Thursday, August 31, 2006

OT: Oh no he didn't

John Norris (from MTV) with blond hair. No. Make it go away.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Tale of Two Zoos

I recently had the opportunity to visit two of the most well-known zoos in the country. Both Brookfield and Lincoln Park (LP) Zoo are located in the Chicagoland area. People have their favorite, but I thought it only fair to review them based on the following categories: Location, Cost, Variety of Animals, and Staff.

(1) Brookfield - Located in Brookfield, IL, 14 miles west of downtown Chicago. Most accessible by car but there is a Metra stop a block or so away.
(2) LP - Located in Lincoln Park (the neighborhood and the actual park). Easily accessible by walking or by the 151 or 156 bus. Cabs readily available as well. Parking for those who want to drive in the city.

Winner: LP
For a city gal such as myself, LP wins hands down. I can stop by LP Zoo at my leisure, while going to Brookfield requires arranging a car ride or consulting the Metra schedule/getting to Union Station.

(1) LP - Free! Enough said. There is a cost to ride the paddleboats ($12/half hour) and Carousel ($2.00/ride)
(2) Brookfield - $10.00 - adults. $6.00 - children. They too have a Carousel, which you can ride for $2.50. They also have a good selection of special shows for additional cost. When I went last, I paid $16.00 for zoo admission plus 3 special events (with the Motor Tram including one of those events).

Winner: LP
Really. It is hard to beat free, but Brookfield is very reasonable.

Variety of Animals
(1) Brookfield - Brookfield sits on over 216 acres and boy does it use those acres well.This zoo has over 2500 types of animals. As I mentioned earlier, they also have a good variety of special exhibits, such as the Butterfly House, Dolphin Show and more. I was especially impressed by the penguins and the entire Tropic World exhibit. Tropic World is home of all the monkeys. It is massive and impressive. I love the pachyderms too!
(2) LP - This zoo is considerably smaller in side, coming in at 35 acres. They definitely do not have the variety of animals that Brookfield offers. And there weren't any pachyderms! Unless I missed them, but how can you miss an elephant? I did think that you could get up close and personal with the monkeys a lot easier that at Brookfield. While you would need a full day to cover Brookfield, LP can be visited if you only have a few hours to spare.
Winner: Brookfield
You just can't beat the vastness of Brookfield!

(1) LP - There were several opportunties where zookeepers could interact with the guests. While visiting the monkeys, my sister and I were talking to one of the zookeepers who gave us the story about the different personalities the monkeys had. Also while visiting the gorillas, we were treated to a lecture by one of the zookeepers.
(2) Brookfield - I was able to see trainers working with dolphins during the actual show. Even more entertaining, I got to see a seal training session/feeding. That was hilarious! The seals were really hamming it up. The staff was terrific in educating and showcasing their animals.

Winner: TIE!
It is so hard to pick because both zoos have wonderful staffs.

After looking at the ratings, LP Zoo won 2 of 4 categories, while Brookfield won 1 of 4. However, if I lived in the suburbs or at least had a car, Brookfield may have won that category. In the end, both zoos are wonderful in their own right. If you ever have the opportunity to go to either, do it. Be a kid for a day. It is good for your soul.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Au Revoir Carson Pirie Scott

Aside from Marshall Fields, the Carson's is a landmark on State St. Carson's announced that they are closing their famous location on the corner of State and Madison. Many longtime Chicagoans are saddened by this closing, but I wonder if people had just shopped at this location more, the store would not have met its fate. This location has reported declining sales, especially with so many people flocking to Michigan Ave. (Home of Nordstroms, Saks, Lord and Taylor and the soon to be Macy's). Luckily for Carson's fans, the other Chicagoland locations are remaining open.

Even though I'm sad that they are closing this location, I'm excited to see the restoration of the building take place! Any ideas on what retail establishment should go in Carson's place?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Update: ComEd Bill

I finally got my ComEd bill for the past three months. The total was........

$109 and cents!

I was really scared it was going to be over $200 bucks. It ends up totalling an average of $36.33 per month.


