Tag Archives: logan square

Bike the Drive/Logan Square Bang Bang Pie Shop —Chicago

Yes, Bike the Drive was definitely worth getting up at 5:30 a.m.. The chance to ride a bike along Lake Shore Drive with nothing except other bikes, albeit thousands of them, was much-appreciated. The annual event was orderly and well-organized, with lots of helpful volunteers, very little red tape or lines, and plenty of free food (bananas, apples, cliff bars, even designer coffee.) I was riding a borrowed 6-speed Schwinn with a very comfortable wide seat. The only minor challenge was making it up several minor inclines. Otherwise the route was flat and very scenic. I spotted sights along “LSD” I’d never seen during decades of zipping along it in my car.

We got lucky with the weather. The sky was overcast and dark at times but it never rained beyond some drizzle. At points, the sun almost came out and the lake looked beautiful, as did the dramatic skyline. What a treat to see some of the dramatic high-rise architecture along the river leading to the lake from new vantage points. And for a moment you had a feel for what might be if we were all less dependent on our gas-guzzling cars. I did recall, at times, the thrill of riding on some bike-only bridge in Copenhagen and, of course, the temporary bike-only rural roads in Iowa during RAGBRAI.

I rode a few blocks from Emma and Rockets in Edgewater to the BRyn Mawr entrance onto the Drive and rode south 8 miles to Grant Park where I met up wi5 my sister Jill and two of her friends who took the El in from Oak Park. I wanted to keep riding south but we sort of ran out of time (there are some timing issues to keep track of – and I am glad I started at 6:30 am) so we rode back north. next time, I may being my bike and ride all the way down and back, the earlier the better.

This afternoon we went to the Sunday farmers market in Logan Square and to delicious Bang Bang Pie shop, which serves, yes, pie — sweet and savory. We had excellent chocolate caramel pie and key lime pie (they’d run out of strawberry rhubarb) and sampled the chicken pot pie. Also had great homemade lemonade with free refills. We also walked Millie around E & R’s lovely Edgewater neighborhood.

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Chicago’s High Line: The Bloomingdale Trail

view of Bloomingdale Trail, looking west at Milwaukee Avenue

CDOT, along with numerous community partners, is building the Bloomingdale Trail and Park– a multi-use linear park that will be the first of its kind in Chicago.

As  a big fan of New York City’s remarkable High Line park, I was pleased to read in the recent Rails to Trails magazine about a similar park under development in Chicago – roughly scheduled  to be useable by fall 2014. Like the High Line, the  2.7 mile Bloomingdale Trail – now under construction – will transform an elevated rail into a recreational trail/park. But there are differences – the Bloomingdale Trail will permit biking (it’s designed to be multi-use); it’s twice the length of the High Line and it runs through four still-bustling urban neighborhoods in northwest Chicago – Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square (the High Line does this in spots, as I recall.) For more details, visit  the “Reframing Ruin” photo exhibit at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (1741 N. Western Avenue) about the Bloomingdale rail – pre-transformation (presumably what the photo above portrays) into a trail. for more details see:  http://bloomingdaletrail.org

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Logan Square in Chicago – well worth a visit

We had such a good time in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood on Sunday, starting with a visit to the indoor farmers market at the remarkable Congress Theater, a huge wreck of an old auditorium where my kids have gone to several concerts. The farmers market is held in the small lobby – and had some great stuff in addition to veg and fruit including fantastic bread, baguettes, croissants and pain au raisin sold by La Boulangerie (a  shop closer to the square that also serves crepes and lovely little bowls of mousse); a English guy from Leeds who made homemade bangers and mash; and a woman who made fresh caramel.

Next store was a pop-up vintage sale – with several vendors. I got a fab green long wool coat with brown leather buttons from Austria for $24. Yes, it has a cape and yes, I look a bit like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. I also got some vases that I’m told were done by a Greenwich Village potter in the 1980s but look quite like Jonathan Adler’s modern day retro work.

We wandered through some other boutiques and ended up at the bar at  the restaurant/bar/inn Longman & Eagle, which was a lot of fun. I had the best Bloody Mary I’ve had in a long time (not that I have them often) and watched the alchemist/bartender using a medicine dropper, shot glasses, and fresh ground nutmeg to make various one-of-a-kind concoctions. Also watched people eating what looked like delicious hearty, fresh, inventive food including, oddly, a popular entrée that combines fried chicken and waffles (it looks better than it sounds.)

What I liked about this place was that was not only hip but inviting – with servers, bartenders, hosts who are genuinely welcoming and seem to really like their jobs.  Great ambiance too – we’ll be back for brunch if not dinner, where I”m told we should order many of the small plates. It also has several rooms for overnight stays, each uniquely and tastefully designed, starting at a very reasonable $75.

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