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Welcome to my blog where I share some of my favorite things from the Midwest cities along Lake Michigan.

DIVVY Diaries: New Experiences, New Favorites

DIVVY Diaries: New Experiences, New Favorites

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In my opinion DIVVY bikes are the best when it comes to exploring Chicago and I was extremely excited to finally have a nice weather day to start my first Divvy Tour for the year (Steps for Using DIVVY).  Although thundershowers were in the forecast, my friend Robea and I decided we’d go through with our plans rain or shine.

We were so pleased that the sun was shining bright and no rain was in sight when we arrived in Wicker Park.  We parked under the El for $8 after securing a deal from Spot Hero.

We selected our bikes on the corner of Wabansia and Milwaukee and headed 1.3 miles to Logan Square for our first stop at Gaslight Coffee Roasters.

Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Mocha Latte

Mocha Latte

I liked the look and feel of Gaslight Coffee Roasters.   It was pretty hip with quite the variety of people. There were business people on their computers, friends casually catching up over coffee, and what looked like regulars seated at the bar. Everyone was friendly.   I'd like to just spend a day here with my laptop.  '

I ordered the mocha latte. It was verrrrryyyyy good! Strong, fresh, and flavorsome!

The food menu had several items that I wanted to try which made choosing difficult. I decided to go with the Gaslight Breakfast: Pan roasted Nueske’s ham, mightvine tomatoes, floriole seeded toast, Swan Creek duck egg, everything bagel spread, and a side salad. Good Choice! I enjoyed all of the flavors but that everything bagel spread was the bomb! I could put that on everything!

Robea ordered the breakfast bowl which included sofrito rice, caramelized onion, smoked ham bits, Applewood bacon, and Swan Creek duck eggs. This bowl was amazing! As much as I enjoyed what I ordered, I see myself getting the breakfast bowl in the future.

Gaslight Breakfast

Gaslight Breakfast

Breakfast Bowl

Breakfast Bowl

After leaving Gaslight, we explored the neighborhood, and I scoped out some spots to hit in the future (I see you Revolution Brewing Company).

Popped into Wolfbait & B-Girls, a retail shop that represents more than 300 local Chicago artists as well as Chicago-based fair-trade companies.   I appreciate shops like this.  Not only does it support local artists and designers but you can also spot unique and interesting finds. There is a lot of talent here.  I purchased a pair of earrings made from recycled bicycle tires. 

Wolfbait and B-Girls

Wolfbait and B-Girls

The weather was beautiful for strolling and just taking our time discovering Logan Square, a great neighborhood that I know I will return to time and time again.  There’s so much to see and eat here.  

After making our way back to a bike station, Robea stated that she wanted to try an ACAI Bowl.

Acai is an antioxidant rich fruit found in the rain forests of the Amazon.  It's known to give your skin a healthy glow, boost immunity, improve focus, and combat fatigue.  

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We’d both heard about these bowls but never tried one.  After looking up the best bowls in the city, we started on our 4.2-mile ride to HI-Vibe Organic Superfood Juicery in River North.

ACAI Bowl, Isn't it pretty?!!

ACAI Bowl, Isn't it pretty?!!

Being new the ACAI game, we first had to learn to properly pronounce what we were seeking (A-Sigh-eeeee). I won’t even say what I was calling it.

We ordered the Acai Cacao: organic acai and pitaya blended with fresh pressed apple, banana, and honey. Dressed with raw Hi-Vibe granola, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, bee pollen, shredded coconut, sprouted gourmet nut butter + fresh seasonal fruit.

We split it between the two of us. The portion was huge.  I appreciated that it wasn’t overly sweet and the ingredients blended well together.  We both agreed that we’d get this again.

Next, a quick pit stop at the Merchandise Mart then more strolling and enjoying the beautiful day and scenery in the Loop’s Theatre District.  

We picked up new bikes at Randolph and LaSalle and headed to Chinatown which was 2.5 miles away. STRINGS here we come!

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Made it…I’d heard about STRINGS Ramen from friends, and I had to try it.

I quickly realized that it was a happening place as I observed the decor and listened to the Hip-Hop playing overhead.  I loved the fact that I could see right into the kitchen.  We took notice of the other patrons…some were ordering with confidence while others were eating their Ramen like pros. We were given a menu and were immediately overwhelmed, being Ramen newbies and all.  Our server was the best.  He explained everything to us thoroughly probably three times, haha.  He never lost patience.  

