Category: Humboldt Park

Summer in Chi Town: Don’t Miss Out on These Experiences!

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By , June 3, 2015 11:00 am

With brutally cold winters that seem to last a little longer each year, Chicago is a city that lives for its beautiful summer season. So now that summer is here (finally!) why not try something new to soak up the sun and make the most of it?

Chicago Jet Boat Experience

One of the best ways to see Chicago is from the water, so kick back and feel the wind in your hair on a Chicago Jet Boat Experience. This is a half-hour tour that combines an adventurous ride with the beautiful view of Lake Michigan and the sprawling Chicago skyline. The boat leaves from Navy Pier, and the captain will tell you all about the city’s landmarks, architecture, and hot spots. Jet boats run daily between 11 am and 7 pm, May through October.

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Introduction to Kayaking

To get a little more active on the water, take our Introduction to Kayaking class with the experienced guides of Kayak Chicago. This is a beginner-friendly class that’ll teach you everything you need to know about paddling, boat types, proper gear, safety techniques, and rescue strategies. This expereince lasts about four hours and runs on Saturdays and Sundays from June through September.

Sailing 101 Chicago

Another great water activity to try in Chicago is sailing! Our Sailing 101 Chicago class is beginner-friendly, yet challenging and comprehensive. To complete the course, you’ll need to take four sessions, and each lesson last four hours. So this is a great experience for locals living in the city! Sessions run daily between April and September.

Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park

If you’re more in the mood for a little retail therapy, why not let a shopping expert help you focus and guide you through the city’s trendiest shopping district? Our Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park experience will take you to unique boutiques and introduce you to fashion trends and the creations of top designers. You’ll meet your guide and fellow shoppers at a cafe and then head out to receive VIP treatment and the guidance of a personal shopping stylist. The experience lasts about two hours and starts at 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb

If you’re willing to venture outside of the city to explore the surrounding area a bit, check out our Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb experience in southern Wisconsin. This is an ideal climbing destination for beginner climbers, and experienced guides will provide you with all the gear you need. The day begins around 9:00 am and runs until about 4:00 pm. There are more than 2,000 climbing routes here along the picturesque cliffs that overlook Devil’s Lake – perfect for taking a summertime dip after a day of climbing!

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

These are a few of the other summer-centric attractions that are must-dos in the city of Chicago:

  • Lollapalooza
  • Cubs game at Wrigley Field
  • Sox game at US Cellular Field
  • North Avenue Beach
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Chicago Air & Water Show
  • Navy Pier Fireworks

For a list of Chicago’s exciting 2015 festivals, take a look at TimeOut’s 2015 Summer Festival Guide and browse through FunSherpa’s Chicago experiences to find one that’ll make your summer unforgettable!

Legit crack and cupcake alternatives from Aussie baker Naomi Levine

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By , May 25, 2009 8:00 am

Naomi and her creations

Naomi and her creations

Half a world and opposite hemispheres away, Australian native Naomi Levine finds her home in Chicago. While one profanity away from being barred entry into the US by immigration back in ‘99, Naomi is now an official ingredient of the American melting pot (she got her US citizenship recently) – contributing her say-it-straight-up personality and unique baking skills into the mix. As owner of Tipsycake in Humboldt Park, Naomi explains why her ‘crack squares’ are legit despite the addictiveness and shares some insights into the differences between Australian and Chicago fare. So, the next time you need crack, a cake shaped like anything, or a taste of Australia, stop by Tipsycake and kick it with Naomi.

F: So you moved out to Chicago from Sydney. Are you nuts?

N: I moved out here 10 years ago, back in 1999. I don’t really love the outdoors, so trading Sydney for Chicago wasn’t too difficult. Yes I am crazy and I’m not going back. I am a prisoner in Chicago, I have a kid, a building, a boyfriend, so there’s no moving back for me.

F: What is the first thing you did when you went back here?

N: I fought with immigration. They interrogated me regarding my tourist visa…but they can kiss my a** now because I am a US citizen.

F: What do you miss from Australia?

N: The awesome seafood, because it is hard to find it out here. I miss the coffee culture, fresh passion fruit, but enjoying the good Mexican food here because you can’t get it in Sydney.

F: What Aussie creations are proving popular with local Chicagoans?

N: They like the lamingtons, sponge cake, and the caramel fudge, which we renamed the crack squares because we are in Humboldt park and it is addictive. It has been challenging adopting Aussie sweets to the American palate because Australian pastries usually consist of passion fruit and coconut which Americans don’t enjoy. But we don’t use American coconut, and instead source ours from Indonesia. So people don’t get it when they say that they don’t like coconut and then I shove my Indonesian coconut in their mouth and they like it!

F: What is the story behind Tipsycake?

N: I started it back in 2005 because I was sick of working in corporate, and got the name from the Oxford Dictionary of Food (a type of cake that gets you tipsy). I got into it because I saw a need, have the skill and am passionate about it. Our specialties are Australian pastries, like the pavlovas and lamingtons, and three dimensional cakes.

NSFW, but we censored it ourselves.

A NSFW cake, but we censored it ourselves.

F: Sydney vs. Chicago cuisine?

N: The food is not really comparable; they are very different. Midwestern cuisine focuses on corn, beef and has rich Hispanic influences. Sydney has strong ties to seafood and Asian influences. The coffee culture here is heavily biased towards Starbucks and large chains. In Australia, it is very dependent on independent coffee houses. (On a side note, if you ever try ordering coffee from Australia, it is like being the casting director of a porno film)

F: There are about a billion cupcake stores popping up. What’s that about?

N: The cupcake craze going on is driving me insane. There’s really nothing special about it because anyone can make a cupcake…that doesn’t mean that we don’t serve them – there is a strong demand, so we caved in and are now selling them.

F: What is the most challenging cake design you’ve ever worked on?

N: A 3D Yoda. It took us 2 days and we got the order 2 days before it was due. We finished and delivered it intact.

Spot the Yoda difference

Spot the Yoda difference

F: Do you get any strange requests for cake flavors or designs?

N: We usually get unusual requests for designs, but people tend to be conservative with their flavors. We would really like to do unique flavors like passion fruit or coconut but people cringe when they hear it. With regards to designs, you name it, we’ve done it – noses, penises, ears, head, shoulders, toes malaria tablets, and a butt.

F: What neighborhood do you live in?

N: I live right above the store in Humboldt Park. It is a very diverse neighborhood.

F: Where can people find a touch of Aussie in Chicago, food, art, culture?

N: At Tipsycake of course! Other great places to find Australian inspired cuisine include the Goddess and Grocer in Bucktown, and Feast restaurant.

F: Things to try from Tipsycake?

N: The crack squares and our lamingtons!

F: I hear you make meatpies and that they are awesome. How do we order some and what fillings do you have?

N: Thanks! Give us a call because you have to pre-order them – we make beef filled meat pies and pork sausage rolls.

F: What do you recommend people do if they make the trip to Sydney?

N: Take 6 weeks off! Go all over Australia because you will never do it again. Don’t stay in upscale hotels and instead try a bed and breakfast. Eat local cuisine. Go to the opera. Go to the park. Eat fish and chips. Don’t worry about tipping – there’s none of that 20% ‘tax’ over there. If they want to travel, talk to my friend Olivia from See ANZ Travel – she’ll look after you!

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