Hi! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. I did. Aaand I’m not going to waste more time before I tell you all about it.
My mom left early-ish, so she would get here shortly after my three-hour Friday morning class. After class, I ate lunch and packed, and then she was here. I was a little bit excited. I finished packing, she changed out of comfy clothes and into cuter ones, and then we were off!
Well, actually she first got very distracted by the ranunculuses outside the dorm because apparently they’re her favorite flower (I’m a terrible daughter and thought orchids were…?), so we had to stop to take pictures. I see them every day, so I scrolled through Instagram and acted mildly exasperated, but stopping for pictures is part of being my mother’s daughter. It’s cute and I’m used to it. Also, I do it, too. #justbloggerthings
But after the ranunculus photoshoot, we were off to the Art Institute of Chicago. I had never been and I wanted to see the Thorne Miniature Rooms. Also, we thought it was going to rain that afternoon, so we planned to stay inside. Turned out to be a stunning day (and a super warm, beautiful weekend).
So, we saw those, some paperweights, some Impressionist paintings, and some Buddha-like sculptures. And we also ate chips because I was crashing a couple hours after lunch.
We were there for a few hours, and could have explored more, but that place is huge and we didn’t have a plan of attack for the rest, so we called it quits and headed to the hotel.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (forever): we love Hyatt hotels. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, where my dad and I stayed last summer when we ran the BTN Big 10K. We checked in and tried to figure out what to do for dinner. Since there was nowhere we especially wanted to eat in the area, we just kinda winged it, but it worked so damn well.
There was supposedly a 40-minute wait, but we hung out in the lobby with drinks from the bar and watched the Blue Jackets game on the TV in the bar. And played Disney Blitz. Then, a table opened up, we snagged it, and the rest was awesome.
First, the service was great. All night, we had two servers refilling drinks and taking plates and checking in, but not obtrusively. Second, the food was out-freaking-standing.
They put warm, buttery pretzel rolls on the table, which was exactly what hungry me needed.
We ordered a shrimp cocktail appetizer. This is always a good idea in my book. I love shrimp. I adore cocktail sauce. And they put extra horseradish in it. Yes, please! I also had a bite of my mom’s lobster bisque, which was different but delicious. It had extra veggies pureed in it, so it felt lighter than a normal bisque, but still nicely creamy.
We both ordered crab cakes as our entree. This might seem boring, but they were so good that I didn’t regret it one bit. Perfectly crisp on the outside, super tender on the inside, and not too much “filler”. I’m picky about my crab cakes and these were amazing. The little salad was kinda perfect, too, even though it was just greens and a light dressing. Super fresh!
I almost didn’t want dessert because I was afraid that a subpar dessert would ruin my view of the fabulous meal. But I worried needlessly. We ordered the chocolate cake with a rich, creamy ganache. The waiter suggested some ice cream with it, and who are we to argue? Exactly. Perfect end to a perfect meal.
We were there for almost 3 hours, and when we left it was pouring rain, so we got an Uber instead of walking back. Then, we talked a little, planned Saturday, and passed out.
Late Saturday morning, post-workout, shower, and light breakfast, we headed to Lincoln Park. I’d never been to that area, and I wanted to explore.
Okay, to be honest, I mostly wanted to eat there. Still do, but now I also want to live there.
We put our names in for brunch at Summer House Santa Monica and walked a little while we waited. It was so warm, even before 11am, and pretty much like a summer day. My mom took lots of pictures of doors and gates. We talked about how DePaul is there, and what if I had gone there and gotten to hang out in Lincoln Park for 3 years instead of Hyde Park?
To be honest, DePaul wasn’t ever really on my radar. I probably got mail and email from them (and every other school in the continental US), but the only Chicago schools I looked at were Northwestern and UChicago. One day, we’ll talk about all the implications of and feelings surrounding that, but for now, I’ll summarize:
- Hyde Park is a lot less neighborhood-y and cozy and safe-feeling. I probably would have explored more in Lincoln Park, and there is more to explore there.
- The environments and priorities at UChicago and DePaul are different, and I can have no way of knowing what things came into my life because of the exact stresses and pressures and quirks of UChicago. Yoga teacher training and CorePower come to mind.
Alright. Back to the weekend. Time for brunch. We had tentatively decided what we wanted to order Friday night, and that still sounded good, so we went for it.
