3.27.2013

On Holiday in Lincoln Park, Part II

Catch up on Part I of our latest Windy City adventure.

For dinner our second night in Lincoln Park, we went to Cafe Baba Reeba. If you are in Lincoln Park and you like good food, go here. Seriously, this was one of the highlights of our trip. We had a reservation, which I recommend. The manager picked us out a great table, it was just a bit out of the way, with a view of the whole place. Our server asked if this was our first time at Cafe Baba Reeba. We said it was, and she was excited to navigate the menu with us. "It's really a go with the flow kind of experience. The tapas come out as they're ready. I recommend 2-3 tapas per person and share."

Every table had a pitcher of sangria on it. They have five varieties. We opted for classic red. It was delicious: light and fruity with just a touch of depth. We started with the whole pintxos menu: six bite sized appetizers. I wouldn't order the whole set again, but really appreciated all the little bites of diverse flavors. For our main dinner tapas we ordered catalan bread with ripe tomatoes, spinach and manchego stuffed mushrooms, spicy potatoes with tomato alioli and beef tenderloin and blue cheese. After our first taste we were excited whenever a staff member walked by with a tray of food; maybe they were coming with another taste for us! The tapas menu is brilliant. Because the portions are small they can be intense, strong flavors, rich ingredients, etc. The prices look meager: $3, $5, $9, but be careful, it would be easy to add up a big tab fast. We spent almost two hours at Cafe BaBa Reeba and it felt like twenty minutes. We were having so much fun.



At the end of dinner, we asked if they had dessert tapas and our server's eyes lit up. We ordered three bite size desserts: caramelized bananas, chocolate truffle cake, and butterscotch custard creme. Each mini-bite was decadent.Two dessert tapas would have been plenty. Just the truffle cake would have been plenty. Delicious.


When she brought our tab, the server said since this was our first visit to Cafe Baba Reebas dessert was on the house. In short, dinner was fantastic.

Afterward, we walked through the neighborhood. We were actually looking for a bookstore. In all our miles of window shopping and wandering earlier today, we hadn't come across one. We ended up on the DePaul campus, but the only bookstore we found was the university bookstore, which was closed for the evening. It is not a vacation without some time to read. As a second choice we stopped  by a grocery store and got a couple magazines to take back to the room.

The next morning I slept in. Sleeping in is a whole new luxury when you parent an infant or toddler . Chris brought me coffee in bed and I woke up to that wonderful fire in the fireplace. A girl could get used to this. We got ready, came downstairs for breakfast later than yesterday (jut before 10:00AM). The cleaning person was already cleaning the kitchen, and though the manager knew we hadn't eaten (she commented on it) no one encouraged us to pull out the waffle iron or other breakfast items. We didn't want to get in the way of the cleaning person, so we just packed up and decided to find breakfast on our own. It kind of soured the end to our Villa stay but  definitely not to our romantic holiday.

We headed on down the way and slipped into Nookies Too. Nookies is a Chicago chain. It looked like a regular diner, but the menu included great ingredients like asparagus, berries and goat cheese. Again, the service was great. Chris and I shared their special and then decided to explore DePaul in the daylight beginning, of course, with the bookstore. We bought James a t-shirt for his university collection and grabbed a couple bargain books (for $1).

Our time alone was coming to an end. We left the city and headed for our last stop: lunch in Naperville. A year or so ago, my mother-in-law and I had a great lunch at Cooper's Hawk so I decided to go back with Chris.  Cooper's Hawk is a chain restaurant and winery. It was after 2:00pm on a Tuesday by the time we got there, so the restaurant was quiet.  We ordered a chopped chef salad, pork belly nachos, split a wine flight and talked and talked. Uninterrupted time to talk together is also a luxury.

Delicious chocolates on the way out...
Then we headed back to our wonderful children, swept them up in our arms and heard about all of their adventures. Life is sweet and we are very lucky.



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