new years eve was spent in Chicago this year. accommodations at The James allowed for my to bring nate along to stay. it was his very first vacation that wasn’t a visit back to my hometown. he was surprisingly well-behaved. I drove into the city in the morning in order to spend the day taking in some sights.

mary in chicago

mary in chicago

I dined at Socca Chicago for dinner. although it was very loud inside the restaurant from all the other people starting early celebrations, I had a good time and certainly some good food. my meal began with a spicy shrimp pizette and a flight of wines. I tried the salmon and braised rabbit. the meal ended even better than it had began with the richest, creamiest, thickest bread pudding I’ve ever had in my life. it was a favorite order for the restaurant, made with croissants instead of standard bread. it was also pumpkin flavored and served along with pumpkin gelato.

instead of going out for the night and partying with all of the crazies, throwing their money at alcohol and expensive club covers, I decided to stay in the suite and watched Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell. it was decent.

an early night allowed for an early morning. so for breakfast, I headed out to pick up some Jamba Juice. this was followed up with lunch at Wow Bao, one of my favorites. The majority of the day was spent at the Field Museum. I got tickets to see the exhibit on chocolate and took a self-guided tour throughout the museum’s standard exhibits.

nate in a suitcase


dinner was at NoMI and I were awarded a prime table in the window section for making my reservations in advance. it is important to note that there are only about 6-8 tables in the window section and the outside two have next to no view. it was gorgeous, but still second to the food we had. I tried the oxtail ravioli and I had a roasted pear salad, made with the cutest, tastiest, tiny pears. I had hand-cut pasta with roasted tomatoes and also sampled their pheasant. I ordered a side of fontina mashed potatoes that I could have eaten forever. desert was a glass of German Reisling Eiswine, some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

mary at NoMI in chicago

Mary at NoMI in chicago

later, I met with friends for dessert at David Burke’s Primehouse, located just inside of The James. the three of us had desert and drinks. I had a hibiscus manhattan, which was a delightful twist on the old classic, despite the whiskey-soaked cherries. I also ordered a light green drink that came with a celery stalk and called for Chartreuse, likely yellow, which was also a winner. we shared a S’mores slice of cake and ice cream called A Slice of Life. how could we not order something s’mores flavored and Dexter themed?

s'mores cake and ice cream

s’mores cake and ice cream

my last day in the city was spent doing a little shopping, picking up French macarons, specialty popcorn, and waffles. the drive home to my apartment was extra-long as I ran into a pretty bad snow storm on the way. the usual 2 1/2 hour trip stretched into nearly six hours. but it was completely worth it. now, back to the grindstone.


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