Wednesday, March 31, 2010


It finally warmed up in Chicago today. Rather than the chilly days we've had all week, today we got 77 smokin' degrees Fahrenheit. What an amazing difference! Today's plan was breakfast at The Tempo, same as yesterday, but with smaller portions. Today I went with a simple order of French Toast:

I'm not sure what compels me to take pictures of my food, but no one has complained yet. Note: this is neither an invitation nor an inducement to do so.

I also seeminingly feel this odd compulsion to take pictures of our transportation. Today was a graduation, of sorts, in that we broke away from the Red Line and transferred to a Green Line train. It wasn't totally painless; we had no sooner gotten aboard the train to the Conservatory at Garfield Park when I induced a panic in myself by looking at the subway map and seeing that we were headed in the opposite direction from Garfield station. "Get off, get off!" I urged the Travel Director, much to the amusement of the native Chicagoans on the train. Once back on the platform, I realized my error but by then it was too late; five minutes in the penalty box waiting for the next train, muttering "better safe that sorry, better safe than sorry" to myself, ultimately unconvincingly. It turns out that the Garfield that I had seen on the map has nothing at all to do with Garfield Park. For a guy that held the presidency for all of 200 days, he sure is the namesake of a lot of stuff around here.

I'm sure it's normally a quick ride out to the conservatory but we suffered frequent delays for workers doing something or the other on the tracks. It wasn't much different from the orange barrel season which will be hitting full stride at home in just a few weeks.

The conservatory is only a short walk from the L train stop:

Amazingly, admission is free. Not nearly as amazingly, it is packed with school children as a consequence. We were in no hurry, though, so we just strolled around while I took pictures. I don't know what most of these plants and flowers are and I don't really care - they are just pretty. Here's a sample of some of my favorites:

After the conservatory, I thought we might go to the Museum of Science and Industry. I'm becoming almost British in my interest in railroad routing. It looked like the Green Line to 51st to catch the #15 bus to the museum would work just fine. The maps don't really give any kind of indication of the nature of the area, though. The train did all it could and should do - it dutifully deposited us on 51st. Not to put too fine a line on it, but it just didn't look like the kind of neighborhood for a pair of obvious tourists to be standing around waiting for a bus. I mentally performed a discretion over value calculation and arrived at the conclusion that we should cross the street and get right back on a northbound train.

I have been wanting to get a seat in the very front of the train in order to get a driver's eye view, and was finally able to do so:

As usual with these kinds of things, I now want to drive an L train. Just once would do.

We had to change trains back to the Red Line in order to get back up to the hotel, but since we would be changing at The Loop we walked around a bit to find someplace for a late lunch. Just when it looked like the best we could do was cold sandwiches at a nice looking bakery (almost a Panera Bread kind of place), we happened across the Exchequer Restaurant & Pub. It had a dark, bar like ambiance, but there were a ton of great things on the menu.

I finally had to decide, so I went with the Wednesday Special chicken kebab and a 16oz draft of Rogue Yellow Snow Indian Pale Ale.

Both the food and the beer were fantastic, and at $8.50 and $5.00 respectively, one of the better deals we've had all week. And yes, having seen the tap handle, they meant 'Yellow Snow' in the sense you imagined.

It was better to have learned that after drinking it.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful pictures. I'm pretty sure that this is where the Minnesota delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1996 was received by the neighborhood. Chicago was smart; they had each neighborhood host a different state delegation. It was a really nice evening with very nice people. We passed several drug arrests on the way over, as I recall.