Shang-Chi

Huge cities amaze me.

The sheer history of how one place develops into a metropolis has always interested me. When you get into the bare bones of Chicago history, it’s truly fascinating.

Dessert sampler @ the Drake

A walk around Chicago is never boring. Every building has a little piece of architecture that is special or unexpected. Old mixes with new on each block. Sculpture and art rise out of nowhere. I always say “Look up” when you’re walking downtown, unless you’re really that concerned about pigeon poop or dangerous icicles dangling from skyscrapers.

Spare rib pasta
Christmas tree @ the Drake

My sister and I spent two days downtown, bouncing from place to place. We had afternoon holiday tea at the Drake Hotel, which is one of my favorite things to do. Mini sandwiches, mini desserts, scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd – absolutely delish. The mini pumpkin cheesecake was worth going for alone. A wonderful tea selection – I highly recommend the Bombay chai on a cold winter’s day. Victorian carolers. A harpist playing Christmas carols. A gorgeous Christmas tree in the foyer. Relaxing in a rich, beautiful surrounding.

Stuffed Sweet Red Peppers
Moonrise

For supper, we visited RPM Italian and had phenomenal food – wood grilled octopus, stuffed peppers, short rib pasta, meatballs, and another spicy dish. The peppermint mocha gelato was the ice cream on the cake of a great dinner. Afterwards, we vegged out on her sofa and watched “Brave” – all with a cheese, snack, and wine bar.

Italian Glass
Pumpkin cream cheese French toast
@ Yolk

The walk from RPM to the taxi was a beautiful one. There was a full moon just beginning to light the city sky above Trump Tower. The night was clear and cold with a sharp breeze from the lake. It made you very aware of wanting heat and something to warm your blood with a good glass of wine.

Brunch the next day was at Yolk. I choose the pumpkin cream cheese French toast – I needed to have something pumpkin for breakfast whilst I was Stateside! I was all full on carbs when we walked in the bracingly cold wind to the Field Museum to see the Maharaja exhibit on India’s rich culture. My favorite exhibit there is still the Arctic and Northwest Coast Peoples, with the beautifully carved masks that watch you from all corners of the exhibit and totem poles tower high above you. The pure mythology of the masks and ceremonial tools is incredibly fascinating. Call forth the dark spirits of the northern woods. Embody the grizzly and the wolf. Protect yourself from whatever haunts the evergreen thickets and foggy shorelines.

Boo.

The Field Museum remains one of my favorite museums in the city, right up there with the Art Institute. The film “Night at the Museum” could easily have come to life here. There are so many unique nooks and crannies and strange objects that, perhaps, they do move when no one is looking. Sometimes, I can’t help but feel eyes following me…

Ha-Ha: Pacific Spirit
I see you. 

After a quick lunch at Potbelly’s, we headed out of the city for Christmas holiday. It was a good weekend to spend in Chi-town, without the snow but with the sharpness of winter that reminded me of the hot summer days I left behind in August. The lake still slurped greedily at the shore. Gulls still wheeled overhead, eager for leftover fast food. People still tried to knock you out of the way if you were in their path. Dense, low clouds still blurred out the top of the Willis Tower. And Starbucks still tasted wonderful on a freezing day. It was my Chi-town, but now I looked at it from the lens of living in a larger, denser city and marveled at how few people clogged the artery of Michigan Avenue around Water Tower Place, even though it was the weekend before Christmas.

Da Bears! @ Soldier Field

Cold winter’s walk

Besides, no other place on the planet can bring it like Shanghai’s Nanjing Lu shopping district during October holiday.

None.

Frosty towers

New Burberry

Field Museum Campus
Tip Top Tap

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