I absolutely love Chicago and I had a blast spending the month of July hanging out and exploring the city with my sister, brother-in-law and my little nephew, but there came some points where the energy of the city started driving me nuts. Sometimes I wish I could turn the constant buzz of cars off or take a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood and not worry about crossing a street without being taken out by a car or a better yet a bicyclist. I swear the bicyclists are even more scary! My sister noticed my itching to escape and find a more tranquil space, so we planned to leave the city a couple of times and check out Evanston and Naperville. They were perfect breaks away from the chaotic city.
My sister first lived in Evanston after she graduated from college before settling into the city, so I wanted to go back and see where she spent a few years of her life. Of course I visited her way back then, but I could not remember a thing about the town. Evanston is about 15 miles north of the city and where Northwestern University is located. To me the town reminded me of what an average college town looks like during the summer season; a poster of the purple Wildcat was posted on the front window of every establishment, students who decided to stay for the summer months chatting and eating at a froyo shop, and parents pushing strollers around town as they were running errands. Of course the town is small enough to walk its entirety.
We first stumbled upon an adorable patisserie called Patisserie Coralie. If I lived in Evanston you would find me sitting on one of the white couches every Saturday and Sunday morning drinking espresso, eating a macaron and daydreaming about Paris. We then wandered through town and after perusing several menus we landed on the motor-cycle themed Italian restaurant called La Macchina Cafe. The owner is a boisterous Italian man who spoke beautiful Italian as he greeted us and waved us goodbye. My prosciutto panini was delicious with prosciutto di parma, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and olive oil. They also had cheap, but very tasty, mimosas and bellinis, so it was immediately a favorite in my book!
We worked our lunch and mimosas off by walking through a lovely neighborhood that lead us to a path we followed along Lake Michigan. The only sounds I could hear were people chatting and laughing while playing on the beach or picnicking in the park, and the crashing of waves on the sand. It was exactly what I needed before returning to the loud and busy city. Before leaving town we did stop at the froyo shop, Forever Yogurt, and they won me over with their fruity pebble flavor!
Next time you are visiting the city, but need a break from the bustling streets, head north on Lake Shore Drive to Evanston to recharge.
Of course as always, if you have any favorite spots in Evanston please share. And stay tuned for next week’s visit to Naperville!