On Friday evening, I attended the Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre here in Chicago with my best friend. The performance is dazzling every time, and this year was made more special in that it is the last to be performed in Robert Joffrey’s version. His choreography and style for this ballet was one of the first to create a version of the Nutcracker that looks American and has been replicated throughout the country. Head to the Joffrey site to learn the interesting history.
But as is our norm, we must always eat before heading to the ballet or opera. One cannot truly appreciate the arts without a full stomach, or so I believe. We met at Chicago’s French Market which is located underground of a bustling train station.
What is fun about the French Market is that it has a cozy, European market feel with a lot of local vendors. Deceivingly however, it isn’t filled with French fare, though you can certainly get a crepe or a French pastry. It is simply called the French Market to stir up the feel of such lovely places. Even the isles between kiosks have names like Boulevard Saint-Germaine and the open dining area looks a little like you are sitting near the Eiffel Tower at an outdoor cafe.
I have never been fond of shopping, but shopping for food is another matter. I love it, and of course, I love artisan, good quality, fine food. You can pick up quite a number of such things at the French Market, like fresh seafood, vegetables, cheese, meat and wine.
The location is perfect for the thousands of train commuters flowing in and out of the city, which I personally appreciate. I like places of quality that are also convenient when you must be a part of the hustle and bustle.
Nice too, are all the little restaurants serving food that is fast, yet finer than fast food. One stand offers scrumptious grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with delicious and unique fillings, another serves up perfect lobster rolls, another excellent sandwiches on artisan bread. I had a lobster roll from Da Lobsta. If I’d been alone, I could easily have eaten three of them. Who am I kidding, I’m sure my best pal wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d ordered three. She’s seen me polish off some pretty large meals before.
You can even grab fresh flowers, which definitely adds to that open market feel. So pretty!
I was personally overwhelmed by the selection of handmade chocolates at Lolli & Pops and stood staring at the display for an embarrassing amount of time while waiting for my friend to arrive. I just couldn’t pull myself away.
If you are a Chicago commuter and in need of a small holiday gift, you can’t go wrong with a box of these chocolates. The looks of them alone would put a smile on anyone’s face!
Oh heavens! I mean…Oh la la, how lovely is Chicago’s French Market!