Photograph by Joseph LekasIf asked to create a "must see" list when visiting Chicago, I would start by suggesting the following: Watch a Cubs vs. White Sox game at Wrigley Field. Eat a plate of smoky ribs while listening to a soulful helping of the Chicago Blues. Spend at least one day (out of the 10 days designated) exploring and enjoying the world's largest food festival - "A Taste of Chicago". Gather a group of friends to share several rounds of deep dish style pizza before heading out to a Chicago Bulls games. Visit the Art Institute and see the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre. Lose track of time by reading books at the Harold Washington Library - the world's largest public library. Stroll along the Magnificent Mile (a shopping mecca that starts at the Drake Hotel). Have dinner at any of these cutting edge fine dining establishments - Alinea, Schwa, Tru, Moto, Everest, or L20. Wait in line to grab a table for breakfast at the Bongo Room or Salt and Pepper. And of course, take in the beauty of Chicago's architecture.
In 1939, Frank Lloyd Wright cast his vision of the City's future skyline when he said, "Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world." The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) stands by this sentiment as well; the group was formed when they banded together to stop the demolition of a historical landmark. Now the Chicago Architecture Foundation's mission is to infuse the public with architectural history through tours by means of bus, bicycle, Segway, boat, and foot. One woman has taken up the challenge of completing every tour the CAF offers - 85 in all. In addition to the "Around Chicago in 85 Tours Challenge", the CAF had an amazing increase in membership this year. Within the course of one day they gained a whopping 2,338 members by collaborating with Groupon.
Photography by Jose Francisco
My recent visit to Chicago included a spectacular walk next to the Chicago River. Starting at the Wrigley Building breezeway near Wabash Avenue, you can follow a path that meanders along a 1.2 acre riverfront park. It's part of the impressive Trump International Hotel & Tower site design, which explains the imported black granite from the Far East and the hand chiseled Jerusalem gold limestone.
Photograph © by Tom GillNeighboring the Trump International Hotel & Tower is the infamous Wrigley Building. Recently the Wrigley Building experienced a little bit of a controversial face lift in the plaza area between the north and south towers. The private 410 Club once occupied the frontage. To the tourist, the new facade may seem clean and sharp, yet to an architectural enthusiast, the change may seem out of place to the building itself. As a chef, I can appreciate this kind of tension. You learn how to make the familiar surprisingly new while referencing the classics and respecting the ingredients.