Tag Archives: Evanston

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park

As graduation approaches (signaling the end of my time inhabiting the North Shore), I have been frantically searching for opportunities to cross items off my Chicago Bucket List. This past weekend my mom was in town, and with her rented car we drove southwest to Oak Park to peep displays of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural genius — something I have planned to do for years.

We arrived at the Oak Park visitor center and, warned the Unity Temple was only open for about another hour, rushed over to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house of worship on Lake Street. The Unitarian temple was the only of his masterpieces we entered, since all the other homes (with the exception of his personal home and studio) are private residences.

After exploring Unity Temple, we visited the architect’s nearby home and studio to rent headsets for the self-guided walking tour. We spent about the next hour walking around Lloyd Wright’s home neighborhood and pausing to learn about ten of his Modern residential creations with our super touristy — but very informational! — audio gear.

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The architect’s work, with its clean, straight lines and strong angles apparent in everything from the Unity Temple’s organ and light fixtures to his houses’ windows, is impressive even to the untrained eye. Learning about the thought process and intention behind Lloyd Wright’s designs reveals even more brilliance.

Here are some points I picked up and found helpful to understanding Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park architecture:

  • The homes Lloyd Wright designed in Oak Park are from his Prairie Period, which was around the turn of the 20th Century: about 1892 to 1908.
  • The Prairie Period is characterized by long, horizontal lines intended to reflect and work with the flat Midwestern terrain.
  • Lloyd Wright considered the hearth the center of the home, symbolically and, in his designs, literally.
  • The architect was fascinated with Japanese art and design.
  • Lloyd Wright often obstructed or hid the front door; his homes aren’t designed to appear inviting to the outsider. He was more concerned with creating architecture that complemented nature and the surroundings.

My mom recommends the book Loving Frank as follow-up (or if you want, pre) education and entertainment to an Oak Park trip. I haven’t started reading the historical fiction novel yet, but the guy’s life did take some soap opera-worthy turns.

Also, if you happen to be at the Northwestern University Library, ask the archivists about original FLW documents we have somewhere in that massive structure.

Karina for TKGO

A College Passover

In honor of the Jewish holiday, a few of our friends hosted a Passover Seder for Jews and Gentiles alike. We both were in attendance at the event and relished the chance to share (Tara) and learn about (Karina) Jewish culture and traditions with good friends while indulging in delicious kosher food. (You can really do a lot without flour! Take our friend’s homemade matzo pizza, filmed below, as an example.)

Below are some clips from the seder, including the race to find the afikoman, or the piece of matzo that is broken and hidden during the Seder. The prize for being the first to the unleavened bread? An Easter basket.

Tara and Karina for TKGO

It’s here: TKGO City Guides, Naples, Florida!

Check out the latest addition to the TKGO City Guides collection: Naples, Florida! There’s more to southeast Florida than fun in the sun. This guide is a must-read for any 20-something trying to navigate the land of the retired. Find plenty of great restaurants and — dare we say it — nightlife!

If you’re stuck in the midwest, check out our recent updates to the Chicago and Evanston guides, including a classic brunch spot in Andersonville and a Cuban “food mart” in Rogers Park.

Tara and Karina for TKGO

TKGO City Guides, Evanston Launches!

We are excited to announce that TKGO City Guides, Evanston has arrived!

After four years living in Evanston, Illinois and attending Northwestern University, we’ve finally compiled our list of don’t-miss spots for eating, meandering and shopping in our favorite Chicago suburb. This is not an exhaustive list of everything Evanston offers, rather a well-curated selection of reviews for what we consider some of our favorites and most interesting spots in the city. As always, we love to hear from you, so drop us a comment with your thoughts, feedback or suggestions.

While you’re on our City Guides page, check out other available guides: TKGO City Guides, Acapulco, TKGO City Guides, Buenos Aires, TKGO City Guides, Philadelphia and TKGO City Guides, Princeton. These guides are always changing as we return to the places we love and update you on our new favorites, so check back periodically for changes.

