Monday, May 14, 2018

Lincoln Park Zoo and Patio at Café Brauer

I’ve never been to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I confess I’m always the one that goes far away before near to see things. 

I lived in New York over 40 years and I never went to the Statue of Liberty (I did take the Circle Line boat ride around it a few times).

Two things brought me to finally plan a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo: the opening of the Patio at Café Brauer for the season, and a toddler who I knew would be mesmerized by her first experience with the animals.

The drive to Chicago with a toddler was definitely different. 

It had been a while since I had a little one on a long car drive and it was her first long car ride, but Brittany and Jessie, Andrea’s mom, helped keep her occupied from the front seat while I entertained her with phone videos. 

We also put a few extra stops into the ride that was usually two hours straight.

When we arrived at the zoo, I think I was the most excited. I love zoos and couldn’t believe I hadn’t been to this one before. 

A free zoo on the lake of the Chicago skyline? It should be on the list of everyone within a few hours.

The zoo did not disappoint inside either. They had a great selection of animals and we were sure to check out all of them.

Andrea seemed to love anything in the water, especially the turtles.

I was enthralled in the penguins, seemingly performing on demand for us, and the Polar Bears in the Arctic Tundra.

Then, of course, the faithful Leo in me always gravitates toward Lions, as well as tigers and leopards.

I also thought the dwarf mongoose were adorable as they huddled together.

We also spent a little time in the Goat Yard, the Small Mammal-Reptile House, and the Regenstein Center for African Apes, all of which have personnel on hand during the day for talks and public feedings (you can check the schedule on the website).

Café Brauer is on the edge of the Lincoln Park Zoo. From their patio, which has music on certain nights during the warm months, you have a great view of the Chicago skyline.
We were quite hungry by the time we got to Café Brauer and started with two of their most popular appetizers, the Mini Beef Tacos and the Tomato Mozzarella Twists.

I was partial to the tacos, but both were quite good.

For a main course, I’d highly recommend the Cuban Sandwich and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich. Both were favorites at our table.

We also had a little room left for dessert and the Cookie Skillet, served with ice cream, was the perfect choice and big enough to share.

I will definitely be back to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is open 365 days a year, as well as Café Brauer, open most of those days and evenings, with specials on holidays.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Learning More About Eaglewood Resort & Spa

My friend, Joan, and I were enjoying a quick girls’ getaway to the Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, just outside of Chicago, Illinois

We had breakfast in the Burnham restaurant, where there are buffets for breakfast and lunch.

This buffet had a lot of healthy options. I was especially impressed with all of the fruit for yogurt and oatmeal. 

They also had an omelet station where you could fill your eggs with just about anything you wanted, and plenty of warm baked goods.

I had a delicious veggie filled omelet, some yogurt covered in homemade granola, a freshly made Danish, and some fruit. Joan also took an assortment from the buffet.

After we ate, we took a tour of the rest of the property we hadn’t seen before we left.

I loved the design of the lobby but hadn’t realized it was Frank Lloyd Wright inspired.

The business center at Eaglewood Resort includes a convenient up-to-the-minute list of flights departing at nearby O’Hare Airport. 

The patio outside the Prairie River Restaurant, where we had eaten the night before, overlooks the golf course and is a good place to sit by day or night, with a fire pit in the middle for cooler nights.

The course is open to guests and the public, giving the Eaglewood another reason to be a popular spot for visitors and locals.

We also took a look at the banquet and wedding facilities. Eaglewood Resort & Spa offers many different options for brides and grooms who are looking for destination weddings.

Before we finished the tour, we were able to see a few of the suites. 

They were set up for families who want the comforts of home, including refrigerators, living rooms, and dining tables.

I also found out more about all the terrific packages and activities available at Eaglewood Resort for family vacations. 

They add to the fun of their bowling alley and Olympic-sized swimming pool with things such as a bouncy house, an escape room, bocce ball and glow-in-the-dark night golf.

The resort also often has multi-generational family vacations since there are so many different activities.

I can personally attest to the attraction for spa getaways at Eaglewood Resort!