One of the best parts about visiting my old Phoenix neighborhood is seeing it grow from when we lived there. It was already becoming a dining hot spot when we moved to Chicago in 2015, and even more change has come about since then. One of the newest restaurants I’ve tried is Pure Sushi at the Colony development near Seventh Street and Missouri in Phoenix. It’s next to the Herb Box and Stock and Stable, which I’ve visited in previous Phoenix trips. Pure Sushi was next on the list because it serves one of our favorite foods.
Saturday was supposed to be the start of my winter hibernation. I woke up to see it had dropped into the 30s in Chicago and the forecast called for flurries that morning. I wanted to stay in bed all day, but the chance to grab coffee with Jessie (Just Jessie Blog) got me out of the house. Besides an Orangetheory class afterward, the weekend was about staying inside for the most part. That was the plan … until I realized the Christkindlmarket Chicago was opening over the weekend.
I had one of those perfect Chicago summer weekends. I don’t know how I’ll top it. First, I love spotting the blooms in the neighborhood.
This year, we wanted to shop different local vendors to spread the love. We typically walk around the entire length of the market before committing to a purchase. We passed by a van that we thought was a nice concept for a shop, so we stepped inside. I purchased two soy candles in tiny glasses that happened to be on sale. I also liked a T-shirt that said “Chicago love” but it was only available in kids sizing. (The designer has women’s online.)
|Two new candles in our living room.|
|T-shirt by Megan Lee Designs.|
Graham gravitates toward anything to do with plants, and he immediately purchased a little cottage with a living moss roof from another seller. It, too, was a great deal.
We noticed the storm was about to hit, so I quickly browsed a booth that should all things wood. I saw a lovely bird-cage ornament with a red bird and I had to get it. Graham and I collect ornaments from places we go, and this would be ours to represent Rogers Park, our neighborhood. We probably would have bought more had it not started storming.
I crossed off several fall bucket list items over the weekend: drink apple cider, go to a pumpkin patch, get lost in a corn maze and visit an apple orchard. All Seasons Apple Orchard in Woodstock, about an hour and half drive from Chicago, had all of those activities and more. But, I must admit, my favorite thing to do at the orchard was eat.
Graham and I shared an apple-cider doughnut, apple blossom, pumpkin-shaped sugar cookie, and apple nachos (apple slices with whipped cream, caramel and nuts). And of course we sipped apple cider. Don’t worry, we also took home half a dozen more doughnuts.
|Goodies from All Seasons Apple Orchard|
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before our light lunch, we watched the adorable pig races. The racers had names such as Voldepork. I hope those cute little piggies live a happy life.
We also wandered around the corn maze, something I’ve never done.
And we paid a visit to the bunnies. The chilly weather made them sleepy. I don’t blame them for staying put.
We took a wagon ride to the apple orchard and to the pumpkin patch.
We searched for the Great Pumpkin, but we settled for these beauties instead.
Basically, we did all the fall things. I went home with a full belly and happy heart.
What fall bucket list items did you do this weekend?
I’ve been following Sol Cafe on Instagram since we moved here. I was finally persuaded to get myself in the door after whoever handles the cafe’s social media posted a photo of a vegan burrito this week. Yes, it was a burrito photo that prompted me to act.
The burritos are actually from the Growling Rabbit. When I asked the cashier to heat up my burrito, he jokingly said no, but I wasn’t amused. (Before I have caffeine I don’t have a sense of humor.)
Most of the tables were claimed at this point in the morning, so I settled on the table at the front window. It didn’t offer much of a view. It faces street traffic and a shutdown restaurant across the street. Inside, though, the space is cozy. Artwork for purchase hangs on the wall. There is an antique TV and a seating area in the back. Books are stacked on a coffee table. A small retail area offers such things as Sol Cafe bandannas and cards.
The barista brought my warm burrito out to me. The vegan burrito contains spicy tofu, black beans, sweet potato and spinach and comes with pico de gallo. I relished every bite of it. Ray Charles’ “Georgia” came on as I enjoyed my burrito. It was followed by Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.”
I had ordered the signature Phoenix Fizz drink to go along with my burrito. The name intrigued me. The beverage is a sparkly tea punch with a kick that is provided by spices. It was a bit too much for me. I should have just ordered coffee or a chai latte, but I’m glad I tried something new.
Sometimes it’s a nice treat to try a different local business over the convenience of a national chain like Starbucks. I like to think I practice a balance of supporting both.
Sol Cafe is on Howard Street in Rogers Park. It’s a short walk from the Howard CTA station.
Graham and I got down to business as soon as we landed in Maui for our wedding trip.
It took me three years to finally make it to an Arizona Storytellers event — for shame! Last month I finally decided enough was enough and purchased my ticket to the August event held at First Draft Book Bar, a new bookstore/bar in my neighborhood.
Last week I participated in my first cash mob. I received a Facebook invite for a cash mob benefiting Shine Coffee, a local coffee shop in central Phoenix. I made my way down Central Avenue on that rainy Tuesday to do my part.
I traded my usual Starbucks drink for a chai latte and as the friendly owner took my order I remembered why it’s important to frequent local businesses. Her big smiled showed she was genuinely grateful for my business and made me feel welcome.
I wished I could sip my drink at the table while the rain cleared up. But, alas, I had to get to work.
My yoga-teacher training friends and I went to brunch at Postino to celebrate my marriage to Graham. Our time together is always full of laughs, love and, this time, mimosas!
|I loved my brunch dress. I found it at Marshalls for $10!|
You can’t go wrong with a farm scramble at brunch.
Afterward we walked across the street to Churn for some ice cream made of all-natural ingredients. Few things are better on a summer day.
We also looked for our favorite artists on the cassette wall. I think I spotted local favorite Black Carl!