful alternative for those of us with excellent intentions but a slight shortage of that time and energy stuff.  Dream Dinners is an awesome food phenomenon.  There are several locations in Chicago and you show up–the ingredients are all there, chopped, sliced, and ready for you.  You put the meals together following a really simple recipe card that is color coded and provided for you.  You choose how much you want to make–the meals are intended to save in the freezer for use later. When you are done, you take your food and go home. THEY CLEAN UP.  Can you believe it?

Even if you don’t love food, we’ve all got to eat.  Why not make it fun too? So, enjoy a picnic tomorrow and maybe I’ll see you at the prep table at Dream Dinners! Bon Appetite!