Labor Day Weekend 2012 – Day 2

Pete did not sleep well at ALL. He didn’t want to go to bed, he woke up a lot that night. He conned me into crawling into bed with him – okay, you people that sleep with toddlers? You deserve sainthood. Or should check yourselves into the looney bin. He had me wedged in a teeny corner most of the night, and even with the majority of the bed at his disposal he was somehow able to fall out of bed at 5:45a. So at that point we were pretty much awake for the day. We chilled in the room and took our time getting ready, then headed out for some breakfast.

Glazed and Infused is fairly new and Fulton Market was a quick walk from the hotel, so we headed that way. And whooooa, nelly. Good doughnuts. Granted I am no doughnut connoisseur, but they are the best I’ve had in a long time. Soft dough, great flavor – I got a creme brulee, which had the nice crispy torched sugar top and a creme brulee filling inside. Scott had a maple bacon (what doughnut shop doesn’t make those these days) and Pete got a cake doughnut with chocolate ganache. We got a 4th, which we all sampled: and that lemon was my favorite, hands down. Lemony cake, lemon glaze with candied lemon on top, and dotted throughout with lemon curd. Not sure how they got perfect little pockets of lemon curd in that doughnut, but it sure was delicious.

And PS – that shot in the lower right corner below? That’s the trek to the bathroom. We had to go to the back, head into the stairwell, go down a flight, then down a hallway, hang a left at the end of the hallway, then take a right, and waaaaaay in the back on the right side was a bathroom. It was quite the adventure.

After breakfast we ran around the neighborhood. The Publican is down the street, Girl and the Goat a block away, other awesome looking places as well all over this neighborhood. Definitely a foodie-type destination if you come to Chicago. We wanted to try out Little Goat on this trip (Stephanie Izard’s new restaurant, more diner-esque) but the opening got pushed back a month and now isn’t until October sometime. Sad face. Oh well, maybe next trip.

We went back to the hotel and caught a cab, to finally take Pete to the place we’ve been talking up for the past week: The Museum of Science and Industry.  Once he spotted that first train in the lobby, it was all over.  We knew we were going to be spending a looooong time there.

We spent the vast majority of our time stuck in the train/airplane/models room. We did coax him out a few times to check out the other exhibits, though.

Okay I had to sneak in a photo of the boat room for posterity, even though we spent approximately 2 seconds in there. When I was little, my parents used to take us to this museum and we loooooved it, because it’s very interactive and you can climb all over several of the displays. Well, in the boat room I ran over to a display to play in it and SPLAT. I hit glass. Yep, that one was enclosed. It made a big ole THUNK sound when I hit so everyone turned to look, and then I kinda bounced off of it and had a nice big goose egg on my forehead. My sister Beah still laughs when she tells the story. It was about as awesome as it sounds.

I hate that boat room.

Um, no way in hell could you pay me enough to crawl into something like that and be shot into space.

I have about 800 photos of Pete in that suit. I really don’t know why, but I think he looks hilarious.

OMG THEY HAVE THE MOLD-A-RAMAS HERE!!! I don’t remember that at all. I only remember them to the Milwaukee Zoo, and I loved those things so dearly. We got Pete a train and I was so excited to smell it, you guys. Still hot Mold-A-Rama, mmmmmmmm.

Also ignore my bangs. The bangs that I got last week, on a whim, because I wanted something new and exciting. They were supposed to be all Francoise Hardy but they look more… well, not right. I feel like a Kelle-Hampton stan with these things. And then Pete cried for 2 days afterwards, repeatedly telling me I looked like a crazy lady. AND THEN: we got to Chicago, and the humidity did that wavy-thing to them. Which means: about as bad as it gets. Wee.

ANYWAY! After checking out all the rooms (with Pete running, arms a-pumping, back to the Train Room in-between every single room we visited), we did one last extended turn in the Train Room and dragged Pete outta there to go find some lunch.

We ended up back at The Publican. Something magical happened, that rare traveling situation where (1) the restaurant you want to try happens to have a mere 30-minute wait and (2) your child acts like a complete angel the entire time you’re there. Well, he did get a little crazy with the silverware at one point, but otherwise he was great. And I will stop tempting fate right now and will stop talking about it.

They have a unique dining set up: when you arrive you are told the wait and then whisked away to one of the assigned bartop tables in the middle of the room, where a server takes your drink orders. You chill there until the hostess comes again, to escort you to your dining seats when they are available. They move your tab for you so you don’t have to worry about anything (hence the assigned bartop tables). Makes the time go by much more quickly than being stuck at the front of the place, standing around like a goon for a table to come open.

The dining room is filled with several long communal tables, from front to back, with dining ‘stalls’ along the wall. The ‘stalls’ are a tongue-in-cheek touch because they are known for their luscious meats here: the stalls have doors like an animal stall but rather they are lovely little private booths. We were lucky enough to score a stall.

Scott and I got brunch and Pete had an order of frites (yep, a huge cone of fries for the toddler. It’s vacation, right?). Mmm, the food was so good. I can see us coming back for sure. Or trying another of the chef’s spots…

We headed back to our room and ‘took a nap’ (again: pointness. No napping was to be had). Then we took a cab to the Loop, to spend our afternoon and evening. Millenium Park and all the rest.

This building is rather new. It wasn’t there when we stayed at the hotel across from it in 2006, anyway! I think I like it, almost like a sculpture with those balconies.

It was about at this point that Pete passed out in the stroller. You know, we weren’t sure if it was worth taking the stroller because he is, after all, 3 freaking years old. But we knew we’d do a lot of walking and we knew he can be a big baby about being carried when he gets tired. We certainly weren’t going to carry him around half the time. I am so glad we brought it.

We just walked around and enjoyed a conversation without a 3-year-old’s constant blabber, it was nice. We stopped at some random place for a drink – I can’t recall the name, just some run-of-the-mill bar and grill, but it was across from the Carbide and Carbon Building (Scott’s favorite) and had a nice outdoor patio, so we went for it. We relaxed and chatted while we waited for Pete to wake up, and then ordered a few appetizers for dinner (after the gluttony at breakfast and brunch, we weren’t exactly dying of hunger).

We wandered around until dark, then slowly made our way in the direction of the hotel. We figured we’d grab a cab once we were too tired. We kept to Randolph for awhile, then ran into a Bollywood shoot and took a detour. Then we stopped for cupcakes before calling it a day.

Then cupcakes on the balcony, and off to bed for us.

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