David Bowie Is

Last month our family found ourselves in Chicago for the Chicago Gourmet event that the Chef was cooking at. We decided to bring both kids so we could see our Cleveland friends who moved to Chicago last year. We also made it a family trip due to the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Museum of ContemporaryArt Chicago that as huge Bowie fans we knew we couldn't miss.

We bought tickets online (you have to reserve a time slot/day) and headed out. We brought the kids. Both of them are Bowie fans, so much so that they even named an owl that lives at our Natural History Museum, you guessed it, David Bowie. Every time we visit the history museum our first stop has to always be a visit to David Bowie, the barn owl. So we brought the kids. They love Labyrinth and listen to Hunky Dory weekly. How could we not bring them? Welllllllllllll.....Would we bring the kids again? Probably not. But sometimes, as a parent you just gotta go for the culture and hope for the best.

The exhibit is FUCKING AMAZING. Like times a trillion zillion amazing. When you arrive you are given a pair of wireless headphones that tells the listener all about more than 400 objects, David Bowie's archive, costumes, and everything else that is housed at the MCA David Bowie Is. The headphones are magic in themselves because at any time you can move towards one thing and away from another to hear the next found object. The majic headphones also make the exhibit completely silent to the outside world. Guess what's not completely silent to the outside world? You guessed it! Our kids. The Chef and I ended up zooming through the exhibit as about an hour in, the 6 and 9 year old had had enough of The White Duke and ready for some gift shop action. Really though, they were great for such a BIG, CRAZY, exhibit. We danced, we talked makeup and the 60's, and we all collectively agreed upon the fact that David Bowie is a ROCK GOD. 

So if you go and you have kids, leave 'em at home. Lesson learned. If you don't have kids, spend a day there. Or two. There is SO MUCH BOWIE.

The David Bowie Is exhibit is open in Chicago until January 4th, 2015. RUN.


Skip Tulum, Run to the Coba Ruins

While in Mexico last week the Chef and I decided to check out some Mayan ruins. Every tour guide, book, blog, website, or tripadvisor talked about Tulum so we headed there first. I had read about the Coba runis briefly but tossed the idea aside due to it being about an hour further from our hotel. We got up at the crack of down in hopes of missing the tour busses and hit the road. 

We arrived at the Tulum ruins about 30 minutes later, took a wrong turn from the parking lot and drove directly to the front entrance. FYI. This is highly frowned upon and actually quite illegal. Our Spanish is pretty bad and there were no igns indicating the road we were driving on was for pedestrians. Tulum 1, Team Sawyer 0.

We paid the entrance fee, about $20 for both of us, grabbed a map and entered the ancient ruins. We hiked up and found that ruins were laid out over an expansive pece of land and each ruin was heavily roped off. Our dreams of climbing to the top of a Mayan ruin were dashed and although the park was beautiful it didn't match the romantic dream we had both envisioned. We snapped some selfies and decided to leave. We would check out Coba, the ruins 30 minutes into the jungle. 

And thank god we did.

If you have are going to Mexico and want to see, feel, walk on, embrace a real life Mayan ruin, go to Coba. It's in the jungle and it is one of the most captivating places I have ever been. 

 

The Money Museum in Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, Ohio

The Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, Ohio

Dollar, dollar bill yo...

Dollar, dollar bill yo...

Catcher getting his pride on

Catcher getting his pride on

Did you know that Cleveland is home to one of the only 12 Federal Reserve Banks in the nation?  A Federal Reserve Bank is a regional bank of the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. There are twelve in total, one for each of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts that were created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. And this is in OUR downtown. How cool is that?

You know what's even cooler? The Money Museum that is inside The Federal Reserve Bank. You know what's double cooler? It's free!!

Our family loves the money museum. It's fun, it's free, and it's in one of the most stunning and secure banks in the world. Go there now!


 

The Money Museum is located at 1455 E 6th St, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. They also give tours!!

Choose Chicago

This past Monday the Chef and I celebrated our  6 year wedding anniversary! Hard to believe it’s been 6 years but hot damn has it been a crazy fun ride. The Chef loves all of me, all of the time. No. Matter. What. I can’t say that about anyone else in this world. We are total lifers and I couldn’t be happier. Sure sometimes I want to punch him in the face and shave his beard of while he’s sleeping but if that’s not love, I don’t know what love is. Totally kidding. He’s the man and it’s dope that he’s mine.

Normally, we tend to forgo presents on our anniversary and usually try to take a trip somewhere. Just the two of us. No work, no kids, just us.

Last year the Chef surprised me with a trip to our friends restaurant in Virginia. This year I surprised the Chef with a road trip to Chicago. We packed our bags and hit the turnpike.

In under 6 hours we crossed two state lines and found ourselves in the Windy City with no kids, no reservations, and most importantly no work. 

Check out or whirlwind weekend in The Windy City:

STAY

The James

I picked Chicago for two reasons: the proximity to CLE (5 hour drive for us) and the awesome rate I got on Jetsetter. As I was perusing for hotels, I saw the special for The James. Their website looked cool and they responded to my questions about their gym on the Twitter, so I booked it.

We checked in and immediately noticed the super hip vibe. Being not so hip, I demanded that the Chef take ridiculous pictures of me posing with art chairs. He complied as evidenced above. Because we had absolutely NO SCHEDULE for the weekend, we headed up to our room to relax after the long drive.

