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Winter Romance and More

 
February
 
Chicago

Frank Brichetto

Chicago Correspondent

Do you believe it’s already February?  Did you know that for 2020 the half-way point of Winter is February 4th?  After that, we are (let’s hope!) rushing headlong towards Spring, hooray!  Lots of snow and cold weather are what we expect in February, but the longer days are starting to cheer us up, so let’s get started, shall we?

This Friday, February 7th, let’s set the mood for the month by paying a visit to Porchlight, in the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, to see and hear Sophisticated Ladies, a worthy tribute to the influential jazz great, Duke Ellington. The show starts at 8pm, so please meet us there about 7:15? This is a musical, not merely a concert; check out those dancers!  Ellington had a long, meaningful career, with so many great hits. Listen, isn’t that “Take the A Train”?  This, “Mood Indigo” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing” are among my favorites, how about you? Wonderful choreography and even better music, what could be better? https://porchlightmusictheatre.org/events/sophisticated-ladies/

Before heading out this morning, Saturday, February 8th,, please be sure to call or go online to the Shedd Aquarium website, https://www.sheddaquarium.org, 312-939-2438, and reserve your tickets for the free day on February 28th.  Do it now, or there won’t be any left! Finished? Then let the adventures begin!

Let’s take time for a “fifka” at Lost Larson, 5318 N. Clark St., Chicago, where the owner, Bobby Schaffer, offers us a joyous celebration of his Scandinavian heritage.  Located in the Andersonville neighborhood, historically Chicago’s Swedish and Scandinavian area, Lost Larson is perfect for a long, casual fifka.  The word translates roughly as “coffee break”, but not at all in the American sense of dashing into a Dunkin Donuts to grab and gulp a cup.  No.  This is about taking time to sit, sip, talk, breathe, and actually take a break from our usual hectic schedule to connect with each other.  In Sweden, fifka inevitably involves baked goods. Here I’m ordering an open-faced, pickled herring sandwich, served on Sunflower Rye bread, with a cardamom bun for dessert.  You might try the smoked ham sandwich on their Country Loaf, and try this chocolate croissant (it was voted #1 in Chicago by Chicago Magazine!). The real treats here are the fresh roasted and ground coffees and the bread – it’s not only baked in-house, it’s stone ground from fresh grains right here in the shop.  Yes, it’s all delicious and of course I’m getting a loaf of their Potato Bread to take home, aren’t you?

Chicago knows how to pump some excitement into a dreary winter weekend. That’s why we’re heading over to McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Dr., Sunday, February 9th, for the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show.  Meet us early, please, the doors open at 10am, and we need time to explore; the show encompasses over 1,000,000 square feet. Yes, that’s right, we’ll be walking through more than one million square feet filled with most of the best automobiles in the world. Look at these beautiful cars. Want to “drive” that new Telluride SUV over the indoor mountain test track? Yeah, I’m in, let’s get in line.  While I’m looking for a new city-friendly little hatchback, I really want to see the supercars, Bentley and Aston Martin from the UK, Lamborghini and Maserati from Italy, the French Bugatti, the Ford GT and especially the new mid-engine Corvette.  Admit it, you do too. Isn’t it beautiful?

Listen up, gentlemen, because we all know that the woman-in-our-life needs to be treated beautifully, romantically and extravagantly this coming weekend.  After all, it’s Valentine’s Day!  Since Valentine’s Day, February 14th, is on Friday this year, we can each give our lady a truly WOW weekend that will leave her with no doubts of our love, loyalty, and wild imaginations.

Let me suggest an early surprise, Thursday, February 13th, at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, for Orchids After Hours.  We’ll walk through 10,000 blooming orchids, because, face it, beautiful flowers in brilliant colors are just the thing to dispel winter’s gloom and set the mood for romance.  Are you ready for tomorrow?

