Marriott Chicago Midway

1 10 2009
  • 6520 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60638
  • (708)594-5500
  • Website
Marriott Chicago Midway on South Cicero in Chicago

Marriott Chicago Midway on South Cicero in Chicago

Well, our big day is finally here.  If you haven’t figured it out over the last couple days, September 26, 2009 is the day J and I got married. 

Everyone told us the planning process would be stressful.  In a way, it was, but we decided right away that we didn’t want to drag it out a year.  The longer the engagement goes, the more you have to think about.  We didn’t want that.  I proposed in May.  We’re married in September.  We got the fall wedding we both wanted even though it took me so long to man up and buy the ring. 

When it came time to pick a venue, we both knew we wanted it in Chicago.  We really only had two criteria.  It had to be a hotel (we didn’t want people to have to drive anywhere) and it had to offer or let us bring in a “late night snack (more on that later).

At first, I had my heart set on the Hilton on 94th & Cicero in Oak Lawn.  They have a top floor banquet room with a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline.  J called them…they STILL haven’t called us back. 

I went to work one Saturday and J sat on the computer looking at venues. She came across the Marriott Chicago Midway and instantly fell in love.  They had all their prices listed in a .pdf file on their website and the pictures of the place were beautiful.  J put in a call right away and was told she would get a call first thing Monday morning….and she did. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ann Sather Restaurant – W. Belmont, Chicago

27 09 2009
  • 909 W. Belmont Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60657
  • (773) 348-2378
  • Website
  • Menu
Ann Sather Restaurant on West Belmont in Chicago.

Ann Sather Restaurant on West Belmont in Chicago.

Every wedding has to have a good story.  When I was the best man in brother’s wedding, we went golfing at 6 AM before the ceremony.  He damn near flipped a golf cart.  The grass was still wet from the morning dew and he was going a little too fast looking for his bar.  He slammed on the breaks and turned the wheel.  He did a pretty good donut and got a couple wheels off the ground, but it stayed upright. 

For my wedding, my brother and I got the bright idea to run to Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood to get cinnamon rolls for the morning.  Not a bad idea…except rush hour had just begun. 

My mom called to see if they had any rolls left.  The lady who answered the phone said they had three dozen left, but they were closing in 50 minutes so we had to get there before then.  Sounded like a challenge that we were about to take. 

Ann Sather’s has four locations in Chicago.  They’re a “Swedish” breakfast place.  They also have pretty good cinnamon rolls.  I don’t remember which show it was, but I saw it on the Food Network.  The rolls looked good on TV, so I had no reason to assume they weren’t going to be good in person. 

The restaurant we chose was the location on West Belmont just east of North Clark Street.  Our hotel was on the extreme south side of Chicago near Midway Airport.  For those of you not familiar with the city, Belmont and Clark is on the far north side.  It was only 14 miles, but even on a good day, that’s a half hour drive….and it wasn’t a good day. Read the rest of this entry »





Al’s Beef – Oak Lawn, IL

24 09 2009
  • 5128 W. 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708) 422-2333
  • Website
  • Menu
Als Beef on 95th in Oak Lawn.

Al's Beef on 95th in Oak Lawn.

It only took a day and a half this time.  Operation Bridesmaid Pickup is in full swing and J, her mom, and the one out-of-town bridesmaid headed to the hotel to unload a bunch of stuff for this week.  I was left at the future in-laws house to shower and run a couple errands.  Of course, it was lunch time and of course, I wanted a beef. 

Al’s Beef is a Chicago legend.  They claim to be the inventors of the sandwich.  In recent years, they’ve expanded quite a bit around Chicagoland with franchise locations.  One of those franchises is in Oak Lawn not too far from where I was staying.

The Oak Lawn Al’s Beef is on 95th Street in a new strip mall in the downtown area.  It’s actually a dual store with Nancy’s Pizza.  The inside is missing the one major thing that makes Al’s Al’s.  The counter.  Actually, I was quite confused with the store. Not only did it have tables instead of stand up counters, but when I walked in the door, I had no clue where the order area was.  You can’t see it at all from the doorway.  There’s a wall that sort of leads you around to the counter, but I walked into the dining area before I finally saw where I was supposed to go.  I had to go back to the entrance and walk inside the wall to get to the cash register. Read the rest of this entry »





Kuma’s Corner – Chicago, IL

24 09 2009
  • 2900 W. Belmont Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60618
  • (773) 604-8769
  • Website
  • Menu
Kumas Corner on W. Belmont on Chicagos northside.

Kuma's Corner on W. Belmont on Chicago's northside.

