Renaissance villa houses circa 1850s. Vast array of multi-cultural cuisines. Family-friendly parks and recreational areas. That was my impression of this exuberant Chicago neighborhood when I first set foot upon the four corners of Damen and Roscoe.
Come walk down memory lane with me as I reminisce on one of my favorite outings this summer in the Windy City – right in the heart of Roscoe Village!
Located 5 miles north of the Loop and occupied by a population of 7000, this swanky yet demure neighborhood has overseen urban development since the mid-19th century and is amassed with yuppie restaurants, art deco shops, wine tasting rooms, and antique consignment stores.
After the Fire of 1871 devastated Chicago and wiped out residential homes and commercial buildings within a 3 mile radius, there was an increase in demand for brick structures, which soon the Chicago River’s North Branch (encompassing Roscoe Village and neighborhoods within its vicinity) began filling up with brickyards and clay pits. One of my favorite architectural designs is the Edwardian houses built in the early 1900s. Similar to the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco, the industrial craft is marked by masculinity-infused frameworks modeled after Italian facades and rooflines. In the residential area off the main street, Queen Anne homes align the sidewalks basking in the glory of intricate details filled with opulent turrets, bay windows, and embellished post frames.
Though these well-crafted buildings were a sight for my sore eyes, I was even more amused by the multitude of ethnic cuisines offered within that 6-block radius. From Turkish lamb begendi at Turquoise Cafe to the decadent ender shredded beef cooked in salsa criolla) at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, the sky is the limit when it comes to filling up the growling tummy. Not to mention the pink, yellow, and blue chairs outside Costello’s (namely known for the iconic “Spicy Roscoe” — who wouldn’t want pepper crusted turkey with capicola and pepper jack cheese on an Italian sub coined after the very street it sits on?) Or how about some kung-pao chicken tacos at Si Fu, where you will be greeted with not just “Xie Xie” or “Gracias”, but also a slew of Confucious men with v-line goatees? If you ever do tumble upon there, make sure you specify which hot sauce you want, especially when tabasco sauce is not within your dietary radar 🙂
A jovial expedition filled with sight-seeing and feasting for this happy camper calls for a colorful outfit right? Which is why I doled out my colorful sheath with quivering wavelength designs and styled it with a wide brimmed straw hat. Turquoise and yellow, the two main vibrant colors on my dress (and a tad bit on my bandeau), matched the exuberance and joy I felt when I walked down streets filled with exquisite flower shops, alfresco dining spots, and most importantly, gleeful companies. Happy eyes, happy tummy, happy heart. Now ain’t that a win-win situation 🙂
Credits: Jason J Photography http://www.jason-j-photography.com/