Our newest addition to the traveling family is Fenrir the Corgi or Fen for short. He is a male Welsh Pembroke Corgi, currently 12 weeks old. Here are a few photos, with many many more to come as he gets old enough to come on the adventures with us.
Chicago was not a place I ever expected to go or like as not many places in the US interest me.
Happy to say that I proved myself wrong and that Chicago is a pretty alright place to visit and no, they aren't lying about the food. Literally EVERY RESTAURANT I went to there had something that was really really good. I actively tried to find things not to like because they kept winning on the food front.
I did not succeed.
FOOD PLACES I APPROVE OF:
Saugatuck Coffee Co
Senem's Coffee and Tea House
Both coffee shops were realllllly good. I ordered an iced white mocha made with whole or 2% milk at each and they were both outstanding. Miles better than starbucks. (Sorry to all my friends employed there.)
This is a just a simple frozen yogurt place like you see all over Portland, except it didn't suck. I avoid yogurt places because for what you get (half melted strange tasting vanilla with stale toppings) the price is shitty. This place surprised me. The yogurt was partially solid and actually cold. They also had all fresh toppings on the bar, even though we went close to closing time after dinner. A++ would definitely recommend.
Taverna 750 is a bar that serves Italian food like tapas. (euro style)
You order things to share in a group on small plates. I highly recommend the:
Pear & Pancetta Pizza (sounds weird, looks weird but it has bacon and is really fucking good.)
Pork & Polenta (The polenta is what sold me.)
I gave it a 7.5 because the food is better than average from a Portlander's point of view and the service was a bit slow despite the bar not being at all crowded on an early Monday evening.
Quartino is an italian eatery in the heart of downtown Chicago. It looks like a French street cafe on the outside and a traditional Italian kitchen on the inside.
I gave it a 6 because the chicken I ordered was pretty dry and not all that flavorful. Everyone else's food was really good, most notably the pasta dishes.
Smith & Wollensky is situated right on the river in DT Chicago. The service is excellent. The food was cooked very well for a fine dining establishment, but I'm not so sure I would pay $21 for a plate of 5 shrimps ever again. I couldn't contain my laughter when they brought it to the table.
Ann Sather is a Swedish american breakfast joint. The dining room was very colorful. The cinnamon rolls were good but the breakfast was just so so. They do have excellent chocolate milk, however.
Diva Thai & Sushi Bar is by far my favorite restaurant we ate at the entire trip. They're a thai and sushi restaurant combo. The place was clean, the staff were very friendly even if they didn't speak perfect English and the food was excellent from top to bottom. Would love to come back here. The fried rice was light and airy and delicious even reheated a few days later.
Sports Corner Bar & Grill is a surprise among sports pubs. Located right across from Wrigley Field, the food was fresh and prepared quickly. I had a Cesar salad that for once, wasn't dripping in cheese and dressing. Very yummy.
Cafe at The Field Museum is not a good place to go if one is concerned with prices. Of course it's overpriced, they probably get a majority of their customers being tourists but I have to admit that even though it cost almost $40 for two of us, the food was actually pretty good. They have a variety of options to choose from and seemed like a decent place considering there are no other food places around the museum.
It is hilarious to me how everyone in Portland exclaims about how good we have it on the public transportation front. Yeah...half of you have never been to places like London, Paris or Chicago. They have it on LOCK. They are more efficient, easier to navigate, cleaner and less expensive.
Every one of those cities has refillable cards. You just pick how much you want on there(in our case, we did 3 days of unlimited travel on bus or train in Chicago for $20) and boom. The machine spits it out and there you have it. Don't throw them away because they don't expire unless specified. I still have our Oyster cards from London (they cost £5 each to activate, no way am I throwing them away.)
Seriously, Chicago is the cleanest city I've ever been in. It is shockingly clean.
The Art Institute of Chicago
As an art student studying art at an art school, I had heard a lot about Ai Chicago. It is rumored to be one of the best art museums in the world. I have been to a bunch of art museums all over the US and Europe and Ai Chicago is so far, one of the top 5 I've ever visited in terms of layout and collection.
I was very confused to see this here as by french law, no more than 12 casts of a Rodin sculpture may be made...and there are already 12. The last one was installed in Seoul, Korea in 1995.
This is one of Rodin's Burghers of Calais. It was part of six sculptures of ordinary french citizens who agreed to go captive to the English in the 1300's. They went, expecting to be executed. Giving their lives for France, but were spared by the English queen. Rodin memorialized their courage, which for the time (late 1800's), was not a popular concept in art. They were not idealized or deified nor were they gods or anyone of importance. They are portrayed as they were. Ordinary, brave people.
Yet, here it is. Just sitting in the atrium of Ai Chicago without even a plaque to tell you where it's from.
The Field Museum
I love history so naturally we found ourselves over at the Field Museum. Though not as big as London's Natural History museum, Chicago's holds the world's most in tact T-Rex skeleton, Sue.
Sue is 40 feet long, 13 feet tall and the museum paid $8.4 million for her.
The skull you see on this skeleton is not real, however.
Sue's real skull weighs over 600 pounds and is too heavy to be mounted with the rest of her. It sits in a display case on that balcony just behind her. Go upstairs and you'll find it.
This giant sculpture is in the AT&T Plaza of Millennium Park.
Field Museum - Other Exhibits
The America's Wing
The mummy exhibit at the FM was extremely impressive. They had pre, Ptolemaic and post-Ptolemaic mummies on display.
The Ptolemaic mummies come from around 300 BCE - 30 CE. So the younger of the Egyptian dynasty, but what makes them so unique is that Egyptians had very clear cut and established rules for proportions and how their art style was depicted. That style was changed ONCE in the over 3000 year span of their culture and the man who did it (Akhenaten & Nefertiti...look it up) was systematically erased from their history (or at least they tried to.)
These mummies are showing another shift in that style towards the greek side of things as they were ruled by Ptolemy, (a greek) after the death of Alexander the Great.
A Ptolemaic mummy usually does not have a gilded mask or other such Egyptian ornamentation like ankh's or scarabs. They have painted wood faces and resemble early Hellenistic Greek frescoes.
The Rest of Chicago
We ended up going to the Second City Comedy Club to see a show called The Apes of Wrath. I loved it. These people are experts at improv and it was very entertaining. The best part is that no one under 10 is allowed into the venue. Score one for a childfree evening folks.
Chicago is a really well rounded city for everyone. You want to go drink? They have a ton of amazing bars. Love food? You can go anywhere and you'll find something amazing. Like activities? They have lots of places to walk around, museums, endless parks, and tours.
Chicago is a great destination city and I very much "get" it now. It is a hub city for a reason and I think it has definitely earned that reputation.
Join me on my next adventure in September to:
Quintana Roo, Mexico!
Until next time,
I am an artist currently living in Portland, Oregon with my artist husband and this is a blog about our travels as a young couple fresh out of college and starting our lives.