Chicago on my Mind

On Tuesday of last week, my company was having a national conference for my department, being hosted in Chicago by a sponsor (another division of my company).  Since my plane ticked was being paid for, I opted to take a Sunday flight back into Cleveland, and take a single day off of work.  I have a high school friend (Miss Mary Kay) who has been living in Chicago since our freshman year of college.

One of the things that I’m struck by is how many people were crammed into the city.  I mean, I realize that Cleveland is not a one-horse town, but at the same time, it’s a Rust Belt town that goes to sleep at 10:00.  I was outside of the hotel on the Tuesday I arrived at 1 in the morning and the streets were still crowded with people who were out having a good time, partying.

I couldn’t have asked for better weather, either.  For three days of the five it was sunny, warm, and clear, even at night.  So wandering around the streets with Miss MK and her friends was bearable in my t-shirt and flip flops (although the 27 blocks to get a $1 sweet tea from McDonalds wasn’t thrilling).  But, I got a warning from The Boy, “Don’t look up at all the skyscrapers: everyone will know that you’re a tourist, and you’ll get panhandled.”

I did not, in-fact, get panhandled.  I was pretty good at avoiding them, except for one gentleman who stood in my face until I gave him a cigarette to go away.

I was able to knock a few things off of my list: traveling to Chicago, visiting a museum in another city, and eating a piece of sushi I’m normally too afraid to try.  When I arrived at Miss MK’s house, I was pleased with the idea of delivery sushi – not only God’s proof that he loves us and wants us to be happy, but they bring it right to your door!  I tried a piece of Miss MK’s spicy scallop, which, although good, was not my favorite.

Everyone’s been asking me if I went shopping, which I did, sort of.  I didn’t have time to explore a lot of the boutique-type shops that were tucked away, but I did have time to wander through the mall on Michigan.  I am such an internet shopper that the majority of the shops I saw at the mall, I can order products from online.  My goal, then, was to eat/do things that I can’t do in Cleveland.

I’ve become a bit of a foodie on the road, I suppose.  On Friday, after my inexpensive haircut at the Aveda Institute, Miss MK and I ate at La Creperie, where I had the savory boeuf bourguignon, which had to be the best meal I’ve ever had in my life.  Not only was I ready to have all of my belongings shipped to the patio of La Creperie where I would live forever like a poor Parisian singing for my supper, I am on the hunt for the perfect recipe of boeuf bourguignon for my own making.

Also, I had the best sushi dish of my entire life on Saturday.  Miss MK and I had another hankering for sushi (really, when don’t we?), and we tucked into a sushi bar called Friends Sushi for lunch.  Not only was it completely chichi inside with white everything and club-style music pumping through the speakers, it also had the most bad-ass bathroom I’ve ever had the privilege of using.  I had the Crispy Creamy roll, Miss MK had the Friends Roll.

I was able to go to both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum during my trip.  I really screwed the pooch, however, and missed the American Art gallery in AiC, and missed all of the quintessentially American works – all of the ones you typically think of when thinking about American art.  At the Field Museum, I got to see the Lions of Tsavo (for the record, the picture in the Wikipedia article is almost a dead-ringer for the one that I took), which were featured in this classic Val Kilmer movie, if you remember.  I only remember because I was super fangirly for Val for a very long time.

And while I had a good time, and I was a little reluctant to get on the plane to come back home, I was very happy to get back onto Cleveland soil.