Toast and Jam – Eating Chicago

DSCN0229KFlight was already in town when Kitty, Pegerty and I drove in. We picked her up at this cafe called Toast.

DSCN0232Drove to our Logan Square neighborhood and immediately stopped in for coffee at Jam. Good place to wait out the downpour until our noon check-in time. They gave us mini-brownies while they prepared our order of cups of soup and a pastry to share.  Very nice about letting us split and sample things.

2015-06-12 Chicago Diner

I am so excited about this veggie diner that I don’t know which way is up!

We had a late lunch (around 3:30)  at the truly amazing Chicago Diner whose slogan is “Meat Free Since ’83.”  Kitty is pretending to be sad about the meatlessness  of the meal. (Photo by KFlight.)

I don’t usually go in for fake meats, but I had the vegan rueben with a side of balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts and it was fabulous. We shared that, the spicy Thai Basil Stir Fry and the Portobello Truffle Melt with sweet potato fries between the four of us.


We took the El to Margie’s Candies around 8:30 at night for our supper. No food for us, just ice cream. (Not on my plan, but this was the exception to make!)  We really hit it right. Walked in and were seated almost immediately. Very cramped little place. When we left there was a line out the door.


They’ve been around since 1921, and they know how to scoop. Delicious hot fudge is served on the side. We sampled coconut, mint chocolate chip, coffee, strawberry, vanilla and…another one I’m sure!  It’s all lost in a sugar haze!

DSCN0329Started out Saturday with coffee and pastries from Metropolis Coffee Company. KFlight and I went out and picked up the goodies and brought them back to the apartment for a quickie breakfast before we set off into the city.  Good coffee, friendly and spacious shop.


We met up with Chicago poet Ruth Goring for a ride on the Navy Pier Ferris wheel (more on that later!) and she led us to Cafe Iberico, a wondrous tapas restaurant. Spicy potatoes in the foreground. Ham wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates in the background (not for me!).  We also shared mushrooms, smoked salmon and Tostadas de Pisto…sort of a Spanish ratatouille on toast points. Delicious and fun. Plenty to share amongst five people.


Yeah, we had to track down some Chicago style deep dish pizza. It was deep and wide at Art of Pizza. Not much atmosphere at this place, but it was hopping with dine-in patrons and lots of carryout. It was interesting to take the bus there and back in the evening on Saturday.


KFlight had to leave very early on Sunday morning.  Pegerty, Kitty and I went back to Jam and tried their custard French Toast and some potatoes, etc.  Another great experience at that restaurant. Very loud, but also very friendly.

We ended up the weekend at the Logan Square Farmers Market where we selected breads, cheeses, spiced tofu, etc. to take back to Indiana with us. The rain had just stopped, but the vendors were out and happy to share their wares.


Lovely Logan Square – Chicago


Kitty, Pegerty, KFlight and I spent the weekend together in Chicago recently. We rented an AirBnB apartment…first time for each of us. It was pretty cool.

Yay! We made it!

Yay! We made it!

Kitty’s photo!  We had a bit of a time figuring out the keys, but we both brainstormed the answer at the same time. Success!

DSCN0235This actually makes it look a bit cozier than it was, but it was comfy.


Fun to see the artwork the roommates in the two-bedroom apartment chose.


And the interesting decorative touches around the place, like this display of bottles and herbs in the kitchen window.DSCN0279

From what I gather online, most of the houses like this were built in the 1890s. They look like they’ll last a long time!

DSCN0264Many of them make the most of their tiny front yards and the spaces in between.


Really lovely and creative.

One in Two Million – Pea Soup Andersen’s



They say they serve over 2 million bowls a year!

How cool is this!?  The place everyone wanted to go for lunch is known for their vegan split pea soup!

We went to Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton for lunch on Sunday. We’ve driven by it many times, but never stopped. Figured it would be too busy. Especially on a Sunday at lunchtime.

Not so! It’s a big place and our party of six was seated immediately. Verrry tasty!


If you’re not careful, they’ll put you to work splitting peas.  Hydra and I working for our lunch.


Ended our day of adventure on the back patio, watching the sun go down.

DSC_7275Well, some of us. Others of us played some music.


Nothing Rhymes With Ostrich


So, no, you are not getting an ostrich poem out of me.

