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When doing research for our Chicago trip, I happened upon an Instagram series of gorgeous garden pics which seemed to be taken in a large greenhouse. A quick note to the user and I had a name: The Lincoln Park Conservatory. Said user gave me a few other tips, but told me I absolutely had to pay a visit if my schedule permitted. Sunday, we found ourselves with an open afternoon, so we made our way to Lincoln Park to see what we could see.
The first thing I want to say is that this amazing place is free to the public. FREE. As in no dollars. There is a box in the lobby for donations, but other than that, nothing. The place is well maintained and absolutely gorgeous. With the overcast day, it reminded me a little of the green house in The Haunting, but that is probably just me. The conservatory is a series of large glass rooms all connected by a meandering path. There are flowers and plants of all types, and knowledgable staff/volunteers (honestly, I’m not sure which) are scattered about to answer any questions one might have… and also, I suspect, to keep people from touching or picking the flora. While the ponds were my favorite, I did enjoy the orchid room. Mostly because orchids are such finicky plants and to see so many with such variety was very impressive. It’s difficult to tell in this picture, but that little glass box is full of carnivorous plants. I know they don’t hurt people, but they still freak me out a little. Truly, I wish Andy and I were better at gardening. He has a black thumb, and I am prone to over watering. Someday though, maybe we’ll figure it out.
Such a beautiful place, and while a decent size, it doesn’t take long to walk through. Definitely check it out if you find yourself in the windy city with some spare time.
Something that a lot of you know about me already is that I like brunch. A lot. Like, whoa, baby, big time. I brunch like a boss; some might call me a bross (I’m not exactly sure who exactly, but I am pretty certain I could get Andy to). Anyway, I was absolutely delighted when my brother-in-law and his new wife invited us (and other family members) to brunch with them the day after the ceremony. My favorite meal, on a Sunday Funday, in a new city, with people I like hanging out with? It doesn’t get much better than that.
Sunday, we clown-cared into an Uber with Andy’s mom and dad and headed over to Pearls Southern Comfort to check out some elevated “southern style” food. As a southern girl born and raised, I felt like there was only two ways for this whole thing to go. Fortunately, everything we tried came down squarely on the positive side of things. With a larger group like ours, we got to try a decent number of menu items. Especially since we don’t mind sharing with one another. All said and done, I got to sample the following: Crawfish Cheesecake, Beignets, Blackened Catfish & Eggs, French Toast, and Cornbread with Hot Sauce Honey Butter. It’s hard to declare a clear favorite; the cheesecake was incredible – and not to mention my first savory cheesecake, if you ever make it to Pearls you have to try it -, but if this was going to be a regular haunt for me, I would have to go with the catfish and force someone to split the cornbread with me. Catfish is hard to do well, even in the south, and this was some of the best I’ve ever had. Same with the cornbread. The bread itself was delicious, but that hot sauce honey butter really pushed it over the top.
Not the fanciest place we ate at on our trip, but from food to ambiance, I think this was my favorite. It’s almost a little disappointing when I enjoy something as much as I did this place. When I travel I like to try new places every visit, but now I am going to have to make sure that any subsequent visits to Chicago includes a meal at Pearls or I’ll regret the missed opportunity. First World Problems, am I right?
Category: Sunday Brunch