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21 May 2009

Foster Beach - Best Northside Beach for Families


We spent most our weekends last summer exploring the beaches of Chicago. It felt like a weird version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. First we tried North Beach, but it was TOO young (we felt like senior citizens amongst the volleyball playing millennials chugging water bottles filled with vodka). Then, we tried Montrose Beach but it was TOO polluted. Finally, we tried Foster Beach, and it was JUST RIGHT.

Foster Beach has a lot going for it. There is plenty of parking (it does tend to fill up on weekends, but have some patience). There is also a lovely grass area for picnics, restrooms, a snack bar, and a handicapped accessible walk that goes right down to the water. Those with a little one in a stroller will have no problems navigating this beach.

The best part of all? The water at Foster Beach is incredibly shallow. This is due to an enormous sandbar just off the shore. It is ideal for little kids.

Photo by Paty Barilari.

13 May 2009

Chicago Brauhaus


Friday night is family restaurant night in our family, and our favorite place to go is Chicago Brauhaus. We usually aim for a 6:30 reservation. This gives us enough time to get settled with our half liters of Stiegl beer and our giant Bavarian pretzel before the band takes the stage at 7pm. Once the band starts up, the kids make a beeline for the dance floor.

The food here is hearty and comforting. My favorite dish is the Schweine Schnitzel, a thin, breaded pork cutlet, served with potatoes (get the German fried) and a vegetable (get the red cabbage). If you like liver, don’t miss the liver dumpling soup. Both of my kids love it, as do I. Non-adventurous eaters will do fine with the goulash or the somewhat anemic salad (but, you should really try the liver dumpling soup).

Meatloaf is also terrific here, as are all of the sausages. If we are feeling very hungry, we sometimes order the roasted pork shank. It is bigger than my head (for real), and features tender, rich pork covered in what might be the world’s largest pork rind. Such a treat.

If you do make it to the Brauhaus on a Friday night, don’t miss the fancy older couple on the dance floor. They are fabulous.

Chicago Brauhaus
4732 N. Lincoln Avenue
Closed Tuesdays