Sunday Parkways and fake meat Mexican food

Sunday Parkways was really nice. Chicago is finally emulating cities across the hemisphere and started to set aside some time when a few of the city's roads are closed to traffic - so they can be opened to everyone else who is excluded the rest of the time. The first event, which I didn't make it to, was October 5 and ran thru Logan Square and Humboldt Park. Yesterday the route went thru Little Village and East Garfield Park. I was there around noon - turnout was respectable but not spectacular. Community organizations and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation organized it, and they got a lot of kids from the neighborhoods involved, directing traffic and helping with the logistics. There were also more white folks moving thru East Garfield Park than there probably have been in the last forty years combined.

The route went thru both Douglas Park and Garfield Park, which are both really nice and, when you add in Grant Park, Burnham Park, Lincoln Park, Humboldt Park, Jackson Park, Washington Park, and Marquette Park, make a pretty strong case for Chicago having the best park system in the country. No word yet on whether Sunday Parkways will be continued and expanded, but it sure would be a nice addition to the city's recreation opportunities if they started it back up in the spring and made it permanent.

It gave me a good excuse to go up to the West Side - because of how far away it is from both the places I've lived in Chicago, I've really only biked around there twice before, and I've never been to Garfield Park before. There are some really cool buildings in the neighborhood, including the incredible Garfield Park Fieldhouse, inspired by the Spanish Revival architecture at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego's Balboa Park. Too bad the area is still one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city.

Since I was going to Little Village, I looked online for a Mexican place that wouldn't have lard in the beans and stumbled across El Faro (3936 W 31st St), which has a full menu of fake meat vegetarian dishes. I had a torta veggie cubano, a taco de soya estilo carne asada, and a 20 oz Jarritos for $9 incl tip. This is quite a find, and definitely worth going back to.

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