23 July 2012

Chicago

On a sort of spur of the moment, 'summer is dwindling away, let's go do something', wild hair, I took a roadtrip to Chicago with homebase last weekend.  My obvious prejudices aside, Chicago is just the perfect roadtrip destination.  Just the right driving distance, far enough you don't get there too often, but close enough to drive it in under a half-day.  And such an easy drive.  Just get on I-80 and head east.  Don't even start the "I-88 is a better route" discussion with me.  We were talked into taking it on the way over this time.  I've never believed it is the better route and the tolls are ridiculous.  And there was SO MUCH construction this time.  I think they should lower the tolls if they are going to have you constantly in work zones.  We took I-80 on the way home and it was delightful.  Never again!
Operating on homebase's time table, we overnighted in Iowa City, which allowed for the obligatory stop at Oasis for the world's best falafel & hummus pita, and then had a 4:30am wake-up call.  That is a time of morning that I usually do not wake up at, but I don't really mind it if there is fun to be had.  And we were parking by 9am and enjoying breakfast at Xoco, which has quickly become one of my favorite places in the city.  I had the same thing as last time, the chilaquiles, but also tried the egg & poblano empanada (good, but the tomatillo sauce was the mouth-watering highlight).  After that we shopped the morning away before meeting my uncle for lunch at Quartino's (fabulous).   In the afternoon, we headed to the Pilsen neighborhood and explored the National Museum of Mexican Art, a spot that I'd always meant to check out but never got to, so was eager to see.
There were some great displays, good information on the history of Mexico, everything was printed in both English and Spanish and it was all free.  Tough to beat!  They only area I thought needed some improvement was the gift shop.  They need to take a page from the Art Institute or the Field Musuem, those places know how to rake in the dough.  I wanted a print or a few postcards, but they didn't really have any that I was hoping for.  My favorite artist was Carmen Lomas Garza.  She had several paintings that I liked, colorful and focused on families and traditions.  "Las Posadas", "Tamalada", "Quinceanera" and I think she may have done this black and white one also.  Although they weren't in the museum, I also love her cutouts.
We filled up the following day with some shopping, a visit to the Irish shops in Long Grove, an afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and a quick trip to IKEA.
A great way to get some fun in before the school year cranks up again. (flickr set)

1 comment:

  1. I had a fantastic time. Can't wait to print out the flower pics from the botantical gardens. Thanks for going on the spur of the moment. I loved that. I thought that artist we liked looked familiar, she wrote In My Family and Family pictures, kids' books I have read at school. I ordered a used copy on amazon for cheap and will see how the quaility is... I want one to frame. You are a good travel partner. :)

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