President’s Day Weekend

I’ve been working on updating the website for the past couple weeks. One thing that stood out to me was how little any of us write when we’re not out west. We started this project, and mostly continue it, for us to record or own memories. Both girls, but particularly Zoe, regularly go back and read stories about themselves growing up. So in a very noncommittal way I’ll try to post some interesting tidbits up here once in a while.

Each October it’s become tradition for us to pick a few weekends to spend in the city. With today having supposed to be a day off for President’s Day it seemed like a perfect long weekend for a getaway. Unfortunately, because of all the snow days Molly ended up having to work today, but she got to do most of the fun stuff with us. She really only missed out on a night in a Kimpton bed and a Kimpton shower.

We scored some discounted tickets to the SNL exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. We’ve started watching the show as a family this season (bad parenting?) and the girls find it hilarious. One of their favorite parts is trying to say cast members names as their pictures come up on the opening credits. If you’re a fan of SNL and can make it downtown before the end of March it is definitely worth the trip.

The exhibit walked us through the 6 day long production process. Each day offered a glimpse of what needs to go on behind the scenes to get the show ready for air. There was some cool memorabilia, I thought the notes from former cast members to Lorne were particularly neat, mixed with old SNL clips and interviews with people who work on the show. Thinking about Phil Hartman and Chris Farley always makes me a bit sad. Especially Phil though, stupid Brynn.

From the museum we headed straight to the Kimpton Palomar where the girls jumped in the pool and Molly and I dove into a couple cocktails at Sable.

Rooftop swimming in Chicago in February
Top notch drinks – especially the impressive piece of ice in my old fashioned

Before wine hour we still had time to relax in the room a bit. The bacon-caramel popcorn and chocolate cupcakes from the Palomar made a perfect afternoon snack. Wine hour brought more beverages and a couple rounds of Exploding Kittens. The real mission of the evening though, was to finally have the infamous burger at Au Cheval. Molly and I tried to go last May and after checking in for the 4 hour wait ended up eating elsewhere. We were hoping that on a Sunday night we may have better, faster, luck. When we checked out we discovered we were #49 in line with an expected wait time of 3 hours. We were optimistic that even though they’ve been open for a few years they somehow weren’t very good with estimates.

We headed a block west to one of my favorite spots, Cruz Blanca. We were seated in just 20 minutes or so and quickly had a Mexican style lager in hand.

Molly went with a beer/lemonade concoction. I went with the Rick Bayless version of Corona.

After a round of chips, guac, and some delicious salsa we came to our moment of truth. It was snowing hard and Molly still needed to drive home, Ellie was getting tired, everyone was hungry. We gave in and decided to order some more food. The same mistake that Molly and I made the first time we tried to taste an Au Cheval burger. Somehow though, this time was different. We stood up from our table at Cruz Blanca when were still at about position 20 in line for Au Cheval (Molly had been texting every few minutes so we could monitor our progress) and instantly felt a second wind. The snow didn’t look so deep after all. We were on a mission. It would be the day we ate the legendary burger.

Molly and I had discovered the coffee shop inside of Green Street Smoked Meats a few weeks ago and we decided that a shot of espresso would get us through the last hour until our table was ready. We were a bit discouraged to find the coffee bar closed, but Deeganing a Surly made for a fine substitute. The girls played pinball, we people watched, and at just before 10 o’clock we got the text. Our table was ready.

The burger. Mission Accomplished.

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