I spent last weekend in Chicago, which is my favorite city in the world. I was in Chicago for one of my closest friend’s bachelorette parties on Saturday night, and, because my birthday was on Sunday, I stayed through Monday. (I don’t travel on my birthday. Two years in a row of land border crossings on my birthday led me to establish this rule.) My parents came up on the train to celebrate my golden birthday with me.
with some of my besties at the bachelorette party
I did some of my favorite things over the weekend, so I present the Do This: Chicago Edition.
☆ Drinks on the Chicago River: I arrived on Friday afternoon and had drinks at Flatwater with one of my oldest friends. There’s something undeniably wonderful about drinks on the water, and this was no exception.
☆ Brunch at Orange: The morning after the bachelorette party, some of us girls brunched at Orange before reluctantly scattering. When I lived on Roscoe Street way back in 2005, I used to eat at the Orange on North Clark with some regularity. Four moves later, I’m living in Brooklyn and eating there has gotten increasingly inconvenient. (Compounding the problem, the internet tells me that location has closed.) We met at the location on Clark near Chicago, and, even though we were a large group, we were seated immediately. (It probably didn’t hurt that we arrived at 10:30!) Orange makes the best coffee – it has orange zest in it, and it tastes so good. Orange is famous for their frushi and pancake flights, but I’m more of a savory breakfast girl, so I got an omelet.
☆ Dinner at Le Colonial: My parents came up to Chicago for my aforementioned birthday, and we had my birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Colonial. I love the atmosphere there, and I would happily eat Vietnamese food for every meal for the rest of my life. Mom stopped by earlier in the day and told the staff it was my birthday, so they seated us at a perfect table by the front windows, and they brought out a delicious macaroon with ice cream and a candle. It was so nice!
birthday dessert with Mom & Dad
☆ Architectural Boat Tour: The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour is a new favorite of mine. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and we had a sunny afternoon on Monday, so we bought tickets for the tour. It’s a ninety minute ride along the Chicago River with a guide who points out which architectural firms designed which buildings and discusses the influences and contexts of each. It’s even more interesting than I imagined it would be, and I highly recommend it if you’re in Chicago.
☆ Tea at Russian Tea Time: My mom and I often have tea, and one of our most frequented tea spots is Russian Tea Time. They serve a house tea that delicious and comes in a fun Russian mug. We rarely get the full tea service there, opting instead to get scones a la carte. On Monday, my parents and I had tea and a snack there before it was time for me to collect my suitcase and get on the blue line back to O’Hare.
Until next time, Chicago!
I am now back in New York after spending a lovely week in my home (and favorite) state of Illinois! I spent the weekend in Chicago, where some of my law school friends gathered from near and far (Chicago, New York, Colorado, Virginia) for our annual bash. A core group of us started the weekend off with a traditional and raucous dinner at pingpong on Friday night.
Four of us crashed with our gracious friend Laurie, and it was the most amazing slumber party all weekend long. We gathered a few more old friends for the main event on Saturday night. It was quite the affair: there were matching t-shirts, a seating chart, and a number of items of whimsy.
A number of us stayed all day on Sunday, too, so we closed out the weekend with a bottomless mimosa brunch at Deleece, $1 drinks at Cocktail, and a dance party at Hector’s.
I hopped on the Amtrak early Monday morning to visit my folks downstate. It was, as always, lovely to be home. It’s nice to visit with parents, sleep in my old bed (even though my old bed is now located in my brother’s old room), and torment my dog.
Abby is not amused.
While I was at home, I learned the very exciting news that I passed the New York bar! Hooray! My parents and I celebrated with champagne and dinner at my favorite restaurant at home.
I had another small triumph while at home: I learned that I can still drive a car! I drove up to Moline one day (to visit the zoo, which we learned was closed when we got there) and to Monticello another day.
The trip to Monticello was to visit one of my all-time favorite places, Allerton Park. The park, which is owned by the University of Illinois, is a vast expanse of land that includes trails, prairie, floodplains, and forests, but my favorite part has always been the formal gardens. As a child, the statues in the gardens always inspired my imagination. My favorites are the twenty-two shiny blue fu dogs standing at attention.
click through to see more pictures of the park!
Friends, family, and fun … it was a great week at home.
