I’ve spent this week in Chicago (much nicer in October than December), and since I don’t have much OpenNMS-y news I figured I’d take a page out of Coté’s book and talk about travel.

Downtown Chicago from Harrison

I like Chicago, and when I come here I always try to stay at the City Suites hotel on Belmont. It is right next to the Belmont CTA stop so it is easy to get into town. It’s affordable, in a really cool neighborhood and the rooms are very nice. I’m in a two room suite with a large well appointed bathroom and a king bed. It’s an older building so instead of central A/C there is a window unit in each room, but outside of that you would have to pay a lot more for the same amenities anywhere else in Chicago.

A few of the places I’ve eaten this week:

Duck Walk on Belmont: Cheap, good Thai food. I got out of here, stuffed, for $14. I usually can’t do that in Chicago for lunch, much less dinner.

Orange on Harrison: Probably the worst meal I’ve had in the road in years. Stay away, and if you can’t stay away at least stay away from omelet #6. It was evil. I’m a fat guy and I could only choke down a few bits. The rest of the folks at the table had “okay” meals. Service was lousy. As one reviewer said “But creative/funky food does not equate with flavorful, well-made food.”

Sushi 28 Cafe on North Clark: Despite the positive reviews, I was a little scared to be the only one in this place at 7pm on a Wednesday. It did start to fill up before I left. The sushi was good and affordable, and within an easy walk of my hotel.

Greek Islands on South Halstead: The main person I am working with this week is Greek and Chicago has a large and vibrant Greektown. I’ve been to this restaurant about four times and it never disappoints. Having to eat in restaurants a lot for travel it is always amazing to find food that tastes “home cooked”. I’m not knocking usual restaurant fare, but at times it is nice to be able to eat “comfort food”.

Shaw’s Crab House on East Hubbard: Vong’s was closed for a private event, so we walked down the street to Shaw’s. It has the decor of a high-end chophouse: dark paneled wood, leather seats in the booths, etc., and it looks like it has been around forever, although the sign said it opened in 1984. Nice scotch list, and one of my companions had a brandy sidecar made with blood orange juice that was amazing. We all got seafood. I went heavy on the appitizers since I was still stuffed from Greek Islands. Oysters on the half shell, lobster bisque and a couple of sushi rolls. All excellent.

Tuscany on North Clark: I haven’t eaten here this trip, but it is always a Friday-lunch thing and we’ll be there today. I can’t wait. Amazing food and staff. Always a nice send off after a long week of working on OpenNMS.