Pilsen Window Shopping

Last Sunday, some friends and I decided to make a day of it in the lovely neighborhood I call home, Chicago's Pilsen. We took a trip to the National Museum of Mexican Art to see their Day of the Dead exhibit. The museum is free, comes highly recommended, and has an amazing gift shop!. After looking at beautifully made (and a bit morbid) shrines to those who have passed on, we headed to Halsted and 18th, the edge of the East Pilsen Gallery district. The neighborhood was hosting the 39th annual East Pilsen Art Walk, with open galleries, wine and cheese and special deals for all the browsers. While most of the art was way (way!) out of my price range, we took in some really creative pieces and enjoyed our day of window shopping.

A new friend, the art gallery courtyard cat.

Post art-browsing, we walked over to Simone's on 18th Street, to grab a cocktail and a bite. Being inside Simone's is like living inside a pinball game - large glass light fixtures made out of old bottles, creatively sized seating, and bright colors really make this a treat for your eyes, as well as your stomach. The order of mixed empanadas (banana and black bean, spinach and artichoke and chipotle chicken) came with a side of maple aioli that was surprisingly great.

To top that, their cocktail menu is full of exotic flavors and mixtures. Cocktail menus with ingredients ranging from mint syrup to jalapeno-thyme infused pickle brine = my kind of place. Some drinks worked - some did not but one that caught our eye was cleverly called "Breakfast For Dinner". Created with Ketle One vodka, tomato water, sage syrup, salt & pepper rim with a bacon garnish, we had to order it. Take a look...

I may or may not have eaten that strip of bacon...anyway, I expected a saltier cocktail, more akin to a bloody mary but it was a little on the sweet side and could have benefited from a bit more sodium. I did enjoy the creativity of the drink and hope to head back to Simone's soon to try more of their interesting drink concoctions. Ranging in price from $7 - $11, and only $6 on Mondays, these are not Roof prices, and left a bit in our pockets for that next gallery run.

*Photos by Javier Ayala

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W 19th St
Chicago, IL 60608

960 W. 18th St.
Chicago, IL 60608