i flew up to chicago to spend some time with kelly! sometimes the internet works in strange ways — we met on here and over the last 3+ years have become good friends via e-mail, phone, and snail mail. we got to meet for the first time when mr. c and i were in chicago last year, and now i made a solo trip up there visit + see the area through her eyes. it was a great decision — we had a blast!
on friday evening she, ryan, and i went to dinner at nickson’s eatery, which had great food + some good local brews to choose from. we also checked out buckledown brewing and brixie’s, which is one of their favorite neighborhood spots with an excellent beer selection. apparently it’s a pretty low key hangout earlier in the day, but at this hour it was full of youths for a punk rock show. we stayed anyway, had some tasty beers, and laughed at how years ago we would have loved the scene, but now we were just asking "can’t they turn that down a little bit?!" we finished off the night with their delicious home brews.
on saturday morning i got to tour kelly’s garden in person. having watched since winter time when she chose + started seeds, it was impressive to say the least! she has a jungle back there with all kinds of organic goodness. we went to the farmers market, where we bought a dozen donuts then made lap to check out the produce and taste samples. being so close to wisconsin, there is a lot of damn good cheese. once back home, we took sweet jasper for a long walk in the woods near their house. we cleaned up at went to quincy street distillery, which was founded by a chemist as his “hobby” job. they make all variety of liquors — gin, bourbon, moonshine, etc — and it has a very cool feel [old pharmacy diner, maybe?]. i loved the bourbon lemon tea punch i had, and they serve unlimited popcorn, which is obviously a plus.
that evening, she + i headed into the city for a night on the town. we had dinner at irazu, a costa rican BYOB spot with amazing food. our next stop was billy sunday, where we enjoyed a couple rounds of cocktails. i really liked this place — it had a neat speakeasy feel, unique cocktails, and unpretentious staff who were very friendly explaining the obscure ingredients + making solid suggestions for us. we finished the night at revolution brewing. i really loved all the samples i tasted here + i think my favorite was the coup d’etat saison.
sunday was for kayaking on the chicago river. our out + back ended up being about nine miles [!] and took us up to the loop and to navy pier where i could get a new perspective on all of the architecture + skyline. having most often kayaked in the intracoastal waterway, this was the most traffic-heavy place i’ve ever paddled with all of the river cruisers + motorboats. i really loved this outing — it was such a cool way to see the city!
after our paddle, we checked out the new lagunitas brewing center + taproom. that night, kelly cooked a yummy dinner, i got to enjoy a couple more of their home brews, and we watched the great outdoors on the backyard projector, complete with a fire in the fire pit.
kelly has become such a valued friend over the past few years, so getting to spend this time with her [+ ryan + jasper!] was a true treat for me. i loved being able to have wonderful conversations in person and to see what her world is like. and, she’s just so damn fun. thanks so much, you three, for opening up your home!