Our next endeavor, TKGO City Guides, Chicago, will debut at the end of next week.

Tara and Karina for TKGO

A Very Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is also, appropriately, called Pączki Day wherever there are Poles or Polish immigrants — in this case, the greater Chicago area. The jelly donut-like pastry, which means “little package” in Polish, is deep-fried and stuffed with custard, fruit filling or cheese, and topped with sugar glaze or powdered sugar. Apparently, pączkis (pronounced “poonch-keys”) were first made to quickly and deliciously use up eggs and lard prior to Lent, which the Roman Catholic church prohibits during the pre-Easter period.

Bennison’s Bakery in our very own Evanston, Illinois hosted a pączki-eating contest to benefit Haitian relief efforts this past Saturday, where six teams of two had five minutes to consume as many of the pastries as possible.

It was a little much to watch the teams wolf down the gooey pastries, but it didn’t stop us from wanting to taste some for ourselves after the contest. Luckily, the bakery had extra trays of cheese, cream, apricot and raspberry pączkis, which they offered to spectators for free(!). The traditional flavor is prune, which Bennison’s refrained from including in the eating contest, probably with the contestants’ digestive systems in mind.

The pastries are delicious, with a rich filling encased in a fluffy dough exterior, and Bennison’s strikes the ideal proportion of filling to pastry. Prune, apricot, cheese, raspberry, custard and apple pączkis are $1.28; the special whipped cream and strawberry-filled pączkis are $1.96. Stop by Bennison’s to try one! (Tara likes the prune, Karina favors the cheese.)

Tara and Karina for TKGO

Run It

I don’t ever feel as though I’ve completely explored a place until I run it. If I’m gone anywhere for longer than a few days, I usually pack my running shoes and make it a point to get out in the streets or find a nearby park and just… run. It’s usually a little less than an hour, but for that hour I feel as though I own the place. And whenever I’m exhausted, lying sprawled out on whatever patch of grass in whatever country or state I’m in and look up, I swear I have a new appreciation for the city.

It all started in high school when my family would visit my grandmother in Massachusetts from time to time during track season. I didn’t want to sacrifice days of training, so I’d head out for runs in the idyllic New England town of Shrewsbury. I’d run past coffee shops, churches and turn down residential streets. I’d pass people who waved and imagine what it would be like to live there. So, when I actually started living in different places, I took to the streets (or paths) once again. Below are some of my favorite runs in some of the places I’ve called home — at least temporarily — over the past year.

Barcelona

To be honest, I didn’t do much running while studying abroad in Spain. But about once every week or so, I’d get that itch to run. (If you’re a runner, you know what I’m talking about.) I’d go from my dorm — which was on the same street as La Sagrada Familia (yeah, not real life) — south to the Parc de la Ciutadella. People were always running or relaxing in the park, which contained the Catalan Parliament Building, Modernist architecture and the Barcelona Zoo on the south end (and still, somehow, grass and paths). It was also the favorite gathering-spot of the musical Barcelonan hippies and men’s running teams, which I would try to hang with on my runs occasionally. (And just for the record, their shorts were the shortest I’ve spotted on male runners anywhere.)

New York

Tara and I lived mere blocks from the West Side Highway, which second to Central Park is probably New Yorker’s favorite running spot. The strip hugs the West Side of Manhattan, and I’d start where it intersects Houston Street and run it past tennis courts, high-rise condos, parks, picnics and puppies; the New York Stock Exchange and to the tip of Battery Park. I brought everyone who visited me along that path — even if just for a walk — because in my opinion, it’s the best way to see the city.

Evanston

My first couple of years at Northwestern my favorite run was south of campus along Lake Michigan, which was stunning. This year I’ve been running northwest more often along the perfectly manicured lawns of North Shore bliss — namely, Wilmette. The Baha’i temple, which is the longest-standing of only seven in the world, is less than two miles north. I’m still in awe of it every time I pass.

Karina for TKGO