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The Bean in Millennium Park

The Bean in Millennium Park

With school underway and the kids thankfully dressed, ready, and lunched-up successfully for nearly two weeks. I was feeling pretty good about our schedules. Everything was falling into place. So instead of taking it easy, I did the typical Silicon Valley Dum-dumb move; I scheduled something else! Another trip, no less (albeit a small one, she rationalizes). But before you condemn me to crazy town, let me interject—I didn’t have to bring anyone! I am solo on this trip, actually travelling with adults only. That’s right. Do a happy dance!

We were off to Chicago for my sister’s birthday. She lives in the Midwest (which is far enough), so we wanted to celebrate by meeting her in Chicago instead of sending her something in the post she would inevitably have to return. I cashed in some Southwest miles for time together before lives got busier with schools and work and all the paperwork and responsibilities that come with it. Our Dad joined us for the fun, and since the three of us are all avid touristy explorers—it was sure to be a Labor day piece of adventure.

We started our first morning with a walk to Millennium Park and were surprised to see the venue full of jazzercisers working out emphatically early on a Saturday. They were hustling it and we started to feel a little lazy, just standing there watching them (no, not really – but at least I wasn’t munching on a Dunkin Donut … yet.) We also got a view of some the amazing art in the park, liike The Bean (my favorite). The weather, courtesy of hurricane Issac, was warm, but not too windy. It was balmy and breezy and overcast; much nicer than typical Chicago summers can dish out.

The rain threatened all day long, but it didn’t dare ruin our architectural cruise on the Chicago Architectural Foundation Boat Cruise. Highly recommended, this is an excellent way to get an overview of the city of Chicago. As an aside, I don’t recommend bringing the kids. The cruise requires sitting still for too long to both pay attention to the history AND keep wee ones from hurtling over the sides of the boat.

We ended our tour and meandered away from the downtown, to check out a local Crush festival, with lots of entertaining booths and wine tasting opportunities. Dinner was at Abodo’s Grill, where we made the most delicious discovery. There is a third, secret way to have a margarita. They don’t blend them. They don’t pour them over rocks. At Adobo’s they shake them voraciously, right there at your table, just like Mr. Bond. It was deliciously tart and foamy light, with just a bit of zing and saltiness to satisfy.  For my guacamole loving friends, they also make the guac freshly by your table-side as you watch. Surely, it’s the freshest dip and drink around. The waiters and staff were so friendly, and even comp-ed us some crispy, warm churros for scooting our table over to accommodate a larger, incoming party. Thank you, Adobo!

The day was rounded off by a visit to the comedy troupe, The Second City. It’s a live comedy troupe that focuses on political topics and improv. The show, “What Are We Doing Here” was rich in material, although the same couldn’t be said for some audience input when requests were made for improv sketches. One audience member said, “Do a skit on Italian Food,” and when another source was asked to add to it, he said, “How about ravioli?”. This had all of giggling. At least we knew why we weren’t up there: serious lack of imagination. It was a hilarious way to end a long day of touring and sight-seeing; definitely worth the trek across town if you’re visiting. The drinks were flowing and so was the laughter—couldn’t have been a better way to top off the day.