Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicago! Part One

Got a little break this past weekend, finally. Anastasia's birthday was coming up, and her daughter, Liza (you might know her from such blog posts as "Drinking Nancy's Wine"), had just started school at the Art Institute of Chicago. John had plans to meet them there and invited me along. Thanks to a Jet Blue sale and a rare free weekend, off I went!

Arrived Friday night and checked in at Ray's Bucktown B & B. Highly recommend this comfortable, friendly, modern and convenient place to stay if you're ever in town. Then off to a spectacular dinner nearby at the Bristol, where, after a moderate wait at the bar upstairs, we shared a bottle of Vietti Barbera Tre Vignes '07 and gorged on warm monkey bread, a salad with pumpkin croutons, bone marrow with red wine shallot jam, braised rabbit with artichokes and duck egg sammy. Liza came to meet us and after a failed attempt to get into the Whistler, found a great Spanish bar for tapas de la noche.

John and I had some time next day before meeting the ladies. Fab brunch at Hot Chocolate (although I've seen faster service at the DMV in Snailville) and off for a walk downtown. A beautiful, crisp fall day for a city tour, the river boat cruise was booked for the day, so what the heck, we got on a double-decker bus. Sober. Despite an irritatingly showy tour guide who felt the need to LOUDLY point out chain store ubiquitous shopping sites along the way, saw some cool building.


I was especially taken with the Aqua building, designed by Jeanne Gang. A truly feminine, elegant design, it evokes movement and undulation at every angle. Too bad we were moving so quickly as we approached.

We met Liza and Anastasia (just in from Seattle) at Liza's apartment in Pilsen before dinner nearby. The hood is mostly Mexican, with lots of public art and great food.

Waiting for the "L" Pink line to Pilsen.

Even the manhole covers in Pilsen reflect ancient Mexican art.

John on the Pink line stairs.

City view from the "L." Train arriving soon to take us to our Damen Ave. local, the Silver Cloud. Delicious Templeton rye from Iowa (not yet available in NYC) and "War Games" on the bar telly await.

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