Monthly Archives: February 2020

If you’re looking for a warm and inviting place to escape the winter, Shokran is the place. While located in the Irving Park neighborhood, most would call this off-the-beaten-path. It’s not downtown and it’s not in a fancy restaurant area like Wicker Park. But that doesn’t mean it’s not special. Shokran (meaning ‘thank you’) is extremely special. And insanely good.

Despite it’s simple and nondescript location, the interior is anything but. The ceilings are adorned with fabric and booths are covered in jewel tone cushions. It’s orange, red, yellow, and blue decor transports you far away from the busy and bustling Irving Park Road. In addition, walls are covered in photographs of Morrocan markets, ornate lanterns light up the space, and candles add to a cozy atmosphere. 

And the food! You will not be disappointed. It’s affordable and the portions are generous. One of my favorite dishes is the lamb Fez, a tagine made with prunes, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs. Be sure to try the lamb kabob and don’t leave before you have had the Chicken Bastilla. It’s a traditional dish served at weddings made with crispy phyllo dough, layered with chicken, eggs, and almonds. It was so good, we forgot to take pictures. Staples like the hummus and the Morrocan mint tea were also incredibly good. 

The service was also friendly and prompt, really rounding out a wonderful experience. It is cash only but it really shouldn’t deter you. The atmosphere and food make Shokran a must. If you’re new to the neighborhood or a long time resident, make sure to go, support, and enjoy Shokran.

Shokran

 4027 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641

Spring is so close, can you feel it! While it’s still cold, you can still make the most of the sunshine. Go out and explore the city and hopefully spring will get here in the meantime. 

30th Annual Festival of Films from Iran

Through to March 1st

Gene Siskel Film Center – 164 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

If you’re interested in expanding your horizons or if you just love films, make sure to support this annual Iranian film festival. Featuring documentaries, comedies, and dramas, you’ll be sure to find something that speaks to you. It’s a great opportunity to embrace and support this community. Check out the Gene Siskel website for showtimes. 

The Orchid Show

Through March 22nd

Chicago Botanic Garden – 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022

The Chicago Botanic Garden is not only a summer destination. Beat the cold by surrounding yourself with orchids and art installations at The Orchid Show. Explore beyond the city limits and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful blooms. 

The Pancakes and Booze Art Show

Friday February 21st – Saturday February 22nd 

Reggies – 2105 S State St, Chicago, IL 60616

Enjoy booze and pancakes at Reggies for this unique traveling art show this weekend. Relax and indulge while you browse. Be inspired by the more than 100 local artists with live music performances. 

The green movement is here and it’s not going anywhere. Businesses and people are becoming more conscious than ever before. And it can be easy too. If you’re moving and want to help reduce waste, here are some tips. You might actually be doing some of these things already. 

Find Green Movers

If you’re thinking of using movers, find eco-friendly companies. Take a look at what they offer, do they offer reusable containers or recycled materials. Make sure to ask how they dispose of their packing supplies. The moving industry can be wasteful but supporting those who make a difference is a huge help.

Carefully Plan What You’re Moving 

Don’t pack at the very last minute. This might be a no-brainer but here’s something else to consider. If you pack at the last minute, you’ll likely take everything with you. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to sort what you have. You’ll have time to donate and sell what you don’t really need or want. This means you’ll use less materials come the day of the move and hopefully your movers won’t need to make multiple trips. 

Start With The Containers You Have

Before you buy boxes, consider the containers you already have. This is also a good time to clear out unwanted or underutilized items. If you have large plastic storage bins, start packing with those. You can also use suitcases to transport your clothes. Instead of using paper or bubble wrap, use pillows and clothing to secure fragile items. You’ll be able to consolidate your things with zero waste. 

Need More Materials

If you still need materials for your move, there are ways to be green. Go to local business and see if they’re willing to give you their unused boxes. They’ll likely just throw them away so it never hurts to ask. Also consider buying recycled boxes. UsedCardboardBoxes.com collects boxes that are going to be disposed of due to misprints and overruns. They pack them into moving kits which can be cheaper than buying new and also eco-friendly.

But no matter where you get them, make sure to recycle them after you use them. Give them to a friend, set them aside for your next move, or pass them on online. 

Make The Fewest Trips Possible 

Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring movers, make sure you make one trip from your old location to your new home. Consider everything you’re moving and plan your trip wisely. This might go without saying but it’s absolutely crucial to provide your moving company with an accurate inventory list so that they assign the most appropriate truck size. This avoids multiple trips which use more fuel. 

It is cold, and snowy, and only February. We wouldn’t blame you if you stayed in and relaxed. But there are still exciting things happening all over the city. If you’re brave enough to go out this weekend, keep these events in mind. Go out and listen to music, eat, and learn about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sounds like the perfect weekend! 

ChillFest

 Saturday, February 8th 2020

*Various Locations (Wicker Park & Bucktown)

Now in its 7th year, Chillfest will bring 30 musicians to Wicker Park and Bucktown where local businesses will host them in unique acoustic concerts. You’ll get to shop and eat while listening to music. Head over to their website to get a full lineup for this year’s festival. 

“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Sunday February 9th 2020 – Sunday August 16th 2020

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center – 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL   60077

If you’ve never been to the Illinois Holocaust Museum, make sure to go this year and check the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Exhibition. It’ll put a spotlight on her life and amazing career. Learn, remember, and be inspired. 

Chicago Black Restaurant Week

Sunday, February 9th 2020 – Sunday, February 16th 2020

*Various Locations

If you’ve participated in Chicago Restaurant Week, be sure to support African American owned businesses this upcoming week. Similar to Chicago Restaurant Week, diners can take advantage of discounts and special menus at more than 35 participating restaurants. Take a look at their website and find a spot near you. You never know, you might find your next favorite place. 

As our first ever neighborhood spotlight, I thought I’d devote it to something dear to my heart. Pie. If you’re moving to the Humboldt Park neighborhood then you have to check out this nostalgic bakery.

I’d had my eye on this place ever since it opened in 2015 but just never got around to going. It was only recently that a realized that it was owned by husband and wife team Parker Whiteway and Dinah Grossman. Women owned business are important and deserve support so I couldn’t wait to check it out.

I think it’s safe to say, I walked away in love.

Atmosphere is everything to me and Spinning J has it. There are vintage booths, olive green velvet curtains, and pink walls with gold stencils throughout. As their website states, Spinning J was built with reclaimed and recycled materials, and it was artfully done. The details, like the soda fountain light fixtures to the throwback tile floors, add charm and personality. I can tell they had fun making the space. It’s nostalgic, warm, and unique.

And the pie. It exceeded my expectations if that was even possible. I went with my mom and sister and together we had the Dirty Chai, the S’mores, and the lemon poppyseed cake all on charmingly mis-matched china. The Dirty Chai was creamy and light, the S’mores pie was dark and rich, and lemon cake was moist and citrusy. And the coffee! It was strong and complimented the sweet pastries perfectly. I was blown away, full, and happy. I regret not trying any of the shakes or sodas but I think I’ll wait, since they’ll be perfect for the summer months. I’ll be coming back to try everything on the menu!

So go, the minute you have a chance. It’s small and almost always busy but it’s really worth the wait.

Spinning J

1000 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622