Up early and on our way to Chicago. But, ere we leave the Quad Cities, let me talk up a few of its sites: We had lunch at Cafe Fresh in Moline, which was really good, plus they have this cream cheese pickle thing, which is a dill pickle smothered in cream cheese and wrapped in a slice of deli meat (ham, I think) – seriously yummy. And afterwards, we had dessert at Lagomarcino’s, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, and the best ice cream sundae I’ve ever had (very sad to read that Mr. Lagomarcino passed away the very day after we enjoyed his wonderful establishment).

I must also give a shout out to Lis’ kin – her Uncle Frank, Aunt Carol, cousin Cathy, and nieces (actually first cousins once removed, but whatever) Caroline and Claudia. They showed us a great time, plus Carol, Frank and Cathy have the best stripper names ever (Freckles Jackson, Briar Roxbury and Muffy Vielstrassa, respectively).

Note from Lis: I’m not sure my very well-mannered aunt and uncle would appreciate their stripper names being published in a blog. Just so you know, we helped them figure out their stripper names after Mary told them our cats’ most excellent stripper names (BonBon LeChocolat, Ginger Darlington, Tabby Gaston, and Lulu Petunia). My aunt seemed a little alarmed, so Mary explained the whole idea of stripper names and that is when we found out that theirs are the most fabulous ever (unlike my worst ever Roanoke 9th Avenue.) (Mary: I’ve always been pleased with my stripper name of Midnight Adams, but I think it pales in comparison to Muffy Vielstrassa…)

And now, on to Chicago. Cathy and Claudia drove us back to Chicago, and we got to The James around 12:30pm – too early to check in, so we left our bags with the bellman and went out in search of sustenance. Claudia had been wanting to eat at the Grand Lux Cafe, because of their Beignets, and it turned out to be one block away from the hotel – a sign from God, clearly. We ordered a bunch of appetizers and a couple salads and ate family style, then had the aforementioned beignets for dessert – they were divine. Claudia had picked out Lagomarcino’s for dessert yesterday as well – that girl knows her desserts!

We wanted to go to the Shedd Aquarium, but turned out they were closing early on that particular Saturday (bastards), so we went to the Adler Planetarium instead and saw one of their shows. Cathy and Claudia report being somewhat disappointed in the show, but Lis and I really liked it.

Afterwards we took a bus to Millenium Park to look at “The Bean” and some of the other sites. It was pretty cool, on many levels – the sites were neato, and the temperature was about 57 plus wind chill.

We walked back to the hotel along Michigan Avenue (AKA The Magnificent Mile), people- and building-watching along the way. I didn’t have my real camera with me, only my iPhone, but snapped pics anyway, and some of them turned out pretty well, particularly some of the shots of the Bean – I’ve posted them here.

We got back to the hotel around 6pm, retrieved our bags and went up to our rooms (we’d been upgraded to a loft – more about the room in another post, maybe). The plan was to stow our stuff and then figure out where to eat, but once in the room, my body made an announcement – “You are not leaving this room again tonight, Missy.” So, room service burger for me. Lis wasn’t sure what she wanted to do – by now it was nearing 8pm – but ultimately she stayed in, too, and had a burger as well. Cathy and Claudia ate at Lawry’s, across the street, which they said was quite good, plus had a funky 70’s ambience – I’d like to try it later in the week.