Ostriches watching for the next batch of tourists bearing bowls of food at Ostrichland.  This place reminds me of one of those old fashioned roadside attractions, exctept that the birds are in large pens, mostly open to a lot of roamable acreage.

This is another thing we did on Saturday, our exploration day.


You pay $4.00 to get in, and $1.00 for a bowl of food. Janice demonstrates.

DSC_7232Cool old truck now used as artwork.

P1020058Yes, that’s me. I’ve decided that I am not going to pass up one of these cut outs again if I can help it. Dignity?  What dignity!?


From behind the wooden curtain.



La Purisima Mission – Lompoc, CA


One can almost imagine the person leaning into it, making the marks on this bell from La Purisima Mission. The mission was founded in 1787. I’ll let you click on that link if you want more history!

This one is great because it’s still in the countryside. Many of the missions have been the centerpiece of growing communities and are surrounded by cities today.

The newish interpretive center here is very good. It has an interesting time line display that mixes artifacts with artist’s renditions. I’m a sucker for oral history, and long for the sensible Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps projects that helped build, record or restore so many culturally significant elements of the U.S. My favorite part of the center was the video of old men talking about their experiences in the CCC, restoring the mission.



Weezy has a moment with a longhorn steer.  When it swung its head around, slowly and gently, we moved!


I was surprised at how many buildings there were at the mission. It was really quite a campus!


I like our kitchen back at the house better!


Lots of room under the porticos.


We were there at the perfect moment to catch this little ray of light gracing oe of the rooms.

DSC_7115The ever-important water source!  Lots of work went into this.

DSC_7116It continues toward a cistern. Yes, I am standing in the trench.


Very large cistern!


As we walked through this passageway we noticed the acoustics were really good. We did “The Longest Time” and “Lollipop.”  Every so often, a smiling face would pop up at one end or the other.


Harmonistas and some husbands!  Middle of a great weekend of hanging out!




A Little Santa Ynez


We aren’t really used to this much green in Southern California.  Traveled to the Santa Ynez Valley to spend the weekend with The Harmonistas and spouses, and this is what greeted us.

Nice drive up there. No traffic issues. Wow. Arrived around 11 a.m.


Entrance to the house we stayed in. It’s being rennovated right now and will be a vacation rental house. Thanks to LDub’s daughter, who works for the very interesting man who owns it, we were able to stay here for the long weekend!


We went to the Chumash Casino with Janice & Andy because we each received $50.00 in promotional cash for signing up for a membership card. None of us are gamblers, so we were just very happy to cash out any time we were ahead. I left with $23.10 and Hydra with $78 and some change.

Of course, I’d have lost $27.00 if I were playing with my own money. Which I wasn’t. And wouldn’t. Because I try to be a gracious loser in foot races and board games, I’m a lousy loser when it comes to this sort of thing. It would have stressed me out beyond any sense of fun if I had been playing with my money.

As it was, it was fun to goof around for an hour and a half or so.


This cool door knob thing was the only photo I took in Solvang this time around.  It was on a shop door.

We two couples went to the very small Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Solvang. (LDub and Weezy were to arrive later in the day.) Hydra, Kitty and I were last here in 2008, and there are a couple of pictures of the museum from then on this previous post.  It’s inside a book store. Cozy!


Later in the evening, when everyone was there, they surprised me with a vegan birthday cake!  It was so tasty!

We hung out and played a board game called Imaginiff. One of those that’s more about laughs and getting to know each other than real competition. Though Andy did win!

Cousin Cuisine


Can’t you just hear “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” playing in your head?  This is Kitty’s cousin Charlie when she was in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. As you can imagine, Charlie’s younger cousin thought she was the bee’s knees.


This is Charlie with the man she knew during the war.  They lost track of each other. Fifty years later, after Charlie’s husband passed away, they found each other and married. They had more than a decade together late in life.


Charlie’s best buddy, whose name I forget. She loves having her belly rubbed. Clearly.


Visiting family is one of the great things about going back to Indiana, of course. Charlie and Kitty, still proud of one another.


After our visit, we went to lunch. We tried Loving Cafe in Fort Wayne,  which my cousin CShill recommended. It’s vegan!  The menu includes a lot of dishes that use textured soy protein (meat flavored vegan meat substitutes.)

The food was very good, but his pistachio mushroom soup was truly exquisite. If I lived nearby, this would be on my regular rotation. Wow. I’d probably try all of their soups–and they have several on the menu–but I can’t imagine anything could be better than this.