Saturday, September 29, 2012


Well, despite the fact that it's been 9 days since my last recap, we still have one more day in Chicago to share! :)

This one might lose some of you.  It's hella dorky, but it's us.

We checked out of our swanky downtown Chicago hotel on Sunday morning and took a cab to the airport to pick up a rental car for the day.  However, we learned that since the company we rented the car through is off the airport grounds and technically in the suburbs, we would be required the pay the cab driver time and a half for having to go to the suburbs.  I thought/assumed/hoped he meant we'd pay time and a half for the portion of the trip that included the suburbs.  Did I ask him clarifying questions to confirm my thought/assumption/hope?  Nope. That caused a problem.

When we got outside the city limits, he fiddled with his meter and the $$ creeped upward a little faster, but wasn't too much of an increase to worry me.  I knew we had saved plenty of cash for this ride because it was 20 miles-ish, and we weren't getting close to our budget.  Until we pulled into the parking lot of the rental car company.  The meter said $65.xx and the cab driver kindly asked me to give him $95.  Uh, I thought you said time and a half in the suburbs.  No, silly Virginia country girl, I get time and a half for the entire trip.  Balls.

I didn't ask, he didn't tell.  I sucked it up and gave him $95 plus a modest tip.  I didn't want to tip at all, but we did.

Once we picked up our car, a Kia Soul, and noticed that our hotel for the night was directly across the street (couldn't have planned that any better if I tried), we talked about our plan for the day.  But first, there's this:

For about 20 minutes it was all I could do to formulate a thought, with that song playing so loud in my head!  UGH!

We drove back towards the city for brunch - it sounds counter-intuitive to pay time and a half to drive out of the city, rent a car, and then drive back into the city, right?  Well all the rental branches in the city are closed on Sundays, so the airport location was our only choice.  Plus we never made it back into downtown - just the suburbs.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba was recommended to us, but since it's a trek from downtown we kept moving it down the restaurant list earlier in the week.  But once we realized it was so close to this day's real destination, we moved it straight to the top of the list!  It's in Lincoln Park, which I was expecting to be sort of barren and ghetto because that's where (I thought) the bed intruder was from.

I soon realized Lincoln Park [the Illinois one ;)], IL, is a fabulous walkable neighborhood with a perfect blend of living, dining, and shopping - like downtown Fredericksburg but 200 years newer.  I also realized (Google helped) that the bed intruder is from Lincoln Park projects in Huntsville, AL.  Duh, Kristen.

Also, why didn't I have the same thought process when we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo on Day 1? Sometimes I wonder how I can dress myself in the morning with all the dumb shit I do.  Jeez.

Anyway, back to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba:

This is by far my favorite dining experience from the week.  Sure, I had the "best" steak at Ditka's, and the "best" burger at M Burger, but this was overall fabulous!  The service, the food, the prices, the location, the neighborhood!

Dave ordered eggs Benedict, and I ordered the city market vegetable omelet and the vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit and granola.  I was starving, but didn't realize the portions would be so big because the prices were tapas bar-like.  Boy, was I surprised!  Look at the bowl of vanilla in the background:  That's the size of an omelet - the berries were so fresh and juicy, and the granola was full of nuts and oats and goodness!  The omelet tasted better than any other I've tasted.

After brunch I drove through Wrigleyville so Dave could see 1060 West Addison.  It was game day, so it took us a while to get through the area.

Then we got on the highway to head further into the suburbs on a John Hughes pilgrimage!  If you know me you know I love movies.  If you know me better, you know I am particularly obsessed with 80's movies.  And if you're really lucky, you know John Hughes is my hero.  He did for the awkward, outcast, underdog, what the Big Bang Theory is doing for nerdy scientists right now.  

If you share my respect for John Hughes you know that:
Many of his movies were set in the fictional town of Shermer, IL, which, turns out, is a conglomeration of many little communities north of Chicago - Highland Park, Glencoe, Northbrook, Evanston, and Winnetka.  The internets helped me locate a bunch of locations where his movies were shot, and since they were within about a 20 mile radius, we spent the day driving around to some of them, and ended the trip at John Hughes' grave site.  Morbid?  I didn't think so.  Just paying our respects to the man who made me believe I could have fun and have friends even if I wasn't the cool girl or rich girl.

Here we go, in no particular order:
Home Alone house

Uncle Buck house

school from Curly Sue - I think this was also in Home Alone, but I can't remember which scene

Shermer High School from Breakfast Club - now police headquarters

where Principal Rooney awkwardly hit on Sloane - ew, then he got arrested in real life for child porn. FORESHADOWING!

