Changes in the Air

Here’s what’s making us happy this week: Does someone smell new things in the air? It’s kind of like new car smell…

An airport turns eco-park. Good things can happen to dysfunctional spaces. For example, the wee public landing strip on manmade Northerly Island in Chicago’s Lake Michigan. The airport, built in 1947 and closed in 2003, has been transformed into a 40-acre nature park, as of September. Manmade rolling hills, lagoons, and trails frame the Chicago skyline. It’s a quick island escape off the shores of Chicago.

northerly islandPhoto by Brian Lauer via Flickr

A fresh take on home cooking. If there was an opportunity to hand over your “best of” family recipes to a chef, that’d be kind of awesome, right? Especially a chef like Carmel Valley’s Tim Wood, who is consistently voted one of the best in the Monterey Bay region and who is a stickler for sourcing. With the opening of the new Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch (formerly The Lodge), Wood plays around with family favorites (as well as his own faves). While our grandmothers might have opened a can for that tuna fish sandwich, Wood is more the type to call the fisherman, who will then deliver an albacore from Monterey Bay. Other comforts reinvented with quality ingredients are chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, and prawn and pork Bun Cha—Vietnamese meatballs inspired by the staff.

valley kitchen food

Beer budget, champagne taste. Cheap happy hour with bites that are high end? True that. Penn Quarter’s Bar Deco in Washington, D.C. charges a fiver for a glass of house wine or a draft during the magic hours. Then, brings out the crazy-good food: fried pickles ($6), Sicilian wings ($10), and grilled octopus ($11). There’s a rooftop made for drinking in the gorgeous historic limestone Bulletin Building.

DSC_0231Photo courtesy of Bar Deco

Fall in San Francisco. It is possible to find some seasonal changes in right in the city on the Bay—despite its reputation as a one-season town. The San Francisco Botanical Gardens are 55 acres of red, yellow, orange, and even purple-ish leaves. Botanist Dennis Breedlove is the one who first cultivated species from Central America in California in the ’70s and ’80s. Now, the garden’s 8,000-plus plants include such color shifting favorites as maple trees (for that classic red-to-orange-to-yellow hue), ginkgo trees (bright gold), and dogwoods (magenta).

Fall-Color-SFBG-BLangePhoto by Brendan Lange

Title photo by James Gaither

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