Well gang, you’re gonna get tired just reading this post because it is absolutely FILLED!! This was one of those days overflowing with places to go and things to see! So hold on tight! We’re off!
Tina had done some research and found out that Chicago has a “conservatory” filled with gardens and greenery … and tons more! And it was a very easy jaunt on the Green Line! I tell you guys, I am loving this transit system! The train stop was actually called “Conservatory” so there was no way to get lost!
The “Garfield Park Conservatory” is what the city calls “Landscape Art Under Glass” because it is literally housed in a huge glass-ceiling building that is probably about the size of 3 football fields put together! It is huge! And the outside gardens boast 10 acres of ponds, beehives, children’s play area, and a whole forest of “Quaking Aspens.” It’s not as large as our arboretum, however, the layout and the creativeness of the use of their space was pretty incredible.
Our first room was “The Palm House.” I’m not sure what the temperature was in there but you all know that palms like their heat! Needless to say, we didn’t need jackets!
After about an hour looking at palm trees (haha, yes an hour!), we moved on to the “Sugar Room,” the “Desert House,” the “Indoor Children’s Garden,” and their “Show House.” Each room is filled with natural art and statuary art, along with places to sit and enjoy the beauty, as if it was your own private “secret garden.” I imagine this place is a big hit during the winter!
Have you ever eaten a “Jerusalem Cherry”? They look like beautiful little cherry tomatoes, all colorful and bright!
Next room … the Aroid House (aka, houseplants!)
The next stop … the desert!
And then, of course, the Children’s Garden …
After a few hours of roaming around inside, we finally made it to the outside gardens. Many of them were already being “deconstructed” for the winter, but we still got to walk the Labyrinth and, at least see where the “Monet Garden” is located every summer … which you can bet I’m going to be back to see that!
It was time well-spent enjoying, learning, and basking in another one of God’s great wonderlands … even if it is inside a building! Some of the flowers and plants I will never see in their native landscape, so this was a gift indeed to see them all up close and personal.
And, after all that exploring, you can imagine … we’re hungry!! Tina found a “southern style hole in the wall” diner for us to try. OMG, I love southern food!! The place is called “Feed” and it was a great find!
There were plenty of options and I thoroughly enjoyed my fried okra and roasted chicken! Here’s a sampling of some of things we tried … WARNING — Do not be in a state of hunger when viewing … it could be bad for your health!!
Oh, and on top of all that, they had SWEET TEA! Yep, just like my mom used to make! You can’t even drink it without adding water it’s sooooo sweet! But delicious in it’s own way!
We really wanted to just hang out with these guys and take a nap … after all that, what else can you be expected to do except nap? Well, they weren’t really receptive to our idea so we decided to keep going!
Next stop … Wrigley Field!
Because it is no longer baseball season, the stadium closes and they were re-constructing the field after all the playoff games. Seems weird to me that they do this right before the winter, but I guess they know what they’re doing …
Next, we walked around the neighborhood so I could show Cliff the “apartment roof top bleachers” that are famous in Wrigleyville! Most of them are beautiful, historic buildings that are now baseball game seating on their roofs. Apparently they are pretty fabulous because those tickets cost more than a regular seat inside the stadium! Who would have thought that??
Aren’t they pretty? In any event, Cliff was happy to be at this famous stadium even though it was “off season” … he’ll be back for a tour and a real live game next season for sure!
We ended the afternoon with a nice long walk through Oz Park. It was filled with people, dogs, games, and lots and lots of leaves! We decided to find each of the statues and listen to their stories on the way … so we … followed the yellow brick road!
That was a really cool park and a place where this neighborhood gathers for lots of different activities. We had a great time listening to the statues tell their stories (and, just so you know, they’re not really statues … they get off their perches and have a homemade picnic every night at midnight!) and taking in the community at play.
From the park, we walked a little bit further and met Eddie at one of Cliff’s choices for dinner. Because of (half) his heritage, we ate dinner at the “Rickshaw Republic” a true Dutch Indonesian place with lots of dishes that made Cliff feel like he was eating his Grandma’s cooking. The little place was full of charm and true hospitality, making us feel like we were eating in Grandma’s dining room! It was delicious, however, I have NO IDEA what we ate … maybe you will be able to tell!
The food was absolutely delicious and as you can see, we didn’t leave much. Considering our lunch meal, I’m not quite sure how we did it, but we sure did! The crowning event of the day was a true, yet unbelievable activity that Cliff alone took part in and the rest of us “ooohhhhed” and “awwwwwed” … or on my part, “OMG’ed” through the whole thing. I know that many of you love your coffee and, of course, dessert MUST be accompanied by at least one cup. Well, in this restaurant, you’re only allowed one cup … and here’s why.
This coffee is 1) expensive, 2) hard to come by, and 3) apparently, the best tasting coffee you’ll ever drink. Why, you ask? Because it comes from a monkey’s poop! I AM SERIOUS!! You have got to read about this stuff! Here’s what I found on the Wikipedia site, which is pretty much exactly what the server told us when explaining the whole ordeal to us …
“Kopi luwak (Indonesian pronunciation: [ˈkopi ˈlu.aʔ]), or civet coffee, refers to the coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).
Producers of the coffee beans argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms, selection and digestion. Selection occurs if the civets choose to eat cherries. Digestive mechanisms may improve the flavor profile of the coffee beans that have been eaten. The civet eats the cherries for the fleshy pulp, then in the digestive tract, fermentation occurs. The civet’s protease enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet’s intestines the cherries are then defecated with other fecal matter and collected.”
Cliff was game and that’s all that counted …
According to Cliff, all you coffee drinkers out there would love it … I would encourage you to try it once in your life … however, at this point, I am so glad I am NOT a coffee drinker! Hahah!!
It was a fabulous, full day, and if you’re not tired of reading, I’m ready to hit the hay! You can only imagine what’s planned for our next day!
Talk to you tomorrow!