We ordered the smoked salmon platter and avocado toast and split both. And my mom got a watermelon smash, which basically tasted like liquid fresh watermelon. Amazing.
You will never, ever, ever find me complaining about smoked salmon. Nope. However… the avocado toast was the real winner. It was truly amazing and
if when I go there for brunch again, I highly doubt I’ll be able to order anything else. The homemade English muffin is unreal, the scallion mascarpone is creamy and amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever had, and avocado + poached egg is a combo that will always have my heart. ‘Twas destined to be an indulgent day, so we opted for a side salad instead of French fries, and it was good, but we only ate a few bites each. We had to save stomach space for more important things.
Like dessert at Sweet Mandy B’s.
We walked there, stopping for Lululemon and picture-taking along the way, and we had a very difficult time deciding what to get. Very difficult. My mom got a yellow cupcake with a cookie baked into the bottom and some sweet buttercream frosting. I got this giant double chocolate oatmeal cookie.
They were both very good and impressive, but better desserts exist in the world, if that makes sense. We also picked up a peanut butter chip brownie for her to take home to my dad. (Lest you worry about him, they’ll be coming to visit/explore/start taking my copious amounts of stuff home in a few weeks.)
We hung out there, eating, chatting, and recharging for a bit before Uber-ing back to the hotel. On the way, my mom called Wendella Boats to see if they had openings on a 4:45pm Lake & River Tour. We did one last summer and it was terrible. They were not at all punctual and they skipped out on a bunch of it because they were running behind. When we expressed our disappointment, we were offered a free redo. Saturday was very warm and the perfect day to be on the water, so we were happy to find that they had some free space on the boat.
So many pretty views!
I was feeling pretty sick partway through, and thought it was a seasickness thing… but I’ve never had that before. Then, it got a ton better when we were on the lake, which was choppier. Weird. My conclusion is that I can’t look straight up at really tall buildings. That sounds so silly and specific, but whenever I try to look up at skyscrapers, I get terrible vertigo and feel like I’m about to pass out or die or something. I can look at them from a distance, and if I’m already really high up in a building I can look out at other ones or even straight down, but I can’t look straight up at them. I can’t find this exact phenomenon online, but it seems like a very weird and specific version of this.
So, the company redeemed themselves and the tour was lovely.
Afterward, we wanted to go to Frost Gelato for ice cream, but the one along the Riverwalk is still closed for the season. So, we went up to Ghirardelli for a giant sundae to split for dinner. Seemed like a very “girls’ weekend” thing to do. After waiting in line for a while, their credit card machines went down and neither of us had cash on us. We were very disheartened, but we opted to go back to the hotel for something to eat.
But when there’s ice cream in your head, what else sounds good? Not real food. We did alright, though.
We went to the hotel bar and split shrimp cocktail (perfect), a Margherita pizza (not great, only half finished), and chips and guacamole (amazing, demolished).
Also, drinks. Moscow mules, but with Fireball. We both very much enjoyed them. I feel very unadventurous in terms of my drinks of choice, but I just really love Moscow mules.
And then we got a brownie sundae to take back to the room, I got reprimanded for not wearing shoes when I went to get a water bottle, I ate a Kit-Kat from the minibar, my mom painted my nails, we talked about travel plans for Paris, and then crashed later than we should have. Neither of us wanted to sleep because we knew that meant she was leaving soon, but we were exhausted. No idea why. Must’ve been all the eating.
Sunday morning, I went for a short run along the river/lake, we ate breakfast together, and then I headed off to shop at Trader Joe’s while she headed back to Columbus. I spent the morning relaxing at the hotel before going back to campus, and then the afternoon starting some homework. Crazy to say this, but it’s the first homework assignment of the quarter, three weeks in. I also snacked a lot and watched the Blue Jackets game my parents were at. They lost in overtime, partially-but-not-fully redeeming themselves for a crappy start to the playoffs. They’re now down 3-0.
So, if you couldn’t tell, this was an amazing weekend. I want to do it all over again, all the time. It was exactly what I needed, and perfect to hold me over until both of my parents come in three weeks.Warm Chicago days: do this + eat here. @wendellaboats @SweetMandyBs @shellyfromshaws @summerhousesm Click To Tweet
What was your favorite part of the weekend? The whole thing.