We decided on the Tonkotsu Broth, a creamy pork bone stock which takes 48 hours to prepare and the Hell Ramen level 2.  I like spicy, and level 2 is my spot.  The levels go up to 5!  I only know one person that could make it to that level.  He eats ghost peppers like nothing.

Hell Ramen, level 2

Hell Ramen, level 2

Ramen is meant to be slurped and eaten fast, so we went all in.  The noodle thickness was good.  The noodles are straight instead of wavy.  They're prepared in house, and they’re amazing!  I Ate all of my Ramen and souped up every last bit of the luscious broth!

Between the two I think I liked the Tonkotsu Broth the best. It was so rich and flavorful! Next time I’ll order that with a little of my heat sauce on the side.  I’m definitely returning!

Tonkotsu Broth

Tonkotsu Broth

No rain yet, on to our next destination in Lakeview, 8.5 miles away.  We took the Lakefront Trail, an 18-mile trail along Lake Michigan.  It made for an easy and peaceful bike ride.  We paused and took a few pictures.  This trail is picturesque with many options along the way.  You can stop at the beach, have a picnic, play a little volleyball, etc.  There are Divvy Stations all along the trail.   FYI; there’s also bathrooms.

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Theres DIVVY Bike Stations all along the Lakeshore Trail

Theres DIVVY Bike Stations all along the Lakeshore Trail

We get off the trail at Belmont and head to our next spot. Philly's Best in Lakeview. Time to try a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with a couple of foodie friends. This Philly Cheesesteak is the real deal. The owners are from Philly and are committed to only using authentic Philly Cheese Steak ingredients. They ship pure tenderloin from Liberty Bell Steak Company, bread from Amoroso Bread Company, and cheese from Cedar Farms.

This sandwich was soooo good.  Easily the best Philly Cheesesteak I’ve EVER had! The tenderloin lived up to its name; tender and flavorful.  The bread was soft and tasty on its own.  It absorbed the juice so well.  I also had Philly fries and a slice of the Greek Pizza, YUM!  I recommend all of it!

Phillys Best Cheesesteak

Phillys Best Cheesesteak

I’m glad we’re still bike riding because I managed to eat half of my sandwich and fries, I seriously needed to pedal some of that off.  It's worth the extra pedals!

So many people were out, I think the forecasted rain that hadn’t come made us all happy.

We now headed to our final stop in Wicker Park which was 3 miles away.  We had a little time snafu and had to take a detour, quickly find a DIVVY station, and get another bike.  It was close, but we made it.  Robea and I are both cheap and don't want to pay extra by going overtime.

Now we continue to Wicker Park to go back in time!

I was extremely excited to see this sign after our 3-mile ride!  Anyone else here obsessed with Saved By the Bell growing up?  I often fantasized about attending Bayside High.

Saved by the Max is a pop-up diner that serves American fare.  It has all of the memorabilia from Saved by the Bell allowing you to relive some of your favorite show memories.  There are several TVs located throughout with Saved By the Bell episodes playing from different seasons.  It was awesome just experiencing this place and reminiscing as the episodes played.  It's funny how you still remember every detail from all of the episodes.  

Mostly there for the experience, I honestly hadn't given much thought to the food.  I was pleasantly surprised by the Mac & Screech, Snow White, and the Seven Dorks wings and the Senior Prom Salad I had.  Tasty.  My salad consisted of pork belly, escarole, frisee, black kale, and one-hour egg tossed with a warm mustard vinaigrette.  Wonderful!   Robea had the Tori's Fried Chicken, but she preferred my salad.  Maybe she was too full from all of the eating we'd done prior. I loved the chili sauce on top of her fried chicken.  

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Saved By the Max was a perfect way to end our day of touring the city on the DIVVY bikes.  We made nine bike exchanges and rode a total of 21 miles, but it didn't feel like it at all.  

Another day of wonderful memories that we won’t soon forget.  Stay tuned for more DIVVY Diaries and let me know which Chicago neighborhoods you'd explore in the comments.

 

Steps For Using DIVVY

Steps For Using DIVVY