Last weekend, I got to meet up with a few former colleagues and fabulous friends in Chicago for a weekend of culture and good eats. Since a couple of us arrived early, and were met with disappointingly cold and rainy weather, we booked it down to the Art Institute of Chicago for a look at the impressionist and post-impressionist art. The first thing I was drawn to was Marc Chagall’s “America Windows,” which debuted at the Institute in ’77. I learned that the piece was created to commemorate America’s bicentennial and celebrate the cultural and religious freedom of America. Although this shot only captures one of the six panels featured, the work as a whole details arts, music, painting, literature, theater and dance.
A few floors of art later, I found group of engrossed 5th-graders staring at Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and eavesdropped on a few minutes of their Depression-era art history lesson. “Do you think they look happy or sad?” the teacher asked. “Tired.” One kid offered. Very astute, young man.
Post-museum, we stopped in for a snack at the historic Gage Hotel (built in 1890) on Michigan Avenue. On the table: A trio of seared Nantucket sea scallops with a Korean barbecue short rib and kimchi. Unfortunately, I was so busy devouring my share, that I didn’t even think to take a photo of the little beauties. Forgive me.
A little nap later, and our foursome was complete. Nashville, Chapel Hill and Austin were all united in Chicago just in time for dinner.
We dined at the highly recommended Topo Gigio, a phenomenal Italian joint in Old Town. I opted for my go-to shellfish dish. This time, it was the spaghetti ai frutti di mare, featuring calamari, mussels, clams and scallops in a lovely red sauce.
The Second City was our last stop of the night. The improv club is well known for dozens of alums who went on to appear on “Saturday Night Live.” Catching one of their shows was a must, according to friends who raved about the endlessly witty sketches. As expected, hilarity ensued at The 38th Revue.