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A Collection of Pictures

This is less a post and more a lot of pictures taken in the last few weeks along with annotations. 

Many of them are cake-based. I don’t apologize for this but we are joining the gym tomorrow…

A rather impressive school building on the way to Pilsen (the Mexican district which we went to today). 


Pilsen is famous for its murals which are scattered everywhere 



$3.50 dollar tacos!


Happy Max with his Mexican chicken torta!


Cannoli from Scarfuri’s – handmade in front of us!


The Bean at night (many more to come!)





I still don’t understand this installation -apparently it takes pictures of random people and uploads their faces? It’s just creepy!

Nutella old-fashioned from Glazed and Infused – Stan’s is still better!

Bibimbap – finally!


Random Alice in Wonderland mural on Milwaukee Avenue


I love Warm Belly Bakery cookies so much, especially when they are half price!


Note to self – there is a reason why Turkey Burgers have never really caught on…


Heading back from West Loop


Evenings in West Loop


Very weird murals in West Loop!

Enjoy! Hopefully some more next week!

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Cubs win! (Spoiler Alert)

So on Wednesday we went to our first sports game – we are now paid up and hoodie-d up Chicago Cubs fans! (Despite technically being the wrong side of the river – traditionally the south supports the White Sox, but I just can’t cope with that spelling… urgh!) Last time we were in Chicago, the Cubs made the final for the World Series and the atmosphere around Wrigley Field was electric (and the rest of Chicago that night to be honest!) This time though we were excited to be able to actually get inside the stadium…

Getting off the train at Belmont we walked through Wrigleyville, finding very colourful houses and a very accurate sign of the times…


I originally thought the sign at the top said Trader Joe’s and thought I had found the most colorful supermarket ever!


Then we finally got into the stadium,  initially thinking it was very quiet! We had a great view, right at the top and close to the batter – even came very close to catching some stray balls at times! The evening sky was also beautiful- I took far too many pictures trying to capture it! 




Anyway, the game started after the longest ever note from the man singing the National Anthem! Men also started walking around with beer at this point – some shouting out ‘Goose Island!’, ‘Insert brand of beer here!’, which another guy just yelled ‘Beer’ and shook cans at everyone! There were also wandering hot dog men and a line Ben and Jerry’s seller who much to my disgust gave up early! 

What can I tell you about the match?

  1. It’s basically rounders for guys
  2. The New York Mets were the opposing team
  3. The scoreboard looks like they stole it from the Oval.

Also, my favorite player for the Cubs is Ben Zobrist simply because he has a silly name and he wears glasses to play baseball…

Baseball is a long game. The first three innings were rather dull – no scoring, but then it got interesting when Kris Bryant started to score home runs! You understand why he’s the only player I’ve heard of at that point! We made it to the 7th inning – longer than we have ever stayed at a match before, and all to hear the 7th inning stretch – the traditional sing-along to ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’


Next time we’ll have to learn the words… 

Overall, I can’t say that I know anything about baseball, but the experience of a game is so much fun. The food was expensive, but tasty – from the Hawaiian Sandwich to Max’s Italian beef sandwich (or more accurately- handful of meat and bread!). Now for hockey!

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My New House(s)

For when I make my millions!

Most of these are either by Frank Lloyd Wright or from within the Oak Park district of Chicago, where he initially lived and designed many of the houses for.

Irreverent and non-academic commentary to follow them!

This seems to me to be the epitome of an American house, however according to Frank Lloyd Wright this was the Victorian architecture he wished to move away from.

Hmm…

Victorian is an English movement? This does not look like an English house to me!


The people in these houses must get sick of people taking pictures but they do have signs outside listing that the property is on the trail, so I figure they are asking for it really!

Starting to be a bit more prairie-style…

It’s so patriotic! And also looks SO wonky at the front… 


Frank Lloyd Wright apparently hated this house so much that he would walk a different way home to avoid seeing it…

It’s across the street from his house…

How does that work?


This is ole Frankie’s home! Note the pointy roof, lots of overhangs and focus on the horizontal!

Some pictures from the inside of his house as well! 



This is the way to cover your light fitting!



How to decorate your child’s schoolroom!


Because doesn’t everyone need to have carved pillars outside?



His studio – note the high walls blocking the windows, as he could not have his workers getting distracted by the outside!



When a tree gets in the way, build the house around the tree!


I love this panel



This was his favorite hexagonal study, complete with random composite floor and corkboards


More ‘Victorian’ houses

We also then went to his only religious building, Unity Temple. It’s just been through a huge refurbishment, but was less fancy than I expected – I thought it was going to be catholic-style grandness and as you can see it was not that! 



It’s very… blocky…



He does like green!

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The Week Where We Wish Boots Existed in Chicago 

I would never have thought that the shop I would miss most is Boots. It turns out that not only are passport photos almost impossible to take (most places expect you to take your own and that did not go well last time we tried) but they also cost double the price for only two pictures!! I’m definitely taking a lot when we go back to England!

