Visiting Oz for Thanksgiving

Ride Summary

Getting Ready to Ride to Oz

It was supposed to be a lot warmer than it was. And it turned out to be “breezier” than predicted as well. But over-dressing for the cold and wind made it a tolerable situation. Nevertheless it was nice to ride along the Chicago Lakefront Trail in late autumn and see so many others out enjoying the brisk weather.

We stopped for our breakfast bagels with peanut butter (Einstein Brothers) and cups of coffee and bowls of oatmeal (from Starbucks) before heading in towards the Chicago Lakefront Trail to Recreation Drive where the Clock Tower is situated. As it turns out the city is not charging parking fees for Lakefront Trail parking until the spring of next year, so we were happy to brave the wind knowing that we could park for free!

Visiting Oz Park

The night before I had mapped out a route using Ride With GPS. It took us right through Oz Park on the north side of Chicago. What was unexpected was the statuary that graced the four entrances to the park. There stood the Tin Man as we heading in along Webster Avenue!

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After circling the park looking for all the statues and having to ask a few folks where Dorothy was (we had riding right past her) we exited to the west and continued on towards the Native Foods Cafe on Milwaukee Avenue. I have tried to choose routes that are less high trafficked than the ones we have taken in the past. It makes not only for a less stressful commute but it also means getting to see neighborhoods “up close and personal”.

The Wicker Park area is one I could explore for a very long time and not see everything that there is of interest. What surprised me was the fact that Milwaukee was empty of automobiles today. Nary a car along the street and that is in stark contrast to every other day of the year.

Settling In For Our Repast

Words to Live By...

The cafe was as usual warm and inviting. Last year we ate at the Chicago Diner in the Lakeview Community. It is a much smaller dining area and a bit more formal in that you are served courses in succession. This years dinner was a buffet style affair and the entire northern wall of the cafe is glass so you get a wonderful wash of light and that makes dining in winter conditions a lot more tolerable.

The main entree this time around was the Native Wellington. What’s In a Wellington, you ask. The ingredients include:

  • puff pastry
  • all purpose flour
  • kale
  • wheat gluten
  • bread, white
  • corn starch
  • celery
  • dried cranberries
  • orange juice
  • soy milk
  • button mushrooms
  • portobello mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • yellow onions
  • parsley
  • sea salt
  • soy sauce
  • peeled shallots
  • garlic powder
  • granulated onion
  • ground black pepper
  • ground white pepper
  • poultry seasoning
  • dried sage
  • ground thyme
  • maple syrup
  • rice vinegar
  • yams

I might add that it was very delicious and would have satisfied the palette of any non-vegetarian. The entire meal consisted of:

  • The Native Wellington with Mushroom Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes and Native Stuffing
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Green Salad with Maple Glazed Pecan and Pomegranate Pearls
  • Polenta Butternut Squash Terrine
  • Wheatberry Waldorf
  • Cornbread with Butter
  • Chocolate Love Pie
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

In addition we each had a coffee with dessert and I an Ebel’s Weiss ale with dinner. I was so full from the meal that I didn’t even bother to go for “seconds”.

Back To the Van

We made one last pitstop before heading outside into the cold and got back on the bikes and did the trip pretty much in reverse. Along the Chicago Lakefront Trail we saw more dog walkers, plenty of joggers and runners and even families bundled up riding their bikes in groups along the trail. One family appeared to be carrying food in plastic bags. I guessed that they were either heading to a family gathering or coming back from one with “doggie bags”.

We packed up the bikes and drove home in the fading light. Can’t wait for Spring!

Cyclometer Info

Distance: 11.5 miles
Time: 1h 29m 37s