It’s never good to see tons of yellow on airports’ departure/arrival monitors. Last week in Chicago it was a really bad sign. Major rain and lightning hit Chicago area, causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled, or delayed by several hours. And after all the flight delays were not that big of a deal – compared to locals who had to deal with some serious flooding on days to come.
After sitting at O’Hare for good 6-7 hours it became obvious that we didn’t have any hope to make it back to Anchorage
on time at all. After flight hunting with always wonderful United staff, it turned out that our next chance to fly out was two days later. Two more nights in Chicago. While I had tons of meetings to cancel and reschedule, I was grateful for being stuck in somewhere nice (Chicago is my favorite city, or one of them), not in the middle of nowhere in freezing cold Alaska.
Since I got an unexpected evening off in Chicago and my hair looked as dull as rainy day in the Windy City, I did a quick search on Vogue and Allure magazines for trustworthy, professional hair salon. And I hit the jackpot! I was able to get my bayalage highlights done at one of the city’s top hair places, Mixed Co. Salon. For years I have been religiously flying to Gene Juarez in Seattle for my hair appointments but I might have found a new hair heaven…
In addition to the hair adventures, we were lucky to visit my favorite museum (after Louvre in Paris) – The Art Institute. In general, I love art and galleries, and every time I have a chance to stop by at one, I gladly use the opportunity. The Art Institute didn’t fail this time either: I could spend hours and hours looking at Monet and Degas’ paintings…. And I absolutely love Caillabotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day. What a disappointment that it was not on display last week! There is something fascinating and oh-so-romantic in rain and Paris – whether in real life or in painting.
There is also a special exhibition of Picasso and Chicago at The Art Institute, featuring Picasso’s diverse work through decades. Although I am not a huge fan of him, I greatly enjoyed the exhibition, and learned quite a bit more about his art, and life. This exhibition is up until May 12 – in case you are in Chicago area and interested in Cubist movement and his art.
And city life is nothing without some good shopping and eating…. although I am not a mega shopper, athletic stuff is my huge weakness. If Alaska was a bit more formal or sophisticated, I would be obviously shopping professional outfits more often but the down-to-earth Alaska style has completely ruined my sense of style. If I ever had it…? However, downtown Lululemon had a good customer once, and I came home with new Lulu sports bags and water bottles. The husband with me, I couldn’t really justify getting more Lulu outfits.
Since we both enjoy culinary experiences, quality vintage wines and are frequent visitors in Chicago, we have visited most of the upscale downtown restaurants. And always end up returning to Cut Steakhouse. However, on the rainy night we decided to visit one of Chicago’s private clubs, and ate at Union League Club. What a gorgeous building, great atmosphere and delicious food they had! And the wine list met our expectations. The great ending for our dinner was the tea selection: Darjeeling always makes me happy. Whether I enjoy it here on the new continent, or at Dorchester hotel’s afternoon tea in London.
The new foodie finding was our breakfast spot: Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe just a couple of blocks north of the Art Institute. Hotel breakfasts get old real quick, and are always more or less the same. If time allows, I try to spot local breakfast restaurants in the cities I am…. Wildberry Pancakes was a great finding. If you love pancakes and berries, Signature Berry Bliss Pancakes are heavenly but be warned,the portion is huge.