So, this week has been busy and paperwork filled – we have had to make so many copies of visas, passports, I-94’s and so many others, however there have been positives and it seems to be coming together a bit more now. We have done less in the evenings – work is definitely taking a big lead in that for both of us, but we did have a couple of small explores, as well as the weekend which I will come into later. 

On Tuesday we went for an evening walk – I think Max was going a bit stir-crazy so we walked up to River North and explored around there in the beautiful evening light – my photographs do not do it justice after the event! As usual we were struck by quite how shiny the Trump Tower is:

Seriously, look at those reflections. It’s not normal!


This is much more reminiscent of what most of the Chicago skyscrapers are like – tall, white and not reflective!


I couldn’t tell if this was a real art installation or skmeone getting a bit frustrated…


It’s just madness. Who cleans it???

On Wednesday a very nice afternoon was had outside Buckingham Fountain re-enacting the opening to Friends with music, dance, drama and huge umbrellas. We also used the weather as an excuse to try these huge ice creams which are impossible to eat tidily without spilling!



In order to not spill it on myself I had to bend almost double- Michelle has photographic proof and it does not look pretty… delicious ice cream though!

In the evening we went out for tea to celebrate Max handing in his PhD (now just the wait for the viva) by having our first deep-dish pizza (of this trip). We went back to Giordano’s to the same restaurant where we were in November and did a bit of a double take to find we had exactly the same server! We had  to explain this to the poor guy as I think he was confused as to why we were staring at him… 

I will say, the pizza tastes much better than my pictures make it look… 



Garlic Parmesan Fries


Chicken Sausage and Spinach pizza


So much cheese… 

On Thursday we spent some long hours in the bank but it was worth it – both of us had the correct documentation to get accounts which is brilliant! One step closer to credit! Friday was also full of paperwork – we set up our electricity account and also registered for our social security numbers, as well as reading a lot of official documents, talking with Adam and ringing USCIS trying to get correct information. There are so many repeated forms it can be really stressful and some also require passport photos of less than a month old which is annoying when we have loads from three months ago which is normally sufficient! However, I can now confidently say we have looked at all options and all the ridiculous prices for this, and can be really helpful should anyone need passport photos!

To give ourselves a bit of a sugar boost, we shared two cakes at Mariano’s, with another of their $1.25 coffees.


This is a turtle donut – the combination of pecan and chocolate is good, but I do prefer caramel turtles rather than white icing.


Max’s choice – a salted caramel cupcake with a pretzel. Very very nice – the winner I feel.

National Foods · Travelling · Uncategorized

A Lack of Fried Ice-Cream

Netherlands flag outline

Night two in the lovely city of Amsterdam, and despite the copious amounts of chips (without mayonnaise – I will never go that far. I know its a traditional food, but still no) we were hungry and ready for supper. After our traditional Dutch meal the night before, we decided to sample the second largest cuisine in the country – Indonesia. Historically a Dutch settlement, Indonesian cuisine has become a staple in Amsterdam and there are many restaurants, many serving the famous rijsttafel. This Dutch colonial dish originated amongst the wealthier Dutch settlers, and whilst the dishes are undisputably Indonesian, the combination of several dishes into the ubiquitous rijsttafel is a tradition rooted in show-offery. The Dutch colonial leaders would produce this banquet of little dishes to show their wealth, and this became so popular that the tradition was brought back over to the Netherlands.  However, after the collapse of colonialism, the Indonesian people rejected all elements of the Dutch settlements, including the famous rijsttafel. This dish is very rarely seen in Indonesian restaurants these days but is famous all over The Netherlands.

For our meal we visited Puri Mas, a restaurant in the same area as The Blauwe Hollander, where we ate last night. Again we were eating in a lovely setting, comfortable and with very helpful staff who were more than happy to cater for our dietary requirements (Max being allergic to banana, we had to ask to have that aspect of the dish removed. However the staff happily replaced it with a spicy cucumber salad which I as happier with!) We ordered the Rijsttafel Special which for €20.50 gave us enough food to keep us full until the next morning!

Amsterdam 2013 251

rijstafell2

The dishes we sampled were:

  • Rice – egg fried and plain
  • Egg in Balinese sauce
  • Salad with peanut sauce
  • Chicken satay
  • Spicy stewed beef
  • Seasoned pork with soy sauce
  • Chicken in curry sauce
  • Haricot beans in a spicy sauce
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Spicy cucumber salad
  • Fried potatoes
  • Fried coconut powder

It was all delicious – there was nothing I didn’t like! The egg in Balinese sauce was a particular favourite, particularly as this was something I was a bit uneasy about at the start. The pork was divine, simply melting in the mouth and the added cucumber salad was a perfect palate cleanser to a large meal.

This was a enormous meal, and one of which we left feeling very full and happy. However, you cannot hand me a dessert menu and not expect me to sample them. I looked, read the menu and looked again. Fried Vanilla Ice Cream. Well that was sold – we had to try it! Sadly though they were out of vanilla ice cream (a slight problem…) However this was only a tiny blip in an otherwise excellent meal. Would we go back? Oh yes!