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The Right Way to do R&R in Skokie

This column writer reviews some of her favorite Skokie hot spots.

Standing in the 100-degree heat at the Skokie Fourth of July parade on Oakton Street and waving that little plastic American flag, my mind wandered and sauntered off its sometime vegetative state. Maybe it was that sun bearing down worse than one of my former bosses. Maybe it was that I had long run out of flavored water (tasty yet with zero calories, no less)? Maybe that it was that I coveted the ice cream in the parlor across the street? I do not know. All I know is that I marveled at all there is to do in this enclave. 

I mean there is a judo store for those who want to do judo, a for those who want to spend a dollar, or two, a park district with a swimming pool and the Swift for those who want to take a ride downtown, or to the McDonald's on Dempster Street, or maybe even to Kauffman's Bagel Bakery,

All I know is that there is a lot do for the enquiring mind and for those others as well. Me? I am a simple soul, born of humble origins and beginnings. So my tastes run from the mundane into the extreme. (What this has to do with any of this? I do not know, but I put it in because it sounded good.)

Anyway, there are a few things I'd like to add to the mix and to the pile of things to do in our enclave and little corner of the world, Skokie, Illinois, zip codes 60076 and 60077.

What to do -

First, there is the Relax Center, a Chinese massage parlor, on 9257 Skokie Blvd., with a massive plastic Buddha inside in the most darling shade of light green. I first thought it was a jade Buddha, but that was before I started pricing smaller jade ones and now believe that it is probably plastic, but that doesn't take away from its meaning and beauty either way.

The pros of this place are that a being can get a reasonable massage at a good price and there going on there or any vice-squad related stuff. The cons are that very little English is spoken here, especially by the staff, so you'd better either know Chinese (I joke).

My Mandarin (or Cantonese?) is limited to “how are you” (Ne how?), “please” (shea, shea) and “thank you” (bu-yong shea.) I once bowed while asking someone how he was at a parlor on the other end of this country and he started to laugh, so I wouldn't suggest being overly-polite or bowing through any of these.

The next must see place is situated near Skokie Boulevard and Golf Road. It is so crazy busy much of the time that I don't need to give the address and don't really feel like looking it up anyway. But suffice it to say that it is so popular, it is hard to get a seat at times. But if you want a good (non-alcoholic) summer beverage or a smoothie, this is the place to go, and they have very good piped-in music. The con is that some people talk loudly when you're trying to work and type opinions like this, you end up listening to their conversations and wanting to see the pictures of their kids are showing on their cell phones. Otherwise, it is a four-star dining experience.

The last spot I'm going to recommend is the and just about anything there, though I am partial to variety and quality, even if they do need softer music, Victoria's Secrets (new fave), and Lush because a person could really learn to exfoliate there.

I will try and post other things later whenever I think of them. In the meantime, have your fill and get a massage, smoothie and do some shopping. Maybe not in that order, though.

david July 25, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Are you serious? McDonalds & Panera Bread? Wilde & Greene gets 2 stars on YELP. Your review of the massage parlor was hardly favorable. Here's a better list from someone who gets around town. •Bughouse Studio- A perfect place to work tension out with clay. Or send the kids and have some peace and quiet. They have hourly rates for free play and classes available. Located by the new Swift station. •New York Bagels. The best bagels in town! Dempster st. •Ruby of Siam- Tasty Thai food off Skokie Boulevard. Or come to the old downtown area and support Tub Tim Thai on Oakton St, great food and excellent service at both restaurants. •Knock a few golf balls at the driving range on Oakton St. Or bring the kids and play the put put course. Always frun! •Webber Liesure Center- Amazing fitness packages at reasonable monthly rates. Or just walk the inside track to blow off some steam for FREE. Don't forget the ice skating rink with weekend free skating, skate rental always available. •McCormick Sculpture Park- Beautiful paved walkway running from Greenbay Rd in Evanston through Lincolnwood. Take a walk, see nature, feel good, appreciate art. FREE! •Finally there are two pools in Skokie, Devonshire and Oakton. The Oakton pool boasts an olympic size pool with fun water-slides and a kids water play jungle gym. Devonshire is a bit smaller but doesn't lack fun. Support local Skokie businesses and say NO to big chains that seek to turn skokie into Anytown USA.
david July 25, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Since I'm limited to characters the list continues: • Aw Yeah Comics on Oakton. Support this new comic book shop. Toys available the perfect gift place. *US Toy on Lincoln Ave by Gross Point, can you believe we have a toy store like this. Amazing selection of Legos, wooden toys, puppets and crafting. • Skokie Theater- now owned by Guerilla Tango, lots of events underway. http://www.gorillatango.com/cgi-bin/public/gttv2.cgi?location_number=2&shows=yes. We are so lucky to have this place. •Libertad on Lincoln across from the theater. A real 5 star restaurant in Skokie. This place is always packed and there's a reason why. Skokie's new rails to trails walk/bike trail goes from Dempster to Oakton. A great walk or fun ride with the kids. Watch for Traffic at Main St, let's hope they expand this to Howard st. Emily Oaks- WIldlife is still wild in Skokie. Turtles, geese, frogs, fish, hawks- they're all there. Events happen all year round. The new kids playground is top notch. Beautiful paths take you around the pond. There's so much to do in Skokie. Wednesdays on the Green, Movies in the Park, Antique Car Shows, Backlot Bash, Festival of Cultures. Need I say more?
jill feldman July 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM
These are the establishments you choose to write about? A mall, a chain restaurant and a Chinese massage parlor? Give us Skokie residents some credit, we have all been to the mall and we don't need you to tell us how Victorias Secret is. Although, after your previous review of the mundane eating experience on Oakton near the new swift station, I'm not surprised. This article has offered no new information.
jill feldman July 26, 2012 at 12:32 AM
David, you should start doing local establishment reviews of Skokie!
david July 26, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Thanks Jill, I'm trying to be more active on this forum. I review regularly on Yelp.com. and would gladly write informative reviews or suggestions of activities in Skokie for Patch. Unfortunately what the writer Gail-Tzipporah Saunders thinks is cool local "beat" writing comes off as a mediocre attempt to be humorous. I'm sick of the mediocrity present in Skokie. It's not Them Gail it's clearly You. We are a rich and vibrant community of artists and entrepreneurs. Just walk down Lawndale street North of Oakton, you can visit my custom metal shop Iron & Wire (www.iron-wire.com), Baroque Silversmith, Skokie Millworks & Stone Experts. All in a one block area. Craftsmanship like this is incredibly unique. I think more people need to know how special Skokie really is. I'm not thrilled about the pace of the downtown renovation, but when a restaurant like Yolo, Libertad, Tub TIm Thai, Kabul House or Eclissi appear we need to rally behind them. I constantly see criticism of the downtown development. I'd like to know why people criticize instead of supporting or founding their own development. Want to see a new coffee shop or restaurant by the Swift station people?...Open one, I'll be first in line supporting you.

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