Friday, May 23, 2008

Windy City Green

Who: VN Senior Editor Elizabeth Castoria, VN Distribution Manager Katie Donaldson, and former VN Editorial Assistant Extraordinaire Christine Petrozzo
What: Chicago Green Festival + related revelry
Where: Navy Pier, Chicago, Ill.
When: May 17–18, 2008
Why: Because we're greenies who like to eat

The Scoop: Next to the calm waters of Lake Michigan, the Windy City was recently taken by a green storm. After an opening ceremony hosted by Mayor Richard Daley, hundreds of exhibitors, dozens of A-list speakers, and thousands of attendees swarmed the festive premises of Navy Pier to celebrate the best and brightest of the green industry. From eco-friendly footwear to fair-trade chocolate there were plenty of opportunities to get swept up in the green tide. Is that enough eco/weather references for one post? Okay, we'll move on. The show hours were spent meeting new subscribers, checking out oodles of edibles, and getting the scoop on new organizations, products, and potential story leads. Suffice it to say that at the end of the day, there was nothing we wanted more than to kick back and relax over a leisurely dinner.

After successfully navigating the tourist-friendly El system, we arrived, ravenous, at The Chicago Diner. Immediately taken in by the diner-themed decor, we eagerly poured over their extensive menu, and nearly died from the excitement of vegan shakes and their famous Radical Reuben. Finally, the three of us settled on the Reuben, the Southwestern Chikin Burger, one order of Crab Cakes, a strawberry shake, a peanut butter shake, and a slice of Cookies and Cream cake. Does that all sound outrageously fantastic? Because it totally was. Phe-freakin'-nominal would also be an appropriate description. The dinner was so good, in fact, that even though we were slightly tempted to explore other eateries during our two-day stay, we unanimously decided to go back the next night for more Chicago-Diner goodness. If you're in the area, allow us to strongly recommend the potato skins, Super Gyros, and a side of the mac 'n' cheese. Oh yeah, the leftovers also made excellent in-flight snacks the next day.

If there's anything better than great food and a good cause, it's getting to share the weekend with friends. Below, see some of our favorite ice-cream makers, the men of Chicago Soy Dairy, who evidently didn't do too shabbily at their booth:

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