My Big Fat Greek Meal

I've ridden the Halsted bus through Greektown numerous times, but I never had the opportunity to eat there. Luckily my cousins and my cousin's boyfriend from Dallas were in town and they wanted to try some Greek eats. I've heard great things about Pegasus and luckily they were open to my suggestion. I couldn't decide on an entree so I opted 2 small appetizers so I could taste both. I ordered Tiropitakia, which are baked filo dough stuffed with feta cheese and Dolmathakia Yialatzi, which are stuffed grape leaves with rice and herbs, with yogurt sauce on the side. Both dishes were quite tasty and I didn't feel too full afterwards.

Greektown was a cute area to dine in and I saw plenty of other establishments worth checking out. There is a Taste of Greece festival this weekend that should provide a fun introduction to the neighborhood if you have never been.

Gangsters + Meat + Baseball = Perfect Boyfriend Visit

My wonderful boyfriend has been visiting me for the past several days. I took time off from work too so it was like a real vacation! Except I didn't have to leave the city and I got to sleep in my own bed :)

Some Blog-related highlights...

(1) Untouchables Tour - There is a tour that takes you to all the major landmarks of Chicago Mob history. Ths bus tour lasted about an hour and 45 minutes. We hit up Holy Name Church on State St... then the Southside (Al Capone country)...then the Westside (Pilsen and Little Italy)...and finished up at the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on Clark St. in Lincoln Park. I highly recommend this tour if you are interested in the history of organized crime in Chicago. The people who run the tour are fun and just the right amount of cheesy.

(2) Sal & Carvao - This is my favorite Brazillian churrascaria in Chicago. Fogo is more popular but it is always way too crowded. At Sal & Carvao, the wait staff takes excellent care of you. It is never too busy and provides a cal dining environment. If you have never dined ar a churrascaria, here is a crash course. There is no menu. You pay a flat price that includes an amazing salad bar and an insane assortment of meats. At Sal & Carvao, they serve 14 types of meat--from flank steak to filet mignon to parmesean crusted pork. All the meats are served on swords by men dressed as Brazillian Gauchos. A tasty tasty treat for sure!

(3) Cubs game - One of my friends at the Tribune hooked us up with some pretty sweet seats to the game. We were 8 rows from the field. We got to see the pklayers warming up. Plus we saw just how skinny Juan Pierre is LOL. No wonder he can move so fast and steal those bases! The cubs got beat badly but the St. Louis Cardinals, but with the Old Style beer flowing--who really cared? Wrigley Field is an experience that all baseball fans should have the opportunity to have.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


**Please note: This is only a partly related Chicago posting!**

On Monday, I went to the White Sox/Angels game at US Cellular Field. This was a make up game from the rained out one in May. Even though the Sox lost, I had a good time with friends. Plus I finally got to try corn OFF the cob. They scrape the corn off and you can pick your seasonings. I got salt, butter and red pepper.

On Tuesday, one of my friends asks me if I would want to go to Milwaukee (Miller Park) for the Brewers/Cubs game. I'm no Cubs fan, but the opportunity to add another MLB park to my list was too good to pass up! So we made the trek up to Milwaukee, enjoyed our club level seats and listened to trash talking Cubs fans.

Here is the list of MLB parks visited with their home team in parenthese. These are in order attended, so you Sox fans, don't flip on me that Wrigley is listed before The Cell lol

Turner Field (Atlanta Braves)
Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)
US Cellular Field - aka The Cell (Chicago White Sox)
Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

Of course I would want to see games in all the parks, but here is my wish list for future park visits:

Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
Shea Stadium (New York Mets)
Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)
AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)

Enough about baseball, I have some fun stories from when my sister visited. Specifically ones that discuss peeing apes and monkeys with prominant anatomy, but I will have to write it up when I'm not feeling so lazy!

R.I.P. Marshall Fields

On September 9th, Marshall Fields will be no longer. It will be reborn as Macy's. Now I don't have anything against Macy's. I love the Thanksgiving Day parade. However, it is hard to imagine that there will no longer be Fields in Chicago.

When I first moved to the city, the Fields on State Street was like a beacon of light in the big bad city. There is a magical feeling when you walk into Fields. It was comforting. I didn't need to buy anything to feel how special this place was. Even before moving here, I was exposed to Fields. When I was in elementary school, my aunt and uncle always bought me a Field's Christmas Bear.

Now the green and cream colors will be replaced with the Macy's red. The building will always be known as the Marshall Fields building, but the place as we once knew it will be gone.

No matter what, I'll still be a Fields Girl!