Hey, Chicago-ans! You people have not been kidding me. That’s one swell town you’ve got there. Granted, I was staying downtown right next to the El in a great 14th-floor apartment shared with some swell people, but still. Nice town! Some great things:

Stephanie and Mark’s wedding, hello, obviously. It was style and heart and family; just like the bride and groom, it was the perfect combination of grace and humor. I buttoned my darling Steph into her gown, lent a jewelry pouch to the best man for ring safekeeping, hugged the bride’s mom a lot, and stood up for them next to the huppa and tried not to cry and smudge my awesomely dramatic eye makeup. It was pure bliss.

The brunch in a private room at the Signature Room, oh my god! When we arrived, I can honestly tell you, I looked out those windows and realized that it’s my life’s purpose to exist that far above the rest of humanity. I felt like the Queen of the Universe with that view! Clearly, being five foot one doesn’t matter when there are planes flying below you. PLUS, have you ever had that bacon, my god? I went back *mumble mumble* times for more bacon. You know, for my bacon stomach.

The Bean: I can’t even begin to point out my unbridled joy that there’s something out that combines my love of public art and my love of self-portraits! I went twice, and was kicking myself for not visiting at night.

Tapas and jazz: our last night in Chicago, thanks to Jen and Kevin, might actually turn out to be one of my favorite nights ever. We went to Iberico and had tapas (see below revelation!) and then onwards to the Green Mill where Kevin’s awesome friend got us in and seated at Al Capone’s table, and then our minds proceeded to get blown by the Jeff Parker Trio. Honestly, does it get more awesome?

The only thing that didn’t win me over was the who deep dish thing. Sorry, people. The crust was better than I thought it would be – crunchy! – but the cheese and tomato didn’t marry effortlessly the way it does on a thinner, more delicately balanced thin-crust Italian-style pie found at Nick’s or Grimaldi’s here in New York. I’m not even mentioning DiFara’s, whose league wasn’t even approached.
All told, it was a marvelous five days. Stuart and I enjoyed every minute, and each other. When’s the next trip?! Not soon enough, my friends.