Chicago’s Armitage neighborhood
Last week’s adventures in Chicago were the perfect mix of culture, history, beer, food, and public transportation. The city was cold – just as cold as here in Minneapolis – but that didn’t stop the perpetual motion that is one of America’s most raw urban havens.
Chicago occupies a warm space in my heart. I love the city, almost in a way you love a pet or a family home. Chicago fills me with nostalgia, exhilaration, and hope.
I have been visiting regularly since middle school and my fond memories are widely varied. Most of my favorites are simple – a bench in the sun on a busy street or an L train stop with a skyline view. I recall eating a Chicago dog outside of Marshall Fields with Paul Blomberg, an architectural engineer who fostered my love of the city and who has since passed away.
It is the most city-like neighborhood I’ve ever encountered, meaning everything about city life is here, but it is far more hospitable.
Visit Armitage for brunch or lunch, when the morning commute has concluded. There is an easy L stop on the brown and purple lines which acts as a nice home base. To the west is a lovely coffee shop called Le Pain Quotidien. And just on the east side of the tracks is one of my favorite stores, Art Effect.
For a beer and lunch, walk a few blocks east to Blue Door. This is an upscale farm-to-table, sandwich-focused cafe. Craft beer, handmade goods, and a reclaimed feel will keep you coming back. It is a very comfortable space with a from-scratch feel.
I tried the Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale and the apple pie and bacon grilled cheese.
I enjoyed the composition of the sandwich, but overall it was too sweet. The combination of cinnamon apples and mascarpone wasn’t given any opposition. Sharper cheddar or smokier bacon would have made this very good sandwich great. From a texture standpoint, it was a dream; hearty, toasted bread was a highlight.
The Daisy Cutter is an incredible pale ale. Made by Half Acre (more on them later), the level of intrigue in this can is far higher than most pale ales. It isn’t really bitter at all. The focus is on the citrus and peach notes plus a cereal-caramel malt. The combination reads as marmalade. I could drink a lot of these.
Maybe we can show government how to operate better as a result of better architecture. Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.
Frank Lloyd Wright