We just spent a long weekend in Chicago with our friends, Cheryl and Steve. We LOVE Chicago. It’s like New York, a big real city, with some hustle and bustle. But it’s in the Midwest, so things are not quite so intense and people have that Midwestern niceness, which is very refreshing.
And what’s not to like about a city with amazing architecture, a river running right through the middle, and a beach! I mean a real beach, with sand and waves, literally steps from downtown.
And did I mention the food?
We went to Chicago for a special weekend, Open House. Open House is a world-wide phenomena, sponsored by a local architectural foundation or group, with lots of corporate sponsors, as well. It happens on the same weekend all over the world. Mr. Not So Curious and I have been to Open House Lisbon and I’ve been to Open House London.
In the case of Chicago, there were 150 buildings to choose from that are not normally open to the public. It was a big challenge to decide which one’s we wanted to see, but we managed. Some highlights were:
- The small Airstream trailer that had been installed on the top of an office building, with amazing views of the Chicago. It is used as a meeting space.
- The Oriental Theatre, which was truly amazing. I’ve been to Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood, and the Oriental made Grauman’s look like a plain box! The photos below don’t do it justice, but give you a small sense of the ornateness and glamour.
- The offices of Gensler Architects. The very modern interiors are within a restored Louis Sullivan building. Photos were forbidden, so I can’t show you anything, but it was amazing to see a working architectural firm’s offices. They have 300 employees just in Chicago, so it was a huge, open space. Below are some details of another building by Louis Sullivan that capture his aesthetic.
We stayed in a gorgeous apartment with two bedrooms, two baths, a dinning room, den, kitchen and amazing living room. As usual, we rented this from vrbo. I can pass on the details to anyone who is interested. Below are some photos, which barely do it justice, but do capture some of the sense of design and architecture of the apartment. It was fun to come home to such an amazing space every night.
Lastly, the food. We ate at Girl and The Goat which was fabulous. All “little plates” so it was basically family-style with the four of us sharing. I’ve started “stealing” menus (or asking politely in this case). Here’s what we ate: goat empanadas, beet salad with green beans, white anchovy and avocado creme fraiche, diver scallops with cubano pork, apple mojo and pepper-raisin relish, escargot ravioli with bacon and tamarind miso sauce, wood grilled broccoli with smokey blue cheese and spiced crispies, and wood oven roasted pig face with sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine maple, and potato stix.
And THEN we ate the most amazing miso-butterscotch budino with bacon toffee, glazed pineapple, and candied cashews, PLUS bittersweet chocolate with shitake-carmel gelato, and toffee creme fraiche.
We walked home . . .