Sunday, August 14, 2005

Tourist in my hometown


On Friday I traveled into Chicago by train to have a playdate with my friend Rose. She met me at the Irving Park stop and we walked over to her apartment. O for the single days when one has one's own apartment! She lives in a yellowstone, vs a brownstone and it is on the third floor, no elevator, which is perfect for preventing casual furniture purchases, of which I have a weakness.
From there we hopped on the El and detrained at the Thompson Building which is just a short walk to the Art Institute of Chicago. Rose recently bought a membership and our plan was to see the Toulouse-Lautrec in Monmartre exhibit. The lines moved swiftly outside the building and rather than show you the typical AIoC Lions, instead I will feature the wonderful plantings on Michigan Blvd.

It looks as though Chicago has had no drought at all, judging by the lushness of these plants and the greenery in the parks.


The Crown Fountain

The exhibit was wonderful and included works by other Moulin Rouge/Montmarte era notables; early Picasso, Van Gogh, Manet and Gauguin. We poked around a few other exhibits, and rooms I hadn't seen in years and then wandered out to see the newest site in town, Millennium Park.

I couldn't resist the typical tourist photos of these park features. The cascading water off these two towers are irresistible to kids and adults alike. I didn't realize that the giant portraits are animated!



It was hot enough to want to wade in, but I held back. There were plenty of those who could not resist.

To the west of the wading spot was the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, new home to the Grant Park Orchestra, and it may have been that orchestra that was rehearsing at that moment.


The sound was amazing, so clear and big! We sat for a minute and enjoyed a little Offenbach, so perfect after seeing the French painters in the AIoC.





I was really interested in seeing the Bean, as the Cloud Gate is nicknamed. They are working on removing any sign of the welding that holds it all together, but have revealed the superpolished parts, preventing major tourist disappointment. I was delighted to see how hugely reflective the surface really is. Of course we had to take our picture reflected in its surface.

I am that tiny yellow thing waving in the middle. Don't strain your eyes, just take my word for it.

My stomach was rumbling and Rose had a surprise for me for the luncheon portion of our date. She works for Shadow Traffic ( not on camera or the radio, but behind the scenes) and her company has dealings with some of the local businesses, including restaurants. It seems that a certain restaurant (veddy upscale) had a major credit that needed tapping into, lest it go by the wayside. It was up to us to take advantage.

Rose SAID order anything on the menu!!! And we did.

First course: Ceasar Salad with grilled Portobello Mushrooms topped with a thin slice of Parmesan Encrusted French Bread

Pinot Noir ($13 a glass)

Entree: STIR FRIED SEA SCALLOPS W/ HOT CHILI PEPPER, SWEET PEPPERS, ONION & THAI BASIL

Pinor Noir again

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse ( 10 million calories) for me and Key Lime Pie for Rose



Wretched excess! WE spent over $100 on lunch! Can you imagine? It was fabulous and we gabbed and relaxed and got goofy, and left at 3:30, since Rose had a date with her new beau in just a few hours.
Sigh... And then for a bit of nostalgia, seeing my Alma Mater, right next to the Merchandise Mart, The Chicago School of Fusing.


It moved a bit when I took this shot, but it brought back so many happy school days.

7 comments:

  1. What a delightful way to spend the day... much better than going to Stitches. You have reminded me that I need to go downtown and check out the park. As far as the school goes... I pictured it to be much more homey looking. I was slightly disappointed, but what a great address!!!Next to the Merchandise Mart! You have been having some great meals...yummy!!

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  3. One of the bane's of my existance is the wonderful people that my children bring into my life and then discard, leaving me mourning the loss while they are on to the next amore. So nice that you can keep a relationship with Rose. I love Chicago and I have not been there in ages. i'm adding it to mylist of things to do. soon!!

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  4. Okay, now I'm ready to visit Chicago since I haven't been there for several years. Thanks for the greeeaaat photos!

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  5. Thank you for all these photos of Chicago... I've wanted to go there ever since I read The Time Traveller's Wife. One question - why is the El called the El? It is such an intriguing name... is it a metro or tram system?

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