Category USA

Brighton Park: Parisian novelties, Flemish rooflines and Mexican submarines

Though I’ve lived in Chicago since 1994, this was the first time I’ve visited the Brighton Park neighborhood. I was not expecting Parisian Novelty. This is where we jumped off the bus, 17 miles south of our neighborhood, Rogers Park. The Parisian Novelty Company dates from 1898 and—back in the day—made trendy celluloid cases and […]

Tacos in the parking lot: how we do street food in Chicago

Last fall it was our 25th anniversary and HOB asked me how I wanted to celebrate, and I was like, “Hmmmm…I think I want to eat something in a parking lot while standing over a trash can.” We ended up eating dumplings from the food court in this ginormous grocery store. Due to various annoying […]

Frank Lloyd Wright’s System Built Houses in Illinois

There was a time, from 1911 – 1916, when Frank Lloyd Wright came up with a system to make beautifully designed houses accessible for middle-class folks. The idea of a Frank Lloyd Wright home being considered “affordable housing” is kind of hilarious. These days his homes are for rich people; really rich people. Wright was […]

Be the kind of tourist that goes to Pullman

Chicago is huge and most tourists see very little of it (probably true to say this of most residents too). I work in the tourist industry and often get asked for directions to Navy Pier, Giordano’s Pizza, and—if they are feeling daring—to Wrigley Field. So it really shocked me when a few years ago a […]

The Bridgford Foods Mural is Genius

If you’ve been keeping tabs, this would be the time you’d normally expect find HOB and I travelling somewhere. But here we are—another Chicago staycation. There’s still Covid, but now on top of that I’ve had vertigo for three months and I am unable to take long distance transportation, Anyway, not here to whine but […]

Thanks for the sunrises, COVID-19

Anyone can love a beach in the summer. Deep winter is my favorite beach time, and this winter, while I was forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, I loved it best at dawn. Instead of packing my lunch and catching a train to work, I left my apartment in the dark […]

Our Ladies of the Kennedy Expressway: Chicago’s Polish cathedral style

I admit it is weird; I’m all crazy for church architecture and I travel great distances to see it, but until recently I didn’t know about the Chicago Polish cathedral style. Perhaps I overlooked it because these churches are located in my unofficial no man’s land—west of the Kennedy Expressway. There are many adorable neighborhoods […]

Chicago-style Americana: hot dog stands (and one majestic bowling alley)

I’ve got some posts planned about architecture, but like a lot of Americans right now, I’m in an anxiety-induced holding pattern, just getting through the final two days of the Cheetolini administration. Like maybe he’ll pardon a few more war criminals, but hopefully now that he’s cut off of twitter he can’t goad his Nazi-wannabe […]

2020: a Chicago year in review

At this time of year, I’d normally be writing a post called Funniest travel moments of 2020. Yeah, so 2020 wasn’t funny and we didn’t travel. I did my best to document it, though, since (hopefully) I’ll never live through another year like it. Most of my documentation is of signs, since that’s how I […]

Louis Sullivan saved Chicago

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, architects rushed to rebuild the city, blanketing downtown in that hideous Beaux-Arts style, egged on by the derrière garde World’s Fair aesthetic also known as The White City. (Fun fact: Louis Sullivan had a building in the Chicago World’s Fair—it was fabulous, brightly colored and original…and it pissed […]