I walked all over the McCormick place. One cool thing about it is that there are raised food courts that overlook the whole floor, so you can see booths off into the horizon. I got lotsa little gifties, but they're not much worth mentioning.
Monday Night, we ate at Opera, which Kirsten had recommended. It was expensive, but pretty cool. Fortunately, though it is a Chinese restaurant, they do not play Chinese opera. Instead, we had selections from Porgy and Bess and then some 1950's style musical stylings. The decor was neat in places, especially little booths that are tucked away with their own velvety curtains to screen your intimate dinner from prying eyes. A nice bar with mosaic tile around it.
The staff appeared to be composed entirely of handsome twentysomething men, many of whom appeared ambivalent about their sexuality. Our waiter would hunker down with his head resting on his hands, which were folded on the corner of the table. By the end of the evening, we had formed an intimate bond with him, and he guided us through the food selection process with an informative, yet firm, hand.
The food was Chinese... but definitely with a modern foo-foo cuisine twist. The eponymous Opera broccoli beef was sliced filet mignon in a cognac sauce over a soggy bed of Chinese broccoli and broccoli florets. Personally, I didn't think it was all that. The firecracker chicken however was prefect. Savory and hot, with many peppers for me to imbibe to the horror of my coworkers. The cauliflower curry was perfectly good, and the pork dumplings for an appetizer was excellent, if impossibly slippery to pick up with chopsticks. It was pretty pricey, but the three of us got out of there for exactly $100 (after adding the tip).
Tuesday, went to a lot more press conferences, and a couple were catered nicely. Especially the one at the Peninsula hotel, though again the foofooness quotient was high. Waiters carried around trays of ridiculously tiny thimbles of polenta. Most of the rest of it was more reasonable, but those things were just silly.
After that, the three amigos went past the wacky and ornate Old Water Tower to the top of the John Hancock building. I'd been there as a kid, but it was neat to go back at night and see the lights of the city. Glenn kept a safe ten feet or more away from the glass, but I steeled myself to press my head to the glass and stare down the slanted slope of the building to the street 94 stories below.
There was an observation deck that was screened to prevent jumpers, but otherwise open to the air. It was 28 degrees out there. It was a bit warmer back down at street level, but not much. We got snowed on occasionally, but it was hardly worthy of the name, a few stray bits of fluff that melted if you stared at it hard. We got pretty cold walking back the 8 blocks to our hotel, but fortunately, there was a Chicago pizza place at the half way point, so I had a martini and some deep dish.
Spent the next day entirely at the show. Finally finished walking the floor 40 minutes before having to leave for the airport. No spare time at all. Flight back was smooth, and Becca picked me up at the airport and whisked me to dinner at Paco's and then home.