Thursday, August 20, 2009

And Finally Chicago!

After our visit in Utah we drove back to Colorado. I got to see a few friends that I have known since elementary and middle school. And then Steve and I left our 3 kids with my mom and dad and brothers and went to Chicago. We have now done a few trips like this, and it is always hardest for me to actually say good bye to them and give them that hug....then once I am on my way I am okay. My mom headed to the park with the kids at the same time we headed to the airport so that Seth especially wouldn't get upset.

Our flight was the most turbulent we have ever been on. Several people around us were on the verge of throwing up...but we made it safely. Then we got in a taxi...I always think it is crazy riding in taxis, but again we made it safely. Steve has his annual Academy of Management Conference every August, and since the school pays for his way, by just paying for my flight we get a good vacation.

We were staying in the Sheraton which is right by the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, a perfect location. Steve did have a few paper presentations, lunch meetings, and conference receptions to go to, but we also did many great things together.

*Blue Man Group - Very funny, very entertaining
*River Architecture Tour - We took the tour done by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and this was excellent. The docent knew so much about the architecture and the history of Chicago. We saw beautiful, amazing buildings.

*Millennium Park - The park has an amphitheater designed by Getty and then several sculptures and fountains. The bean was amazing, the different reflections off of the polished metal. I also loved the face fountain that would spit water - kids were playing in it and I thought our kids would love it.

*Art Institute of Chicago - A chance to see more of the famous paintings we had learned about back in college...a great collection and we only saw a portion because we were just getting tired feet from all the walking.

*We just watched Top Chef Masters last night and I am proud to say we ate at Frontera Grill by Rick Bayless who was the winner. And it was fantastic food. It was the first ceviche we had ever had and we were surprised by how good it was. The guacamole - I could have been happy just eating that. We were also surprised by how we liked the little corn pancakes topped with chorizo and plantains.
*Chicago Deep Dish Pizza - we ate together at Gino's and Steve also went to lunch with other professors at Giordano's. Gino's pizza was great and we also really liked their cheese bread.

*LB Bistro - This was actually in our hotel and the chef is more known for his pastries. The desserts were very cute little $2 deals. The chocolate cake and strawberry shortcake were good but again we were surprised that we liked the lime custard with strawberries so much.

*Weber Grill - We were happy they did the BBQ so well - we are more picky now that we have lived in Texas.
*Big Bowl - This was Asian food and again very good. We got the orange chicken and then a seasonal, more Thai influenced noodle dish with lots of veggies. Both were good. Steve also tried the ginger ale that they make themselves - way too gingery for me. I got their freshly made raspberry lemonade.

It was great to have those few days to ourselves. And I also really want to thank my parents and brothers. Michael particularly was Seth's buddy - Michael played with him, put him to sleep, got him medicine in the middle of the night when he was sick - I am glad Seth is named after him. Calvin got Rhianna and Rand involved when his friends came over for dinner and then for his Young Adult FHE. My dad had a busy weekend - he was actually in Utah for my grandpa's 80th birthday party. And so my mom did the, laundry, parks, gardening, rec center and swimming...they had a wonderful time. We left on Thursday, August 13 and actually ended up driving the whole way back to Tucson. 900+ miles from about 6:30 am (Mountain Time) to 9 pm (Pacific Time) but then we were home. This was literally one of the best summers of my life.


2MyGirls said...

What a fun city to visit. I am jealous that you went to Frontera Grill. I love Rick Bayless's recipes--maybe one day I will make it to his restaurant.

Maria said...

We miss good BBQ too. It sounds like you were able to find lots of great places to eat--did you use a website or did people recommend them?

Anonymous said...

Steve found the restaurants. I think he mainly got the recommendations from Metafilter. LBs was just there in the hotel (and room brochures) and we recognized the chef from all our food TV watching. The guy we sat next to on the plane was the one who recommended the 2 pizza places, though we already knew about Gino's. The only really "Chicago" food we didn't get was a hot dog.