Getting a Good "Dose" of Chicago

As you are probably well aware by now I love Chicago - the people, the cultures they represent, and all of the neighborhoods that together make the city great. To me, Chicago is a beautiful, dynamic tapestry of ethnicities, traditions, artisans and individuals. Everything on its own is unique and special, but together it becomes amazing, unbelievable and sometimes even magical. It's what makes me glad that my family calls Chicago home and it's what I hope my sons will uncover and understand for themselves as we continue to explore the city together.

As I noted in my inaugural blog post, this is the year my husband and I pledged to really expose our sons to the world. We aim to do so not just with our travels across the U.S. and to other parts of the world, but by opening our sons' eyes and minds to all that makes Chicago great. While some things have been big, planned journeys and adventures (like our recent trip to Paris), that doesn't always need to be the case and sometimes it's the little, unexpected things that can bring it all home too. That's what I came to realize this weekend after a visit to Dose Market, which sets up shop once a month at the River East Arts Center (435 E. Illinois St.) in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood.

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A Reminder to Savor the Little Things in Life - and in Chicago

After hearing all the buzz about Dose for some time, I seized the opportunity to head to the October market this past weekend. I knew to come hungry, ready to browse, and prepared to shop... And I wasn't disappointed.

Walking into the River East Arts Center, we were immediately taken by the buzz of the shoppers and the goods offered by the vendors. By noon tons of people had already beat us to the market and were busy enjoying it to the fullest extent possible. We quickly joined the crowd walking the aisles to check it all out. We had a great time perusing the market, sampling the food, drinks and other delicacies, and planning what gifts to purchase for us and others. But, I was a most delighted by the cultures, recipes and traditions represented by some of the vendors.

Down one aisle at the market there was a huge table of home-cooked, all-natural Indian mixes from Kaveli Foods (made in Wisconsin and available online).

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Right nearby was an amazing selection of breads, muffins and madeleines from Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter (located at 100 E. Walton St. in Chicago's Gold Coast).

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And, just across the way was a tantalizing display of alfajores (Argentinan cookies) in flavors like chocolate and dulce de leche from Lucila's Homemade (available online and sold at select retail outlets in the Chicago area).

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When I put down my last sample, I realized that this was yet another example of what makes Chicago great. We had just spent a good part of an hour enjoying food from all over the world - made by local artisans, bakers and chefs right here in Chicago (or the surrounding area). And, we had enjoyed wonderful conversations with each person behind their respective tables as well. The experience was unexpected and unplanned, but cherished none the less.

It all made for the start of a great day, and served as a good reminder to enjoy the little things all around us.

Enjoying All that Chicago Has to Offer Us

All of those samples made us hungry for more - and I'm not just talking about the breads, spices, foods and cookies we sampled! We're ready to continue exploring Chicago, uncovering it's people and neighborhoods, and making new unexpected discoveries.

What best represents the wonder of all that Chicago has to offer for you? I welcome any suggestions of new places - traditional, unusual and off-the-beaten path - for us to explore and enjoy. And, as always, I plan to share our thoughts everything we uncover in the city as well.

Here's to world citizens!

Aimee

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