Back to our regularly scheduled programming – Chicago. But wait, that doesn’t look like a photo of an aquarium or a planetarium. Every good day of museum wandering requires a healthy breakfast start, and while the healthy is a bit questionable, the breakfast was surely divine. I’m really sad to say that this is the only photo that I have to represent an entire weekend of good eats, mostly because I’m a little too camera shy to get out the thing and start pointing it at my food in the middle of a restaurant. We took some really good recommendations from friends – this was breakfast at the newer location of The Bongo Room just a few blocks from the entrance to the Museum Campus – and also had our list of places we didn’t want to miss. Before we left on the trip the three of us sat down and listed places we wanted to visit and things we wanted to do while we were there. My vote was for good food, which requires a bit of planning and thinking ahead. But I knew I didn’t want to spend the whole weekend picking up mediocre museum food on the run, not when there are fabulous restaurants around every corner. Friday afternoon we were in line at 4:40 for Frontera Grill, Rick Bayless‘ fabulous restaurant that did not disappoint. They take very few reservations, and as we exited around seven the wait was over three hours. Even E got a bit jazzed at the thought of eating at the restaurant of one of the chefs she watches with us on PBS, and licked her plate clean. (Side note: what a novel idea – a kids’ menu that served smaller portions of the adult food, and not chicken nuggets and french fries!) F got jazzed about the beans, and looked like she had dunked her face into a vat of them by the end of the night. Both M and I agreed it was one of the best meals we had ever eaten.
We had the same luck with the popular Bongo Room Saturday morning, getting in line before the doors opened at 9. Saturday evening we took a cab to Wicker Park, and ate at a great restaurant, Crust, where F again polished off a plate of goods. Even midday Sunday, when we just couldn’t pull ourselves away from the Field Museum, we got a good lunch in the restaurant there and considered our brief culinary tour of the city a success. It takes a bit more planning with two kids to eat decently when traveling, but it’s usually worth the effort and much, much more delicious.
The Shedd was gorgeous as always, and the City Pass got us in and going quickly. F didn’t make it through the shows, but loved the Wild Reef area – as did I. It’s difficult to photograph much, and you can’t use a flash anywhere, but the underwater reef was really lovely, and probably my favorite part of the museum.
The Adler was great too, and with the pass we didn’t feel like we had to spend the whole day there to get our admission price worth. Instead, we took in a show, got a quick snack, and walked through an exhibit or two – whatever caught our interest. When we left, we headed west towards the Sears Tower (a healthy walk) and then onto dinner – a nice Saturday in Chicago all around.