03 January 2012

An Evanston Weekend

For the long New Year's weekend, I decided to explore Evanston, Chicago's North Shore neighbor.  I had been there on many occasions; but it had been a while since I'd hopped on the CTA Purple Line train  or bus,  and checked out new businesses and revisited old ones.

Mostly, I stayed within the city's downtown area.  I began my walking tour grazing through books at 'Barnes and Noble' (and wondered if, eventually, the chain would meet the same fate as 'Borders', its former competitor).  Normally, I order new reads from Amazon.com so, therefore, hadn't set foot inside a bookstore in a decade.  I bought a copy of Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma."   Next, I went to 'World Market/Cost Plus' and 'Blick Art'.   

Eventually, my stomach began to growl, and so I went in search of a restaurant winding up at  'Pine Yard', an old favourite of mine that serves up incredible, authentic Chinese dishes (no chop suey here!).   They had renovated since I ate there last.  Formerly, the interior was cavernous; but now it was brightly - lit, still casual and some of the best Chinese cuisine in the Chicagoland area.    I ordered the kung pao chicken lunch special, opting for vegetable fried rice as a side dish (white rice was the other choice).  The entree also came with a spring roll that was wrapped in a paper - thin egg roll skin, more like a larger version of a Filipino lumpia.  The hot tea was exceptional.

The majority of my Evanston visit was spent outside, walking.  It was a crisp day.  It was the first time this season that it actually felt like winter, which I prefer to Chicago's sweltering summers.  I strolled past the Northwestern campus, then along Davis up to Bennison's Bakery and Gigio's Pizza.  I was pleased that the two businesses were still feeding Evanston's stomachs!  

Late afternoon, it was time to head home.  But I fully - intend to visit Chicago's 'neighbor to the North' more frequently, and spend even more time enjoying its smalltown character.  The CTA 201 bus route collects riders by the Davis Purple Line, and  takes them all the way to Old Orchard in Skokie (which would make for another fun - filled day on the North Shore).