Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chicago: July 9th - 11th, 2010

Hotel: Westin Michigan Ave.
Dining: The Cage, Shaw's Crab House
Events: Old St. Pat's Block Party / Barenaked Ladies concert, Millennium Park

While I was sitting at Shaw's on Saturday night, I realized it was there (however many months ago) that I finally decided that I would move to Chicago.

The first time I visited Chicago was ten years ago this summer. I was an intern for a large consulting company and really didn't get to see much of the city. One summer later, after I had accepted an offer with the same company, I came out for two weeks of training. I can remember being shocked at the size of Lake Michigan. Lakes aren't supposed to be that big.

The city just seemed logical to me. At the time I had been to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, DC... New York is fascinating but it lacks the absurdness of a city built teetering on the shore of a huge lake. Washington was never a city to me... kind of a society developed around a pretentious, shady museum.

Chicago just worked. Six years later, I was back - on a whim; for a job interview that would land me in or outside of the city for the subsequent four years.

It's always been interesting to me how places first visited casually, with off-handed regard - often go on to become tremendously important and pivotal. When I first visited my Grandparents in Herndon, VA when I was 12... who knew that 10 years after that I would be moving into my first apartment up the street.

When I got to my first client site in Courthouse back in 2001... I certainly had no idea that I would end up living there for three years and meet my ex-wife.

And so, flying into Chicago so many years ago for a random training class... I knew something about this place held the same dormant promise - you just get that strange tingling feeling. We will have to see how it plays out.

So, a long winded inaugural post. I'm not "settling down" anytime soon - In Chicago or anywhere else. This journal is mostly for me - I've become forgetful lately.

This post's tip:
If you're staying in Chicago anywhere near the Hancock (e.g., The Drake, The Westin, The Hilton Suites etc...) and want sundries/booze/snacks without paying hotel costs, hit up the convenience store in the building right across from the Hilton Suites on Seneca St. - it's in the basement.

Things I learned this weekend:
  1. Adjacent to Millennium Park is the Cancer Survivors Garden a beautiful garden with fascinating iron work that has sadly fallen into disrepair. It's serene.

  2. Gage (link above) is a pretty OK aspiring gastropub... but I still prefer State and Lake

  3. The St. Pat's Block Party is not worth a second visit and the Barenaked Ladies are way beyond their prime

  4. Date Night is abysmal

  5. I need to stop ordering the Wellfleet Oysters at Shaw's - Cotuit from now on... and their Lobster roll is still amazing (there must be 4 oz. of butter in each roll)

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