Breakfast Club final scene - fist pump a la Judd Nelson!

Save Ferris water tower

Jake Ryan's house - well, mostly garage.  Damned trees.

Glencoe Beach overlook - where Sloane comforts Cameron and Ferris tells her Cameron will marry the first girl he lays.

Cameron's house

Trust me, it's back there - the garage where Ferris and Cameron try to lower the Ferrari's odometer, and ultimately crash it instead

Last stop:  Lake Forest Cemetery.  This is about as cool as it gets, as far as cemeteries go.  It is small, intimate, quiet, overlooks Lake Michigan, and I can totally understand why such a private person as John Hughes would want this to be his final resting place.

I said a little prayer, some thank yous, and we were on our way.  Goodbye Mr. Hughes - thanks for looking out for the little guy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


After the dud of an activity the day before, when we woke up on Saturday we wanted to do something fun!  In our case, fun = nerdy!  So we chose the Museum of Science and Industry.

Included in the cost of our GoChicago card was the admission to the museum plus an Omnimax movie - we could choose Tornado Alley, narrated by the fabulous Bill Paxton, or Born to be Wild, which was sure to be the pull-at-your-heartstrings-and-make-you-cry type. Twister wins!  It was really good - storm chasers never get old, in my book.

After the movie we walked around the ships, cars, and aviation exhibits:

We quickly passed through a creepy circus exhibit:

Then saw a model of the Mars Rover:

They had a farm exhibit where nearly every artifact was interactive.  The coolest was the soybean exhibit - they had a house set up and you could go through each room and try to identify all the products/groceries had soy in them.  It was in pretty much everything - allergic to soy protein?  You're SCREWED IN LIFE. Also, cute chicks!

Dave about wet himself when he saw the U-505 submarine exhibit.  This is the bully, German sub that terrorized the Atlantic and was captured by the US Navy in 1944.  It is HUGE.  You can go inside it for an additional fee that we didn't pay, but they had plenty of information and pictures to get the idea of how cozy it would be in there with 200 of your closest friends.

What huge torpedoes!  Why, sank you!

This is why I called the U-505 a bully - here's how many ships it destroyed during each year of  WWII.

The best exhibit was MythBusters - for which we did pay extra!  

It was very interactive like the farming exhibit - so we dug in and did some experimenting!  First up - build a house out of brick, insulation, and/or wood, and see if it can withstand hurricane-force winds.

Lost 1 piece of insulation, but it stayed put!  I win!

Next, do you get wetter running or walking in the rain?  Dave ran, I walked - you be the judge:
The black light didn't pick up much rain on my sweater, so it appears that running gets you wetter!

Lastly, pull the tablecloth out from underneath a table set for dinner:
#fail.  I didn't pull hard enough and it only came halfway off.  

Second try - all the dishes stayed on the table!

Dave didn't tug hard enough either...

...but got it on the 2nd try, just like me.

The final part of the exhibit was a live demonstration using audience volunteers to test a person's ability to dodge a bullet.  The hosts were tres annoying, but it was cool to see the scientific method at work!  #NERD. Surprise, it's easier to dodge a bullet when you have a 2 second warning.  Duh.

Back into the main museum, we got to create a tornado:

I'm not ashamed - this next part makes me look stupid.  A few weeks ago, Nate posted a link from the Oatmeal about a petition to build a Tesla museum.  I thought OMG why does the 80's hair band, Tesla, deserve a museum?  And why would stupid people sign such a stupid petition?  

Had I actually clicked on the link I would have learned that it was not referring to the 80's hair band, Tesla, but Nikola Tesla, inventor, physicist, and engineer.  lol@kristen.  But I didn't click the link, so when Dave looked up at the ceiling and yelled "A TESLA COIL," I responded WTF is a Tesla coil? 

Then I saw it:

Well duh.

Nerded out, we went to Gene and Georgetti for dinner. The restaurant was like a scene out of every mob movie ever made, from the location under the L to the booth in the corner that gives a clear view of everyone who enters and exits. 

The airport shuttle driver had recommended it as the best place to get a steak, and we probably should have taken his advice. We went with traditional Italian, with me ordering ravioli and Dave the lasagna. We swapped halfway through since the ravioli was made with bleu cheese which I didn’t like. But the experience was great and we got to eat at a place frequented by the Rat Pack.