Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A girl can't read that sort of thing without her lipstick. - Holly Golightly

313 Days to Go: 299 Things to Do: Day 41 in Chicago

67.  Movies in the Park

This morning on my walk to work I saw a stencil behind a bus stop bench  "the secrets of the world are whispered".  I liked it.

I had plans for my daily adventure, but as so often happens they got derailed.  Good thing I'm flexible.  Luckily, when I frantically turn to metromix in order to find a replacement option I find Movies in the Park. To be fair, I have attended Movies in the Park - despite all the other Chicago staples I've ignored until now, movies are not one of them.  In fact, I LOVE Movies in the Park.  It's outside.  I'm a big fan of movies.  They have free popcorn.  And the Chicago Parks District organizes twenty a week, or some insane number like that, during the summer.  Reason 487 why Chicago is awesome (especially in the summer).  

And tonight, it's not just any movie.  It's Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Oh.  My.  God.

Here's my general tip for enjoying Movies in the Park.  Get there early.  Especially at the parks closer to downtown.  This ensures you can get a good seat AND some of the free popcorn.

Cairo is not as convinced of this rule as me, so we arrive only 15 minutes before the show is about to start.  And have a rough time finding a place to sit.  I've never been to Erie Park before, I've walked by, but never hung out.  It's a tricky landscape for a movie.  There's a giant hill in the middle of the park, so lots of seating that has an obstructed view.  Our first location is in some weird sound black hole, because we can barely hear and are about to give up when Cairo discovers another nook for us to sneak in to.

And the rest of the night is glorious.  Beautiful weather.  Excellent movie.  Superior soundtrack.

I do love that movie.  Tragically, however, I had no idea it was a book until this entry.  How did I miss that?

Another thing I didn't know - the song, Moon River, was written for the movie.  Nice work.

312 Days to Go: 298 Things to Do: 41 Days in Chicago = 38 new experiences

Saturday, June 19, 2010

That's the kind of wooly headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten. - Principal Synder

316 Days to Go: 303 Things to Do: Day 38 in Chicago

63. Yoga in the Park
64. Crust
65. Fundraiser - Gumbo for the Gulf
66. Puerto Rican Festival

I feel very relaxed.

Now, if it hasn't become obvious this far let me be clear - I Am Not A Morning Person.  I like to sleep in.  My bed is very comfortable.  I often lay in bed for hours after waking up, just because I can.

Which is why it is oh-so-impressive that during the summer on Saturday mornings I get up at 7am (7am!!) in order to get downtown and do yoga in Millennium Park.  8am yoga followed by pilates at 9.   Really, the fact that I made it the first time a few years ago is the most shocking, because once I went I was hooked.  First, the yoga is amazing.  Second, the view is incredible.  And third, after I always stop at Jamba Juice which is a nice little treat.  So by 10am, I'm feeling good.

I'm feeling very relaxed. 

I used to have a friend who would meet me at yoga every Saturday, but last summer she moved to the suburbs so now I'm on my own.  Cairo and Emily met up at the Small Bar this morning (more soccer) so after a quick trip home for a shower, I head over to meet them.

Only they're not at Small Bar anymore.  It's between games, so they've gone across the street to Crust 2056 W Division.  Crust is an organic upscale pizza place with a full bar and cocktail list.  I wasn't hungry, so just got a drink - a blackberry mint julep, one of their yummy specials.  I was a big fan of this place.  It's open and light inside with a HUGE back patio that is somehow relaxing and luxurious despite being crammed in the middle of the neighborhood.


After a quick drink, we head back to the Small Bar to catch the next game.  I, however, am just waiting for Mary to arrive as we are heading to a friends house for a Gumbo for the Gulf fundraiser.  One of the organizations I work with is holding these house parties all across the country raising money to make sure a disaster like the BP Oil spill in the Gulf never happens again.  A celebrity chef donated her gumbo recipe for the cause - but that's not what we're eating.  Because the friend who is holding the fundraiser, Becky, is married to another friend, and a trained french chef.  I never turn down the opportunity to eat food Andre has cooked.  A few minutes after she arrives we head over to Humboldt Park for the festivities.

Turns out - even more festivities than we thought as Humboldt Park (the actual park, not the neighborhood this time) is hosting the Puerto Rican Festival this weekend.  After some delicious gumbo, Mary and I meet up with Allison and Emily at the Festival.

I'm immediately loving it.  The colors, the music, the rides!  There are several booths selling these pineapple drinks - i have no idea what was in it but had to have one.  How fun is that?

We check out the rides and sit in the grass for a while listening to music (while I drink my frozen pineapple concoction) but eventually head home - it's very loud with competing music and we can't hear each other talk.


