Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer in the City: Picnic Time!

Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, let me be clear: I LOVE living in Chicago! To me it is just about the perfect city... full of culture, amazing food, shopping, tall buildings, and there is always something to do! Yes, I will admit the weather is not perfect. But that is why summer is the best season here, because everyone has to get outside to enjoy the nice weather! From street festivals to picnics to movies in the park, there are tons of options for how to get your outdoor fix once the temperature warms up.

This is me and my little sister on the bridge leading to
the Art Insitiute's new Modern Wing. If you've never
been to the Art Institute, I would highly recommend
it next time you're in town!

One of my favorite places to enjoy a weekend afternoon is at Millennium Park, located in the heart of the city. While it can be quite the tourist destination, I love that this park is really a hang out spot for all types of locals as well. On the weekends you can spread a blanket on the grass at Pritzker Pavilion, and enjoy a picnic while listening to performers rehearsing on the stage. Even on a beautiful weekend it isn't too crazy crowded, so you can throw a frisbee or football to balance out all the cheese eating you might be doing.

The day of our picnic, there was a tap dancing troupe practicing.
They were fun to listen to AND to watch.

If you really want to treat yourself, you should get your picnic supplies from Fox and Obel, a fantastic gourmet market in Streeterville. The French boule with herbes had a soft interior with a chewy crust, and was the perfect vehicle for shoveling cheese into our mouths. It was huge, too, so I brought some home and used it for breadcrumbs a couple nights later. We had three types of cheese, which the friendly and knowledgeable cheese monger helped us select. We told him our picnic plan, and he picked a balanced spread which he cut into perfectly portioned pieces.
The top cheese (next to the turkey) is Taleggio, a soft cow's milk cheese from Italy. It was stinky in the way that makes cheese so tasty! The one next to it was Mona, a hard cheese made of sheep and cow milk. This cheese from Wisconsin had a texture that reminded me of asiago, and was salty and almost buttery. The third cheese, on the bottom of the picture below, was our favorite. It's Bethmale de Chevre, a washed rind goat's milk cheese from France. It was creamy and rich, and had a hint of goat cheese flavor without being as zingy and overpowering as some chevre can be. All three cheeses were quite enjoyable!

This is our idea of the great outdoors. Can you tell how happy it makes Joe?

Another trick for a kick butt picnic... wine in juice box form!
These cute little sangria boxes came from Target, and I would highly
recommend picking some up before your next visit to the park!

If you want to be an authentic Chicago 20-something, after the park you should head to a street festival. Listen to cover bands and people watch while drinking a ridiculous yet awesome pina colada in a pineapple. Also, the chicken gyro in his other hand was quite delish... I ate mine before I could document it!


Annie said...

It all looks so fun! I love that in the picture of Joe, he appears to be exactly mirroring the pose of the dude in the background - so funny!

A World in a PAN said...

What a nice picnic .. looks very French!