After turning in the last of my assignments for the semester, I headed to Chicago to see my lifelong friend–and take in a little city living after moving to the suburbs. I didn't think I had such a soft spot for public transit or crowded sidewalks, but when I heard the T rumbling overhead, I was filled with delight!
I had made a list of all the cocktail bars, cuisines and culture I had been missing, and over the course of two packed days we managed to do a lot of it. Coffees at La Colombe and window shopping in Wicker Park, dinner at avec and a daiquiri at Broken Shaker, bahn mi at Saigon Sisters before miniatures at the Art Institute, cocktails, small plates, and seeing the city by foot. We didn't get a chance to check out Chicago's tiki scene, but that just gives me another reason to head back–and bring John!
I took an early train back to Michigan on Friday, and curled up with a book while snow swirled around us. When I pulled into the station, John was there waiting for me. We dashed home through the snow for a big bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, then started to make our final preparations for Saturday, when we'd be celebrating the holidays early with a little gift exchange and a fabulous meal! We cooked breakfast–a pint sized spanakopita–the night before and crawled into bed early wearing our most festive pjs!
The next morning, we slept in, had breakfast in bed, and giggled our way through our favorite Christmas episodes of West Wing and Frasier. We were delighted by the light dusting of snow (a white Christmas!) and decided to walk to our favorite coffee shop after opening presents. Thoroughly tuckered out, we squeezed in a nap before dinner prep which consumed the better part of the day. On the menu: a little gem salad with avocado and satsumas segments finished in a sherry-orange dressing, duck á l'orange with a carrot-star anise purée and green beans sautéed in duck fat, and a chocolate pudding cake all enjoyed with a bottle of pinot noir John had brought back from Switzerland this summer. We took a chilly walk through the neighborhood after supper, then curled up with White Christmas before heading to bed. And best of all, our holiday celebrations have only just begun! We head to TX this week where we'll get to see some of our nearest and dearest before the semester begins in early January.
Tell me, how are you celebrating this holiday season?
Image by James Nord.