an homage to Ferris Bueller, we spent last week/end in the windy
was a business trip that morphed into a holiday as I was presenting
at a conference at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and
decided to make a very long weekend of it. The conference was good
and I managed to get this North America Association to agree to host
its 2010 conference in Toronto (all right, it helps I sit on their
Board of Directors, yes).
Ora and Blee flew in on Friday to join us in this adventure and we
managed to grab dinner with Karen and Paul at Bin 36 on Wednesday
night before they headed off to Alaska.
also decided to try several hotels while in Chicago, which – the
commuting aside – was a great way to see more of the city and its
neighbourhoods. On this trip we stayed in four (yes, four) hotels,
- W Lakeshore Chicago (which was located within a 5 minute
walk to the Institute);
- Sheraton Chicago Centre (which had a fabulous view of the river);
- Westin Chicago Michigan Avenue (perfectly located immediately beside the John
Hancock Centre); and,
- W Chicago Downtown (located right downtown in the Loop).
have stayed at both W’s before and W Downtown remains my favourite
(though I had to say I preferred the old lobby layout).
trip was also a food extravaganza with several outstanding meals at:
- Bin 36 (twice; are we addicts for wine flights or what?);
- David Burke’s Primehouse at the James Hotel;
- afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel (home to Salvador Dali many years
- tapas late one night at Mercat de la planxa on Michigan Avenue (omg,
- Giordanos (twice; but of course!);
- Hot Doug’s;
- late night drinks at the Redhead Piano Bar ; and,
- probably the best tasting menu I’ve ever had, period, at L2O in the Belden
Stratford Hotel up in Lincoln Park that set Blee, G and I back some
start with that meal. We tasted Laurent Gras’ 12 course summer menu of
seafood. Laurent is a devotee of molecular cooking and we tasted
things that night I have never tasted before. It was extraordinary and if you ever get the opportunity, GO! With the amuse-bouche, two
pre-desserts and other snacky items, it actually ended up as 17 courses in
total and we paired the dinner – not with his wine pairing flight – but
Veuve Cliquot Champagne Rose and Ichishima Shuzo Silk Deluxe sake from Northern Japan. Can you say divine!
For you foodies out there, Laurent maintains a great
blog of his creations and methods here.
19) for dessert at Primehouse, I ordered a root beer float!
were fortunate as well to visit the Chicago Art Institute alla Ferris
Bueller and that the Chicago Jazz Festival was in town (who loves jazz
more than Brent?!).
On Thursday, G made his way, way out into the Chicago suburbs to try the famous Hot Doug’s … this guy makes some awesome hot dogs!
Sunday, Cousin Ora and I hauled our way out to Oak Park to see Frank
Lloyd Wright’s home and studio (and wander past the birth place of
Ernest Hemmingway). Imagine these two guys both had roots here!
59) G and Blee going crazy
60) late night tapas at Mercat; 61) mmmm great food 62) more mmmm food; 63) the L
64) the L again; 65) at the station 66) me near the Chicago Public Library; 67) me eating at Mercat
68) Me and G go crazy
69) tuna; 70) diver scallop
71) kampachi; 72) pork belly
73) Hiramasa (shabu shabu style); 74) raspberry dessert with gold leaf
75) tofu; 76) praline souffle
Finally, a shout-out to mom and dad who made their way from London to condo-sit while we were away and who kindly left our wine cellar stocked with more wine than when we left!