Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time for Adios

To Chicago that is..

It was a good walk to and from the opera last night, and only a cleanup of our leftovers for dinner. Manon was good but the seats got to our legs so we headed out, as did many others, at the 2nd intermission. The best arias were over so it was out into the refreshing night air. Nothing like a slow walk along the river and back to bed before midnight. Yes, our age shows.

Then it was pack up time, and off to Kalamazoo via South Haven and a rec from bricolagelife about a ...what else?...bookstore. Sadly it was closed on M,T, and Weds but a bakery was open. Who can resist that mid morning? A bit of a walkabout then back into the car to Kalamazoo and dinner with some good buddies from GardenWeb.

Time to head off Toledo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sunny Tuesday in Chicago so it was bookstore time. We only really had time for going south to the Univ of Chicago area or north up to the Lincoln Park area. Well we could have done both but hey...this is a vacation.

Politics (and food) won out and we headed down to Powells on 57th Street. They were just putting free books out on the sidewalk and I hesitated but decided to check out the interior first. I got two paperbacks by the same author - dice if you don't know the author - but at $3.95 each it was an acceptable bargain. DH was finding a good batch for the boys at Washington Jesuit Academy so I went outside. I scored a couple of good ones for collage cut up. Cutting up a book is sooo hard for me to do so at $0.00 I hope I can use the scissors on them.

Suddenly it got colder, the sun disappeared and a slight drizzle started. Whoosh...all the free books went back inside, and we decided it was lunch time. Down to Salonika where I'd bought some olives before. DH had the Greek sausage/rice meal while I had their special omelet -gyro meat, tomatoes,spinach, feta and 4 eggs, so I only managed half. Yummy. And this time 2 jars of their olives went in the car.

After we collected our car, the the box of books we set out to see Obama's house. Well, fortunately I had seen a photo in the paper because, as expected, the Secret Service weren't open to anyone going down his street. And no, I didn't feel I needed to get on more lists by asking if I could have a photo op with Secret Service people or ATF ones. But it was still nice to be almost there.

Time to head on back to 57th Street books which is one of my all time favorites. I only got one book on Italy but took some pics of cookbooks I'd like to test via the library. The WJA boys got another big bag's worth so all in all a nice visit. Standing and looking at books always calls for a coffee break so we went off to Medici where I was happy to see the Impeach Bush and Cheney cutting boards and Obama eats here on the back of the tshirts of the waitstaff. I may have read that somewhere but forgot so it was nice of the universe to lead us there. We also got there Just Before the mamas and the school kids bustled in for afternoon pizza.

So a good Chicago day...then time for a rest up before the opera.

Armenian Encore

After some catch our breath, and get settled, shower the traildust off the driver, we headed out in the drizzle to get our legs moving and get in the mood for dinner. We had gained 2 hrs on the drive and needed to get the body clocks adjusted.

Walking east til we hit Michigan Avenue, the ambiance of Chicago all came back. Some people already had their little ski caps on, and I was reminded that The Cold can be a 6-month season round here.

I wasn't in the want or need mode to shop but it certainly is nice to see it all on display. Crate and Barrel did call out to me withe their Halloween spatulas on sale for $4.50

We then decided to ask at the tourist info place by the Water Tower...dh was remembering a Middle Eastern restaurant and I was remembering a super food store (Fox and Obel). We decided to walk down to the Sayat Nova since I had decided I could just be happy with an appetizer while he had an entree. So off we walked.

Sayat Nova was, however, waxing their floors when we arrived so we said we'd be back in 30min, and headed on down to Fox & Obel where I lusted over the goodies while he had a cup of soup. I did manage to force down a cuppa -peach-ginger- and a biscotti, and wisely but somewhat reluctantly decided against getting some of F&O's treasures.

Off to our return visit to a friendly little Armenian restaurant which was over half full when we returned. I guess they wax quickly! Photos on our return east.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicago in the rain

Well it did mention rain but we arrived in Chicago in a foggy mist. Haven't seen that back in MD for a good bit.

Nice new Residence Inn, down in the Loop area, in walking distance of the opera. That's the point of this trip.

A.M back in Cleveland saw us visiting the Westside Market. Despite posted hours of 7a.m., there weren't many stalls open in the main building at about 8:30. One vendor said it's mostly a weekend market, so we do hope to get back for a boatload of sausages and pierogis on Thursday. The fruit/vegetable sellers are in another building and to answer my question about any Arab/Lebanese etc remaining in the area (Uncle Tanoos from the Danny Thomas Show?), well by looking at the faces and names of the green grocers, I'd say it's yes. Hopefully the Middle Eastern cafe will also be open later in the week. My taste buds were going into overdrive just at the thought of the food we could buy.

Midway on today's drive was a slight detour to South Bend IN. DH's father spent a couple of years in the seminary at Notre Dame till he was called home to help support the family after his father died in the early 1900s flu outbreak. His misfortune led to my dh's birth eventually so all's well that end's well. I got my first look at the great gold dome of Notre Dame, and we ate our food from home outside a MickeyD's savoring one of their milkshakes (his) and iced caramel coffee (hers).

The rest of Indiana is the depressed, dull stretch getting you into Chicago, but praise be...Indiana and Illinois now accept EZ-Pass, tho you have to slow down to 5mph and they have attendants in the booths. Job security I guess was a condition of switching to I-Zoom as they call it.

Now to look for dinner options.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Long time no write

But now it's hello from downtown Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland.

I was definitely one of those people who had contempt prior to investigation re this city, the mistake on the lake. Oh no, not now. This is our second trip to Cleveland and it's def winning me over.

Clean, wide streets...nice museums and a big enough lake so you can semi-fool me into thinking ocean. Ok, I'm not fooled but if I can't see the other side, that's good water for me.

Oh, and the food. Last time here we ate in a...Cambodian? (I'll have to research that one.) Tonight, a walk around the University area, and my god how beautiful even if there wasn't a student to be seen. What's that about? The walk mitigated the fanny fatigue from the drive from Annapolis, and so off we went to Little Italy. Again, who knew? Obviously lots of people knew there was Little Italy here, but not me.

We ate at La Dolce Vita . We shared a prosciutto topped caprese salad with some Sicilian olives. Goooood. He had a twisted pasta with veal and beef and I had frugali(?) with roasted chicken,zucchini and corn - the pasta that looks like Israeli couscous. We have the leftovers in the fridge here in the hotel along with some leftover pignoli cookies and other pastries we got BEFORE dinner at a bakery. I think that was a wise move, don't you? I barely got pictures of the food as we (I) dove into dinner, and then! Sigh. I did get some including the bonus Tiramisu we were given since our original waiter forgot us. Sometimes mistakes have nice endings.

Well, himself plans to be up at 6am tomorrow, and I promised to be ready to hit the Westside Market by 7am. Oh did I mention there is a fireplace in the hotel (Residence Inn...not bad eh>)

Pictures? Uhm ...yet again we have multiple cords for Iphones, Ipods, digital recorders, etc etc with us...but no cord to connect the digital cameras to the laptop. Once again, our two brains didn't think of this one thing. Mea culpa. No pictures till we're back with those two camera cords.

Talk to you tomorrow.