Wanderlust Wednesday: Chicago’s a Classy Town

RL Fifield, 2012.

As I mentioned before, there’s a certain wail of the horn still going in the Windy City. The city sprawls outward from the lake, lacking the huge geographical divides that drives Manhattan skyward. Beyond the Magnificent Mile, a staggering number of neighborhoods, all with their signature twists, radiate out from downtown. And our hosts Tina S. and Jeremy W. showed us the best the city had to offer. Dr. V and I had a great time – check out Jeremy’s posts about our visit over at Le Cafe Witteveen here, here, and here. More fun!


RL Fifield 2012.

We started our visit with lunch at Al’s Beef. Across the street is Mario’s Italian Lemonade. Tina, who has been coming here since she was a kid, introduced us to the smooth cool saltiness of lupini beans, and I had a watermelon ice with chunks of frozen watermelon and lemon in it. I immediately wanted another on that 95 degree day.


The Pump Room, Chicago. RL Fifield photo, 2012.


The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s architectural tour by boat was once again stunning, and our merry band trooped down the Magnificent Mile to see the new wing and the Lichtenstein show at the Art Institute of Chicago (and to cool off). We tried to lay low during the hot afternoons, but come evening, we emerged to enjoy great food at Chilam Balam (skatwing tacos with blueberry pico de gallo) and The Pump Room at Ian Schraeger’s Public hotel. Our group put on good duds, and realized that 5:30pm isn’t too early; it’s the perfect time to eat way too much, especially in hot weather. My favorite dish was a surprise: roasted carrots, avocado, sour cream, and a tart dressing. I hate roasted carrots, so I wondered what I had done when the salad arrived – no matter, the carrots were more rich than carrotty – it was great.

Nighttime affords the best view of the city – from the lakeside park, north of the city.      Chez S & W comes highly recommended, and their mascot Talulah is all the welcoming party one would ever need (with an occasional peering around the door by Ms. Zoe).


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.