I've always been a bit of a nervous flier, but once I successfully navigated the Atlanta airport solo, my nerves went down considerably and all that remained was my excitement. I was hours away from exploring a new city with the man I love, and I was on the brink of bursting. I knitted while sitting at the gate, waiting to board the plane, and I even struck up a surprisingly pleasant conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He seemed surprised, and even pleased, that I am such an avid knitter, especially for someone my age, and I told him that I love the satisfaction that comes with finishing a project. Before too much longer, it was time to get on the plane, so he wished me a pleasant first trip in Chicago, and we each found our respective seats.
Before I knew it, I had landed and was scrambling to find the Chicago train, the L, where David was waiting for me. Luckily, the Midway airport is blessedly easy to navigate, and before I knew it, David and I were finally reunited again. My Chicago adventure had officially started!
First thing on the agenda was dropping off my things at David's apartment, and once we were there, I couldn't help but stop and admire the view for a solid five minutes before we did anything else. The pictures I had seen of it really didn't do it justice.
Afterwards, I had my first taste of some Chicago cuisine. David and I chose a restaurant basically purely on the fact that they were BYOB, and we made the right choice! It was a Lebanese restaurant called Kan Zaman, and we knew we had made the right choice as soon as we had walked in--some of the seating consisted of booths that were basically giant pillow pits with a table in the middle. So after taking off our shoes, we climbed into the our pillow seating and opened up the bottle of wine we had brought. We ordered an appetizer and an entree to share, and each were about 50% hummus, a fact that I am largely okay with since I'm pretty sure I would be okay with living off of hummus and pita bread alone. We ended the evening with going to a bar where one of David's work buddies was hanging out with some friends. Overall, a great first night in Chicago!
The next morning dawned the start of a rainy day, so after going to the grocery store and making breakfast/lunch, we planned out the rest of our day, trying to find some things to do that would not require a lot of time outside. We settled on going to see an early evening show of All in the Timing, a comedy show consisting of six one-act plays, at the Apollo Theater. Beforehand, we ate dinner at a German restaurant called Prost! which catered to all the German soul-food cravings I have ever had. David and I again split an appetizer and an entree which consisted of potato dumplings and veal schnitzel respectively. Then after the show, we wandered a couple blocks over to a cool tea place. The idea was to pick out some tea leaves from their large selection on the wall, and they would brew it for us. Unfortunately, our first choice of tea was not really up to our likings, but we also nibbled on some earl grey shortbread cookies, and we purchased some tea leaves to go. We brewed them the next day, and we found the tea to be much more delicious!
On Sunday, we woke up and walked all the way across the street to go to church. Afterwards, because it was raining again, we ordered in some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I came to the windy city with one food goal in mind, and it was to try the city's famous pizza. And it definitely lived up to its name. Layered high with lots of cheese and sausage, I could barely eat more than one slice. Later in the afternoon, we went to see a production of Avenue Q. I've known about this musical since my high school days, and when David and I decided to attend, I was so excited. I went in not really knowing what to expect, but more than three days later, I'm still humming some of the tunes.
After the show, we wandered over to Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile, to show me some of the architecture of the city. After stopping for tea though, we were met with another downpour. It wasn't long before the wind whipped our umbrella inside out, and David quickly hailed a cab to prevent us from becoming completely soaked. When we got back to his apartment though, we started making dinner, and that made everything better. On the menu: basil and garlic oven-roasted tomatoes and lamb curry with sweet potatoes. Sometimes I truly under-appreciate how good of a cook David is. I love to cook with him :)
Monday morning, David left for work, and I busied myself while he was away. Besides doing super exciting things like emptying the dishwasher, I met up with some Atlanta friends, who were also in Chicago, for lunch at a brunch place called Yolk. After stuffing myself with the Blue Bayou Frittata, I felt like a true Chicagoan as I successfully navigated my way to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner. It was my turn to cook. I made chicken enchiladas from my oldest sister's secret recipe.
The highlight of my final evening was going over to Navy Pier with David. We walked along the water, enjoyed the beautiful sunset, and rode the ferris wheel. It was truly the perfect ending to a perfect trip.