My Fourth Trip

Actually, this is only my second and a half or third trip of the year, and my first trip to Chicago of the year, but the title seemed kind of fun to me.

Anyway, I took this nice longish trip home to Chicago for Fourth of July weekend. I flew out of La Guardia and sat by Jesse Jackson in the waiting area for our flight. We talked about his shoes. Here I am with my airplane friend in Chicago. He was too busy getting his picture with other people to get it with me. It's okay. 

Mom took me straight from the airport to Los Barrilitos for their bomb tacos al pastor, an excellent meal that's on its way to becoming a Chicago arrival tradition.

Then she dropped me off in the city so I could check out the Takashi Murakami retrospective at the Contemporary Art Museum that was a big deal at the moment. I definitely would have liked this exhibit a lot more 14 years ago, and I'm definitely less interested in his new stuff, but, whatever, I'll check out a big Takashi Murakami exhibit, sure. 

There was also a good exhibit about, I don't know, youth? on the first floor. A more interesting collection of art than upstairs, in my opinion.

Misc. museum sights followed by misc. Chicago sights followed by an L train ride home.

That night, with the Edwardses arrived, we dined on Johnnies Italian Beefs on the back porch. Wonder what Dr. Nick would say about this level of paper clearness? To be clear myself: This is a totally wrapped sandwich. It has not been opened yet.

The next morning I went with Kristen and her kids and Emily, too, to the Bongo Room. Bongo Room has fallen off. Just look at this Chocolate Tower French Toast...where's the chocolate? Huh? (I think you need to have been to the Bongo Room to understand this complaint because to most it may look like there's chocolate in this picture).

From there we went over to the Adler Planetarium, which I hadn't visited since 7th or 8th grade. I learned a little bit about planets and space and stuff there.

From there we took advantage of our location and had a bit of a lake walk along the lakeside.

That night we had Robinson's for dinner. Like the Bongo Room, something was off with this favored eatery of ours. Ribs just were not being what they usually were, wings either.

Key event from Sunday: It looks like so little in this picture, but we worked up a storm in the kitchen and turned out Eggplant Marinara, Meatballs, Cavatelli with Hot Sausage and Brown Sage Butter and salad. At last a meal that measured up!

Monday's big deal activity for the day: After all these years in Chicago, we finally took a boat tour (after a Do-Rite Donut breakfast). It started out with a little Chicago River, then through the lock out onto the lake, then back for a bit more Chicago River. Learned a lot and had a good time! Hooray for Chicago!

That evening we walked over to Mann School and played four square and stuff.

Would you believe that, after all this content, it's finally the 4th?

Sharing a bathroom.

Very important Fourth of July activity: the Oak Park Fourth of July Parade

The Fourth of July marked the 32nd anniversary of our having moved to Oak Park. Here I am with Kristen and Emily, this is how it was when we moved to Oak Park: NO OWEN OR GREG!!

One more item for the "We had never done this before in all our years as Oak Parkers/Chicagoans": We all went and toured the Unity Temple. Pretty neat place! Good job, Frank!

That evening we went to dinner at Las Fuentes, which is a bit of a Fourth of July tradition for us. Like the Bongo Room and Robinson's before it, things were not right at this favored eatery. The poor staff was overwhelmed by a busy day and food took a long time to come and drunken neighbors didn't make the meal any better. Tip for restaurants: Don't seat any parties that look like they're going to go hard on the Margaritas next to the families with all the kids? But at least there wasn't a lot of traffic heading to or from there.

Back home, we walked on down to the High School for one of the finest Oak Park fireworks shows in memory. Took the edge off all those mediocre meal memories. 

And then the next morning I caught a 6am flight back to New York and I wasn't even late to work!