After a week in the Pacific Northwest I arrived in Chicago and was directly whisked away to Mexican food and then the beach by my sister.
It has been literally days since I had Mexican food and I was starting to feel a minor urge to freak the hell out from being on the plane all day. I expressed to Lana that all I wanted was something vegan friendly where I could get a margarita. When we walked up to El Nuevo Mexicano I knew we made the right choice.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that vegetarian friendly sign became ubiquitous? It sure would make me stop walking down the street. The menu had quite a few well marked vegan options so it was tough to narrow down. I really wanted something kind of healthy… and then read the insane description of the chimichangas and I had to get them. These were decribed as “Flour Tortillas stuffed with Upton’s chorizo, mango, plantain banana, red & yellow peppers, onions, almonds & raisins. Flash Fried. Chipotle Peach salsa, spring mix salad with mango & jicama. Yams roasted with agave nectar, dusted with chile powder”. In other words they had a lot of sweet stuff going on with all those tropical fruits but I am a lover of the tropics and the sweet and savory combo. I enjoyed them quite a bit even though a bit sweet even for me. On it’s own I liked the peach salsa but I think a nice verde would have worked better. They were fried perfectly and were nice and crisp without being a bit greasy. My agave sweetened margarita was fantastic.
The next day we were meeting my dad for lunch down in the loop. I was excited to pick out a place but since my family did not want to go to the all vegan Native Foods I had a tough time finding a spot that sounded interesting. And my phone wasn’t working which for someone like me is basically being exposed to kryptonite. How did I ever get by without a smartphone? Was I just blindly walking down streets asking directions and restaurant reviews? We tried a couple of Thai places that were closed because it was late in the day and finally settled on The French Market which is both a green market and an international themed food court nestled underground. It was the perfect spot to get away from the heat and the speedy well dressed office workers all around.
They even had a raw vegan place. Instead I chose the bahn mi from the Saigon Sisters and some delicious dumplings from Bowl Square.
The baguette was crisp and delicious and I got to catch up with my Dad who has finally moved out of New York City and back to Chicagoland. Both of my parents are undergoing some big moves; my Mom is moving to California in August after spending my entire life in central Illinois. So it was also my last trip down to Springfield to gather up all of my childhood things that have been in boxes for the last 15 years. I couldn’t believe how much Star Trek gear I had/have, including 5,000 next generation trading cards. Dan was thrilled that I brought home such CD’s as Color Me Badd’s single of “I wanna sex you up”. That’s right, the single! It has six different versions! I also started going through a million photos, here is my on the playground showing some serious attitude.
Are you impressed by how my shorts match the panda’s hat? You should be!