Since my parents were going to be in the Chicago area, Laila and I decided it was time for a road trip. I had not been in Chicago since 1994 so it was long over due. So of course I went to my favorite website, Priceline.com. Actually I went to Upromise.com first. Upromise is a site that you can shop from and companies will give you money for your children's college education when you purchase from them. I highly recommend it. But back to the point I was able to book a room for Friday night at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue for $125 including all taxes and fees. I then decided to check for airfare but couldn't find anything cheaper than $507 round trip for each of us. I put in a ridiculous name my own price of $125 each fully expecting to get rejected (It's okay i handle it well). I was shocked when it was accepted (Total cost $305). I then added a full size rental car for $18 a day (which I upgraded for another $10 a day when I arrived for a Dodge Charger.
First off the Hilton was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed at. Every president since Truman has stayed there so it was good enough for us. When we checked they were almost apologetic for only having a parlor room available. It turned out to be an 18th floor suite with views of Navy Pier, Solder field, Lake Michigan and Grant park.
We got in a little late and did not arrive at Hotel until 10 PM and we had a 10:30 PM dinner reservation at the Chicago Chop House. So we rushed and caught a cab which somehow took 20 minutes to get us to a restaurant that was only a mile and a half from the hotel. Fifteen minutes into the ride when i questioned the cabbie about it he became quite insulted like I was accusing him of taking the long way there. Not wanting to inflame someone who looked like he could have been working for Al Qaeda in America I explained I just wanted to be sure we were heading to the right place. Barely avoiding an international incident we arrived just in time. For a comparision the cab ride back took less than five minutes.
The meal was simply the best meal that I have ever experienced anywhere, anytime (Sorry Mom!). Started with some cocktails and a few appetizers, crab cakes and cajun shrimp. They were both fantastic. I ordered the T-bone and Laila had a seared Prime Rib and Lobster tail. To tell you what a wonderful waiter Joe was that night, I spotted a post card that advertised their 32 oz lobster tail and 64 oz Porterhouse (Adult portions also available. On the card was a bottle of wine which I recognized to be a bottle of Kendall Jackson (My favorite). When I explained to Joe how it was false advertising since there was no Kendall on the wine list, without hesitation he said it is number 651 on the list. Take a look at their wine list to see how extensive it is and how impressive it was to know the list that completely. The food was the best and even though we were the last patrons in the restaurant we were never rushed.
Unlike some bad experiences we've had in the past finding a cab it took about 10 seconds after we exited the restaurant.
We spent the next two days visiting with family. It was wonderful to reconnect. Even though it had been 10 years since I had seen many the years hadn't added any distance. It was days like those that make me wish that my closest blood family member wasn't more than 400 miles away.
First bad priceline experience was the Holiday Inn in Joliet, Illinois. Touted as a three star by priceline it in no way measured up to any of the three stars we had stayed in previously. It was convenient though in location. Too convenient to the Empress Casino. Did not like my visit there. Drinks were watered down, Poker room was closed on Saturdays and worst of all I hit three sevens on a slot machine with only one coin in it. I was waiting for bells and whistles only to look at pay scale to find out it didn't pay unless you had two or three coins in. I had beeen plying three but was down to the last dollar when it hit. I guess someone didn't want me to win $900.
Monday we spent down on Navy Pier and near Wrigley Field. We had lunch at Capi's Italian Kitchen. The entrees were good but I ordered a single serve deep dish pizza as a side. I didn't want to leave Chicago without some deep dish. It was terrible, I've had better frozen pizza.
Nothing was going on at Wrigley but wanted to stop and have a beer in the neighborhood. The Cubby Bear was closed so we had an Old Style at the Sports Corner Bar and Grill. Other than the drunken sports fan that I made the error of speaking to it would have been most pleasant. That guy knew everything, everyone and had done everything. Have another one buddy!
We had a great time and have vowed to not take ten years to visit again.