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this chicago weekend


It was a welcome surprise to discover that--after over a week apart--Michael and I would be going to Chicago for the weekend. So many things to consider, namely where to eat?

Longman & Eagle was a foregone conclusion. We'd enjoyed their brunch immensely during our first anniversary visit two years ago. It was time to see if it lived up to our memories (and perhaps surpass Foreign Cinema as our favorite brunch place of all time, hmm?). Because they don't take reservations, we were at their doorstep at 9 am on the dot, ready to eat. They didn't disappoint, so please stop by when you're in the city--and think about checking in one of their six rooms too! And leave room for a donut... They have a perfectly hipster space next door that only served three varieties (so why it took me forever to choose mine is a mystery).

The Aviary was another must. It's no secret that Michael and I love our cocktails, and "The Aviary" and "Chicago" have been synoymous in our minds for a very long time. While they do take reservations, the short notice made it impossible to get one on a Saturday night, so we lined up, crossing our gloved fingers that we'd snag a seat. It was the most creative drinking experience ever. British bartenders may corner the market on cheeky, clever drinks, but what Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas have created is sheer genius. Yes, some drinks were more style than substance, but even those you couldn't begrudge because they were like magic tricks for adults! And those were the bad ones--two in particular I still think about before I go to bed. They were that inventive and delicious.

I snuck in some culture--Michael allowed himself to be dragged to the Art Institute and (gasp!) went over his two-hour museum limit. He let me ooh and ahh over my favorite Seurat, and we had a lot of laughs guessing titles in the contemporary and modern sections (hint: like choosing "C" in a multiple-choice exam, "Untitled" gives you pretty good odds). We spent extra time looking at the Dalis and Kandinskys because they're my brother's favorites.

We walked a lot, did some window-shopping and some shopping-shopping. He got me a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery and commiserated when I expressed my disappointment. And when we settled in our seats for what was surprisingly our best meal of the trip at Publican Quality Meats (the deli, not the restaurant), I marveled at how it had become second nature for him to just maintain a cheery facade after I got grumpy from walking for thirty minutes instead of the sixteen that Google Maps promised, how I peacefully accepted that our daily plans would be awkwardly interrupted by someone's need for a long mid-afternoon nap, and how all of it was just so much darn fun. Now if only we could find a way to bring Watson along on all of these adventures...

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