It’s the big day!  Pick up your lady after work and head out to Oak Park, IL. I’ve made reservations at Katy’s Dumplings, 1113 Lake St., Oak Park, 708-383-9888, for some Chinese food at a quiet table, where we’ll talk softly and cozy up over egg rolls, Chongqing noodle soup, and perhaps Mongolian Beef stir fry.

After this warm, inviting dinner we are headed to the Harvey House Bed & Breakfast, 107 S. Scoville Avenue, Oak Park, IL, where we’ve booked a gorgeous suite with a big Jacuzzi and three-sided fireplace.  It’s almost too expensive, but totally worth it; the calm decor, inviting layout, and yes the Jacuzzi and fireplace, will (I’m really hoping) create a perfect Valentine’s night, snuggling before the fire, happily sipping some wine, before bed. We’ll sleep in very late in the morning.

Yes, thank you for asking, everything is just GREAT, so today, Saturday, February 15th, Let’s eat! Staying with the Chinese food theme, but heading back into town, a Dim Sum meal at  Shui Wah 2162 S. Archer Ave., 312-225-8811, seems to be just the thing, yes? Everything is cooked to order, and it all looks so delicious (well, OK, not the chicken feet, but everything else…). Their doors open at noon, and we’ll be there about that time, so meet us to get a table together and chat, drink tea, eat tasty food, and enjoy the company of friends.  Isn’t this great?

After all that there’s just enough time to run the daily errands before getting dressed up a little when we head to the Irish-American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., for the 15th Annual Makeout Party,:

            “An Evening of Aural Intercourse”, featuring Make Out All Stars performing originals,

            arrangements of film music, and other classic love themes from all around the globe.

           The Make-Out Party is an annual event celebrating LOVE for its own sake, with a

            rotating roster of over 30 musicians and performers, to inspire the tickle one feels in

            one’s stomach upon receiving a “first kiss”…. the music and performances are as varied

            as there are kinds of kisses, unified by one central theme – Love is Love.”

The show starts at 7pm, so be ready. Are there  enough of us for a full table? Yes? Excellent! Isn’t this great? What a great way to romance our partners, fall in love all over again, and boost our spirits for the rest of winter.  We’re relaxing at home tomorrow, so we’ll see you mid-week.

In the middle of this week, Wednesday, February 19th, let’s meet right after work and head to The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., for the Soup & Bread fundraiser.  This winter weekly event raises money for neighborhood food pantries.  Pay what you can, and enjoy some hot soup and delicious fresh bread from Publican Quality Bread.  The fun starts at 5:30pm, so we’ll get there before 6pm, get our humble meal and cozy up in the back room.  Giving back in ways like this really helps get a better feeling about the kindness that people share, don’t you agree?

Today, Sunday, February 23rd, let’s accept that it’s winter and head over to Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Drive, on the Museum Campus, for the final Polar Adventure Day.  Regardless of the weather let’s tour the new Natural Area, see wolves, Siberian huskies and other animals, perhaps even view a few birds of prey. Isn’t that something to see in Chicago? It’s time for some hot chocolate, right? Look, we can get a few cupfuls right here. Isn’t it rather amazing to really experience the wild, right here in the big city?  Like you just said, this has been an engaging, fulfilling day; I’m really glad we have these adventures together.

Remember back at the beginning of February we reserved our tickets to the Shedd?  Today, Friday, February 28th, is the day we’ve been waiting for!  It’s the last free day at the Shedd Aquarium until June, so leave work early, and meet us there by 12 noon, please?  I can’t wait to watch the octopii, they are so amazing, smart, and far more adept with those eight tentacles than I would have ever imagined!

Did you know that we can actually reach in and touch a sturgeon? They have leathery skin, bony plates, and a skeleton made, in large part, of cartilage. Sturgeon have been around for 200 million years, since the time of the earliest dinosaurs. They are still here, growing to great size, and equally great age: the largest ever caught was over 240lb (109kg) and is believed to be over 125 years old!

Hasn’t this been a great, romance filled, adventurous month?  Look it’s almost March and Spring will be upon us before we know it.  Until then, dear friends and readers, let your adventures continue.

 

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