Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chicago, the "catching up with old friends" edition

So while I was in Chicago, I got to catch up with a friend of mine from uni in Canberra. It was awesome, because I hadn't seen her since she moved back to the US at the end of 2008, and in the time since I last saw her, she's gotten married, had a baby and is almost due to have her second one! Let's call her Hello Wisconsin, because that's where she's from and because I'm a huge That 70s Show fan, so that's all that comes to mind when I hear anything about Wisconsin (and because I don't know how she'd feel about me using her real name on the interwebs).

I met up with Hello Wisconsin and her husband, G-Man, on Saturday night after the Summit. We went out to dinner at Russian Tea Time in downtown Chicago, and it was OMG SO GOOD. I hadn't had Russian food before, so I was a little hesitant that it would be all pumpernickel and vodka and beetroot. But while there was pumpernickel, it was delicious, and there were plenty of options that allowed me to avoid the other two!

We started out with the latkes, which come with sour cream and apple sauce. They were amazing. Sadly, I was so busy catching up with Hello Wisconsin (aka "We were so busy bagging the crap out of Canberra") that I neglected to take photos of anything. #bloggerfail We also shared the Russian dumplings, which were wonderful. The carrot salad that comes along with them was another highlight.

I followed up the entrees with beef stroganoff, which was insanely delicious. Sadly, the latkes and the dumplings proved much more filling than I'd anticipated, meaning I couldn't even get half way through my stroganoff before I was completely defeated. I can't remember what Hello Wisconsin and G-Man had for their main courses, but I do remember that they didn't leave much on their plates!

Hello Wisconsin and I declared ourselves too stuffed to even contemplate the dessert menu, but G-Man ordered the farmer's cheese blintzes. Despite our claims, once the blintzes arrived and the waiter thoughtfully turned up with three plates, Hello Wisconsin and I miraculously found room to try them. They were the perfect end to the meal - the cheese (which was kind of ricotta-y) wasn't too sweet, and the berry sauce gave them a nice zing. Basically? Dinner was awesome, and if you're ever in Chicago you should definitely stop by Russian Tea Time!

During dinner, Hello Wisconsin had mentioned that their hotel room overlooked the Chicago River, and that there were going to be fireworks going on later in the evening. So we headed back to their hotel (which was all kinds of fancy - gotta love a good deal plus a free upgrade!!) to wait for the fireworks. They eventually started, and we had a pretty great view of them. Well, we DID, up until the point where they became completely obscured by smoke. Apparently, despite being the Windy City (although I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the nickname comes from politicians who liked to talk rather than windy weather!), Chicago couldn't muster up a breath of wind that night.

Me: Well. So much for the spectacular view.
G-Man: This looks like Baghdad or something...

It really did. I tried to find you a picture of fireworks hidden by smoke, but Google failed me. So I tried searching for a picture of missile smoke. Google gave me pictures of Kim Jong-Il, and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi #wtf Basically? I gave up. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. Just watch Black Hawk Down if you don't.

The evening concluded with a stop off at the enormous Marilyn Monroe statue that's currently gracing central Chicago. Hello Wisconsin and I MAY have had our photo taken fondling her leg. Because we're mature like that.

So basically? It was a great evening, and I'm eternally grateful to the 20SB Summit for being in Chicago and allowing me to catch up with a friend I hadn't seen in forever!! Here's hoping it's not another three years before I get a chance to catch up with Hello Wisconsin and G-Man again.

K xx

Disclaimer: Russian Tea Time have no idea I exist. I just really liked their food.
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  1. I love latkes. In fact I eat them about once a month...Nom nom. And I am so glad they were served with the traditional sour cream and applesauce (have you listened to The Leevees song about Latkes? I'd HIGHLY recommend it. I think it's called "apple sauce or sour cream")

  2. Mmmmm. Russian Tea Time sounds AMAZING! I'll have to try it next time I'm in Chicago. And yes... Chicago is called the "Windy City" because of the politicians - NOT the weather. lol. Down here in Missouri everyone is always like "It's not windy like it is up there" when they talk to me about the weather. I've decided to quit trying to explain the reason behind the nickname....

  3. I went to Russian Tea Time when I first started my job here--my office took me out to a welcome lunch, and it was the first time I'd actually had a conversation with my boss at that point! I remember it being good, but I was in the midst of new job/wedding planning frenzy at that point, so my memory's a little foggy. Apparently I need to go back there again!

    @Emmy Yeah, I've stopped trying to explain it too unless people are specifically having a conversation about why it's called the Windy City. I've heard several competing theories (politicians, arguing for hosting the World's Fair...) and I'm not sure which is right. Plus I would say that one of the worst things about winter here is the biting, icy wind, so for all I'm concerned, it's a perfectly good nickname for that reason alone :P

  4. I did the whole, "wow it's windy!" thing while there and Sweeney was all SIGH. No.

  5. Hello Wisconsin sounds like a sexy b

  6. @Deidre - I've only ever had latkes from a recipe my mum tore out of Canadian Living magazine in 1989. These were different to that, but still delicious. I'll have to check that song out!
    @Emmy - You should definitely try it!
    @Jessica - Understandable that your memory's a little foggy!!
    @Lor - FAIL! ;) <3
    @annie - totally ;)


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