Week #44 – Spotlight: Primal Oceans Salt Cave

So, I’ve been pretty excited to share this experience with you. I thought this might post would be a typical spa day, but it was far from it.

Lindsey and I talked about going to a salt cave for months, so when the LivingSocial deal for Primal Oceans Salt Cave in La Grange became available, we jumped at the chance. For $33, you could get an aquamassage and salt cave experience (what Lindsey purchased) or for $35, you could get an ionic detox footbath and salt cave experience (what I purchased).

For more details on the treatments I received, let me paraphrase from their website:

IONIC FOOT BATHS: Benefits of the detox foot baths are endless: enhancing the immune system, speeding up recovery time from injury, relieving arthritic pain; improving sleep patterns, etc.

SALT CAVE: The large amount of pure Himalayan salt used in the cave creates a microclimate, which mimics that of underground natural salt caves.

What’s the deal with the Himalayan salt, you ask? Well, for someone riddled with health problems, let me share a few of the benefits:

  • Contains 84 essential minerals that benefit the body
  • Aids in proper metabolic functioning
  • Creates an electrolyte balance
  • Beneficial for upper respiratory issues (allergies, sinuses)
  • Positive effects on forms of dermatitis (eczema)

So, we arrived at Primal Oceans (very easy train ride from downtown, and walking distance from the station), and Karen was extremely kind and helpful, and the spa was immaculately clean. We got a tour of the facilities, and then it was time for our separate treatments. Mine was a little longer, so I started first.

I sat in a relaxing lounger in a small room by myself. Karen told me to keep my feet in the small tub, as she poured in a small scoop of salt, and put the “ion machine” in the tub. I love science, so I was pretty pumped about this. What happens is, the machine emits positive and negative ions that react to your body. Toxins are released through the pores in your feet, and the result is seen in the water, from urine yellow to poo brown (sorry, best analogies here). I sat there, peacefully, with the lights turned low, a blanket on, and my feet soaking in the tub.

The anticipation of seeing the water change was killing me. So I looked down. Within minutes, the water turned yellow. I panicked. What the heck is going on? I know I’m pretty unhealthy, but it changed in minutes? The investigative reporter (and ignorant idiot) in me googled the treatment and there were a lot of words like “hoax,” “scam,” and the like. I didn’t believe it (I still don’t, by the way), and put my phone away. No matter what you believe, it’s nice to dedicate some time to relaxation.

But then the water kept changing, darker and darker. Until at the very end, it was brown water with sludge in it. WHAT WAS IN THE WATER?!? I was nervous and intrigued and confused, but it was fun, nonetheless. Lindsey joined me after her treatment (hers was ike a human carwash!), and we decided that we should have both done the foot bath to perform an experiment. Would the water have come out the same for both of us? It’s a mystery.

After my feet were clean, we put on some white socks and headed into the salt cave. The cave was cool, dark, and quiet, filled with anti-gravity chairs and a chest of cozy blankets (they have to keep the temperature down for the salt). Lindsey and I were the only ones in the salt cave session, which gave us free reign to chat and gossip all we wanted.

Once the doors were closed, an introduction came over the speakers to relax, as the room became darker and stars appeared on the ceiling. Lindsey and I laid back in our chairs, snuggling warm blankets, and putting our hands in the salt “sand” that covers the cave floor. I must admit, that 45 minutes went by pretty quickly. At the end of the session, we were rested and rejuvenated.

We bundled back up in our boots and coats, and headed to the little gift shop in the lobby of the spa. We both purchased some mementos from our time at Primal Oceans; I opted for a small bottle of bath salt.

Let me be honest, it’s hard to know if these treatments will have long-standing effects. But what I do know is that the experience was extremely fun and unique, the service was wonderful, and if another deal came about, Lindsey and I might have to go back for our ionic detox foot bath experiment!

Primal Oceans Salt Cave
La Grange, IL

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Week #21 – Little Market Brasserie

Ok, I’m at it again. I’m on a restaurant streak!

This time, Lindsey and I ventured out to Little Market Brasserie, a little spot in the Talbott Hotel (which is really cute, by the way).

