Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I just got back from a few days in The Windy City of Chicago (actually wasn't windy at all... occasionally a little breezy but mostly just really humid and hot, with a tiny bit of rain). My travel buddy and I went to some museums, ate at interesting restaurants, went and saw some live jazz, went to a movie, and just walked around a whole bunch and enjoyed the sights.

A little glimpse of downtown from our hotel room on the 12th floor.

Exchequer Restaurant and Pub- our first meal when we arrived that night. We just had to try some Chicago style pizza, and it was delicious. So innovative to have sauce, toppings, then more cheese, or however it is they did it. There was lots of cheese.
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria- More pizza, we ordered a pizza here one of the other nights. It was slightly better than Exchequer's pizza, in my opinion at least. Pizza at this place was like, toppings, cheese cheese cheese, sauce on top. Maybe some sauce snuck in with the "toppings" too (which were not really "topping" the pizza per se since they were bundled in with the other layers). Every time we passed by this place the line was out the door so we just ordered, picked it up and took it back to our room because we knew it had to be good but didn't want to stand in line for half an hour and then be crammed into a restaurant stuffed with people.
Grahamwich- A cute little sandwich shop, very reminiscent of San Francisco. Really sunny, seating was "family style" with comfy leather ottomans pulled up to a simple wooden table, with chalkboard drawings of vegetables on the wall. They had super healthy fruit juices, and a variety of tasty sandwiches and salads. I got the pastrami sandwich, very fresh tasting and filling.

Russian Tea Time- We had a light dinner here on our last night of some beef and potato dumplings and a lamb samsa, all served with leafy green salad, carrot salad, and rye bread.
Berghoff Cafe- got a tasty lunch here, a pulled pork sandwich and a bottle of their own house brewed root beer. Very classy little cafe below ground level, with stained glass windows.

Toni Patisserie and Cafe- a delightful little French cafe where we got brunch one morning. I got a slice of quiche lorraine, an iced mocha, and some macarons.

Each table had pretty flower arrangements, like this one.

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique- Here we got a dozen mini cupcakes, with fun flavors like banana, strawberry, pumpkin, chocolate, vanilla, mocha.. all with just a few decorative dollops of frosting on the top so they weren't too sweet.

Smith Museum of Stained Glass- a pretty little museum at the Navy Pier, where you could walk down hallways and little rooms to see different scenes depicted in stained glass windows.
The Field Museum- A pretty neat museum of various aspects of natural history. We saw exhibits on creatures that glow in the dark on land and under the sea, the original Native American tribes, ancient wall paintings discovered in France, and mammal and bird exhibits too.

Jazz Showcase- We caught the last hour of a show here at half price, and it was more than worth the money. Excellent musicians on the trumpet, piano, bass, an instrument kind of like a xylophone, and a full set of drums. Each of them were really into their instrument, given solos that were met with a wave of applause each time.

Millenium Park-  A vibrant community park, home to The Bean, some lovely plantlife, and a big fountain where kids love to cool off on humid summer days.

The Bean, a truly awe-inspiring work of art.

This fountain was really interesting, different faces would show on these LCD screens on these brick structures on each side, while water sprayed down the sides and onto the street to make a little pool that kids could walk on. 

Despicable Me 2- Went and saw this movie at an AMC theater near us, very funny and cute. I actually hadn't seen the first of the series but the movie stood well on its own. 

Random observations-
Gambling is totally not ok on the trains. They mentioned this several times over the intercom on the train. No soliciting, either.
Kids everywhere, but hey, I guess that's how it is in a touristy place.
The Shedd Aquarium has the longest line all the time.
Humidity is kind of exhausting, important to drink water all the time and take breaks every few hours to relax in an air conditioned hotel room.
So it was a really fun few days, always something to do and see. The city is a bit noisy, trains constantly passing by overhead, lots of people... but, it was cool to see what Chicago was like!