Explore Chicago – Modern Wing & Whole Foods

Yesterday Jeff and I took part of the day off from job searching to take advantage of some of the openings in Chicago. First, we met friends Phoebe, Mike, and Cheryl for a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing. Breathtaking is an understatement. The Modern Wing adds so much to not only the Art Institute but also downtown Chicago. By walking through Millennium Park and over the bridge, you can enjoy some amazing views of the city, too. Phoebe and Mike took their kids (ages 3 and 6 months) to the kids section which they gave very high marks. Plus, for those with kids, the Modern Wing plans to have weekly kid-friendly activities on site and the kids area is just outside the ticketed area so you don’t have to buy tickets to the museum to enjoy the family fun. As for the grown up part of the Modern Wing, you can really spend an entire afternoon there. The building is Leed certified and the design lets in so much light that you don’t feel like you’re missing out on the beautiful day outside. We only made it through two galleries but since we went during the free days, we didn’t feel pressure to visit every inch on this trip. All of us agreed that we must go back for the architecture and photography galleries. The Art Institute is free the rest of this week and on Thursday nights from 5-9PM (thanks Target!). If you purchase a ticket, it may seem pricey at first ($18 adults) but if you visit both the Modern Wing and the Old Wing (? Just what are we calling that part?), you’ll spend an entire day at the Art Institute.

From there, Jeff & I made our way to the all new Whole Foods (3rd largest in the world) on Kingsbury (Jeff pointed out that you can get naked (no pesticides) food across the street from where you can see naked women – seriously, it’s across from a strip club)! We expected pure chaos but really, it was controlled chaos. Now, we did not park (CTA all the way – I’m such a fan of the CTA that they should offer me a job!), but it looks like the parking garage is huge. It connects to the building and you take an escalator down into the produce section. As we entered, we were amazed to see some good deals on produce (sweet corn 10 for $10 and strawberries 2 for $3) and a bar. Really – they have a bar that people can belly up to! I’m not sure if the beers are organic or what but it’s a cute space right by the performance stage. Since it’s Whole Foods, of course, the produce, fish, meats, etc. all looked very fresh and lovely. I tried some super yummy halibut (just for the halibut!) in the seafood section and loved that they have sort of a raw bar to go set up there. You can pick up all sorts of seasoned shrimp, ceviche, calamari and other seafood to bring home. They also had a seafood soups/stews station that had a yummy-looking gumbo. My only complaint about the new Whole Foods is that it’s not easy to do actual shopping. The layout is a little goofy in my opinion but I don’t do all of my shopping there so that’s not a huge deal to me. What is AWESOME, though, is the dining options. The new Whole Foods has about 5 or so different “food court” like spots with yummy eats (I tried a bunch) like pulled pork sandwiches, tacos and sushi. They gave Chicago spots a nod by naming the eateries by Chicago neighborhood – Pilsen Tacos, Taylor Street Pizza, etc. You MUST try the gelato (actually this is my Dad’s recommendation – they have this at the Omaha WF and my Dad is addicted apparently) and I’m going back for the wine bar. Is the new Whole Foods an improvement over the one that was down the street for 16 years? Yes and no – no when it comes to ease of shopping navigation and yes when it comes to taking Whole Foods to the next level as a neighborhood fixture/meeting place.

Finally, we ended the night at the XRT reunion at Schubas. I can’t tell you how much fun I had catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in a couple of years and laughing at the decorating job that Dan and Adrienne did to the bathroom (memos from 1980-something?)! Friends are what it’s all about, right?!?!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow! Please share it with friends and family. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, too (jenhp)!

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