Explore Chicago CTA Edition: This is Grand and State

Explore Chicago CTA Edition: This is Grand and State

This is Grand and State. Doors open on the right at Grand and State. Hey everyone, welcome back to the fourth installment of Explore Chicago CTA Edition! As always, I’m your blogger, Miguel Molina! Today, we are going to be having some fun with both eats and treats down at the CTA’s Grand and State stop. Be sure to bring your student ID card, ventra card (u-pass), and as always, a hungry belly. So come on, let’s go and explore!

Getting There:

There are three ways that I would recommend getting to Grand and State, depending on where you live and with time considered. The first way is the easiest. You can take the CTA Red line down from Loyola straight into Grand and State station (toward 95th). This may take around 45 minutes, give or take. Or, you can take the Intercampus shuttle from the Lakeshore Campus to the Water Tower Campus and take the El from Chicago and State toward Grand and State (only one stop away). Lastly, you can always take an Uber or a Lyft, depending on the size of the group you are traveling with, and what time of day you are planning to visit the area.

Main Attractions:

  1. After-Words Bookstore: Books are the portable doors that bring you to amazing worlds. Whether you are interested in the poetry of Jorge Luis Borges, the fiction novels of Margaret Atwood, or get wrapped up in the magical realism tendencies of Isabel Allende; After-Words Bookstore is the place for all bookworms to enjoy and savor. When going to the bookshop, the store itself is like a book. At first glance, the book’s entrance and facade looks small and unassuming. Even the first floor is unassuming with mostly children’s books and adolescent novels. However, once you take a flight of stairs downstairs you will find shelves upon shelves with new and used books from a variety of genres and authors. The store closes at 10PM, Monday-Thursday and 11PM, Friday and Saturday; meaning you can enjoy these books longer! Just be sure to tell all of your friends that you are booked for this weekend!
  2. Holy Name Cathedral: When first seeing Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, I find it striking to see how simple it looks on the outside. But, when you enter this structure, you will find how it is a treasure to behold. Built in 1874, Holy Name is exemplary of Chicago’s beautiful and functional architecture. This is a place for all to visit, Catholics and Non-Catholics alike. When you are visiting, be sure to check out some of these attractions in the church: the bronze doors (which weigh over 1200 pounds each); resurrection crucifix at the front of the altar; the pipe organ at the back of the church; and of course the glittering stained glass windows that line the church’s sides.

It’s Time to Eat:

  1. Eately: Crafted by the mastermind with American chef, Mario Batali, Eately is a foodie’s paradise. This store and restaurant is true eye candy! This two story store is full of cookbooks, cooking materials, and, of course food! On the first floor, you can find a variety of foods that are more available on a student budget. For a quality sandwich I recommend trying their Trento. This sandwich is simple but oh so fresh! For $7.80 you get freshly baked bread with arugula (a type of peppery green), asiago (a sharp cheese), tomatoes, and speck (a meat similar to a prosciutto). All of these fresh ingredients are drizzled with full flavored extra virgin olive oil, perfection! Do you still have a sweet tooth that you need to satisfy? Kiddie corner from the panini shop you will find some Lavazza Italian coffee, a crepe station with Nutella (tell me peanut butter is better, I dare you), a cannoli bar (that is pure Italian greatness), chocolates/pastries, and more! If you are in the mood to splurge (treat yourself!) or if you want to go out on a date or any other special occasion, check out Eately’s second floor. Here you will find the freshest meats, seafood, and so many tasty cuts of artisan cured meats and smooth, creamy, sharp cheese. There are also a variety of restaurants and smaller cafes that specialize in high quality Italian dishes. Mangia! For more information on what this place offers please check out: (https://www.eataly.com/us_en/)
  2. Xoco: From American chef, Rick Bayless, Xoco is a Mexican restaurant that is truly tasty as it is authentic with a modern flair. Rick Bayless is a world renowned chef known for even serving former President Barack Obama and former Mexican president, Felipe Calderón during his visit to the United States. Whether you want some savory tortas (Mexican sandwiches), daily specials, caldos (which is basically a meal in a bowl), and some exquisite desserts; this is place for all of your senses to savor. My personal favorites include their Woodland Mushroom Torta (it has wood roasted mushrooms, chipotle-garlic mojo, quality goat cheese, black beans, wild arugula, and a three chili salsa) and of course their house made guacamole (you can get it fully dressed with all their toppings or almost naked with your choice of two toppings). But you must definitely have to have room for dessert! Xoco is known for their churros which are cinnamon and sugar perfection. And, lastly, you need some Mexican hot chocolate to pair with it. Mexican hot chocolate is unlike another hot chocolate you will drink. It is basically drinking a dark chocolate bar straight up. This make great dipping for your churros. For the truly authentic experience, I recommend trying their Authentic Chocolate. Or, if you are like me and prefer something creamier, I would get their Classic Chocolate (which has whole milk). These chocolate drinks are tastier, and yes they are healthier, and are cheaper than getting that caramel frappucino that you got this morning from Starbucks. Enjoy! For more about what is on the menu and more about Rick Bayless be sure to check out his website at: (http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco/ 
  3. M Burger: Looking for a savory burger that tastes amazing? Look no further and try M Burger. These burgers are made with simple, quality ingredients and deliver a truly great tasting burger. I would recommend trying their signature M Burger made with bacon, cheese, pickles, onions, and their secret M sauce. It is simple and delectable. While your at it, make sure to grab some regular fries seasoned with sea salt. Or, some cheese fries with pickled jalapeños. Regardless, wash all of these down with shakes, malts, or floats. For more information on locations, and other menu items, check out: (http://mburgerchicago.com)

Still hungry and looking for more to visit? Be sure to tune in next semester starting January 23, 2018 as we go and start to explore the north side on Fullerton on this edition of Explore Chicago CTA Edition. Doors closing.

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