Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ahhhhh,... My kind of Town, Chicago is....

I don't think there can be anything as great
As a summer day in Chicago by the lake
When it's clear and sunny with a temp of 78!

Wednesday was the kiddos turn at the Taste! Brianna and her two girlfriends were our charges for the day. Tried to tire them out right from the start with a round of jumping. May as well try it now,... at 12 and going into 6th grade, this may be the last year they're interested in the inflatable amusement activities!
As we would soon discover, it would only take Malnati pizza slices, Gold Coast Dogs Firedogs (a spicy hotdog smothered in grilled onions and mustard), and sweet potato chips on a short picnic break to replenish the energy tanks.
I had to try the more adult fare today of a petite grilled sirloin steak sandwich with Bernaise sauce from Polo Cafe. The steak was Taste-y and tender. The bread (my second biggest weakness behind chocolate) was soft, buttery and delish, as good as it looks! Didn't know what Bernaise sauce was, but I won't shy away from it in the future! Yes, that is a bite, I keep getting distracted by my salivary glands on the way to taking pics!
After the picnic, we were off and running! Along the way, Hope and I had a brief wait by the Pritzker concert Pavilion, shown against a backdrop of a small fraction of Chicago skyline, while the girls raced each other across the BP Bridge over Columbus Dr.

After that grueling physical workout, they needed another rest with the feet hanging in the water by the Lurie Gardens.... Refreshing, relaxing and good for a little girl talk! Then off we go again, making our way to The Crown Fountain for a little (actually a LOT of) reveling in the water and drenching under the water falls and spouts.

What kid can resist being spit on by a huge face projected from an interactive column display! While the energetic ones played in the fountain, I took short walks to enjoy more of that beautiful landscaping Mayor Daley has provided, to experience the hustle of a real downtown on Michigan Ave (sorry Houston, just no comparison!), and to take in...
some of the many art displays - this one part of a display labled "Contemporary Art from China."

Once the girls were sufficiently saturated, we stopped at the restroom for a quick (well, as quick as you can be with self-conscious 12 year old girls changing clothes) dry off and then headed back to the festival.

Along the way, that Molten Lava Chocolate cake kept calling my name from the JR Dessert Bakery booth. Well, I haven't had my chocolate fix yet today, so it may as well be now! What a perfect confection of rich, dense chocolate cake, thick, creamy, warm chocolate sauce oozing from the middle.... mmmmmmm. I had mine unadulterated (without the optional vanilla ice cream).... Please forgive my diving in before the photo... too tempting again to resist! Thank you JR Dessert Bakery for bringing a little cup of paradise to the Taste!

Hope showed more restraint, opting instead for a cup of Bissap Sorbet, frozen Hibiscus leaf tea with whipped cream, from Iyanze. It was deliciously refreshing!

One last walk to entertain and educate the girls: to the 30 minute Chicago inner harbor boat tour. The view of the Adler Planetarium (America's first planetarium), Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum from the boat.... I now know these museums were all made possible by generous donations from executives of 2 major chicago retailers: Max Adler (Sears Roebuck) and John G. Shedd and Marshall Field (Marshall Field's). Learn something new every day!

Got just a little chilly on the open waters, but we were prepared for
anything as any native Chicagoan knows to be! Even Brianna bundled up...

A view of Navy Pier against the Chicago skyline.

Nearing the end of our adventure, it's back to the Taste festival grounds where I've just noticed that even here we have reference to the on-going environmental catastrophe playing out in the Gulf of Mexico....
Those poor gulf coast fisherman have a long road ahead of them.... So glad to be disassociated - thanks for the walking papers, BP!
One last dessert before the night is done ( I think I went on sugar overload today!): the Banana and Chocolate Egg Roll from Tamarind. I like bananas and need say no more of my affection for chocolate, so this just sounded too interesting to pass up. I could taste the bananas and there was just the right balance of chocolate wrapped and fried, then drizzled with MORE chocolate. Oh so yummy! And at least there was fruit to provide SOME nutritional value!

Hope's last indulgence was a bag of Chicago Mix (cheese and caramel popcorn) form Garrett Popcorn Shops, famous in Chicago for some time, made more famous by Oprah's celebrated cravings (pre Bob Greene!)

Tomorrow will be back to work. Still trying to make opportunity for that physical exertion.... Already feeling like I'm 5 months pregnant - Gee, I wonder why?!!

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