Chicago Travel Diary, Part 1

I flew out of the Island Airport shortly after nine on Saturday morning…

porter leaving YTZ

…and landed at Midway just after ten, local time.

porter landing midway

I met up with my friend at baggage claim and we made our way to the first and most fancypants of three hotels for this visit: the Palomar.

palomar exterior

The Palomar’s part of the Kimpton chain, which means funky décor and free wine in the lounge every evening. You also get a pretty nice room, especially if you spring a little extra for the “City View” room, which comes with two matching animal-print bathrobes. Rrrrrrrowr!

palomar room

We stopped by the nearby Weber Grill for a late lunch…

weber grill restaurant

…where we had the soup of the day and the sampler platter, which includes their legendary beer can chicken on skewers. Not shown in the photo were our Bloody Marys, which they garnish with a big slice of sausage, a hunk of cheese and a pickle.

food 1

Sunday was unusually warm – practically room temperature! It was a perfect day for a walk about town…


…but first, we had to have some brunch. A good family friend who’s also a local recommended Sunda, and their brunch looked perfect.

sunda exterior

We started with a pot of strong ginger tea and some siu mai, followed by what could best be described as “Asian Eggs Benedict”: a sticky, crispy rice cake topped with braised pork belly and on top of that, a perfectly-cooked poached egg. To go along with it, their interpretation of a classic Filipino noodle dish, Pancit Canton

pancit canton

If you get the chance, go to Sunda. The food is wonderful.

Fully recharged, it was time to make our way to Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate

bean 0

…a.k.a. “The Bean”:

bean 3

Art shot!

bean 1

Here’s the Bean, as seen through the passageway:

bean 2

We hung out at Millennium Park for a while and then walked up to Navy Pier:

city 1

Normally at this time of year, this would be an unpleasantly chilly walk by the lake, but it felt like a spring day.

city 2

At Navy Pier, we walked towards the lake along the outside and took the indoor route going back. Along the way, we checked out the stained glass museum as well as some of the tourist trap shops. We got a bag of Garrett’s Chicago Mix popcorn and a book for my sister; I also tried to explain the “I put on my robe and wizard hat” IRC meme to my friend (warning: text is not safe for work!), who hadn’t heard of it before:

i put on my accordion and wizard hat

Our original plan was to go to Topolobampo for dinner, but both it and its big sister, Frontera, were closed for a private function. Luckily, “Plan B” was pretty tasty: Cantina Laredo.

cantina laredo exterior

The guacamole at Cantina Laredo is really fresh because they make it right in front of you, and pronto! In the time it would take me just to peel the avocado, we had delicious guacamole that we scooped up with chips. We both had our “litmus test dishes” for Mexican: I went with carnitas, she had tamales. For dessert, we split a decadent mango tres leches cake.


My friend is in town for a conference near O’Hare. I’m here because I can be here and still get work done. Here’s what I’m calling “the office” this week:


Last night, we made a run to Giordano’s for what Sesame Street would call a “sometimes food”: deep dish pizza. We went with a small pepperoni-and-mushroom and threw in a caprese salad just to make an attempt to be “healthy”.

giordanos pizza

We’re here until Sunday. So far, it’s been a fun trip!

3 replies on “Chicago Travel Diary, Part 1”

Too bad you couldn’t make it to Topolobampo – one of my favorites (and I totally forgot to mention it). 🙂

If you have time – you should try to do brunch at Orange. I loved their orange flavoured coffee, and their ‘pancake flight’ – a set of 4 stack of mini-pancakes, each stack a different flavour based around a ‘theme of the week’.

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