Breezing through city #2: Chicago
Our stint in Chicago is regrettably short, barely 18 hours, so we endeavored to make the best of our time there. I’m pretty familiar with this windy city from the many years I travelled here for work but I’ve very rarely had the luxury to enjoy it as a tourist. After our 8-hour drive through some of the most stunningly dull roadways in the country, we were ready to stretch our legs. We were both VERY thankful for Tina Fey’s Bossypants on the iPod, which provided a hilarious distraction from such highlights as Gary, Indiana.
We were staying at the W Lakeshore (thank you, Starwood points) so we started our little pre-dinner jaunt there, and the many sand beaches that line it were dotted with children and locals. It was an immensely hot and sultry afternoon so a walk in the warm tide felt like an absolutely dreamy way to cool off. We moved on from our walk around the lakeshore walk, to Shaw’s Oyster Bar, the casual counterpart to Shaw’s Crab House, and one of my all-time favorite Chicago institutions. Some oyster shooters, Prince Edward Island oysters and raw tuna and avocado with tortilla chips hit the spot and put us in a celebratory mood. It was sad and tearful to leave our families, including our feline companions, but we were trying to look ahead to the adventures we had to look forward to. We enjoyed some local Lake Michigan Whitefish with a horseradish crust and Dijon green beans, as well as a chopped salad with lobster, crab and shrimp for our entrees, and both fit the bill for a fresh and perfectly light and delicious meal. We took a slice of bracingly tart Key Lime Pie back to the hotel with us so we could avoid the gathering storm. We enjoyed the pie poised in front of our lakeview windows in our hotel room, and watched the dramatic lightening storm brighten the sky with its electric blue and white flashes and spine-tingling thunder booms. It was a fantastic show that led us into a lovely, deep night of sleep.”]
The next day we were up early and went for a long walk to Millenium Park and all along the lake, taking in the public art, the waterfront marinas and the lovely public gardens. We worked up an appetite and headed to Pizzaria via Stato, the more casual sister to Osteria via Stato. They brought us freshly-baked, knee-weakening bread, topped lightly with sea salt. An orange and red beets tangled with walnuts, gorgonzola and baby lettuce was delicately sweet and salty. The arugula salad had more assertive flavors and was laced with thick shavings of Parmesan, crispy bacon, and Medjool dates. We shared a pizza with an impossibly-thin crust and puffed and crispy sides. It was topped with yellow fingerling potato rounds, rosemary, guanciale and smoked mozzerella and was a heavenly combination of flavors. A glass of fruity and crisp Italian Sauvignon Blanc by Bastianich was perfect with all of the dishes and put me in a VERY good mood.
We only had a few minutes until we had to head to Milwaukee, but we popped quickly into a shop across the street that caught our eyes, called Posh. I was both thankful and regretful that we didn’t have any room in the car for even the smallest addition, because I could have done some serious damage to my wallet in this wonderful shop filled with antique and retro French dishes and kitchen paraphernalia. Kerry pulled me out of the lovely store, by the arm, and we headed north to Milwaukee.