A Squared: City Walk #23: Armitage Avenue

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

City Walk #23: Armitage Avenue

After we completed City Walk #22 through the Sheffield Garden District we decided to pick up on the next one in the deck.  The Armitage Avenue Walk started just 2 blocks south of where the first one ended and it was a beautiful day to keep on exploring.

I love Armitage Ave. It's one of my favorite streets for shopping in Chicago. It's full of more off the beaten path boutiques and specialty shops nestled into cute little ornate buildings.

The first stop on our walk was at the corner of Armitage and Clifton at Tom and Wendee's [1].  It was a perfect sunny day for some frozen treats and this little place is known for its Italian ice.

As is usually the case with City Walks that take us through a series of cafes and boutiques, a few always turn out to be closed or something new. This was the case with the next two stops on this Walk.  The Jane Hamill boutique [2]  was no more when we walked by. And a block away, Tribeca [3] was closed and what appeared to be a photography studio? Fear not, Tribeca fans! They have a boutique (that is still open!) down in the West Loop on W. Madison.

Our fourth stop Tabula Tua [4] was still open and appeared to be thriving. It's a "tabletop shop," specializing in all things fabulous for the dining room: beautiful dishes, glassware, linens, furniture, and accessories. It's one of those stores where the child in me is immediately anxious and I feel like I'm going to break something expensive and lovely.

The next three stops on the list are purveyors of my favorite things: food and beverage! Vosges Haut Chocolat [5] is one of the most fabulous chocolate brands around and their boutique on Armitage is almost overwhelming. They specialize in chocolates that incorporate exotic ingredients and unexpected flavor combinations. Some of my favorites include a dark chocolate and bacon combo and another with dark chocolate, chillies, and pepitas. Vosges is right next door to the Chicago Bagel Authority [7], a locally-owned bagel shop that bakes a variety of different bagel flavors and serves them up toasted or as sandwiches.  On a sadder note, Argo Tea [6]-- part of an adorable little teahouse chain-- have since closed the Armitage location.

Up next: one of my favorite stores on this street! Art Effect [8] is part clothing boutique and part gift shop with a really unique selection of items. There is a little something for everyone here so that no matter what you are looking for-- a wedding gift, a baby gift, something for a guy-- they have it all! This is where I got Alex that great Day Trips from Chicago: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler book for Christmas in addition to a great pair of earrings for myself. Stop on in if you're looking for a gift that isn't so run of the mill. This is the perfect place.

 All She Wrote [9] is another unique shop on Armitage that is perfect for buying gifts. They specialize in stationary and paper goods, but they have a lot of other great pieces that are available for monogramming or personalization. Also, they sell Lily Pullitzer accessories here.

The Walk ended with the only stop off of Armitage Ave. We took a left turn up Halstead Ave. to my favorite tapas restaurant Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba [10]. This is the restaurant that introduced Alex and me to on of our favorite foods: bacon-wrapped dates. Everything on the menu is solid (which is why this place is crowded no matter what time of day you go), but I am also a big fan of their patatas bravas, baked goat cheese, and of course, the sangria.


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