Thursday, 2 February 2017


Good Evening to you,

I still feel a tingle of excitement, when I think about our recent visit to Chicago.

.... and one of the things, which really stands out for me, is the variety of food which was on offer.

Now I have spoken to you about the fabulous restaurant, Etaly, but now, I would like to share with you, a restaurant, with the most wonderful name,

Goddess and the Baker. When we walked through the doors we were immediately hit by the relaxed atmosphere. Natasha mentioned, that it was a really busy restaurant, and that we were lucky, because it was the lull, before the evening rush. I have to say, after an afternoon of shopping, Natasha and I were grateful for the peace and quiet, which Goddess and The Baker provided.

.... and you will not be surprised to learn, that our food of choice, was cake.

Yes, it had to be cake.  Sometimes only cake will do and what better way to end the day, than with a slice of the most deliciously, moist, carrot cake and a flat white coffee, which incidentally was the best flat white coffee I have ever tasted. It suited my palate perfectly.

Yes, I admit this is a large slice of cake... and yes, under normal circumstances, I freely admit, I could have eaten the whole slice, but on this occasion, I was very happy to share with my lovely daughter.... the cake was delicious.

.... and look at our surroundings.  Do you know something, in the 1970's, I had a curved lamp very similar to the one in the photograph, the only difference was, my lamp shade was oval.... vintage certainly has returned, and in a very stylish way.

Now if you have been visiting Ivy, Phyllis and Me! for a while, you will know about my love of music. There is not one style which I love more than another, I am open to all forms of music. So when Natasha told me that there was a Blues club in Chicago, that we must visit, I was thrilled to pieces.

.... but not any old Blues club,

it was only The House of Blues... as you can see George was very relaxed, sitting between Elwood and Jake. He even wore a matching hat.... actually this is George's favourite hat.


I, look like, I really don't know what to do with myself.... maybe I should have worn a hat.

The music certainly did not disappoint, as the Mike Wheeler Band were brilliant.  They sang the most amazing version of 'Dear Prudence'.

Oh and I have to tell you, I discovered a new dessert, whilst at the House of Blues.... I told you we ate a lot of food.

Coconut Cream pie.  I adore the flavour of coconut and I have to tell you, I adored this pie. I have decided that this is a pie I am going to learn how to make.... I think I will have to increase my steps from 10,000 a day to 15,000 a day, just to ward off the excess weight.

So if you have a favourite recipe for Coconut Cream pie, I would very much appreciate a copy.

We also enjoyed walking, which is just as well considering the amount of food we ate.  Often we found ourselves walking along the river.

We found the river to be fascinating, because one day, it appeared to have steam rising from the water,

and another day, it was so cold, that there was ice floating on the river. Such a contrast.

Of all the wonderful things we experienced in Chicago, I think the number one thing, was meeting up with old friends again.

I mentioned last week that Kim, flew to Chicago, to catch up with us, but we also caught up with the lovely 'Sugarhill Gang' who drove 8 hours to be with us.... such a long way.

It was so lovely seeing the Sugarhill Gang again, as the last time I saw them, was when I took Phyllis to Atlanta to celebrate her 80th birthday.

.... and my, how the children had grown.  They are the most adorable children.

It was wonderful spending time together again, it was so natural, it did not feel like it had been 6 years since we had last seen each other. 

.... and the lovely 'B' surprised us with a tin of peppermint bark, which we absolutely love, and a beautifully tied bag, filled with the most deliciously sweet walnuts.... which I have to tell you, have long since been eaten.  Each year, 'B' takes the time, to create the delicious coating for these walnuts, then they are deep fried and cooled. I have to tell you they are scrumptious.

I knew that these walnuts, were a huge hit, with friends, who were lucky enough to receive them at Christmas time, but I didn't know that one year, there was great disappointment, when 'B' decided not to make them for Christmas.

Long story short, 'B's' friends, persuaded her, that Christmas would not be Christmas, if each person did not receive their supply of Christmas walnuts.  Much to everyone's relief, 'B' relented and each year these precious walnuts are made and given as gifts once again.

Christmas had been restored.

Our visit was full of wonderful places to visit, but the one which we all loved, including the Sugarhill children,  was to be found at the Millennium Park.... the Cloud Gate Sculpture, also, locally known, as The Bean,

On first seeing it, the Bean really takes you by surprise, as it is so unexpected. It has the most wonderful reflective surface, which allows visitors to create fun photographs. Can you see the reflection of the buildings.  When you look at the sculpture, there are no joins, it appears to be seamless.

Once we had our fill of the Bean, we watched,

the Ice Skaters having fun.  It has been years since I have put on a pair of skates. Part of me wanted to give it a go, and part of me was not sure.  To be honest, I was a little worried about falling down, so I decided it would be as much fun, watching everyone else skate.

.... and then it was time to eat.  Can you see a pattern emerging here.

.... and we knew exactly where to go, a place the children would love.

From Natasha's apartment, we could see a little frog on the roof of a building, which we came to know as Cha Cha.... and as the name suggests, a perfect place for the children.

The Rain Forest Cafe certainly lived up to expectations. We felt like we were sitting inside a tropical rain forest, with animals at every turn.  There was even the sound of a thunderstorm overhead. Little 'B' was a little uncertain at first, because the crack of thunder, took her by surprise, but once the thunderstorm was explained, she settled and did not seem to notice the sound of the ever present thunderstorm.

Before I go, I have to tell you about another new drink I discovered, and one which will certainly be replacing my Christmas sherry.

Eggnog.  I love the words 'spiked' written on the label. I felt that I was drinking something illegal. I have to say, I really wasn't expecting to like eggnog, because I had likened it to our English Advocaat, which I don't like,  but oh, I was so wrong. I have to say thank you, to Jolly G Boots, from Kentucky, because I love their Eggnog.  I am certainly hoping I can source it here in England, in time for next Christmas.... I'll let you know.

.... there is just one more thing I have to tell you, then I really must go.

Much to our surprise, when we flew back to England, we were upgraded to first class.  We couldn't believe it.  As you can imagine, we were over the moon. We boarded the aircraft and we were directed up the stairs, yes up the stairs and we were seated in the most wonderful seats.  The food we were served was fabulous, and you don't hear those words everyday concerning airline food.

So to which ever 'flying fairy', who so kindly, upgraded us, I thank you.... and I also thank the British Airways staff, who were so kind and who made our trip home so special.

Now I really must go, as it's time to cook supper. 

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

As always,

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Best wishes to you.


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