Chicago 2010 – Happy 3rd Anniversary (Day 1)

June 30, 2010 by  

After Jason and I found out that we were having a little mini-us, we decided that we would take a trip somewhere for a few days without her for our anniversary each year. If you have been a reader of ours for at least a year, you will recall that last year we went to New Orleans and it was a big eat-fest. Our trip to Chicago this year was quite similar to that. Follow me as I take you through our vacation :)

Chicago Theater

Day 1 – Wednesday – Our actual anniversary day!

Our flight landed in Chicago around 11 and we decided to be frugal and took the El to our hotel. It’s a pretty straight forward means of transportation but there the closest stop to our hotel required that we transfer trains. That meant going up and down a lot of stairs carrying our heavy luggage. Not a wonderfully relaxing way to start off our vacation but after almost missing our flight and leaving my cell phone at home, it was a walk in the park. We got to our hotel around noon but our room wasn’t ready yet so we ventured over to the Trader Joe’s, which was conveniently located across the street, to grab some bottles of water.

When we got back our room still wasn’t ready yet so we hung around in the lobby and Jason checked work emails while I snapped some pictures. We didn’t really mind waiting because we were early and the staff there was just so nice that it was hard to be annoyed. In general, I can’t say enough good things about the service and facilities at The James.

The hotel is a bit far from the El but it’s very centrally located to all the things we wanted to do, only 1 block from Michigan Avenue, and in the middle of tons of restaurants, as well as across from the aforementioned Trader Joe’s. We ended up either taking a bus, catching a cab, or walking everywhere we went anyway so the distance from the El wasn’t really a problem.

James Hotel

After getting settled, we ventured out to our scheduled lunch at Blackbird. We caught a cab there since we knew we’d be walking around the rest of the day and were in a rush to get to lunch before they closed. It worked out well because we happened to drive along the river while a drawbridge was going up!


The architecture in Chicago is amazing. Look at this building~ The bottom floors are open garage spaces and the top floors are the residences. Jason said it wouldn’t be fun to get your car out of their in the winter; I can see that.

Apartment building

Here are some pictures from our meal at Blackbird.


We opted to share a salad to start which was quite honestly, one of the best I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a picture because the host who served it to us broke it up and served it to us quickly. I’ll direct you to this picture I found on Flickr since I don’t want to post it here and look like I’m taking credit for it. The salad is arranged inside of a fried spun potato cup that acted as the “croutons” to the dish. Best. Croutons. Ever.


Lamb burger with taleggio cheese and black onion


Pork belly with cole slaw

We both agreed that the lamb burger was unremarkable, the pork belly sandwich was well balanced, and the fries were incredible. If I learned anything about Chicagoans in my trip, it’s that they know how to do fries right.

After lunch, we walked to Millennium Park, which is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s so well-organized and groomed. The appreciation of art and architecture by the city is obvious with the huge pieces like the Silver Bean and the BP Bridge by Frank Gehry.

Millennium Park

Silver bean reflecting a gorgeous day in Chicago

Jason said that the Buckingham Fountain was closeby so we wandered around looking for it. After about half an hour of wandering around in the sweltering heat, we finally spotted it like an oasis in the dessert. We walked across Grant Park and took tons of pictures of the fountain made famous (at least to us) by Married With Children.

Buckingham Fountain

Self portraits are hard with SLRs with zoom lenses :)

We walked back to the hotel around 4 (I think we walked a total of 4 miles that afternoon) and decided to take a quick nap before dinner. The next thing I know, Jason is tapping me on the shoulder and telling me it’s 7:45! I think I could’ve went back to sleep and slept through the rest of the night but since it was our anniversary night, I thought it’d be best if we went out :)

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