Monday, February 21, 2011

Date day in the city

It's been a while since Dave and I went on a big sightseeing / shopping / eating date, so we went for it today. Our excuse to visit our fair city of Chicago was the dual flower shows at the Lincoln Park and Garfield Park conservatories. I had read about them in the Tribune a few weeks ago and knew they were the perfect thing to defeat my winter blues. Plus, the shows are free, so you should stop by before the flower show is over on May 8!

First, we stopped at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, where we found the wonderful Godzilla-looking guy above in the fern room. This conservatory had several exhibits, including the palm room, fern room, flower show room, and orchid room. The orchids were my favorite.

The flower show itself, however, was no slouch - beautiful, bright flowers as far as the eye could see.

We got through the conservatory quicker than we expected, so we had some time to kill before our planned lunch spot opened. I suggested we visit the Leigh Gallery, my favorite art gallery in Chicago, to see if maybe we could pick something out for our newly furnished living room.

It turns out, we did! We purchased two matching 16 x 16 in. painted glass pieces from local artist Pam Lee (pieces I and II in a three-part series). They are still on the website to view as of today, but I'm sure they will be taken down soon. I'll post a photo when we hang them in the next day or so; they look so beautiful! And scratch another off my "30 before 30" list (buying an original piece of art).

Next was lunch, and we went for a burger place I've been meaning to visit for years - DMK Burger Bar. This is a fantastic little place in Lakeview that sells quality, grass-fed beef burgers with creative fixings at a reasonable price.

At left, we have my choice, #6 (portobello mushroom, bleu brie, scallions, and dijonnaise), Dave's choice, #5 (bison burger with goat cheese, pickled red onions, and blueberry BBQ sauce), and our small sides of fries: sweet potato fries and parmesan fries with truffle cream sauce.

Wow. It was one of the best meals I've had out in a while. I think the bun is part of the secret to their success - it's soft and light like a Krispy Kreme donut so you really taste the meat and savory ingredients, but it's strong enough to hold it all together. The parmesan fries were my favorite of the two fries we picked.

This one is also #4 on my list of burger joints to visit on my 30 before 30 list, so I only have three more to go!

Next was the Garfield Park Conservatory, which was huge, huge, huge.

It, too, had a palm room, fern room, and flower room, but also had a room of tropical fruits, a desert room, and some others I can't remember. The flowers in the flower show were much the same as the ones in the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and equally lovely.

One of my favorite things about the Garfield Park Conservatory was the large number of tropical fruit-bearing plants on display. There was a banana tree, papaya tree, coffee tree, kumquat tree, fig tree (no figs, though), vanilla vines, and even a pineapple plant!

Did you know that that's how pineapples grow? Because I sure didn't.

Traffic was very easy both ways, so I guess we can thank the holiday for that one. We are home now and I would love to hang my beautiful new artwork. And even though the flower show and plants make me long for spring and summer, walking trough the conservatories eased my cabin fever a bit. This is really the perfect wintertime activity!

Thanks, Dave, for a lovely date day!

1 comment:

Dave Musser said...

This was an absolutely awesome day - what Val failed to mention was that I went into a coma after my amazing burger at DMK, so I can't really remember the Garfield Conservatory. I bet it was pretty cool, though. :)