50 Ward by 50 Aldermen: Ward 25
Daniel Solis has the best ward (25th) for eating in Chicago! I know that is saying a lot and maybe I’m stretching it just a bit, but seriously, this guy has Chinatown, Pilsen, and Little Italy in his ward!
A couple of weeks ago, we had our friends Deb (from Grand Rapids, MI) and Donna (from Greenville, SC) in town for some Cubs games. On the non-game day, Jeff happened to be off so I made everyone participate in my 50 Wards project – it wasn’tdifficult to twist anyone’s arm on this one! Since the 25th Ward has so much great food in it, we decided to follow Alderman Solis’ advice, and eat, eat and eat!
Our first stop – Chinatown.
While I guess Jeff and I should have taken the girls to somewhere we hadn’t been, we really wanted to go back to Laoszechuan (I posted about this restaurant when we visited the first time a few months ago). The second visit did not disappoint. However, Jeff and I learned our lesson after the first visit where we totally overstuffed ourselves and we practiced some serious restraint with our ordering! That said, we were all champions of the clean plate club with the special noodle dish a clear winner. Since Donna had never been to Chinatown, we explored the many gift/tschoske (I have no idea how to spell that – I just know it begins with a silent “t”) shops and sometimes smelly grocery stores (I still get a kick out of seeing the giant fish!). Deb did manage to save a little room for a bubble tea and, even though I always thought I didn’t like lychee flavor, I found the tea to be quite good!
Before long it was time to chop chop to our next destination – Pilsen!
Alderman Solis suggested strolling on 18th street between 1600 and 1800 which we did. I wish I had done my homework on Pilsen because I feel like we missed a lot (for example, there is the fantastic Mexican Fine Arts Center which is apparently now called the National Museum of Mexican Art – another thing that changed in the last two years) but, then again, the self imposed rules of the 50 Wards project mean that I only visit the places suggested by the Alderman. Donna amended my rules and now I (and anyone with me) must consume some sort of food or beverage in each visit. So, after a brief stop in a pharmacy where the woman working screamed at me in Spanish for taking the photo of the candles, we set out for Nuevo Leon (pictured) for a cerveza. Sadly, Nuevo Leon does not have a bar but they kindly pointed us to Taqueria Los Comales who took care of us with some spicy salsa and ice cold beer. As we left, a group arrived and ordered margaritas. I should have gone for the margarita – each one was hand made and delicious looking. Ah – a reason to return to Pilsen!
From Mexico we traveled to Italy – Little Italy – for Italian Ice or Italian Lemonade as Mario’s calls it. If you live in Chicago, I hope you have enjoyed this summertime treat. Mario’s Italian Lemonade is so refreshing that my mouth is watering as I write this! As I tend to do, my eyes were bigger than my stomach (and I couldn’t decide between flavors) so I went for both lime and watermelon – yum, yum, yum! And, again, Deb opened my taste buds to something new. I really do not like coconut. Really. However, Deb bought the coconut iced lemonade and I have to admit, it was pretty darn tasty!
So, Chicagoans, have you been to Ward 25? If so, what are your favorite places? Post them in the comments section, please!
Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow. Have a great weekend and look for my next 50 Wards visit to be posted sometime next week!