 We finally made plans to make the trip the north side of Chicago.  We had to pick up the first of three out-of-town bridesmaids who flew in early to stay with another friend who lived in Bucktown.  We offered just to pick her up at her friend’s place because it was only a ten minute drive to West Belmont and I’d finally get to chow down on Illinois’ best burger.

Kuma’s Corner is on the corner of West Belmont Avenue and North Francisco Avenue in Chicago’s Avondale Neighborhood.  It’s an old corner building that doesn’t look like it should house such a popular restaurant.  The door was open and there were people spilling out when we drove by.  Like most of these neighborhood places, there is no specific parking.  You’re own your own to find something along the street.  Read the rest of this entry »





The Department – Joliet, IL

23 09 2009
  • 205 N. Chicago Street
  • Joliet, IL 60432
  • (815) 714-2280
  • Website
  • Menu
The Department in downtown Joliet

The Department in downtown Joliet

First day back in Chicago and J and I had a lot of errands to run.  We got up early to take care of our first major task at the Cook County Courthouse in Bridgeview.  After that, we needed to run to Joliet to see my grandma.  By the time we left her, it was lunch time. 

 

I lived in Joliet for four years and there wasn’t much reason to ever go downtown.  Things have changed a lot in the last seven years.  They’ve brought in a great Independent League baseball park and the Harrah’s Casino has invested a lot of money downtown.  With the influx of things to do, the dining scene has picked up dramatically.

In June, J and I went to a Joliet Jackhammers game with my parents.  They wanted to eat at the only reason there was to go downtown when I was there..Chicken ‘N Spice, but on our trek through town, I noticed a number of restaurants that I tucked away into the ol’ memory bank should we ever get back to Joliet.

After driving around the block a few times, the restaurant I settled on was The Department.  It was a neat looking restaurant from the outside, but what we found inside blew us both away. Read the rest of this entry »





Nicky’s Carry-Out, Crestwood, IL

14 09 2009
  • 14001 Cicero Avenue
  • Crestwood, IL 60445
  • (708) 388-4626
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Nickys Carry-Out in Crestwood, IL

Nicky's Carry-Out in Crestwood, IL

Months before I started dating J, I was sent up to Chicago to shoot a high school basketball game at St. Xavier University on the south side.  I didn’t know then that I’d be spending so much time on the south side of Chicago and when I got off the Interstate on Cicero Avenue, my first order of business was finding some place to get an Italian beef. 

The first place I came across was Nicky’s Carry-Out in Crestwood, so I stopped and got a beef.  I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a Portillo’s right down the street.  If I had known that, I probably would have waited, but I’m sort of glad I didn’t. 

I haven’t been back to Nicky’s since then even though we do drive by it quite a bit on our way to J’s parents’ house.  On my last trip home by myself, I had to make a stop at J’s parents on the way back to Lansing to pick up some things we forgot on our last trip home. 

I left my parents in kind of a rush because I slept much later than I had intended.  After a quick stop at my brother’s, I headed towards Chicago….hungry.  I could have stopped at Portillo’s, but since I was by myself, I decided to stop at Nicky’s to see if it was what I remembered now that I’ve been formally introduced to Chicago cuisine. Read the rest of this entry »





Dairy Queen – Clifton, IL

14 09 2009
  • 1 Bradie Drive
  • Clifton, IL 60927
  • (815) 694-3202
  • Website
  • Menu
The Dairy Queen in (and only fast food option anywhere near) Clifton, IL

The Dairy Queen in (and only fast food option anywhere near) Clifton, IL

For those of you that didn’t grow up in a small town, you will have no idea what I’m talking about.  Imagine growing up in a town without a McDonald’s, a Walmart, or a Blockbuster.  In fact, imagine that the closest location of any of those three was a half hour away.  That’s how things were when I was growing up.  We only had two options when it came to eating out.  There was the local family run restaurant and a Dairy Queen.

Things haven’t really changed much in the town where I grew up (and my parents still live).  Well, actually they have.  The Dairy Queen is gone.  It moved five miles north.  That actually happened when I was in high school, so it wasn’t a big deal.  I had my driver’s license by then so I could still get the Blizzard’s that I craved.  

While I moved away from home, my brother stayed pretty close.  He moved to that town five miles to the north which is still in the same school district and for all intents and purposes, is still considered part of the same community.  We didn’t really go by towns where I’m from.  We go by school districts.  Yes, my high school was sixteen miles from my house in the middle of a cornfield.  Literally.  It’s in a corn field.  Read the rest of this entry »