315 Days to Go: 299 Things to Do: 38 days in Chicago = 38 new experiences

Thursday, June 17, 2010

There...there wasn't a story there. - Buffy

318 Days to Go: 304 Things to Do: Day 36 in Chicago

62. Nachos and Margaritas at Fiesta Mexicana Grill

I decided to work from home today.  This decision always makes the likelihood of me doing something new...less likely.  But Cairo has embraced my challenge and via gchat convinces me to meet her on her way home at Fiesta Mexicana Grill corner of Ogden and Grand.

On the days that I to or from the office I pass Fiesta Mexicana about 10 minutes from my apartment.  It always looks fun and festive - very bright colors - and it has large banners outside boasting 1/2 price Margaritas on Mondays and Wednesdays.  They also have a few tables outside when the weather is nice.  So, around 8pm I meet Cairo to finally, finally, check it out.

We order nachos and margaritas - both of which are delicious.  And it's a gorgeous night out.  The only real drawback is that, although outdoors, the view is not that great.  In fact, it's really just a major intersection.  Can't always be the sixteenth floor overlooking the river and lake, I guess.  I'll still take it.

317 Days to Go: 303 Things to Do: 36 Days in Chicago = 35 New Experiences

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three times a Fish Guy. - Xander

 319 Days To Go: 307 Things To Do: Day 35 In Chicago

59. Free Day at Shedd Aquarium
60. Pegasus in Greektown for dinner
61. Drinks at Dugan's Pub


So, for some time now, a good friend of mine Mary (not to be confused with Mary Grace aka MG) has been thinking of moving out of DC her home for the last five or six years.  I, of course, launch a tactful and subtle campaign to recruit her to Chicago.  And by tactful and subtle I mean...asking her every time we talked if she was coming.  But my efforts have clearly paid off because about a week ago she finally DID move to Chicago and today we manage to get together.  I could not be more excited.

Periodically throughout the year museums here in Chicago will have free days.   This is always a bit of a gamble.  On the one hand you get to go to the museum for free.  On the other, EVERYONE gets to go to the museum for free and does.  Today though we take the risk.  The Shedd Aquarium 1200 S Lake Shore Drive is both free AND open late, until 8pm.  Fitz and I head over to meet Mary at 5:30.

It's a bit tricky to take pictures of stuff inside tanks, but I do my best. 

The free admission doesn't allow you access to any of the special exhibits, just the galleries and the Caribbean Reef.  I'm cool with that although would like to go back to check out the Oceanarium and the Polar Play Zone.  Penguins are cool.  Plus, it's called the Polar Play Zone.  And I had been particularly excited all day to see the puffer fish.  Ever since I saw the movie Next Stop Wonderland (which I understand is about Boston.  The Boston subway, the Boston aquarium) I have loved puffer fish.  They puff!  Literally!  Turns out - no puffer fish in the gallery, at least none I saw.  Luckily the sea horses, sting rays, and turtles make up for it.

There are tons and tons of kids running around.  I find this somewhat endearing; I can relate to their enthusiasm.  However, Fitz is allergic to kids so is a bit uncomfortable by this turn of events.  I find her discomfort amusing.  You might think this makes me a bad friend, but only if you don't know Fitz. I think our timing was good though, most of them start to disperse before long; one assumes to go eat dinner.

This plan also means it's going to be tough for me to get home to see So You Think You Can Dance.  For most of the day I harbor the delusion that somehow, I'll hop a cab and get home to see the Top 11 perform but midway through Waters of the Amazon I surrender the fantasy.  I'm having too much fun with Mary.  And she wants to help with the blog experiment (I knew she would).

So, instead of hopping in a cab and hurrying home I go with Mary and Emily (Fitz left due to an outbreak of kid-itis but was replaced by Emily just as we were walking out) to Greektown.  Shockingly, despite finding the neighborhood terribly cute AND my love for Greece this is the first time I've gone to hang out in Greektown. 

We start with some traditional Greek food and beer on the rooftop of Pegasus 130 S Halsted.  Opa!  Anything that can combine cheese, fire, and cheering is guaranteed to be a good time.  Pegasus has been around for about 20 years, and brings authentic Mediterranean cooking to the heart of chicago.  I took a trip to Greece a few years ago and loved, loved, loved it.  Can't wait to get back.  My favorite things were the ruins.  The scenery.  And the food.  We order some saganaki (flaming cheese - yum), spanakopitakia (spinach and feta), and soutzoukia (meatballs).  Delicious.  And we order some greek beer to wash it down.

After some food, we head down the street to continue exploring and stumble upon Dugan's Pub - a seemingly irish establishment in Greektown.  But what the hell?  We go in and grab a beer. 
Turns out - they kinda pride themselves on being the only Irish Pub in the neighborhood.  And the beer selection was solid - lots of microbrews.

More pictures from the aquarium.  Fun!

318 Days To Go: 304 Things To Do: 35 Days in Chicago = 34 New Experiences