My plane landed in Chicago at 2 o'clock on the first Friday of spring break, and after a trip on the orange line of the train from the airport in an effort to avoid driving in Friday afternoon traffic, I was reunited again with my boy*. He was a dear and brought me a tuna sandwich, and it felt so good to be able to hold him again after six weeks of being apart.
When we got back to his apartment, David had the lovely surprise for me that he had gotten a couch. Couches are expensive, y'all, but it was a nice surprise that David was able to get one, a nice one at that, and I happily ate my sandwich on it to fully initiate it into David's apartment :) We didn't do much else on Friday besides shop for groceries for the week, but we did go to the Brewston Beer Company for dinner, a cool bar/restaurant that had opened only two days earlier. Being a Friday in Lent, David and I abstained from meat; I ordered the fish tacos and David had seared tuna. Very yummy.
Saturday was a mostly lazy day of relaxing as we knew Sunday would be a busy day. We cooked fried eggs inside sliced green peppers with a side of sausage patties for breakfast and stayed in pajamas for a bit, just enjoying each others company. That evening, after going to 5:00 church, we had our first homemade dinner of the week. David had picked out a recipe from one of his cookbooks, and we made Thai-style coconut chicken. It was spicy and soupy and perfect for a cold night.
The next morning dawned bright and early, and we were up and out of bed by 7:30. We had a LivingSocial coupon to go on a wine tour, and the bus that would be driving us to the Michigan wineries was leaving a few blocks from David's apartment at 9. I scrambled us some eggs and made some toast while David showered, and we were out the door and to the bus by 8:50 (all dressed in green of course for St. Patrick's Day). The two hour bus trip to Michigan went by in no time, and we visited four different wineries along the way, Lemon Creek Winery, Founder's Wine Cellar, St. Julian's, and Round Barn. David and I found some favorite wines, purchased a few bottles, and after a long day of sampling wine, I proceeded to fall asleep on David's shoulder on the way back to Illinois which initiated some other women on the trip to dub us the cutest couple of the trip. Secretly, this made me smile.
On Monday, we had adventures out and about combined with some down time inside too. We had lunch at the famous Portillo's. I had the Italian beef, and it definitely lived up to its name. And it was incredibly filling! Eventually, I got too full and just started picking the meat out of the dregs of the sandwich. We worked off our full bellies though by walking to Bed, Bath, and Beyond so David could buy a new bed set, and later when we got back to his apartment, we piled all the dirty clothes including the new sheets, so we could get some laundry started; Spring Break can't be all fun and no work after all! But this was about the time I started feeling pretty crappy, and I blame the guy who was sitting next to me on the plane on the way up because he spent the majority of the plane ride coughing. I was getting a pretty sore throat and I had the first ear ache that I had had in a few years. But the night had to go on! So I took a couple Tylenol, and after the laundry was done in the wash, we put it in the dryer and headed out to dinner. Ever since David saw this place on a walk one day, it has been on my Chicago bucket list to go to a restaurant called The Kerryman. Yes, that is its actual name. It's fate. And the menu was even yummier than I hoped it would be. David and I shared a bowl of the Kerryman chili for an appetizer (so spicy!), and for entrees, David had an enormous burger called The Murger, and I had smoked gouda mac n' cheese with crumbled bacon and potato chips on top. Seriously amazing. I didn't even manage to eat half of it which was honestly okay by me because it meant that I had amazing leftovers to eat the next day.
The next morning was Tuesday which meant that David had to go to work. It probably worked out best though because the days that David had to go to work were the days when I felt the crappiest. I spent most of the day on Tuesday in bed or watching Netflix on the couch, and after I had been up for a few hours, I usually started feeling better. That evening, I was in charge of cooking dinner, David wasn't allowed to help at all. I had picked out the recipe I was going to use the week before, and it was such a success. I made jalapeno popper chicken chili soup, and it was delicious, albeit a little time intensive. It wasn't quite as spicy as I imagined it being, so next time, I might leave some of the jalapeno seeds in to give it a little more kick.
Wednesday was a lot like Tuesday in the sense that I still felt sick and spent a lot of the day on the couch knitting and relaxing. That night, we made dinner together from our favorite recipe book. We've probably cooked about eight or nine recipes from this book, and each one is always amazing. We made martini chicken, and on the side, I made oven roasted brussel sprouts with a garlic aioli sauce (recipe: here). I was surprised by how good the brussel sprouts ended up being, and the chicken ended up being a great recipe because it only needed about five ingredients, all of which were already in David's kitchen.
On Thursday, while David was at work, I finished knitting up my hat and watched some episodes of The Tudors (to which I am completely addicted). When David got home, I was feeling well enough to brave the bitter cold outside, and we walked to Zocalo, a tequila bar and restaurant, for dinner. My still sick body definitely was feeling well enough for any alcohol, but David got a very yummy margarita. For an appetizer, we got some plantain wrapped something or other that was really good. All of the food was great actually, and I could definitely see why David wanted to bring me here.
On Friday, David didn't have to go into work because he gets every other Friday off, and we started the day off right by going to get some brunch! Being another Friday in Lent, David ordered the spicy avocado frittata, and I had the strawberry waffle. Nothing beats breakfast food, in my opinion. Afterwards, we walked to the train which we took south to the Field Museum. We saw dinosaur fossils, and we toured the ancient Americas, and we even walked through Asia. After a few hours there, we walked over to the Shedd Aquarium which was essentially right next door. This was David's first aquarium experience, and I think it was a good one for him :) We loved looking at all the fish and underwater life, and we even had the treat of getting to see some turtles and some frogs, two of our personal favorites. After another few hours there, our feet hurt! We called it a day, and we took the train home. That night, we made blackened trout with a side of cornbread jalapeno poppers (recipe: here), and it was a great Friday fish meal.
On Saturday, we slept in for my last full day in Chicago. In typical Kerry fashion, I got a case of the blues because I had to leave the next day and I didn't want the week to end, but David was wonderful as always and continually thought up ways to make me smile. That evening, we went to church for Palm Sunday because we knew there wouldn't be a lot of time for us to go the next morning, and we ate for dinner some of the leftovers we had accumulated over the week. Then that night, we capped off my trip by going to see a concert at the venue Double Door. Four different bands were playing, Audiences, Cassettes on Tape, Golden State, and Camera. I definitely had my favorites, but overall, the music was great.
Sunday morning dawned too early for me. David made chocolate chip pancakes and bacon while I packed up my things, and our time together was over before I knew it. I cried my eyes out of course (would you expect anything else from me?), and David drove me to the airport, and we hugged goodbye. But as hard as it is to let go, I couldn't have asked for a better trip. Despite being sick, and despite little hiccups along the way, I cherish every moment.
*my man :)