For those of you who don’t know, Evanston is a suburb located directly to the north of Chicago. Yesterday, I went on a long bike ride down one of their lakefront trails (Evanston is located right next to Lake Michigan), and when I stopped to rest on the beach, I could see part of the Chicago skyline and the Sears Tower. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera at the time…but I’m sure I’ll be posting more pictures in the upcoming weeks.
I didn’t have to move into my apartment until this past Thursday, so Wednesday my Mom and I drove up early, and explored some of the city. We left St. Louis at around 6 A.M., and managed to get to Evanston by around 11:30…It was a faster drive than I remembered.
By the time we arrived, though, we were both hungry, and I suggested eating at a vegetarian restaurant I had heard of, the Blind Faith Café.
I was expecting an “order at the counter” type of establishment…The only vegan/vegetarian restaurants I’ve been to in St. Louis are very informal, and even offer to-go orders.
So I was surprised when I saw tables, booths, and a hostess table at the front of the restaurant, and even more impressed when I saw the menu. The options were endless, and as usual it was hard for me to decide on an entrée.
In the end, I ordered the Soft Shell Tacos, which was comprised of spicy gardein, lettuce, fresh cilanto, and cheese, and came with a side of black bean corn-salad and salsa verde. All the ingredients were fresh and delicious, but perhaps the most surprising part of the tacos were the gardein. I had never tried gardein before, and when I saw it on the menu, I assumed it was some type of tofu.
I did a little research, and discovered that gardein is a meat substitute created by a French chef and made completely from vegetables. I kept exclaiming that the gardein tasted like chicken, although my Mom (a meat-eater) thought it had more of an eggplant texture. In any case, it was delicious, and I’m excited to incorporate gardein into my own cooking.
After lunch, my Mom and I decided to go walk by the lake. There were beautiful parks and bike paths close to the lake, and we enjoyed walking out onto the pier and looking at the boats. You could also see part of Northwestern’s campus from where we were standing.
When I was in undergrad at WashU, squirrels were everywhere on campus, and they weren’t scared of you…at Northwestern, the same holds true for ducks. One duck almost walked across my feet, and came so close that I had to snap a picture.
Today, I went on a ten mile bike ride to the Chicago Botanic Garden…one way. I went with a group of people from my new apartment building, and I loved exploring the gardens…It was the perfect day for bike-riding, so even though I started getting tired around mile nine, and lost all feeling in my behind by mile eighteen, it was well worth the trip.
Plus, after I rolled back into Evanston (the gardens are located in a more northern suburb of Chicago), I felt like I had truly accomplished something. In the course of five hours, I met new people, rode my bike through towns I was completely unfamiliar with, and enjoyed a beautiful day in the city I now call home. I’m excited to explore more of Evanston and Chicago, and look forward to sharing more pictures with you soon…