Dinner at Uncle Julio’s & the Visual Delights at Westfield Old Orchard outside of Chicago
We are staying at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, across from Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, a stone’s throw away from where we used to visit Cecile’s beloved late parents, Margie and Harry. During our first night here we had dinner with Cecile’s brother Mark, Barbara and their children Ilana and Zachary—the soon to be Bar Mitzvah boy at Jameson’s.
Last evening Cecile and I had a Tex Mex dinner at Uncle Julio’s at Old Orchard. It is no wonder it has grown so rapidly since its debut in Dallas, Texas in 1986. The restaurant’s decor is classic Hacienda Stye and the original recipes employed are based on using the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Everything is made from scratch.
We began with homemade tortilla chips, salsa and fresh guacamole along with their signature frozen Margarita Swirl that combines a margarita layered with home-made sangria. We shared their special Skirt steak Fajitas and seared Ahi salad.
It’s amazing to see how shopping malls like Old Orchard have transformed the role they play in people’s lives by creating experiences that go well beyond traditional shopping. After dinner we walked around the colorful shopping center grounds. There is a real sense of community involvement here. We loved seeing the colorful art planters and the outdoor mannequins display that were created by New Trier’s High School students in Marketing and Merchandising in Fashion. They skillfully use recycled materials donated by Bloomingdales Lululemon and Nespresso as seen in the photos. There was also an unexpected Organic Garden filled with fruits and vegetables created by Old Orchard in partnership with The Organic gardener Ltd. The harvest is donated to the neighboring Niles Food Pantry.
There were many other visual delights including museum quality bronze sculptures by William Duffy, European-style fountains, sundials, Koi ponds, seasonal flowers, imaginative children play areas and lounge chairs to read, rest and take it all in. We finished the evening browsing the bookshelves and magazine racks at Barnes and Noble which has become a dying species these days before calling it an evening.