Labor Day Weekend 2012 – Day 1

Time to get this sucker posted for posterity.

For Labor Day we headed to Chicago, it’s a quick trip from Madison and Labor Day weekend is juuuuuust long enough to justify a hotel for a few nights rather than doing a quick-and-dirty one-day trip.

As is now becoming our driving trip ritual, we stopped at the PDQ down from our house and stocked up on milk, coffee, and doughnuts.

Pete will, without fail, always choose the messiest doughnut in the case. I have to basically blanket him with napkins, have wet wipes at the ready, and hope for the best.

Our first stop when we hit town was the Logan Square area (or Bucktown? Something, I get all confused with the neighborhoods). I believe this is referred to as the ‘fashionably rough’ side of town; it is full of hipsters and a lovely music scene and you’re safe as can be – but it still has its native ethnic roots, making it a little more authentic (rather than over-revitalized and bordering on yuppie-ville trendy). Our goal was to make it to Revolution Brewpub in time for their Saturday brewery tour, and we just squeaked in with 20 minutes to spare. Which was a miracle, because traffic into the city was kinda bad.

It was a nice tour. Afterwards we got a table and had a nice long lunch.

Once done with lunch, we hit the streets and checked out the area nearby. Lots of murals, little shops, and hipsters. Always with the hipsters. They pretty much make up 78% of the world population at this point, I swear.

So: Pete and the El. A new love affair, you guys. From the first train that rumbled overhead, he was head over heels. The entire trip, he’d look for them down every street. He’d yell and point and jump up and down and just… yeah. Everyone in a 10-foot radius could pick out the family of tourists, given his undying excitement for the El.

We found Jesus, in the lot behind Designer Stone and Bath Outlet.

Oh, Margie’s Candies. I read this was an neighborhood institution and The Place to get good candies and “go ahead and grab an ice cream while here”. I assumed it was, you know, a CANDY SHOP. I didn’t really read up any more on it. Instead we stepped inside and it was clearly a diner, with a some boxed candies available for purchase. Oops. So we were there approximately 2 minutes and now I have a box of chocolate turtles perched on a shelf in the pantry. So I it was still worth a stop, but I would like to apologize now to my poor husband, for forcing him to drive there and then look for non-existant parking and yeah. Moving on.

After checking out the neighborhood, we headed to Greektown and checked into our hotel. You know, the one I booked accidentally. So, just for the record: we wanted a hotel downtown, preferably in River North, and with a pool. We were instead in Greektown, and with no pool. But we did have a balcony, which Pete loved, plus it was in a neighborhood we hadn’t explored before so I guess that made up for things. Plus we didn’t have to pay hugely ungodly daily rates for parking the car (instead, only a vaguely ungodly rate).

Pete was supposed to nap, but he was too excited and instead ran around the room and waved at people from the balcony in his underpants. We gave up on any dream of having a well-napped child, coerced him back into shorts, and hopped in a cab to River North.

Once there we just ran around and checked out the area. Pete insisted on bringing Iron Man. Okay, so Target had Avenger stuff in the dollar bins. And even though Scott thinks Pete is still a wee bit too small to encourage his Avengers obsession, I got a few things to keep him occupied on the car ride. One thing I picked up was this cheap eraser set, with each character as an eraser, and OMG BEST PURCHASE EVER. He played with those erasers the entire drive and while in the hotel room, even sleeping with them clutched in his grubby hands. You can tell the ones he loved the most because their characters were basically rubbed off of the eraser by the time we headed home.

Anyhoo: Iron Man Eraser, he came to River North with us. So if you see a yellow thing in Pete’s hands, that’s what’s going on there.

The rain clouds hung low the entire time we were there, but it didn’t rain on us so I can’t complain.

We walked all over the place and decided we’d narrow down on dinner plans depending on where we were when we got hungry. Deep-dish was in the running, but when we realized we were near XOCO our minds were made up. We looooooove this place, and unlike Frontera next door: the lines are quick and the food is cheap. I got my favorite (ahogada) and Scott got the daily special torta, which was a pork/mushroom/habanero something. Pete ate off of our portions and helped himself to chips and salsa. We all waddled away from the outdoor patio after finishing that meal.

That about sums up the day. We walked off some of our meal, then grabbed a cab just in time, as the rain finally started to fall. Then back to the room for some cartoons and bedtime.

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