Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Weekend in Chicago

Last Friday was a whirlwind day. I left Salt Lake City at 1:00AM and got home to my little Boston condo at 10:30AM. From then until when I left to go back to the airport at 1:00PM I managed to nap, do two loads of laundry, eat, and repack. I'm not sure how it all got done!? The insanity was well worth it because the end result was being in Chicago with Matt's sister and brother-in-law for an awesome weekend!

We met up with our Chicago family at 6:30PM downtown in Bucktown. After hugs and kisses we went straight to a bar, Blue Line Club Car. We all had one drink there before heading to dinner. The boys both had a vodka martini with blue cheese olives, one Grey Goose and the other Stoli. I had the largest bottle of Fat Tire I have ever seen. My sister-in-law (and her baby girl that will be joining the family in July!) had a cranberry spritzer.

After drinks we headed to the coziest French restaurant in Chicago, Le Bouchon. They had a three-course prix-fixed menu that we all decided to get. There were two options for the appetizer, entree, and dessert so both couples just got the entire prix-fixed menu to share. To start we shared the french onion soup and the salade lyonnaise. Sorry the soup photo isn't very good!

For our entrees we shared the Steak Grillé Maître d’Hôtel (aka steak and fries) and Poulet aux Grains avec sa Gousse d’Ail (a fancy way to say roasted chicken and potatoes).

The two desserts that we shared were an apple tart and a chocolate cake drizzled with an espresso cream.

Everything was delicious! I couldn't even tell you what my favorite part of the dinner was! Of course, accompanying dinner we had a glass of Bordeaux. I'm typically not a fan of European wine because it typically tastes a little too dirty or organic for my palette but even the wine was great!

After dinner we headed to our favorite wine bar in Chicago, Webster's Wine Bar. Someday Matt and I want to open a wine bar that would be very similar to this restaurant. They have a great wine list and small plates that accompany the wine. Their staff is very knowledgeable. The atmosphere is dark with beautiful candle light throughout. A perfect place to drink wine... typically... Friday night the table next to us was VERY loud and obnoxious. We decided to have a glass of wine at the bar and then bring the rest of our Stephen Ross Zinfandel bottle back home to enjoy where we could have a conversation. Oh my... I think I'm getting old!

We went to bed shortly after getting back to their home, as soon as we finished the bottle of wine. I was exhausted from the day. However, Saturday was a new day! We started our morning out with my sister-in-law making a delicious fruit salad topped with vanilla yogurt. She also made their family's banana bread. Such a great, fruity way to start the day!

After breakfast we all headed downtown to see the green river and participate in the St. Patrick's Day celebrations! We ended up missing the parade but we got to see the Ecto Kool Aid river!

Another shot of the green river

Our beautiful Chicago family

After walking down by the river we headed to lunch at State and Lake.

I got a delicious Left Hand Milk Stout.

Both the boys got the Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA

For my lunch I ordered the croque-madame which was really tasty.

After lunch we were off to their best-friend's St. Patrick's Day party. Half of the family is Irish so the food was all amazing. My pictures don't do it any justice.

This picture is all blurry because I was trying to take a quick shot in between everyone taking one of the cupcakes. The Irish flag quickly disappeared. I'm not even a fan of chocolate and I loved these little cupcakes!!!

In addition to the food and the beer they had a bag piper! It was a great party!!

Later that night when we got home we had a late dinner/snack from Calo Ristorante. Apparently, they make the most delicious thin crust pizza and fresh mozzarella cheese with prosciutto served with a tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar, garlic & olive oil. It was the perfect late night dinner! To be honest, pizza is great anytime but this was my favorite Chicago pizza!

Sunday morning we woke up again to my sister-in-law's delicious fruit salad with yogurt and nuts.

Both Matt and I needed some carbs to help soak up the St. Patty's party so we also split a whole wheat bagel.

After we went for a walk with their chocolate lab, Duncan, along the lake it was time to pack and squeeze in one last meal in Chicago. On our way to the airport we stopped for lunch. We made one delicious detour on the way to lunch, Pasticceria Natalina. We had dessert before lunch! Apparently, they have the best cannolis in Chicago. Their ricotta cheese is flown in from Italy and never frozen. Needless to say you're lucky if you get one of their cannolis. Sunday we were lucky! They had enough for four cannolis. We decided not to be greedy and only ordered two which meant I had to share my little piece of heaven. Fortunately my husband is the greatest and let me eat most of the cannoli! Did I ever tell you all how much I love him?! I love him!!!!

Assembling the cannoli

Final product with candied orange peel, pistachios, and powdered sugar. It even looks how I picture heaven!

On to lunch at Charlie's Ale House. As with most of our weekend, Charlie's had a St. Patty's day theme. Of course I had to order the reuben. It was good but it could have used a little more sauerkraut.

After lunch we drove over to O'Hare Airport. On the way we had a conversation about my colleagues that avoid O'Hare because of all the delays they encounter when they travel through Chicago. Silly me, stated that I NEVER have any problems when I travel through Chicago! That was it... I jinxed the rest of our trip! After saying our good-byes, making it through security, and getting to our gate that's when everything went downhill. First, our flight was delayed by an hour. Not too bad. Board the plane, get good exit row seats, safe take-off... still okay! En route we encountered a lot of turbulence which doesn't bother me as much as it scared one of our flight attendants. Maybe I was missing something? 40 minutes before we're supposed to land the pilot informs us that it's too dangerous to land at Logan so we're diverting to JFK for the night. Matt's happy because he knows how dangerous it really was to land at Logan. During our descent to JFK our plane gets struck by lightning! Ahh! There was a bright white flash in the cabin and a large bang. Scary! We finally land at JFK only to arrive where customer service has no idea what they're doing. There were no hotels available in New York for them to put us up so we will be spending the night in the terminal. Ugh. They end up telling us to go get our luggage at baggage claim then when we get out of security they inform us that we should have stayed in the terminal and we didn't need to get our bags, they're staying on the plane. Ugh, again. Well, we go to get back through security and can't. They've shut the terminal down for the night. 25 minutes later the airline finally finagles us to go back through. At this point there is one snack place still open and I'm starving. You can tell by our "dinner" photo. We spent $50 on snacks! I apparently feared starving overnight at JFK.

Two waters, two veggie & hummus dippers, mixed nuts, potato chips, dark chocolate and two Odwalla smoothies. We ended up eating maybe half of our stash!

After getting a blanket, each, from the airline we tried to find a place to lie down. We ended up finding a spot on the floor, laid one of the blankets down, used our jackets as pillows, and used the other blanket to cover us. We didn't get much sleep in the brightly lit terminal on the hard floor. Ugh. We gave up on trying to sleep around 5AM when some of the shops started to end up again. Time for a "healthy" breakfast. McDonald's!! I got a big coffee and a egg & cheese on a biscuit. They are delicious but I could feel my arteries hardening from the fat and sodium. hehe.

When we finally got back to Boston that morning we discovered that our luggage was lost. Super! I guess if all bad flying things are going to happen it's best to have them all happen at once.

Needless to say, Matt and I went straight to bed for a couple of hours when we finally got home. Ahh... a real bed!!

Although we were very inconvenienced I appreciate being alive and the pilot for making sure that we were! Also, nothing could ruin the fantastic weekend that we had in Chicago!

1 comment:

  1. Awwwww! I loved re-living that weekend with you! (Except for the trip home!) Great photos and great blog, Lauren!!! Miss you!