Monday, 11 June 2007

Tolls, Feast, and Central Street

This past weekend was the second scheduled Chicago trip for this summer. Like previous trips, all my frustrations and annoyances with the city back. Immediately. As we sat for 20-minute in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam behind the 85 cent toll booth at O’Hare.

What a horrible way to introduce visitors to the city. I strongly encourage the State of Illinois Dept of Tourism to sell $20 weekend Illinois Tollway I-Passes on the border. Hell, I strongly encourage the State of Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa Depts. of Tourism to sell them. Illinois is damaging their tourist reputation by not making the program visitor-friendly ($50 & “Allow 7 to 10 days for processing and delivery” = not helping).

Sunday, we grabbed a pretty good brunch at Feast with Jon, Carolyn, Tesia, and Erin. As expected, the conversation, Feast’s outside seating, and the breakfast potatoes were delightful. While both the garbage omelet and service showed promise, they were awkwardly hesitant.

On the way out of town, we stopped by our old neighborhood on Evanston’s Central street. All our frustration melted away as we walked the sidewalk in and out of the storefronts. In front of the new independent coffee shop, we bumped in to Larry Maday, manager at the Video Adventure. One of the reason I’m disappointed on Netflix and Amazon recommendations is because of Larry’s ability to know exactly what we’re in the mood for. We chatted a little. Just like we did when we lived 2 block down.

Like we never left.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Fear of Chicago

I’ve got two trips to Chicagoland already queued up for this summer.

The first one is Saturday, May 19. When, of this writing, I’ll be spending some time on a go-cart in Buffalo Grove.

The last time I attended one of these events, I was trapped on a permanetly-docked gambling boat near Aurora after dining at a suburban Hooters.

I’m betting on a more enjoyable trip this time around.

Wonderlick – Fear of Chicago

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Big Thanks to the City of Big Shoulders

We’re heading back north in the morning after a few days in Chicago. Huge thanks to the Dihiansan’s for a very enjoyable backyard dinner earlier in the week and the Smith‘s this evening. On both counts it’s great to see kids older than Cooper, where they’re at as people and how Cooper interacts with them. Not to mention a good adult conversation. Thank you both for sharing your lives with us – if only for an evening.

We spent this afternoon at Millennium Park – and I have to say, the bean, er – Cloud Gate is far cooler up close than the pictures depict. The sculpture needs dozens of people underneath it all searching for their reflections. By contrast, I wasn’t as impressed with the Spitting fountains. No, it didn’t spit while we were watching it. Sure, the fountains were nice as a public bathing pool and they did alleviate some of the inherent urban oppressiveness. But.

We walked up and down Michigan Avenue – always a good walk. Especially when you have no particular destination. Through it all – Cooper had a fantastic time. Laughing, giggling, making new friends, watching the storefronts and cars go by. He’s definitely more city mouse than country mouse.

Things we missed about Chicagoland that came right back; Joy Yee’s bubble teas, Giordano’s stuffed pizza, Lake Michigan.

Things we didn’t miss about Chicagoland that came right back; traffic, and the hour it takes to get anywhere.

Extra special thanks to Jen’s uncle for hosting us and a congrats out to Capital K for his engagement. Looks like we’ll be back next year ’bout this time.