By DAVID FAUCHEUX
Postings to this blog have been scant of late. My sincere apologies. I have had some mysterious health issues that seem to want to never leave, and I have been stressed with worrying about two hurricanes that skirted the Lafayette Parish area, Gustav on September 1 and now Ike earlier this morning. I wanted to discuss my month long trip to Illinois. While I do not have time to do that today, I can discuss my weekend in Chicago.
A friend and I took the Illinois Zephyr leaving Macomb early Friday, August 8, 2008. We arrived at Chicago's Union station and walked to our hotel which I am told is in Greek Town. And the walking began. Friday we visited Water Tower Place and soaked up the expensive atmosphere of trendy shops and were surrounded by rushing tourists searching for mementoes of their trip. We had dinner at Pegasus, a Greek place near the hotel. The lemon custard wrapped in flaky pastry with light syrup was good. Don't miss the roof garden.
On Saturday, we took a Metra-train and visited an old college roommate of my friend. North Brook is one of the many townlets in The Northern Suburbs. We rode on the commuter train nearly 60 minutes. It seemed to me that this would be like living in Lafayette, Louisiana, and working in Baton Rouge. I doubt we have suburbs as numerous as Chicago does.
Hoping to dine at Moto, 945 W. Fulton Market, we started walking. We found the 800 block of w. Fulton but it had a creepy feel to it. Empty big food delivery trucks were parked dinosaur-like along the street; and we could see no activity. The street was dead. I regretted not getting to sample the cuisine of a restaurant mentioned in Discover magazine several years ago for its molecular gastronomy--food pushed with the help of science to its limits. Returning back to our hotel, we came across a bronze monument to the Hay Market riots--a poignant moment.
That Evening we explored Chicago's Rasco Village about 5 miles away from downtown on the Brown Line. The subway or el train system was novel to me and not entirely comfortable. It's noisy, rattles allot, and seems to take off before you completely enter the car. Guatemalan food was the order of the evening at El Tinajan. Don't miss the lettuce wrapped tamales at this restaurant that has existed for over 20 years.
On Sunday we concluded our trip with a walk in the gardens of the Art Institute. The sculptures were fascinating. Yes, I cheated, walked on the sacred grass and felt a sculpture that looked like a giant's set of blocks and another that looked like battle ship armor plating. It was a quick Mass at St. Peter's in the Loop, a quick tuna sandwich lunch grabbed while watching an anti-war protest, and we were off to Union station to meet our train. I did appreciate that the hotel had found a CD I had misplaced, probably fell between the bed and wall. They were very gracious about checking the "lost-and-found" box. All in all, a nice trip and glorious weather. The weekend high was 68 and the sail boats were busy on Lake Michigan. I did envy them as I have always wanted to sail once!