My college girlfriends and I were planning on having our bi-annual get-together in Chicago before I flew back to New York, but the snowstorm ruined our plans. The girls who lived downstate couldn’t make it up to Chicago, and so us girls who were in Chicago decided to scrap our plans to go out to dinner and instead ordered in sushi and watched 500 Days of Summer on demand. I don’t recommend the movie, but I do recommend the restaurant. I copy-and-pasted my Yelp review below:
We were too cold and tired last night to go out for dinner as we had planned, so we decided to order in. Delivery sushi can be kind of a dicey proposition, but Liz assured us that Shine delivery was good — and she was definitely right.
There were four of us, so we ordered seven rolls to share (plus one piece of tamago for me because I really wanted one), and we ended up having way more than enough. (Of course, we had been snacking on Christmas cookies earlier!) We had the following rolls:
* Spicy tuna: this was your standard spicy tuna, and it was good.
* Vegetable maki: this was not the best vegetable maki I have had, but it was good.
* Dragon maki (unagi and tempura crunch wrapped in fresh avocado): this was good. (That’s an excellent description on my part, huh?)
* Honey roll (white tuna, cucumber, sesame honey sauce rolled in tempura crunch): none of us were crazy about this roll. The flavor was too subtle, and we couldn’t taste the “honey sesame sauce” at all. The
tempura crunch was also really flaky — it looked like snow — and got all over everything.
* Ichiban maki (unagi, cream cheese, tempura crunch in spicy sauce wrapped in avocado and shrimp): everyone in the group loved this one, but I actually didn’t have any because I’m not wild about unagi and I don’t like cream cheese in my sushi.
* Mexican maki (tuna tobiko, cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, and lime): I loved this one! Usually I don’t like these kind of fusion rolls, but this one was executed really well and tasty.
* Mangoku maki (fresh salmon, tempura crunch, and spicy sauce in fresh mango): this roll was the group favorite. It was so good — and it had just the right amount of mango. I wish I would have discovered this roll while I was still living in Chicago!
I can only imagine that the rolls are even better when ordered in the restaurant.
In order to keep my Illinois bar admission active, I had to attend a CLE conference on Illinois Basic Skills in Chicago last week. The conference itself was tortuous, but it did give me a great excuse to see my friends.
I stayed with Ashley and Tyler, who were amazing hosts, from watching Glee to cooking out on the balcony in chilly November to the crazed rush to the airport on Saturday morning.
Kelley’s going away dinner was fortuitously scheduled for Friday night, so I got to attend. We started with the ridiculously overpriced but ridiculously delicious drinks at the Park Hyatt, and then we headed up to everyone’s favorite restaurant (and the site of my own going away dinner) Ping Pong. After martinis, wasabi fries, and chocolate-covered fortune cookies, we decided to close out the evening at Friar Tuck’s. I can’t explain how delighted I was, after reminiscing about the time we discovered it was hat night at Friar Tuck’s, to find out that Friday was, in fact, Fun Hat Friday.
Fun Hat Friday has come a long way since 2007, when it consisted of a few hats crammed in a ratty cardboard box.
This is the post about the caped bus rider that I mentioned last night. It was originally published on December 1, 2006, and it illustrates my favorite things to post about: the crazies one stumbles across each and every day.
A man wearing a cape boarded the 151 at the stop right after mine. He proceeded to stand creepily close to me the entire time, despite the wide availability of seating. He also had buttons with pictures of Wonder Woman, a large black zippered glove on his left hand, and a hairstyle that I cannot even begin to describe, but the most notable thing about him was his cape. People wearing capes really should not be permitted to use public transportation; it makes the non-cape-wearers uneasy.
On a semi-related (having to do with buses) note, I realized my UPass expires on December 22. This made me sad. Then, however, I remembered a movie quote: “Tickets? Since when did they start charging to ride the bus? Didn’t we use to ride that sh*t to school every morning for free?” Then I laughed out loud.
Then I was embarrassed because, suddenly, who’s crazier? The guy wearing the cape or the girl laughing for no apparent reason?
Kudos if you know what movie that line is from. (Googling is cheating.)
I’m still on the mailing list for The Chicago Diner, and I received their newsletter today. It referred to a “tip jar brouhaha” in the subject line, so I immediately opened it because brouhaha is kind of an awesome word. The newsletter linked to a Trib story (which I wonder how I missed since I still read it online), and it amused me greatly, so I’m linking to it here.