My Weekend in Chicago

The following was written last night on my way back from Chicago…

Hi!

I’m currently riding the Megabus back to Chicago. It’s 5:14 Monday afternoon; unfortunately, the bus left half an hour late, which means I’ll arrive in St. Louis quite late.

Friday
Upon arriving in Chicago around 3:15 (an hour late), I had to hustle and jump in Katie’s car. A police person was yelling at Katie to MOVE MOVE MOVE and everyone was honking at each other and taxis and buses were zooming around.

Hello, Chicago!

To recover from the police harassment, we stopped at Jamba Juice in the West Loop. Then, we were on our way to Katie and Beth’s apartment near Humboldt Park.

After Beth came in from work, we went to a Costan Rican restaurant, Irazu, which has quite a few vegetarian selections and lots of things come with fried plantain. Mmmmm….fried plantains. While Katie and Beth both had the vegetarian burrito, I broke away from the group and ordered the potato tacos. Beth pointed out these were more like mashed-potato-stuffed taquitos; they were still yummy and served with guacamole, a mole sauce, fried plantains, yellow rice, and refried beans. Beth had a mango milkshake that we all sampled.

For fun that night, we made life goals lists…which struck me as coincidental because I had made a similar type of list while riding the bus.

Saturday
We decided to not have a strict schedule on Saturday and Katie and Beth humored me by waiting around while I did yoga. After experiencing the food at Tre Kronor, I don’t think I could have been so patient!

The food is AWESOME! I had smoked salmon benedict…yummy by itself and super-tasty with potatoes. Beth had french toast; the coating was citrus-y and definitely the best french toast I’ve ever had. Katie had the special omelet – sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olives. A great meal! Here’s my salmon benedict:

And here’s Beth enjoying the Tre Kronor patio and her french toast:

The next big stop was Mitsuwa Marketplace. Although we were super-full from breakfast, I managed to have a cantaloupe smoothie while we looked around. We bought things like Pocky, red bean cakes, coffee candy, and some other sweets. After buying grocery things, Katie and Beth bought smoothies and we sat in the food court. It was unfortunate that we had just eaten because Mitsuwa has a terrific food court with sushi, dim sum, noodle dishes, and other tasty things.

While so full, I could not resist trying some ice cream. Katie and I shared a dish of red bean and black sesame ice cream. Yum!

After we were totally stuffed and crashing from sugar, we went to Ikea so that Katie and Beth could pick up some bed linens. I bought a citrus reamer and a few utensils for Porkchop.

After so much activity, we had to rest at the apartment for a while. We became hungry in time to catch a late dinner at Mysore Woodlands on Devon Street.

Check out the dosais…Here’s Katie and me with my dosai:

And here’s Katie’s dosai:

Sunday
Sunday started with a relaxing morning at One Thousand Waves. Nothing like a little sweaty nakedness to start the day.

We sweated out all of the toxins we had accumulated at previous meal excursions by using the hot tub, the eucalyptus steambath, and the dry sauna.

The dry sauna was definitely my favorite. The hot tub tended to pummel you with its jets and the eucalyptus steam room was INTENSE, but the dry sauna was just right.

Even though we took some breaks in the relaxation room, the bathhouse left us exhausted. Beth fixed us terrific fake turkey sandwiches with tomatoes and avocado and then we hung out in Humboldt Park. We talked more about life goals and five- and ten-year plans.

I really need to get started on my life goals.

I know you might think that there is no way we possibly could have been hungry again, but we were! We spent two hours at a bathhouse, folks! That’s hard work!

We wanted to have Ethiopian for dinner, but the two good restaurants were on the same street and would have required around 45 minutes of driving each way. Since we had already done so much driving, we decided to stick closer to home and go to Earwax. Yay for seitan products!

On the way back from Earwax, we stopped at a grocery store and rented Stomp the Yard from a Redbox. The idea of renting DVDs from a vending machine totally blew my mind, but when I excitedly told Porkchop about these machines, she said that we have them in St. Louis too. Maybe I will have to look for these machines. [The Redbox website shows one at my local Shop N Save!]

After watching the movie, Katie and Beth had a couple of dance-offs and krumping competitions. My role was to laugh and to record the activities.

Monday
We got up late this morning and had a leisurely brunch. Katie and Beth make the best breakfasts….scrambled eggs with cheese, perfect breakfast potatoes, and veggie sausage. Yum!

After eating and showering, I helped Katie build the table of contents for her dissertation. Yay! Helping!

Soon after that, we went to Whole Foods so that I could get snacks for the bus, and now here I am! A little bit outside of Chicago.

Some Things I Learned in Chicago
I’ve driven in Chicago before and have always believed it to be a bit crazy and aggressive, but GEEZ, I don’t know how people drive every day there. There’s always people honking, people yelling, people gesturing, people cutting you off, and pedestrians running out in the street.

Chicagoans favorite word seems to be ASSHOLE! And they use it a lot. It’s amusing unless it’s happening to you.

In addition to these things, it’s HARD to get places. Driving takes FOREVER! For example, the Ethiopian restaurants were only 4 miles away, but it would have required 45 minutes to get there. And we would have gotten yelled at or honked at a few times each way, too.

It’s exhausting. And hard.

I think St. Louis is big enough for me.

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