And so Friday began aboard our train, hurtling toward Chicago.
We thought we had woken up after the time change. We had not.
Amtrak offers a superb lounge and baggage storage service for their sleeping-car passengers! Imagine!
It was snowing when we walked out of Union Station. I was so excited! There we were, right on the river, in our heavy coats and funny hats, blinking the snowflakes out of our eyes. It was magical.
Intelligentsia Coffee was our very first stop – WOW. Some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, barring the fabulous mocha I experienced later on this very same trip in D.C. You simply must check them out – they ship. <wink> And all of the employees were dressed in retro suspenders. The place was packed out, for good reason. They even do latte art. ?! Who does latte art anymore?? Joshua’s cup of macho black coffee had notes of dates, lemons, and apples in it, and he affirms that he could most assuredly taste these things. Of course, his palate is something special, so don’t take his word for it.
Joshua posed for a crazy photograph by one of the many, many CAUTION: FALLING ICE signs sprinkled beneath high roofs around the city. An older man walking into the building itself: “I like your pose! The signs really should say, ‘RUN LIKE HELL – FALLING ICE!'” We all guffawed in agreement.
Willis Tower on Friday, March 1, was covered in clouds and had 0 visibility. They were still charging $18 a person to get to the top. We opted out to return Sunday.
Instead, we went to take a picture of ourselves looking at the Bean, per tourist tradition.
We then walked through a truly impressive photography exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. One of our personal favorites was a wall with three separate pictures, each of an attractive woman. The women were similar, the high-cheekbone, Katherine Hepburn / Vivian Leigh look, all gazing off in the general direction of the doorway. There seemed to be such purpose surrounding the set of photographs. I eagerly found the plaque: “Untitled (Three Women, Looking In The Same Direction)” by Richard Prince. Yes. Well. That does just about say it all.
The big thing at the Art Institute was their massive exhibit of Picasso’s artwork, which took us upwards of 20 minutes to find, regardless of maps and arrows.
Chicago is blessed with one of the best and most unique French Markets I’ve ever visited. It was similar to the one we went to in Paris, but, of course, this is Chicago and America. There was sushi, pastries, prepackaged meals, a Jewish kosher deli, Belgian fries, a wine shop, a cheesemonger, and even a totally raw place. It was heaven. I’ll be doing a post all about the food separately. 😉
Per the recommendation of Bon Appetit, one of my all-time favorite cooking magazines, and therefore per the express recommendation of my go-to foodie, Andrew Knowlton, we made the trek out to Pleasant House Bakery, just recently featured in Bon Appetit’s latest issue (fancy that!). While waiting for our savory pies, we noticed a wooden sign hanging on the wall with this quote:
Ear all, see all, say nout.
Eat all, sup all, pay nout.
If the do out f’nout, do it f’the sen.
Yes, we were quite puzzled. But it turns out that the owner picked the plaque himself, and knew precisely what it meant. It’s a Yorkshire proverb. Hear all, see all, say nothing. Eat all, sup all, pay nothing. But if you ever do anything for nothing, do it for yourself. Hm.
We stayed at the Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel. I give it a big thumbs up.
For dinner, we had to do an early hot dog with root beer – this is Chicago, after all!