We found, shopping at a non-mall location was fine. We hit downtown Evanston, Illinois for the afternoon and while the shops were busy none had fist fights or hair pulling incidents.
If you are a cook who needs some interesting ingredients for your holiday recipes, Home Economist at the corner of US 41 and Church St. in Skokie probably has what you are looking for. I found some great deals on hard to find spices and flours. I love baking bread, but sometimes it's tough to find good flours. They have 70% gluten flour, good whole grain flours, etc. I also found file powder, which essential to great gumbo, and both Spanish and Hungarian Paprika (there is a difference).
I found a couple of nice things, that have no real use in my life but would be cool. Like this espresso maker from DeLonghi, at $1495.00 I can't really see buying one, but it is neat.
We also found a new cafe, one I won't frequent, but looked different. It's call Cereality, a Cereal Bar and Cafe. Yeah, weird. Pick two cereals, toppings, and milk, and get it in a chinese food style container. I'll just go to my grocery store for the cereal, thanks.
The best find (in my mind) of the trip was at Cost Plus World Market, which is an great place to find strange stuff. I like them for some of their weird foods, but they also have a great microbrew and regional beer selection. Today I found a six pack of Leinenkugel's Apple Spice Beer. It's a seasonal, limited batch brew that I'd been dying to try for the last few years, but could never find. I like it, it's like drinking a cup of spiced cider with a little bit of beer bite to it, though the sweet finish is odd for an ale. The lovely one wasn't fond of it, but the child of legal drinking age did find it enjoyable.
Lunch was a near disaster at Wolfgang Pucks. The food was very good, but the waiter we had was a nightmare. He got 2/3's of the order screwed up, wrong soups, wrong food to wrong people, and kind of an attitude about a screw up on the drink order. A free desert smoothed some of it over, even though it was an apple crisp that wasn't horribly good. The butternut squash soup though is outstanding, as is the clam chowder with bacon.
Technorati Tags: Black Friday, Shopping, Wolfgang Puck, File Gumbo, Beer, Food