2008 06 chicago

travel

There really isn’t much to say anymore. A 4-hour flight, 1.5hrs layover and another 12 hours. Eat, sleep, read, watch movies, fidget.

Watched Charlie Wilson’s War, Definitely Maybe, Penelope, I Could Never be Your Woman and some tv. Ate everything they gave me. Surprisingly only got through 70 pages of the book I brought along. Sometimes I’m in the mood for movies, sometimes for reading, I never know.

It was hot in Chicago. Took a taxi to the apartments. Since I’ll be here 3 weeks they booked a serviced apartment for me. It’s at Presidential Towers and first thing I did when I got through the door was take pictures, hee. It’s a one-bedroom place, with more closet space than my own apartment. No, strike that. Total area is larger than my own apartment. Just look at all those large appliances in the kitchen.

chi411pt chi413pt

restaurant: a tavola

tavolagnocchi

A full day of committee meetings. Lots on the agenda and productive.

As usual, dinner was with the whole group at a sit down restaurant. This time it was a tavola quite far west of the city. A small converted house brought us the Italian cuisine of Daniel Bocik. The menu was fixed and served family style.

3 starters: grilled vegetables, salad, Italian cured meats
2 primo: gnocchi with brown butter & sage (*their speciality, pictured), penne bolognese
3 secondi: steamed salmon over aromatic vegetables, oven roasted chicken with polenta and
garlic spinach and marinated grilled leg of lamb served with rosemary potatoes and garlic spinach
4 desserts: apple torte, chocolate torte, lemon tart, panna cotta

restaurant: nacional 27

nacionalstarters

Tonight’s big dinner was at Nacional 27 on Huron. Decidedly latin american feel, and for a change we were seated around a large round table. Much nicer for conversation. We started with mojito, which got the evening to a great beginning.

The starters were an eclectic mix of chicken and beef skewers, chicken empanadas, croquetas with black bean salsa as well as a seafood ceviche in a large glass jar.

For main course I picked the marinated skirt steak with avocado. I don’t usually have skirt steak, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it on a menu. Mum used to buy it when we were very young, but it’s been sirloin and rib-eye for the last … many years.

nacionaldsteak

Dessert again was a mixed plate. A flan, chocolate and a creme brulee.

nacionaldessert

restaurant: ristorante we

wemussels

My colleagues were staying at the W Hotel so we had dinner there, at the ristorante we, which describes itself as a tuscan steakhouse.

I had pan roasted mussels in a tomato broth, followed by a big strip steak. I could only finish 1/3rd of the steak but as I have a kitchen (yay!) I could take it back for another meal or two.

After dinner, 2 of my colleagues walked back to my apartment with me cos we were all full. They liked the place, apparently they find the W too dark and too boutique-y. I wonder if I’ll like it.

pride

 

flickr set: here

This is the first time I visited a Pride event. I’m not very well versed in the history and reasoning, but I thought it was an enjoyable day. There were people who were over the top but you get that at every event with a large crowd.

The crowds were already busy when we got off the train at around 11am. We found our place under the shade of a tree and behind some people who had seats. Some people were throwing freebies from a pub and I got myself a Miller Lite visor.

The parade started at noon, with a line of police horses escorting the starting banner. Then it was a non-stop selection of colourful floats, cars, music, dancing, random politicians and the like. I had a ground level position right at the barrier but I couldn’t crouch for long and had to stand up.

Sometime after 1pm everything ground to a halt and was like that for a good 45 mins. It also started to rain so my group, as well as half the crowd, decided to leave. After later we found out one of the dancers had fallen off and broke her leg.

maryguacburger

Our group left in search of food. The bus ride to the restaurant was long and full of traffic; I was dehydrated and hungry by the time we reached Hamburger Mary’s. So to be greeted by a larger than life plastic waitress with a huge burger in her hands gave me a big smile. This is a franchise chain started in 1972 with several branches all over the US. It’s a kinda burger joint, a kinda bar, quaint and a little camp. Beer on tap included Miller’s and Sapporo, food was the expected American casual burger fare.

I had a guacamole burger. The beef was good! Juicy, nicely flavoured and came with a giant steak knife stabbed in the middle of it. I had coleslaw with it, not having enough energy to face fries or mashed potatoes.

taste

flickr set

ctaste001park

I went to the taste of chicago today. I avoided going at the weekend because of the crowds, and today i got there at 10.50am, just before the 11am opening. The place was practically empty and I had time to walk around looking at the stalls deciding what to try. Tickets were available for $8 for a strip of 12. Most stalls had 3-4 menu items costing around 6-10 tickets, although they have one “taste of” item for 3-4 tickets obviously for tasting.

ctaste015shark

On the theme of fish the next stall offered shark. I’ve eaten all sorts of unusual food so i wasn’t fazed by the shark. It was actually quite nice. Like tune in taste although it’s white not red. Better than crocodile definitely. Not to fishy either. I was kinda full by then but one dish from my earlier inspection stood out — goat with fried plantain. I didn’t care for the goat, it was very tough, even tougher than mutton. The plantain was good — sweet and filling.

ctaste021beignet

Dessert time. The New Orleans style restaurant offered up a tasting portion of beignet and a large piece of watermelon was the perfect thirst quencher.

The best till last. A combo of lemon and watermelon ice. Yep, a great day out.