I made a reservation for two on Monday evening at 6 pm, and the crowd was definitely light, which is to be expected. I sat down right away (the host asked if I was there to meet my sister—Lindsey is a tall, thin, blond…), and we ordered cocktails. Good thing, because it was one of those days when you just need to leave work and have a cocktail (those of you who know me know that that’s pretty out of the ordinary).

Little Market touts their “charged sodas,” where you choose from one of five sodas and pair it with a suggested spirit. Mix and match, if you will. We asked the waiter for a recommendation, and he brought out two small samples of the cucumber lemon (which Lindsey ordered with vodka) and the orange hibiscus mint (which I ordered with vodka). These were so refreshing and delicious. Had one, probably could have sucked down three.

For food, we decided to go with one of our waiter’s food suggestions, which was the ceviche. Man, did this dish deliver. I wasn’t surprised, seeing as Mercadito Hospitality, which is also behind Mercadito, Tavernita, and so many more top restaurants in the city, also owns Little Market.

Deviled eggs have become a Second City Gal favorite in the past few years, so I wanted to try them, but I wouldn’t really recommend these unless you love horseradish. I could barely eat one it was so strong.

Our goat cheese and beets salad was good, and so was the pork belly share plate, but the pork was probably a little too heavy for late spring/early summer. An ordering error on my part.

We were way too full for dessert, so we sipped our cocktails, caught up, and enjoyed the décor of the restaurant. It actually reminded me a lot of The Smith in New York City—creative lighting, black and white everything, and bistro styling. The smaller bar just beyond the host stand is especially my style with its well-lit shelving, sweet potted green plants, and recycled ceiling tiles (which I have in my apartment). I’d like to ask the interior designer if she does in-home consultations…

For cute atmosphere and tasty cocktails, head over to Little Market Brasserie!

PS—Linds gave me the cutest gold leather bow bracelet (see below). Tres cute!

Little Market Brasserie
10 E. Delaware Place
Gold Coast

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Week #12 – Piece Brewery & Pizzeria

Everyone and their mother has had a piece at Piece, so this was a no-brainer to pay a little visit to this beloved pizzeria for the blog!

Nate and I doubled with Lindsey & Matt for an early dinner because it is infamously packed—early was a good call, and it was pretty calm, actually. I especially liked all of the twinkle lights and the pinball game near our table.

Nate and Matt ordered two of their award-winning house beers (who knew they brew their own beer!), and Lindsey ordered a glass of wine. The waitress helped me choose a Hitachino Nest White Ale, based on my love for Blue Moon and wheat beers. It was pretty tasty, and the cute owl on the label was an extra bonus.

Now it was time to choose our pizzas. Piece is New Haven-style pizza—Connecticut has it’s own style of pizza?! New Haven pizza traditionally has a generous amount of red sauce topped with garlic, extra parmesan, and olive oil.

After reviewing our options carefully, we decided on two large pizzas, one pepperoni pizza with red sauce (Matt’s go-to!) and one pizza with white sauce with two halves of different toppings. But which toppings? We went with the waitress’s recs: bacon and clam pizza on white sauce (they are famous for it), and sausage and basil.

The larges are like extra larges, perfect for sharing and having leftovers to heat up the next day. I also liked that the pizzas were big ovals cut into small triangles, allowing you to try more slices.

My first Piece? The pepperoni and it was a delicious, safe way to start. Then I went for a piece of the sausage and basil, which was my hands-down favorite! The sausage wasn’t too greasy, and the basil gave it a nice element of freshness. Ok, two for two.

Then came the bacon and clam pizza, which came with a side of lemons. I squeezed on my lemon, and I’ve got to admit, it’s just not for me. I’m really glad I tried it though. (Clams on pizza is VERY adventurous for me!)

So would I go back to Piece? In a heartbeat—I’m already craving the sausage and basil pizza again! I’d also like to try one of their house-brewed drafts next time. I’m glad that I can now be another voice in the crowd of people who enjoy Piece.

Peace, Piece!

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
1927 West North Avenue
Bucktown

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