Monday, 10 August 2015

USA 2015 Part 10: Chicago tourist

The thing about not living in the US is that my VVC Reunions happened quickly! Less than a week after saying goodbye in Austin, I had plans to catch up with Kelly in Seattle. She had the perfect suggestion, visiting a cat rescue for a tour of the facilities. Tree House Humane Society is a fantastic no-kill cat shelter a bit north of where I was staying. They have a lot of senior and some special needs cats, and also have an FIV colony as well. It was a quick tour, because they are a busy facility, however it was amazing to be able to meet the cats. If anyone is in the Chicago region and thinking about a feline companion, I strongly recommend checking Tree House out, or making a donation - they are planning on building an amazing new facility!

Treehouse Cat Sanctuary

After getting our kitty cuddles in, we went for my daily visit at The Chicago Diner. This time I had the Titanic BLT Burger (seitan patty, seitan bacon, french fried onions, tomatoes... I had the chipotle sauce on the side because it was a bit spicy) and cheese waffle fries, with an iced chai (which was more like a milkshake). It was so good... again!

Iced Chai at Chicago Diner

Cheesy Waffle Fries with Titanic BLT Burger  at Chicago Diner

Me and Kelly

I felt like a lazy evening at home watching terrible cable and reading trashy books, plus I was pretty full from late lunch, so I picked up some takeaway from Vegetarian Express. I had a tasty BBQ seitan tamale, and also some guacamole. They give you a huge serving! It was good, though kind of spicier than I was expecting!

BBQ Seitan Tamale and Guac from Vegetarian Express

The next morning it was time for some proper touristing. I started my day with a breakfast at home, which included the leftover piece of french toast. This was actually awesome as leftovers!

2015-06-09 08.05.03

My place was very close to Lincoln Park, so I went on a nice long walk through the park. It was pretty! There were ducks and geese. The SQUIRRELS! were hiding.

Lincoln Park

Geese at Lincoln Park

The park is also home to the Peggy Notebaert Mature Museum, which I didn't have time to visit but it looked interesting. This is a statue from outside, a Memorial to Extinct Birds.

Bird statue outside Nature Museum

At the end of the park is the International Museum of Surgical Science, which happened to be free to visit on Tuesdays. There were some fairly interesting exhibits in here, though others were a bit boring and basic (to someone like me who has surgical/medical training). This history of surgery was the most interesting. There were a few gross-out bits (not as many as I had hoped!), but not too much if you are a bit squeamish. They had some really beautiful anatomy artwork.

International Museum of Surgical Science

I was pretty hungry by now, so I hopped on a bus to downtown and headed to one of the several Chicago locations of Native Foods. I had the Oklahoma Bacon Cheese Burger, which was huge! I had to eat some of it before I could actually put it together as a burger, and a side of Native Fries. To drink I had the seasonal special Strawberry and Lavender Lemonade, which was sadly a bit too strong on the lavender and tasted a bit like soap. The Chocolate Strawberry Parfait, however, was outstanding. It was so yummy! The cream is almond cream, which was delicious.

Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries from Native Foods Cafe

Chocolate Strawberry Parfait and Strawberry Lavender Lemonade from Native Foods Cafe

Chicago is famous for its architecture, and certainly is you walk around downtown there are lots of pretty buildings and parks and statues to be seen. I took a bit of a wander through the streets and the parks, before ending up down by the newish river walk, which is very lovely.

River Walk

I decided the most touristy thing I could possibly do was to do a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, which was actually really nifty and interesting! It was super sunny though, so I had to keep moving about the boat to find shade spots and occasionally pop into the inside part. As well as learning about the buildings, it was a good insight into Chicago's history.

Architecture Cruise

Architecture Cruise

After my cruise, it was back for my final visit to Chicago Diner. I was really stressed about what to choose on this final visit, but I ended up going with the Pierogi Quesadilla, which had intrigued me since I first saw it on the menu, and a strawberry milkshake (because that is my favourite flavour of milkshake). I also had some Flash Greens on the side because I needed some kale in my life at this point. The quesadilla was really yummy, because potato and sauerkraut in a tortilla could never be wrong! The milkshake... outstanding. They use real strawberries, and it was so good!

Pierogi Quesadilla from Chicago Diner

Flash Greens from Chicago Diner

Strawberry Milkshake from Chicago Diner

I firmly believe that everyone needs to go to The Chicago Diner at least once in their lives, but preferably more. It is certainly worth an entire trip to Chicago just to eat there, which to be real is the reason that I wanted to go to Chicago in the first place. If I was in that area of the US again, I would 100% go back there and eat at the diner every single day. So good!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


I know you were probably expecting a million photos from Tree House, but to be honest I didn't actually take any. Shocking I know! However given that I wasn't looking to adopt, I was very aware that the tour was taking them away from the million things they need to do. But I think that this cute photo of Sahara sleeping that my mum sent me is just as delightful. :)


  1. Chicago Diner sure looks worth a visit. The food looks AMAZING. Pieroggi Quesadilla!!?!? Yes please!!

  2. Cats! Native Foods! Kelly! Chicago Diner! It looks like you had an awesome time in Chicago, I really want to go back and I'll check out the boat tour next time, it sounds interesting.

  3. Ooh I would love to go to Chicargo Diner. One of my friends from the UK has just been on holiday there. Enjoying reading about your travels. That's great you got to meet up with Kelly again.