Chicago Part Two: The City Scenes

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hubster doesn't like the big city. The air quality was getting to him, the traffic was making his blood thicken, and the sheer number of people put him on edge. He's a country boy, through and through. I, on the other hand, am completely energized by the big city. The lit-up city skyline makes the place seem magical to me.

Friday, we left home early and got to Chicago by about 1pm. After checking into our hotel, we went to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. Our EAA passes got us into the museum for free. We did end up paying $20 for parking in the ramp though. There is other free parking nearby that we didn't know about until we left. Parking in a high-security ramp is always a safe bet though.

We only went for general admission, which was definitely more than sufficient for us. That's not to say I wouldn't have loved to see the Animals Inside Out exhibit though. Interactive weather stations, business-building kids' workshops and medical exhibits were more than enough to keep us busy and enthralled. In one of the hands-on biology labs, they were even dissecting cow eyeballs! Our little city life just doesn't compare sometimes.

Light spectrum piano

Use the wind to keep the balls in the air

Classic static moment

Mini Chicago

Look, they even had a model UPS truck, where Hubster works

We had dinner at a White Castle. We'd never been to one. They don't exist in Wisconsin. We just watched an episode of Undercover Boss involving the CEO of White Castle, so it was even more interesting to experience the place first hand. I am not exaggerating when I say Hubster ate about 15 sliders. Eating at a White Castle was on his food bucket list, mostly because of our limited exposure to it in Wisconsin. Ok, maybe it's because he's a fast food addict, but I digress. Either way, we checked that classy, super-healthy item off the bucket list (sarcasm anyone?). On the way back to the hotel, we caught a glimpse of the Jennifer Hudson Weight Watchers studio, which is very inspiring to someone such as myself.

All day Saturday, I spent at John Hall Studios for my NASM live workshop. You can read about my experience here. Meanwhile, Peanut and Hubster played in the pool, visited the Toys R Us a few doors down (I was the first victim of the water guns they bought), napped and just took it easy. Peanut wasn't feeling the greatest when we left on Friday, so the slowed-down pace was just what he needed.

After the workshop, we ate at a place called Mattson's Bar and Grille, which was two doors down from our hotel. We weren't sure what to expect, and the process was sort of like half fast-food and half hometown restaurant. You order your meal at the front, kind of like at a fast food place. But they bring your freshly cooked food to you at your table. There was a full fresh salad buffet--that's what I had! Hubster ordered the flatbread beef sandwich but didn't have room for it after his buffet run. Leftovers! It was an interesting place. A warning though, they charge you just to walk in the door. We found that we had a $2.00 charge just for dining there. I'm sure this is to supplement tips and such, since they really didn't have waiters.

Interesting mural over the ordering area

Beautiful stained glass around the building. Cell phone pics do no justice.

On our way home on Sunday, we stopped at an Oasis over the freeway just for the experience. Not a huge deal for most people, but for us (especially Peanut) it was something new. It's not every day that we get to order a smoothie from McDonald's while watching traffic pass under us.

We also made a short stop in Port Washington to visit a family friend on our way home. Port Washington is one of the most amazing Milwaukee-ish suburbs. You could almost describe it as a quaint little resort town. Fresh fish is in abundance and if you ever stop by on Fish Day, you'll see one of the best parades and festivals you've ever seen in Wisconsin. Even the public restrooms down by the pier were nicer than some restaurant restrooms I've seen. It's pretty much a prerequisite in Port Washington that you must visit their historical lighthouse.

We ate dinner at Tello's Grille and Cafe in Port Washington before making the rest of our 1+ hr trip home. Tello's offered an interesting mix of Greek and Mexican food. It was like a Greek and a Mexican got married, decided to open a restaurant, and couldn't decide on what type of food to make, so they made both. After digging deeper, the story is much cooler than that. Check out some of their history here. The interior was segmented between a dining area and a bar area with a small dining section in the middle. This worked well since there was a graduation party going on, and we didn't feel like we were imposing or interrupted by it at all. The restaurant also had a cute outdoor setup, where a couple was dining with their pup. It's one of those quaint little settings that looks just as cute in person as it does in pictures.

I thoroughly enjoyed this giant Greek salad

The architectural details in Tello's are beautiful

It's always amazing how one short three-day trip can re-energize a person. I need to keep that in mind when I start to feel overwhelmed and wanderlust-full. Just a few simple three-day weekends sprinkled throughout my mortal days are enough to give me a jolt of renewed energy.

This coming weekend, we're already taking another trip to a cabin in Door County Wisconsin. My parents are treating us to a weekend getaway to celebrate my birthday (which is Monday). Hopefully I'll be back with some fun stories about that.

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