All good things must come to an end.
We had a blast visiting with my family in our Chicago adventure, celebrating my brother’s 40th birthday, and catching up with friends. Getting my whole family in one destination for an event requires an act of God, so when it does happen, we relish in it (and to be fair, we were missing 4 key folks who got snowed out of town, but they were there in spirit).
There were a few late nights and a few groggy mornings, but they were totally worth it to have 4 wonderful days together.
The weekend got off to an auspicious start with the first snowfall of the year in Chicago. The snowflakes were thick and heavy, and, most shockingly, the “Windy City” failed to produce any wind, creating an almost idyllic scene. The snow fell slow and melodically, like it was engineered on a movie set. There was a subtle coating on cars, roads and trees, but not enough to slow us down or deter us from a stellar lunch at Owen and Engine.
Nothing comes between my family and a good meal.
While we spent most of the weekend in North Chicago, our last full day was savored in the heart of downtown Chicago, one of the prettiest urban centers in the US. The city has so many iconic and eye-catching structures, and though a few modern buildings have become landmarks, the classic ones always catch my eye, harkening back to a golden era of architecture.
As we sauntered down Michigan Avenue, recovering after gorging ourselves on Italian food and wine at Eataly, my brother suggested we do a walk-through of the Chicago Cultural Center, right across from Millennium Park. It celebrates the arts, containing a wide array of offices, galleries and artist studios, as well as hosting theatre and dance performances. A gem in the heart of downtown Chicago.
Colorful and dynamic, the building is a shrine of stained glass and intricate tile work.
Our final stop of the day was the Chicago Athletic Association, a former private club converted into a high-end hotel. The game room was a perfect mid-day retreat, full of billiards tables and a full size, indoor bocce ball court. My brother and I battled on the court, letting the game determine who would pick up the drink tab for the family. I reluctantly took out my credit card at the end, graceful in my swift bocce defeat.
There is always next time, brother.
The rooftop bar at the hotel, Cindy’s, afforded us the most perfect views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. The entire bar area is encased in glass, so the space was bright and sunny, allowing us to look up at the towering buildings above the hotel and across the city. Given the steep price of the cocktails, the view wasn’t quite free, but we would take pricy cocktails paired with this setting any day.
We picked our final meal in Chicago carefully, settling on Longman & Eagle, one of my brother’s favorite restaurants in the city. Luckily for us, they open for breakfast, so we had a chance to sample duck eggs with duck confit hash and a black truffle vinaigrette before leaving for Indiana to see Julie’s family. We ended on a high note because the food is outrageous and worth the hype.
The most beautiful eggs I’ve ever seen.
As I said, all good things must come to an end, so as we began our drive to Indiana, the Chicago adventure came to a close. It was a whirlwind 4 days, packed with family and friends, lots of restaurants and late nights reminiscing. It was emotional too, as it began with the passing of our beagle Basil, but ended on a high note with a fabulous day exploring one of the country’s great cities.