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Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 17, 2007 at 2:55pm

I realize this sounds rather thick, but I forget what a city Chicago is, man, the real deal. I’ve been a jillion times (it’s a sneeze from UW-Madison), and stayed in various ‘burbs and ‘hoods, for work and for pleasure – but I guess John’s version of NYC (yay for New York!) has sort of shadowed my Chicago impressions…

…until yesterday, when John and I snuck down for a blink of a 24-hour getaway, downtown at the funkalicious, romantic Hotel Monaco, and I suddenly remembered how mighty and impressive a city Chicago is (duh, I know). Very Gotham-esque in its own right, right? And gorgeous, sheesh, sparkling with new-fallen snow and Christmas lights and that killer skyline. And the river! The Hotel Monaco overlooks the Chicago River – was I ever aware of the Chicago River? Uh no, I’m embarrassed to say, I perched in the window seat of our room (HUGE funky window seat, it rocked), and peered out over the skyscraper-lined river, and said to John, hey, check out that stunning river! And he was like, yeah dude, check out that Chicago River, and we totally cracked up. The whole experience made me feel like I hadn’t been in Chicago before, it was wild and fun and crazy.

For dinner, we lazily ventured no farther than the restaurant connected to the hotel, South Water Kitchen. Yum. Lovely Cabernet-Merlot blend, a genius side-order of mashed potatoes (they have a whole list of $4 comfort-food sides, a few bites each, enough to feel cozy but not ill), simple French salads (butter lettuce, chives, tarragon-vinaigrette), and a few bites of what they billed as Spicy Spaghetti, in effect Spaghetti All-Amatriciana (bacon, dried pepper flakes, tomatoes). Sigh. Lovely, romantic, restorative, I could definitely get into the 24-hour retreat (John’s groaning as I write that – he’s frustrated with my 5-day limit on trips, he’ll have a cow if I start lobbying for the 24-hour version – but he can’t deny it was a true, if short, get-away).

So, now we’re back in the land of another pretty cool river…whatever it’s called…


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