Thursday, August 27, 2015

We are Tired! Chicago/Wisconsin Weekend

Lately we've been the poster kids for the phrase "work hard, play hard". Lots going on at both our jobs and Holly's car died on her far from home. It took over a week to fix and we just finally got her back. When the opportunity to spend an overnight in Chicago became an option, we jumped on the chance to enjoy a fun night out. In our usual burn-the-candle-at-both-ends approach, we took this little jaunt right before a weekend trip to Wisconsin (which really isn't far) for a wedding.


Dave had a late-day cardiologist appointment in the city (all good!) and we decided we could Hotwire a room and stay overnight. We found a decent price for the Sofitel (we read the reviews for context clues to predict before we book), which is a property we don't mind. The rooms are smallish, but the bathrooms are spacious and pretty.

Dave's goal for the day was to tour two rooftop lounges we have not visited. First we went to Vertigo Sky Lounge. We arrived pretty close to opening time, but found the nice looking rooftop empty. When we tried to order a drink we were told the event starts at five. They were closed for a convention party. After that let-down (we will try another time since it was nice) we went to the Godfrey Hotel to try their lounge. The outdoor area was closed for a private party, and the inside lounge tables were all taken or blocked off. We ended up with beers at the inside bar. Ugh.... At least the bartender was nice and we met a brewer for Deschutes.

After those two fails we kept our sights on ground level bars for fear of another shut-out. We opted for BlackFinn Ameripub because we remembered from prior research they had a decent beer list. Lots on tap to choose from with reasonable prices for the tourist town area. We had pints of Scurry from Off Color.

We know everyone is waiting for it: the next stop was Three Dots and a Dash. We lucked into some bar seats and settled in since dinner wouldn't be for another two hours. A benefit of serving each drink in its signature glass is it allows patrons to keep easier track of the beverages they have sampled. This visit we tried:

For dinner we paid a repeat visit to RPM Steak. We had great food during our first visit, but a horrible table in the overflow room. This time we made sure we would be seated in the main room and received a nice booth. The food was wonderful once again: Bacon appetizer, Parker House rolls, and nice filet mignons. We opted out of desert in favor of having a final drink at The Peninsula Hotel's bar.

Breakfast the next morning came from Stan's Donuts. Dave bought a few before his his doctor's appointment (tip: Don't walk into your cardiologist visit with a sack of donuts) and our chosen favors included Biscoff, Captain Crunch, and Banana Nutella. They were good, but huge which made eating a whole one in a sitting challenging.


Our local brewery (Chain o' Lakes) was celebrating their 2nd anniversary with releases of special barrel-aged beers throughout the day. We enjoyed a few beers in the Biergarten, listened to some live music, and had some decent brats served on pretzel buns. It was a great event, but we couldn't stay long because we had to head to...

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

We were attending a wedding in nearby Lake Geneva, which is a town that was developed by Chicago's elite in the late 1800's. Mansions line the lake and the town offers dining, shopping, tacky t-shirts, and hordes of people that can't walk when the light turns green or follow traffic signs. We planned to stay over two nights at Geneva Ridge because of the hotel's booking policy.

We had a great time Saturday celebrating the marriage of a fantastic young couple, catching up with friends, and enjoying the terrace overlooking Lake Como. Best wishes to Mike and Nora.

Sunday we forced ourselves out of bed (we may have stayed out late) on an overcast morning to take the 10am Mailboat Cruise on Lake Geneva. Holly has never taken a cruise on the lake while Dave has taken two. The Mailboat is a large 75' boat that slows down at docks to let a teenager jump off, deliver mail to a lakeside mailbox, and jump back on. On Sunday they deliver papers. Luckily for us the skies and rain cleared up as soon as we left the dock and we had a very pleasant cruise.

We toured a few stores in town (most of our favorite places have closed), toured the craft fair, and had our first so-so experience at Sprecher. We returned to the hotel exhausted and even had thoughts of packing it in and going home. After relaxing a bit at the pool we felt better and had a nice time enjoying the patio bar area (great fire pit) and an almost private dining experience in the Lakeview Lounge.

The next morning we left separately for work. At one time there was a conversation about seeing the One Direction concert Tuesday night at Soldier Field. Thank goodness we didn't follow through with those plans. Hopefully we don't get some crazy ideas for the upcoming weekend (ignoring all ads for Chicago Food and Wine Festival). Even though we don't take advantage of most area events and attractions it is nice to be in a location where you can do so many things within a 90 minute drive.


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