Day Trip To Chinatown

We took a day trip to Chicago on Saturday.

It had been a while since all four of us had gone to the city together.

Two years in fact.  The last time we all went together was in 2016 when the Van Gogh exhibit was at The Art Institute.

Man-Farmer has taken the girls himself and I have gone up to visit old pals.

So, we were due a trip.

Chicago is three hours north of our farm in Central Illinois.  Man-Farmer moved to Chicago from Pennsylvania when he was 20 years old.  I moved to Chicago after college in ’93.  We met there and our first daughter was born at Evanston hospital.  Chicago holds a lot of history for us.

We decided to do things with the kids that we hadn’t done with them already.

Chinatown and a boat ride down the Chicago River were on our agenda.

Man-Farmer and I hadn’t been to Chinatown in forever.

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We decided to take the girls to eat dim sum for lunch.

They still don’t know if they liked it, but they had fun trying new things.

We tried shrimp and pork dumplings, pork buns, sesame balls, water chestnut cake, honey spare ribs, egg custard tarts, and mango pudding.  Man-Farmer tried to ask for iced tea and the server was very confused by this and then I said we will just have water.  They came over and took away our hot tea cups.  Dang it.

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The waiter saw us struggling with our chopsticks and kindly brought us forks.

We went into a few shops in the area.  The girls liked the trinket shops where we saw not only Chinese inspired gifts, but also Japanese and Korean items.  We saw quite a few ginseng shops.  Lots and lots of dried ginseng.  Lots and lots of dried things in general that I guess get ground up and put into medicines or teas.

Zoe and I were browsing in one shop when I found these…

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I don’t know what it does for your diet…I do have some extra deer antlers laying around my own house.  Should I grind them up and eat them and see what happens?

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I don’t know what this is exactly for either, but I assume it has something to do with sex.  I said as such to my teen daughter and she promptly told me “yes mother, that’s quite obvious.”

Gigi did not like the smell of the ginseng shops so she didn’t stay too long.  Zoe and I had fun browsing through the strange items we encountered.  Thankfully the girls did not want to buy any cheap goods.

We bought bubble teas.  Man-Farmer used to get these a lot when we lived in Chicago.  One of our favorite restaurants, Joy Yee, has a location in Chinatown, so we got drinks for the girls as they haven’t had one since they were very little.  They didn’t remember how yummy they were.  The black balls at the bottom of the drinks are chewy tapioca balls.  You suck them up in the extra large plastic (YES-Plastic!) straw and chew on them.  Gigi opted for popping strawberry boba balls in her drink.  The bubble teas went over better than the dim sum lunch.  I love this lady in our bubble tea picture, obviously annoyed by the white folks taking a picture of their drinks.

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We took a boat ride down the river, embarking on our ride in Chinatown at this lovely dock located in a park with a beautiful pagoda.  It was a very hot day in the city.  I think the temp topped out at 95 degrees.  Sweat was prominent on all four of us.

We took the boat down the river to Michigan Avenue and then back to Chinatown.  When we got back to Chinatown (where our minivan was parked and where we only had to pay $12 for 6 hours of parking…what a deal in the city!) we got ice cream.

A friend of mine had posted on Instagram that she had taken her daughter to this Thai rolled ice cream shop a while back, so we decided to give it a try.  It was really fun.  It’s just regular ice cream, but the unfrozen concoction is poured onto a very cold disc where it’s manipulated until it forms ice cream.  Then it’s rolled using a putty knife kind of tool.

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I simply adore this picture I snapped of Gigi watching them make rolled ice cream.  It really encompasses what America is all about.  Two girls of different races watching another girl of another race make them ice cream.  I love the diversity of a big city.

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They had traditional American type flavors like oreo cookie, banana, coffee, and mango and non-traditional flavors like durian, avocado, and green tea.

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Chinatown was a big hit with our kids.
I love showing them new things and watching them explore new places.

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Come back to the blog tomorrow and I’ll share pictures of our trip down the Chicago River…

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