Chicago!

I love going to Chicago.  It’s a really cool city.  The first time I went there was because my friends Pratik and Silky lived there.  I’ve been there a few time thereafter for weddings and visiting my brother and sister.  This past weekend, we went up for Sheena’s cousin, Annie’s wedding.

We usually fly Southwest but this time we flew out of IAH because United gave us cheaper tickets.  Catching a 7am flight means waking up at 3:30am!  Once we got to Chicago, we scooped up our rental car.  I originally booked a full size car, but the sales lady convinced me to upgrade to an SUV since we’ve got 4 adults and a car seat.  She claimed it’d be good to have a little more space… and she was right!ford explorerI’m not a big fan of Ford (for really no good reason), but the Ford Explorer is awesome!  Super comfortable ride, very spacious, cool features… makes me think twice about Ford!

The wedding was in Hinsdale,IL so we made our way out there.  On the way, we noticed an “Oasis”.  This was an exit that had gas stations and fast food joints to eat at which crossed over the highway… like a fancy rest stop.  It was cool because you can get out at one stop and have the variety of a mall’s food court.  We were starving, so we made the stop and had a quick bite.  The building itself sat above the highway, so we had the view of cars speeding beneath us!OasisThen we made our way to Annie’s parent’s house and hung out with the family for a bit.  Weddings are fun because everyone is around and you get to spend time with people that you regularly don’t get to see.  Asha, Annie’s sister, was there.  She’s an interesting gal and very fun to talk to.  She owns a restaurant called Burger Point.  We weren’t able to go there this trip, but soon we will.  After hanging for a bit, we checked into our hotel.  Layla enjoyed the room a lot!layla roomAfter getting settled in at the hotel, we made our way to the city to visit Blesson and Jolly (my brother and his wife).  We hung out at their place for a bit, then made our way to the Burger Bar.  It’s in Lincoln Park, which is a pretty cool spot to hang out in.  The Burger Bar is nice, but unfortunately, the meat on the burger was kinda wack!Burger Bar  I guess it was an off day for them on the grill.  All of our burgers were over cooked.  Fries, sweet potato tots, mac & cheese (for Layla), buns and the fixin’s were all actually really great, but the beef patty itself was just not what we expected.  We still enjoyed our time there, and Bless said that they’re usually pretty good, so I’ll give ’em another chance if the opportunity arises.  Since we had Layla with us and a 30 minute drive back to the hotel, we parted ways and ended our first night in Chicago.family!The hotel we stayed at had free breakfast so we hit ’em up!  They had a really good spread every morning, so we weren’t disappointed.  On top of that, our room was on the first floor, so we only had a few step to take to get to the grub!  breakfast with a starYou’ll notice Ken Jeong was trying to get in on the picture too!

After breakfast we scooped up Mom from Annie’s parent’s house and headed to Ruby’s place in the city (Ruby is one of Sheena’s cousins).  Simply put, her place is amazing!  All of the detail found in her condo, plus the location and the amenities that are just walking distance… I was very jealous!  Ruby is such a gracious host as well.  Once we got there, she had a spread of pastries for us to snack on along with some amazing chai!morning chai with RubyAfter our morning chai, we headed out to check out the Lincoln Park Zoo.walking at Ruby'sWe’ve been to the Lincoln Zoo before, but we thought that Layla would like to see the animals, which she did!Lincoln Park ZooOne can only stand so much heat.  A running theme in this trip was when Layla got tired, she let us know!  And when she did, that basically told us when to end the excursion.  After dropping off Shane back at Ruby’s place, we made our way back to the hotel.  I’ve heard horror stories of Chicago traffic, but I got to experience it 1st hand with a 2 hour drive back to the hotel (which was supposed to be only 30 minutes).  It sucked.  The only good thing was Layla was able to get a solid 2 hour nap in the car.

Once we got back to the hotel, we didn’t have much time to relax because the rehearsal dinner was about to begin.  Luckily, it was held at the same hotel we were staying at, so that worked out great for us.the coupleAnnie and Micheal are a very nice couple.  They seem very genuine and it was great to meet them although it was brief.  When the rehearsal dinner ended, Blesson and Jolly came by and hung out for a bit, then we called it a night.

Saturday morning was free since the wedding was in the evening so we made the trip back into the city to hang with Blesson and Jolly.  I forgot how cold Blesson likes to keep things, so my ladies were freezing!  Luckily they had throws to wrap up in (and look super cute while doing it!)bundle up!Blesson and Jolly got Layla a new dress, so she demanded an immediate wardrobe change.new dressNow we were ready to hit the city (again).  It was raining that morning, so we were limited on what we could do, so we drove to Lincoln Park and had lunch at a Korean Fried Chicken joint called Crisp.  It was great!  Very messy, but super tasty!crispWe weren’t able to sit next to each other because the place is tiny and packed with patrons, but it was still a very good experience.  Afterwards, we met up with Ruby, Stan and Shane at the Waterfront Cafe for dessert.  It’s a beautiful spot with a view of the lake and a playground right next door.  Layla couldn’t get enough of the playground, so we spent most of our time there.Waterfront CafeWe headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.  Again, we really didn’t have much down time, so we basically got back, got ready and headed to the wedding.  It was an outdoor wedding.  Although it rained the night before and that morning, it was actually a blessing in disguise.  The rain cooled things down for us and actually made it very pleasant to be outside.  Here’s some shots before the wedding started:IMG_1249 IMG_1254 IMG_1256 IMG_1257 IMG_1258The violinist kinda looks like Danny Masterson, right?  The entire ceremony was about 20 minutes long.  It was awesome.  Right to the point, no fluff and was beautifully executed.  bride and groomThere was a lodge on in the park that had the appetizers, so we made our way there and then made our way to another part of the park where the reception was being held.  It was a nicely decorated tent.receptionAll in all, the wedding and reception was a great time.  I wanted to stay longer, but Layla was getting tired, so about 9pm, we made our way back to the hotel.

Sunday was relaxing.  We packed our bags and headed to Ruby’s house where everyone met up.  Ruby treated all of us to lunch at a local Indian restaurant.Mt. EverestAlthough the food was good, it’s tough to do a buffet when you’re about to get on a plane, but we did it!  After lunch we took a stroll on a pier off of a beach in Evanston, IL.the beachThe weather was perfect, the water was blue and the sand was white.  While we were in this picture perfect setting, we were trying to convince Blesson and Jolly to move back to Houston sooner.  I highlighted our muddy waters at Galveston.  I think I sold’em on it!

Then it was off to the airport.  3 hours in the air and dropping off Mom and Shane we were home around 9:30pm.  While we were at the baggage claim, Layla asked me to take a picture of her.baggage claim  It was a long weekend filled with a lot of driving, but it was all worth it.  Good times.  Chicago, you never cease to please.

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