Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Great Saturday!

Well, I never got around to writing any more about yesterday than the post about the view and our plans. Here’s how the day went…

Once again the weather cooperated beautifully. We had crystal clear skies, bright sunshine, and a high temperature of 79. Perfect weather for shorts, short-sleeve shirt, and outdoor activities.

We waited too long to try to get on the river/lake front boat tour, which was quickly booked and sold out on this Saturday morning. So as an alternative we took the FREE train tour around the loop, during which the tour guide pointed out historical and architecturally significant buildings and gave us a smattering of local history and lore.

Much of the afternoon was spent strolling the huge Millenium Park or downtown city streets, brushing past thousands of others on Michigan Avenue along the “Magnificent Mile,” and just getting caught up on Amy and Tom’s lives and jobs and plans. And that is what a family visit should be all about, right? Right!

Dinner at Buca di Beppo’s was great. OK, I know, it’s a chain Italian Restaurant and thus probably not as “authentic” as a family owned spot might be. But hey, we’ve been to Italy and eaten in local, family-owned spots there. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that. All we wanted was some good food in a very pleasant, comfortable atmosphere, and we got that.

For those of you who are food enthusiasts and haven’t been to a Buca restaurant, they serve the food family style. If you order the small Caesar salad (we did), they bring it on one large plate and then enough small plates so you can divide it among the diners.

We opted, at Amy’s suggestion for the pasta Quattro al Forno (samplings of four standard pasta dishes, which we divided up among ourselves), and the Lattini meat platter, which included roast chicken, Italian sausage, steak and pork chops. What a great combination! Not being wine snobs, we just took the 1.5 liter jug of their house chianti.

Of course, it was WAY more than we four could eat, so we brought home the leftovers in a “doggy bag.” I use quotes because there is no doggy involved, but Amy and Tom will enjoy the uneaten meat later this week.

For dessert we ordered the chocolate cake. They bring you a HUGE “slice” (about ¼ of an entire round 3-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting) sitting in a puddle of chocolate sauce.

OK! I know you’re hungry. Go eat something!

I’m writing this on Sunday morning in the quiet time just after dawn when nobody else is up yet. I came to as the first light stole in through the blinds, and watched the red sun creep up out of the lake. I even tried to take a picture of it. If it comes out, I’ll share it with you.

Today has a bittersweet feel to it already, as this evening Amy will drive us back to our camper in a south Chicago suburb, and tomorrow morning early we’ll begin the two-day trek back to Texas and our regular lives again.
Yeah, it’ll be good in a way to get home. But this sure has been a great vacation trip!
But I’m NOT looking forward to the weight loss program that’s got to follow.


Nankin said...

You left your camper in a South Chicago neighborhood????? I hope it's still in one piece when you get back.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Well, yeah, we did. Do you really think somebody might do something to it?

Actually we set it up in a campground near Tinley Park, IL, so it ought to be OK.

We hope.

Karyn Lyndon said...

OMG! Has it already been three weeks??? Time flies when we're reading about your vacation. Wonder what your appliances have been up to?

Hale McKay said...

I'm trying to determine if you take vacations to see the sights, visit friends and family, or to just sample cusine. Have a sudden desire for my wife's sauce - with eother zitis, raviolis, or manicottis. What would you suggest?

Candace said...

Wow, sounds like a great time, John! I'm looking forward to taking a short trip in a few weeks to house-hunt in North Carolina. It's beautiful there in the fall, unlike here, where it's a hundred degrees today! Well, you should be getting back to the Texas coast just in time for the hurricane. Hm. Sorry. I guess that's not really funny.