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Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Taste of Chicago by Margot Justes

I may have mentioned once or twice before that I love to travel, but I also love going out to eat and trying new things. I was raised on simple fare and going to eat in restaurants was not the thing to do. You ate at home.

The one thing my father instilled in me was the love of travel; we moved frequently and lived in some pretty amazing places. Maybe that is why to this day I have wander lust and always want to see more.
Growing up in that environment allowed me the freedom to sample different cultures, but as I matured and became more independent my taste for travel grew as did my palate.

I live near am amazing city. I'm 35 minutes away from Chicago and that means world class museums, theatre, opera, orchestra and food. The restaurants are simply amazing. All of that... just minutes away.
Not raised on fast foods and to this day, the only fast food  I buy is from the Pita Inn, love their falafel. Falafel is basically ground chick peas and assorted seasonings formed into balls and quickly deep fried. Stuffed in a pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce and tahini sauce makes a yummy sandwich. (Tahini sauce is made from sesame seeds)

Chicago and the surrounding area offers amazing restaurants, from The Lettuce Entertain You chain of restaurants, like Everest that provides an exquisite dining experience, to the very casual and delightful R. J. Grunts with a funky menu in the Lincoln Park area.
And of course, any discussion of fine restaurants must include Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, and I don't even have to whisper the chef's name, but I will...Rick Bayless.

Inexpensive fare to the very high end and everything in between can be found in Chicago. And because we're so culturally rich and diverse, all ethnic foods abound.

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is the Russian Tea Room, first because of its location, as you step out of the Art Institute and look across Michigan Avenue, you can see the sign. They serve traditional Russian fare and the black bread as the saying goes-is to die for.  Their afternoon tea is reasonable and delicious.
Another favorite is Sayat Nova, a Middle Eastern gem on Ohio Street, off of Michigan Ave. A small intimate place with a big sign. It has been in that location for decades, charming Middle Eastern decor with a great menu selection from kebabs to couscous. And the lentil soup is amazing.  

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Went Shopping with Granddaughter by Margot Justes

My daughter and granddaughter came for breakfast, so I cooked their favorite dishes. My daughter loves kiszka, so I got one for her. (Kiszka is a sort of Polish sausage made from barley and beef blood) My granddaughter loves scrambled eggs and Polish sausage. I cooked that along with tomatoes, various cheeses, and pretzel rolls. She loves pretzel rolls. It was a feast, and I might add the coffee was sublime.
They came over to pick up a bed I no longer wanted. We disassembled the bed, packed it in the truck and went shopping for a little chair I wanted to put in the spare bedroom. There is a queen size bed there already, a sleeper couch in my office. I have enough sleeping accommodations. The additional trundle bed took up too much room. A small chair is all I wanted.

Back to my shopping for the little chair. I love Dania, they have lovely contemporary pieces that do not cost an arm and a leg. Maybe a couple of fingers at most.

My daughter and I found a lovely small, comfy chair. My granddaughter found a semi circular, orange couch. It was love at first sight. We tried to talk her out of it. She was willing to look around, but always came back to that orange couch.

I am now the proud owner of a round, orange couch. The room is painted a light green. It is a good thing that other than the dining room furniture, nothing matches in my house. I buy pieces I like and it always seems to work out. Maybe it is an inherited trait.

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Island of Delos by Margot Jutes

I thought I'd post this blog again, it's been a couple of years and wanderlust is visiting me once again; time to plan another trip. Hope you enjoy the post.

About a thirty minute ferry ride from Mykonos is the island of Delos. And what an island  it is. Almost uninhabited,  there are approximately 25 people there, all either archaeologists or security personnel.

The island is bare, there are no snack shops, no hotels, no restaurants, the wind can whip up in a quick frenzy,  it is in fact quite desolate.  A museum, the only modern accommodation for the tourist, books and other Delos souvenirs can be bought, but that is the extent of the touristy trade. The rest of the island is in ruins. Magnificent ruins.

What makes this island unique are the ruins. Amazing ruins. The whole island is covered with them. It is an immense site and one not easily forgotten.

Delos is said to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Archaeological traces indicate the island was inhabited as early as 3000 B.C. Some of the ruins are so well preserved that you can actually imagine what the structures looked like and how they were utilized.

From the Doric Temple of Isis to the Archaic Lions to the mosaic floors, the sites are truly inspiring.
Off the beaten path, I observed an archaeologist crouched on a low portable chair, a pad and pencil in hand as he meticulously measured something on the ground and then put it on paper. I snuck up on him and watched as he quietly continued his research. Time stood still and the serenity on the island was disturbed only by the fierce whipping wind.

If you ever find yourself in Mykonos, do take the time to visit Delos. I promise, you will not be disappointed, you will in fact be enthralled. The terrain is rough, wear comfortable shoes, you will be walking in worn and uneven footsteps that are three thousand years old . It doesn't get better than that.

Margot Justes