Chicago: Foodlife

Time to eat. After the Chicago History Museum, I headed back to the Magnificent Mile.


I read about a place where they say is a gourmet food court. It is located at the Water Tower Place, the same high-rise building that Oprah’s apartment was.


I never quite get this place why so many people raved about it. Foodlife is the name of the place. You can’t just walk in.


If you want to eat, you gotta pay first and get a value card before they let you in. So you are supposed to … (more…)

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Chicago: The Chicago History Museum

The Fields Museum of Natural History was simply too large to visit for the day. I thought it is better to spend the time in a smaller, more relevant museum for my trip. For a human history buff like me, I know that the Chicago History Museum would tell a better story of Chicago.

This time I headed north, again outside the city. I took the bus entirely and for a moment got disoriented after I got off the bus. It was like, oh, which direction do I head? I spent a few minutes walking in the wrong direction until someone pointed me to go back the way I came from.


This is a small museum and there were not a lot of visitors. The museum don’t even open early because I remember waiting outside for the doors to open and there were only two other couples waiting.

This museum was exactly the type of museum I like a lot. If you want to learn about Chicago, this is just the place to go to.


In this museum, I learned about the major formative events of Chicago.

Fort Dearborn is where the present day Chicago started from. It is built as a desolated outpost over 200 years ago. The name “Chicago” came from the Indian word shikaakwa, which means wild onion or wild garlic.

Chicago grew from this fort into a major transportation hub of the US. The access to the Great Lakes and the fact that almost all trains stops at Chicago, very quickly made Chicago into the 2nd biggest city behind New York. Today, Chicago is the third largest city in the US when LA overtook it a couple of decades ago.


The next big event is the Chicago Fire of 1871. That fire raged for three days and when it was finally over, a third of the city lies in ruins.


Amazingly, only 300 people died in the fire. The museum recorded in detail the entire episode.

As a result of the great fire, there was a great reconstruction effort which pretty much led to many of what we see in Chicago today. The reconstructions ushered in the first skyscraper in the world just six short years after the fire.

So in some ways, the fire is like a blessing.


22 years after the Chicago Fire, the city rose from its ashes and hosted the the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.


All these events are reflected in the flag of Chicago.


The most famous son of Illinois is Abraham Lincoln. The above is the deathbed of the president after he was fatally shot in Washington DC. Suanne and I visited the Ford Theatre and The House Where Lincoln Died just a couple of years ago.

The deathbed in the house where Abraham Lincoln died is just a replica. The real deathbed had been shipped to Chicago and the one above in the Chicago History Museum is the actual bed.


OK, let’s talk about food. Chicago food.

Other than the deep dish pizza, the Chicago Hot Dog is what the city is famous for. I first had the Chicago Style Hot Dog in the early days of chowtimes. It is in fact one of the first few posts I had written.


One thing that defines the Chicago Style Hot Dog is the absence of … (more…)

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Chicago: Can’t Decide What To Do!

It was day 3 in Chicago. The last day before I return home.

I had done all the important sights on the first two days that I don’t have a clear plan of what to do. So if it means criss-crossing the city to cover the places that I had not visited before, so be it.


I went back to the same Corner Bakery Cafe for breakfast simply because they had free wifi. The poster of the Berry Almond Swiss looked so good.

So I ordered that. It did not at all look anything like what is in the poster. The mushy oatmeal stuff at the bottom … I hate mushy stuff like that, especially the ones in the color.

But actually it tasted a lot better than it looked.


The sweet crisp or whatever you call it was a great addition to the oatmeal.


The price is not bad too.


I hopped on to the trolleys for a ride to the first destination of the day.


The trolleys are nice. There are no windows; so you can stick your face out to catch the breeze. For me, being able to rest the elbow on the window sill and smelling the fresh air outside is just great. The sun was out. So it felt like being ferried around in a convertible. This is what a convertible will look like when it grows up to be a bus.

The best thing about the trolleys? It’s free! There are designated stops it will make and runs every 20 minutes.


First stop was the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park. There was not a lot to see there. The guidebook alluded that this is a must see place.


It is a memorial built to honor the officers who were killed on duty. The whole design meant something which I forgot. With a straight line with meandering paths criss crossing it, it is supposed to mean something. I forgot what it is.


At the end of it is the wall with cascading water. I headed back after a few pictures.


I wanted to go to the Field Museum of Natural History. I … (more…)

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