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Trip Report Cleveland then Chicago for Alinea reservation - mini trip report

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We had a spur of the moment trip to Cleveland and Chicago last week as we picked up a last minute cancellation at the restaurant Alinea (more about that below). Decided to drive via Cleveland from Toronto so we could see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Stayed at the Comfort Inn Downtown - $99 including breakfast. Cheap, clean, comfortable, easy I90 access, easy parking ($7.50) and within walking distance of the Hall of Fame.

We enjoyed the Hall of Fame but found the exhibits started to blur together after a while. We're not usually fond of tours in museums but in this case I think it would have helped.

Dinner at Momocho - a "Mod Mex" restaurant in Ohio City (easy drive from our hotel). We tend to seek out Mexican restaurants when in the States as we don't have much selection here. It's known for its 8 varieties of guacamole - we had the chorizo appetizer (delicious) and chips (made to order) with 3 salsas, followed by beef brisket and ahi tuna taquitos. Everything made in house, fresh and delicious. Service was excellent too


Then onto Chicago for our dinner at Alinea. We have wanted to go for years and finally got a reservation (via their Facebook page)

For those who are trying to get a reservation here's what I did - posted on their FB page that we we were looking for 3 dates and someone with a "ticket" contacted me. (don't get me started about their ticket method - but I digress). I made the man jump through hoops and circles before I accepted his ticket as authentic (including calling the restaurant for confirmation) but there have been reports of scams on Craiglist. In the end it was a smooth transfer ($10 - give me a break) and we arrived at 6:15 on Thursday night.

The meal was 17 courses - we haven't assembled our pics and will likely write a trip report for chowhound which I will link back here. Funniest course - an edible balloon filled with helium so your voice is squeaky for a few minutes. Couldn't make that up if I tried. Tour de force course - lamb 3 ways with 60 condiments (!) We went with the wine flight pairing, which was really good. All in all it lived up to our expectations - which were very high.

We stayed at the Acme Hotel on E Ohio (at N Wabash). Another great hotel find. Reasonable ($160/night), easy access to highway, reasonably priced parking part of the building ($29/night with in/out privileges). It's a boutique hotel - the room was small but well laid out, the breakfast (included) was quite lovely - high quality pastries/breads/juices/etc and 3 choices of delicious mini quiches. They don't have room service (yet) but they do arrange a thermos of coffee to be delivered at the time of your choice in the morning - genius! In addition, the young staff are delightful - friendly, helpful in the extreme (they practically sent an army out in the pouring rain to find us a cab the night we were going to Alinea).....highly recommend it.

We've been to Chicago many times on business and personal trips but have never been to Oak Park to see the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings - we have been to several other FLW buildings so this was a real highlight for us. Went to the Studio/House first and bought the tour/self guided walking tour combo. Walked the streets around the Studio looking at the private homes - it was a glorious Fall day and the area is so lovely. Tour of the house/studio was one hour and very good. Then on to the Unity Temple where we paid the additional admission (if you show them your self guided walking tour map there is a significant discount - it was $7.00/each) - highly recommend going in the Temple.

And then lunch at a local Mexican restaurant - really good! Excellent salsa and the chile relleno was superb - one of our favourite dishes


On the spur of the moment we bought tickets to Barbra Streisand as we had missed her in Toronto earlier in the week. Cabbed out to the United Center and had a great evening with Barbra and then back home the next day.

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