Honestly we found ourselves a bit disappointed with The James. When we arrived on the 7th floor we noticed immediately the overpowering cigarette smoke waffling through the hallway. As we opened the door to our room, we were greeted by two double beds. Nothing says anniversary like two double beds! I called the front desk to let them know I reserved a kind room and would like to move. The front desk informed me that unfortunately they were sold out of kings. Obviously it being our anniversary celebration I was a wee bit ticked about the bed situation. I also picked The James because of an interaction I had with the hotel on Twitter. The Chef and I have been working out religiously every single day and I didn;t want our trip to slow down our momentum. Before I booked with the Jetsetter I took to social media to ask if anyone had stayed at The James and if so how was the gym? Did it have a sauna, steam, or spa? Within a few hours The James Twitter responded that yes it had all of the amenities I was looking for and they looked forward to my stay. I booked the hotel.

Fast forward to the first morning of our trip. The Chef and I awoke and headed to the gym. We were completely disheartened as we paraded through the lobby down a flight of stairs in our gym clothes. Once we walked in we were greeted and asked where the locker rooms were. The girl at the desk informed us that there were no locker rooms and if we needed a restroom there was one in the lobby. I asked about the steam and sauna and was immediately shot down. Apparently I had been misinformed on Twitter the girl explained. Feeling a little steamed that I had specifically based the booking on the rooms and the gym I hit the treadmill with a furious vengeance.

The James had it’s issues and I would probably never stay their again however it does have some major pluses. The location is the jam. You are literally in the heart of the city surrounded by shopping, restaurants, theatres, the river walk, and anything else you heart possibly desires. The staff is also fantastic. The front desk worked really hard to get us in a king room and lucky for us they managed to on day #2 of our trip. They also moved us to the top floor so we wouldn’t be surrounded by smoke. The staff really improved on what could have been a really shitty stay.

EAT

Avec

Our good friend Koren runs Avec in Chicago. The Chef has eaten there multiple times but I hadn’t been so lucky until now. Koren’s food is simple, beautifully executed, and delicious. The Chef and I sat at the bar nibbled on specials as Koren ran around the restaurant, touching every aspect of service. She is James Beard winner and it shows. Girl got it going on. 

PQMeats

I may or may not have totally convinced a patron of PK Meats to buy a few bottles. We stopped into Paul Kahan’s awesome new butcher / sandwich / speciality food shop before we hit up Publican for brunch. The shelf was full of all 6 of our vinegars and a woman was reading the above tag. I walked up and picked up a bottle of rose vinegar when she asked me if I had ever had it. Naturally I gushed about the Chef’s product and let her know my favorite styles. After brunch we came back to see if any of our vinegar had sold. Half the shelf was empty. Crazy exciting to see!

Publican

Brunch is the bomb. Publican is the bomb. ‘Nuff said.

GT Fish

It’s kind of funny how we ended up at GT Fish. Earlier in the day we had brunch at Publican with two Chicago culinary staples, Roderick from Rare Tea Cellar and Ellen of Soapbox fame. As we ate thru the menu, Ellen and Roderick informed us that it was restaurant week in CHI and hopefully w had a reso for that evening. Being that our trip was intentionally under scheduled we began to worry that our celebratory anniversary dinner would be a bust. Luckily for us, Ellen and Roderick worked their magic and later on that evening the Chef and I were enjoying our share of to die for oysters and lovely cocktails. At the end of the evening we met Giuseppe Tentori, the Chef of GT Fish & Oyster. He was beyond adorable as he offered up his advice and suggestions for the next time we visit the city. This past week, I was pleased to see his name on the James Beard nomination list alongside my Chef’s. 

Intelligentsia

This coffee is pretty freaking spectacular. So spectacular that we are going to be serving it in The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat starting this week. 

PLAY

Matchbox

Koren snuck out for a moment after dinner at Avec and introduced us to her local. We downed a few drinks and talked shoppe. A great end to an already perfect evening. I will definitely be calling this my watering hole the next time I’m in town.

Sepia

The Chef and I accidentally went to Sepia. And thank god we did. We only got to experience the cocktail side of the restaurant but what an experience it was! The entire restaurant is super cool and my cocktail was fucking amazing. Next time I must go back for dinner especially since I saw their Chef, Andrew Zimmerman, also appeared alongside my Chef’s name on the beard list last week. How weird that two places we visited in CHI had Beard semifinalists  running them? 

‘In Theatre’ Movie Rental

Our final Chicago memory is one of my favorites. The Chef and I had contemplated going to a movie on our last afternoon in the city. We went back and forth on the idea and decided against it mainly because of the health kick we have been on. That is when I had the brilliant idea of renting an ‘in theatre’ movie in our hotel room. We walked across the street to Trader Joe’s, bought some fruit, snacks, and a little dark chocolate, and headed up to the top floor of The James. We rented The Descendants and snuggled up for a relaxing afternoon. Pure awesomeness my friends. If you’ve never rented an ‘in theatre’ movie in a hotel room, I highly, highly recommend it. Lounging in a hotel room is WAY better than sitting in crappy theatre seats while eating disgusting ‘buttered popcorn.’

I definately fell a little in lurve with the city of Chicago. Having only been there once before I definately did not have a great view of what the city actually offers. Spending Columbus Day weekend with the man I love in Chicago was absolutely what the Chef and I needed and introduced me to a brand new city. I can’t wait to go back!

What are your favorite places in Chicago? Kid friendly? Resto’s? Museums? Hidden gems? Show me some Chi City love!