A bonus post! To make up for being so late with Sunday's.
After yet another day of doing lots with very little to show for it at the end, I hopped back on the 22 Clark bus and headed down to Andersonville to meet my friend Heather. We've decided, you see, that as long as I don't have a job and she has Wednesdays off, we should make them date days. It's a great opportunity for us to spend some time together and to explore the city at the same time. Tonight, she had a rehearsal, and she spent the day recovering from her move, so we met up in Andersonville for a brief walking tour and dinner.
Andersonville has Swedish origins which bubble to the surface with places like the Swedish bakery and the Swedish American Museum. But it's also a fabulous little area for shops, restaurants and overall coolness. I had noticed it on the bus when we rode through on Saturday and knew I wanted to venture there eventually. I hadn't realized eventually would come so soon.
In researching what we might do there, I discovered that Andersonville has a website, which is not only where I discovered their farmers' market is on Wednesday evenings, but also that they've organized a civic effort to support all of the lovely little businesses in the area. Andersonville 20/20 is a community-based initiative in which residents are challenged to spend $20 a week in a local business. That's all. But if everyone who lives there does that, the whole area wins. According to the website, they've already brought $120K into the community that wasn't there before. Or at least not spent there before. That's the way to keep a neighborhood alive.
And thanks to the Andersonville website, I've also got a handy list of activities and locales I want to explore further.
Our first stop (once I got off the bus) was at the farmers' market. It's small, just one block, but they had some fantastic looking produce and some jam that was to die for. I didn't get any, but if they're there the next time I go, I definitely will. Chocolate raspberry, if you can even imagine, and that was only one of several. Heather tried the lemon blueberry and said it was yummy too.
I did, however, get some berries, having fore-armed myself with plastic tubs for carrying easily squished produce home with me. And they worked perfectly. Three pints of berries (rasp-, black- and blue-) fit easily into two large Glad disposable containers and made it home Just Fine. They're in the fridge now, waiting for their time tomorrow morning when they will become a crisp. Mmmm...
Speaking of food, dinner was at La Cocina de Frida, where I discovered the joys of cinnamon in sangria (who KNEW it could be so good?) and had tilapia on their gorgeous patio. It reminded me of the rooftop garden of the hotel I stayed in on my last night in Cabo back in 2002, when I went there to work on a sea turtle recovery program (one currently battening down the hatches in the face of Hurricane Jimena). Lush and green and alive, with falling water, it is the patio I dreamed of during the long years in Moscow where no such place exists.
And then we wandered back out onto the street and eventually ended up right next door at A Taste of Heaven for dessert. Where I had the raspberry brownie. Oh. My. God. So. Good. Also, too much for one person to eat in one sitting, I should not have, but I did. I also had coffee because it was Free Coffee Wednesday, which is a major selling point if ever I've heard one, even though the baked goods should bring you in all by themselves.
The Andersonville community has a really hip vibe to it which was even more charming on the street than it appeared to be from the bus. I'll be back to wander Andersonville again when I have a bit more time. Certainly I'll be back for the Farmers' Market. But I'll also come back just to explore Andersonville.