Stephanie’s Visit to Chicago

August 20th, 2009 · 8 Comments

On Friday night, Richard, Amanda, Jessica, and Stephanie came down to visit and we had dinner at Marcello’s Father and Son Restaurant nearby our house in Logan Square. The purpose of the trip was to drop Steph off to stay with us for a weekend in Chicago. This is something that we like to do every year.

On Friday night after dinner I was really tired from 2 days of work meetings and parties so we just relaxed at home and watched a movie. None of our Netflix movies were appropriate to watch with a 13-year-old and most of the movies Dallas owns were things Steph wasn’t interested in. The one movie she recognized that was rated PG-13 or less was The Simpsons Movie, so we put that in.

On Saturday I didn’t really have any plans for us until 6 p.m. that night. We had breakfast and planned our day. For lunch we went to Irazu Costa Rican restaurant. We decided to get chifrijo for an appetizer. This is a black bean dip mixed with fried pork, sauteed veggies, and rice, served with chips. It was delicious. I could have just eaten this for my meal.

chifrijo
Chifrijo, Irazu, Bucktown, Chicago

We also ordered shakes. I got the Avena (oatmeal) shake and Steph got the banana shake. Both were delicious. I don’t know what it is about the shakes at Irazu, but they’re not thick and heavy at all. I like them because they’re light and delicious and don’t feel like lead in your belly or make you so stuffed you can’t eat your dinner. And they’re not so sweet that it’s like drinking dessert.

Here’s Steph looking over her menu. I don’t know how she got to be 13 years old already! Or when she got so pretty. Not cute. But really pretty. I flash back to when she was born and when she learned to write and how she wanted to name her cat Pikachu. How I kept forgetting she could read and she’d sit behind me and try to read my email on a visit home. A couple years ago when she first stayed with me she was begging me to buy her something out of a gumball machine. And now this.

stephanie

I also don’t know what kind of mascara she is using, but look at those lashes. I must find out and buy it.

steph

Steph’s only 13, which is still young…. she’s going into 8th grade in a few weeks. .. but there are a lot of things we can talk about as though I was talking to a friend of mine, my age, which is kind of fun.

Look! No braces!

steph_smile

I decided to get the pepito sandwich. Again. This is the rib eye steak sandwich with sauteed onions, cheese, pinto beans and Lizano sauce. I also got avocado on mine because I am obsessed with avocado lately. Steph got the same sandwich but instead of avocado she got jalepenos on her sandwich. Awesome. I love this sandwich and could eat it every day. PLUS? It is only $4.95!

pepito_sandwich
Pepito sandwich, Irazu, Bucktown, Chicago

There was a slight incident at the table behind us with some guy who passed out and 911 was called. The fire truck and the ambulance showed up to wake him and make sure he was ok. After that drama we headed back on the bus downtown.

Another bus transfer later and we were at the Adler Planetarium. Steph had never been to a planetarium before. I think she found the exhibits to be a bit dry (I tend to agree with her there), but she agreed that the show in the dome was pretty cool.

From the planetarium we took a cab, Steph’s first cab ride, to Navy Pier. After a quick ice cream treat we saw the acrobatic show Cirque Shanghai. Here’s a photo of Steph before the show.

stephanie_cirque_shanghai

How did Steph keep her hair looking so good all day? It was hot and I felt a mess.

The show was pretty amazing. The stunts were crazy. Juggling crazy things while balancing in pyramids and dancing and leaping through the air, hoops and contortions in ways the body should not bend. At one point this chick was balancing on one foot, tip toed, on the top of a guy’s head! Unlike the Cirque show I saw in Las Vegas, which had a storyline, this show was just music and routines.. which was fine. Just different… more for the audience.. which was Navy Pier, all ages, and very affordably priced.

Steph said without hesitation that she thought the show was “Awesome” so I take that as a winner. I wasn’t sure if she’d want to go to the show, but luckily she liked it.

After the show we took a cab home, Steph’s second cab ever. We had dinner at Taqueria Moran, by my house. Steph commented how everything on the menu was in Spanish and how billboards in our neighborhood are all Spanish. To be honest, I’m so used to seeing Spanish, I don’t really find it odd til someone else points it out to me.

On Sunday we went to the Logan Square Farmers Market in the morning. I had a couple errands to run and then we got lunch at the Whole Foods food court. Steph got barbecue chicken pizza (the first time she’s ever had it) and I got a turkey burger. We shared a 365 cola, made with cane sugar and natural ingredients, not high fructose corn syrup and no caffeine. Yum! We did a bit of shopping and headed home. Before we knew it, it was time to drive up to Milwaukee and the weekend was over.

I always have a good time when Steph visits each year. We don’t spend much time alone or talking so it’s good to get to know her better. I also enjoy taking her around town and exposing her to things she’s never done before. Even things we take for granted every day in Chicago. So far I think she’s had fun too. I think she likes getting away from her family for a couple days and spending time in the big city.

Went by fast, but it was fun!

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