74 Hours in Chicago
The past few years I haven’t done much for July 4th, but that changed when I found out this year I’d be getting a 4-day weekend. Phill and I immediately began looking at where we’d like to go and ended up picking Chicago, Phill’s old city.
The first thing we did after dropping off our bags at my brother’s place was find a rooftop bar to drink at, meeting Phill’s friend Jeremy on the way. We tried Cindy’s, and the London, but both had major long lines. We went over to Cerise at the Virgin Hotel and not only was there no line, but we found an open table immediately.
In addition to the margarita we munched on some guac and chips, which was our first meal since breakfast.
After getting enough sun from the rooftop we walked along the riverwalk and went to Tiny Tapp to get a table. We had a little wait, so we kept walking along the river coming to:
The giant deer statue, “Deer” by artist Tony Tasset.
By this time our table was ready so we headed on back with Phill leading the way. Not long after we sat down Rob and his husband and their friend joined us for some beer. After an hour or so we were starting to get hungry so we headed up to Rivernorth to Sunda for food.We hung out
The lemongrass beef lollipops were good, with the meat just peeling off the bone.
I also had the pork adobo fried rice, which reminded me of the fried rice at Republique, only not as good, obviously. After dinner Phil and I were getting pretty tired having been up since 3:30 a.m. PST, so we headed back to my brothers and called it a night.
Sunday morning we decided to go out for brunch with Mike to Bad Hunter in the West Loop. I really wanted to go there for dinner, but brunch was better than nothing. The restaurant was very open-air with the front doors open letting a lot of natural light in and making for a nice hangout.
We each got a rhubarb and almond danish which was wonderfully flaky, and wasn’t very sweet so very guilt-free.II got the house smoked Scottish salmon with pumpernickel pretzel, veggie cream cheese, beet pickled egg. Everything was really good, I especially liked the veggie cream cheese.
From there Phill and I separated from Mike, taking the train over to his old stomping grounds of Uptown complete with some tea from Argo Tea.
It was a frequent hangout spot for Phill.
We then walked up to Phill’s old apartment, one he shared with Rob.
It was only a couple of blocks from the lake, so we went over there and checked that out too.
Phill liked it, although it was already a little hot. From there we went up to Andersonville to Hamburger Mary’s and met Jeremy and their friend Beth and hung out in the shade all afternoon enjoying some mimosas. It was good to see Phill around his friends, catching up and gossiping, which I haven’t seen much of in LA. Anyway after that we went back to my brother’s place, rested and had dinner at Avec before retiring for the evening.
Monday morning Phill and I went up to the Lincoln Park Zoo since I’ve never been there before. Phill got a map and lead the way to the cat house:
The leopard was the only one out.
From there we went to see the apes, monkeys, gorillas and their relatives.
They were more lively than the wild cats.
Outside the animals were somewhat out and about too.
After seeing pretty much everything we were getting hungry so we went to Phill’s favorite deli Frances’:
We didn’t wait for Rob to join us to start ordering:
Phill was really excited to have their chocolate chip pancakes. It doesn’t look like it, but there were chocolate chips in the pancakes too.
I had a hearty hash with eggs, potatoes and sausage. Rob eventually joined us, taking a break from his studying and then after breakfast we went down the street to get some cupcakes from Molly’s Cupcakes.
Phill got the blueberry cheesecake and I got the white chocolate raspberry, which were really good.
On the way to Rob’s place we stopped in the Elks National Memorial and Headquarters.
It was a beautiful building with a lot of detail.
Apparently they shot some of Richie Rich here.
Just as impressive were the views from Rob’s rooftop.
After that we headed back to the South Loop area to check out Cindy’s Rooftop.
It was still busy so we settled on drinks on the second floor lounge. We hung out there for over an hour or so before going back to my brother’s place to have a little barbecue on his patio while watching It Follows. We pretty much just chilled for the rest of the night seeing as we did a lot of walking today.
July Fourth began with more walking as Phill and I went around the Millennial Park in the morning.
We then went back to my brother’s and headed to Flo And Santos for some pizza and pierogis. The pizza was good, not great, and the pierogis were good too — it’s been a long time since I’ve had one.
And with that Phill and I packed up our stuff and headed back to O’Hare to fly home. All in all it was a nice weekend and very refreshing to get away from LA for a bit. As always it was good to see my brother, and even better it was nice to see another side to Phill.