Tag Archives: Chicago

Sewing Machine Punk? Is there such a thing?!

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I finally visited AllSaints Spitalfields on Wednesday. Here’s a travel log of my trip.

AllSaints Spitalfields is in the 900 N. Michigan Building—part of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The store sells clothing and accessories for men and women with a gothic/Victorian theme.

The entry is a cathedral to the Industrial Revolution: instead of stained glass, old black sewing machines are shelved over every inch of the window. No wonder people call this look steam punk.

What is this place? AllSaints Spitalfields.

What is this place? AllSaints Spitalfields, photo courtesy of Google Maps, Photo by AllSaints.

Inside, the display cases are adapted from large sewing machines and other real and pseudo machinery.

Thank goodness I don't have to pedal this treadle long arm.

Time or money has warped and smoked the mirrors.

Is it me, or is it dark in here? By the way, I am wearing the Ribbed and Cabled Sweater that I designed. I just finished it last week!

The store is successful at creating atmosphere. A fellow shopper gushed that it was an “eye meal”!

Here, there be monsters

AllSaints’ clothing whispers and grumbles in grayish champagne, black, white, and a few other dull but beautiful tones. The most colorful item was a dress printed with sea creatures reminiscent of monsters found on old world maps. Highlights of the spring/summer 2012 collection include miniskirts with matte sequins arranged in a “tribal” pattern, a white eyelet maxi dress tied with a leather belt, fitted jackets, a drop-stitch sweater in faded black, and draped and pleated dresses and tunics made of washed satin. They even offer a complicated get-up of folded and twisted fabric that looks like a dress but is worn as an onesy! Since I wasn’t shopping to buy, I didn’t notice any price tags. Online the store offers clothing from $40 for bikini bottoms, to $550 and up for leather jackets and heavily beaded dresses.

Which reminds me of a book…

It all reminds me of  Mortal Engines, a book. (Yes, I read Young Adult fiction from time to time. Please don’t let anyone know, it’s a carefully guarded secret!)

Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve, tells of a post-apocalypse world in which portable cities scavenge Europe looking for food and resources. In this future, all our current computer technology has been lost and mechanical ingenuity rules. But, forget the plot! I enjoyed the descriptions of this alternate (hopefully) future and the reverence with which they held the past computer glories (such as, shiny plastic discs). Peter Jackson is working on a movie!? Similar, and better, is The Golden Compass series by Philip Pullman.

Tulips’ last stand

In contrast to the dark interior of AllSaints, the sun shone brilliantly outside. This winter was so warm, the tulips are nearly finished for the season.

Michigan Avenue in Chicago. April 18, 2012

Over the blue double-decker bus you can see the top of the Marilyn Monroe sculpture and Chicago Tribune headquarters behind that. This is also on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

I hope you are having a beautiful spring and enjoying something new or beautiful today!

Be of good cheer!

Chicago: A Multi-National Whirl Wind Tour

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Chicago: A Multi-National Whirl Wind Tour

Monday was a red-letter day: a date and an excursion to India and Pakistan – all within two bus rides of our Chicago apartment!

Monday Brian and I rode the Chicago Transit Authority bus #36 north. The bus was rather crowded. I found a seat, but Brian chose to stand.

It takes all kinds!

I was thankful Brian was nearby when a young man across the aisle started singing – loudly. At first it sounded innocent. Something like, “Pancakes and syrup, beans and rice. Pancakes and syrup, spinach and grits. Biscuits and gravy, and…”

The chorus was not related, “Wet t-shirt contest, wet t-shirt contest, wet t-shirt contest… on Thursday…” (?!). It was painful.

Then, the young man started talking (again, loudly) to women as they got on the bus. I tried to read. I was afraid he’d yell out a description of my hair and my clothes too.

None of his comments were off-color, just friendly – and loud –  with a pinch of crazy thrown in. I gave up reading and tried to remember all the great things he was saying.

Is there something in the water?

We got off the bus, crossed the street and – BAM!- in front of us was a local fast food restaurant that sold fried chicken, burgers and fries. On one of their windows was something I never expected to see.

A window sign at Jake's in Chicago.

Rather cheeky...

Wow!

I snapped a picture and a woman assured me the chicken was delicious.

Jake’s on the north-east corner of Montrose and Broadway.

Nifty Thrift

Brian and I love to thrift shop. We find that if we are picky enough, we can usually find something we like. Our local “Unique” thrift store sells everything for half price on Mondays.

I had just read a style magazine, so I was prepared! Hooray! We both found a couple of things!

http://www.uniquethriftstore.com

North and west… to India?!

We stashed everything in our bags and headed further north on the #36 to Devon Avenue. We switched over to the #155 Devon bus to go west to Rockwell. Our destination: the Indian/Pakistani shops: Patel Brothers and Sukhadia’s Sweets and Snacks.

Inside Patel Brothers

Awesome sauce (and all forms of pickled/curried condiments) at Patel Brothers. Photo courtesy of Google maps.

Here’s an annotated list of our purchases at Patel Brothers.

  • Natural Dahi , 5 pounds plain yogurt. This stuff is really good. It’s plain but not as tart as many plain yogurts. It reminds me of Greek yogurt – just $5.99 for 5 pounds!

    5 pounds of delicious yogurt

    Plain yogurt: my favorite way to temper the heat of spicy curry.

  • Figs – our favorite. They are dried, not mushy like mission figs from our normal “American” grocery store.
  • Dates – 850 grams (nearly 2 lbs) of natural dates. These are like candy. Less than a week later, we have nearly finished them!
  • Chapatti – in a recloseable package that allows you to take the flat bread from the freezer directly to a pan. The package says, “ready to puff”!
SWAD brand flat bread

Instant chappati just 0.99

Other highlights:

  • green onions at 4 bunches /$1.00
  • yellow onions 5 pounds/$1.00
  • fresh ginger & garlic at 79 cents per pound
  • Flavor packets – make it easy to have Indian food. – Be ready to convert grams to oz.

    A couple brands of spice packets.

    The real deal: spice mixes for chicken and chickpea curry, and a vegetable spice mix.

  • Tetley Chai tea is delicious–less obvious than the Starbuck’s variety.
  • Lentils and beans $2.99 per 4 lbs of dried beans. We picked up two bags.
A sampling of the Indian food we purchased: Basmati rice, lentils and other delights!

Basmati rice, lentils and other delights!

All this and more… for just $65.00.

http://patelbros.com/

Patel Brothers have several stores across the country. Their closest location is at 2610 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL.

Sukhadia

Sukhadia's

The facade of Sukhadia's only hints of the sugar-high waiting inside. Photo courtesy of Google maps.

After shopping, we were ready for a break. We headed to a favorite snack place…Sukhadia. Their counter is a big u-shape. One side with sweets and the other with savory pastries. In the middle is Mr. Sukhadia at the cash register. It always seems busy; several people paying at the same time–money changing hands. Since I don’t speak any of the languages of India, I just smile and bob deferentially!

A sample package of sweets from Sukhadia.

A sample package of sweets from Sukhadia -- some of these sweets are made with flour from chickpeas and lentils and, from the taste, quite a bit of honey!

Sukhadia is at 2559 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659.

Sukhadiasweetschicago.com

I hope you can visit our part of the world. Have a great weekend!