Monday, July 28, 2008

Not really slacking

I was gone last weekend for a wedding, so forgive me for my lack of posts. We've got some awesome things in mind for this coming weekend. And we're still scoping out cool places to try.

One neat thing we've discovered -- the Salt Creek Greenway. It's a long bike/hiking/nature trail, and it cuts through Wood Dale about a block from us. Better yet, there's a bridge that crosses Irving Park Road into the Target/Jewel shopping center, meaning I *can* still walk to a Jewel -- something all of my Illinois apartments have had in common :)

It's a simple but nicely paved trail, with some greenery and rest areas along the way. The sort of funny thing is that it's right underneath the power lines, at least here, so you can hear the humming as you walk.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Exploring the area

We spent a fun weekend exploring Wood Dale, Addison, Bloomingdale and Lombard. Addison has some cool stuff on Lake Street (and we saw The Dark Knight, which was awesome); Wood Dale's library is very '70s mountain cabin but has a decent selection; and the Stratford Square Mall in B'dale is pretty nice, though not booming.

We drove around Lombard today, and explored the very nice Yorktown Center/Shops on Butterfield, which has a crapload of restaurants that look interesting. We'll be back, no doubt.

One of the more local highlights, however, was Crossroads Too, a bar/restaurant that's mere blocks from us. It features wings, pizza, burgers, ribs and the usual bar fare. The wings were really good. We can see why they won awards. We're looking forward to trying their burgers, which sounded tasty. And it's so close! Not to mention reasonably priced.

One thing I'm a little disappointed by, having been *extremely* spoiled by Geneva, St Charles and even Algonquin and Crystal Lake: there don't seem to be a lot of cool, historic, pedestrian-friendly downtowns out here in DuPage Co. Aside from Hinsdale (a town I feel intimidated by), does anyone know of north/central DuPCo towns that have cool downtown areas? I'd love suggestions.

Monday, July 14, 2008

rocking a new suburb

Well, Saturday we moved. It was a stressful day, but now that it's all said and done I am sitting in our new awesome apartment. And while we didn't get to look around much the past two days, we're planning to explore more in the coming weeks. Any recommendations for places to go in Wood Dale, Addison, Itasca, Bloomingdale, Elk Grove Village and the like are more than welcome.

I for one am looking forward to checking out the Art Gallery Kafe, which appears to have espresso drinks and Polish food. An interesting combination -- turns out Wood Dale (a town of a mere 13,000) is 20% Polish. There's also a farmer's market in Addison that looks promising.

And I'm sure we'll find more. I love exploring new towns. And while few towns have grabbed me the way St Charles and Geneva did, this area looks pretty promising.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

awesome ice cream

You know what's an awesome suburban chain? Colonial Cafe. Started in St Charles, the restaurants only go from Aurora to Crystal Lake; they offer a variety of delicious foods, including breakfast all day, and some killer ice cream.

Went with the hubby tonight to say goodbye -- we split an appetizer sampler, I had a spinach-tomato-feta omelet, and then brought home a peanut butter fudge sundae to share later. Mmmmm. Colonial, I'll miss you.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's so great about the suburbs?

I know that pointing out what's so awesome about the suburbs may be laughable to some. City-dwellers often see the burbs as lacking originality, a sea of endless Chili's and Applebees, with identical houses and landscaping and horrendous traffic.

Well, sure, there are plenty of chains out here; drive down any major retail thoroughfare and you will see Starbucks after TGIFriday's after Target. But there's plenty to love too. What makes some of the Chicago suburbs so great is that they were towns in their own right, first. Take most of the Fox Valley. Crystal Lake, Algonquin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia -- all have their own character that was formed separately from their proximity to Chicago. They have cute downtowns, lush parks, recreation areas and great restaurants -- great restaurants that AREN'T chains.

I'm looking forward to exploring more of DuPage County. In some ways, DuPage exemplifies stereotypical whitebread suburbia, but I have a very distinct feeling that if I peel back the layers, and look a little deeper, I will find a rich and unique culture just beneath the surface.