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Trip Report 2 days in Chicago (with all the Blackhawks fans)

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Went to Chicago last Friday with a friend, She really wanted to see a concert by a singer named Melody Gardot. http://www.melodygardot.com/

I agreed to go and we decided that in order to get the most out of our 2 days we would just fly up and back from St. Louis. (thank goodness for Southwest).

We got into Midway and went to take the CTA train into the city, along with a million Blackhawks fans heading downtown to the parade celebration! It was a busy and excited train-load of fans.

I did Priceline & got ($85 +tax) the Chicago Hilton on S. Michigan, which turned out to be a lovely hotel. Asked at the front desk about getting a room with 2 beds, and she also gave us a room with 2 bathrooms!. Who knew that even existed, but it certainly was nice to have.
http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/CHICHHH-Hilton-Chicago-Illinois/index.do

We wanted Chicago Pizza for lunch and because of the parade festivities, ended up on a way too long and roundabout walk to Giordano's. http://www.giordanos.com/
They have you order ahead of time, so we waited about 45 mins for a table, but the pizza arrived just a few mins after we sat down. (this was a 3 blister walk..I really didn't do well with my footwear planning)

Did a little shoe shopping at a great Nordstrom's sale (yes, one can buy shoes even if one has 3 blisters) and then went back to hotel to change. We had a 6:00 reservation at http://www.cafebabareeba.com/chicago
Great sangria, nice tapas selection and only about a 10 block walk from the Park West, where the concert was. http://www.parkwestchicago.com/

Park West is a good venue for a concert, except that the tickets said concert was starting at 7:30 and it was open seating. We got there just at 7:25 and had a fine choice of seating. I think it really was "doors open" at 7:30. They have mostly small cocktail tables with 2 seats spread around the floor and on several higher levels. I think any spot in there would be perfectly fine to see a performer.

Melody Gardot is quite a character and an excellent vocalist. It's not really the type of music I listen to regularly but I enjoyed the concert.

We found Cafe Cito for breakfast the next day. Cuban coffee and espresso and breakfast "pressed" sandwiches and fabulous sandwich cookies that had some kind dulce de leche filling with coconut on the outside. http://cafecitochicago.com/

Went to the Art Institute to see the Matisse exhibit. It's only in Chicago another week, but then will be at MOMA later in the summer and through early fall. It was an incredibly well done exhibit with emphasis on Matisse's progress towards modernity. It only covers 1913-1917.

We had stored our bags at the Hilton, so after stopping for a coffee at the Corner Bakery, we retrieved them and headed to Frontera Grill. They had said over the phone that people started lining up at 4:00, restaurant opens at 5:00 and dinner seating started at 5:10. We were the first on line and I ran across the street to buy a bottle of water and when I got back there were at least 15 people on line behind us!

My friend and I both have impatient husbands who would never wait an hour to be seated at a restaurant, so it felt sort of liberating to just do that. We were on a time crunch as our plane left at 8:15, so had to be at Midway at 7:15 and thought we had to leave restaurant by 6:20 or so to get to Midway on time. Had a great dinner, guacamole first, several Topolo Margaritas and then we split the halibut (wild Alaskan halibut, cooked over the coals brushed with sweet-spicy salsa negra, served in a sauce of roasted tomatoes, chipotle chiles, bacon and pineapple. Pineapple-infused fresh masa tamal, grilled snap peas, halibut "bacon.") and a special of Chile Rellenos which had one pepper with pork and one with cheese. Unbelievably wonderful.
http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/grill.html

Made it to the airport in plenty of time. It was a great weekend.

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