I celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary this past week.
In some ways, our wedding feels like it wasn't that long ago. I can distinctly remember various moments of that day - everything from how the groomsmen helped me move stuff out of my apartment the day before the wedding (yep, the next tenant was moving in on infamous September 1st!) to how the bridesmaids and I (and my mom!) munched on sandwiches from Il Panino Express for lunch after getting our hair done.
And yet, when I look back to who I was back then, I feel like I've changed a lot. I've experienced so many things. I've traveled to so many places, and I've learned so much. I'd like to think that I've matured a bit and acquired some wisdom along the way. I think I have a more balanced perspective on things.
15 years sounds like a long time, but it definitely flew by. I feel like I just moved to my new house, even though it's already been five years. It's so true that time feels like it moves faster and faster as you get older. I feel like I need to seize the day and begin really checking things off that bucket list. Take risks. Try something new.
This past weekend Bryan and I flew to Chicago over Labor Day weekend to celebrate our anniversary. This all came about because we had friends who invited us to join them in trying to reserve Alinea's exclusive Chef's Table (requires 6 people minimum to book!). The Chef's Table offered a special extended tasting menu as well as unlimited views of the kitchen.
It was definitely an interesting experience trying to book the restaurant. After a heroic tag-teaming effort of people from our group constantly monitoring and refreshing the Alinea reservations webpage (to no avail), two of my friends accidentally BOTH booked a table for six at Alinea.
Oops! We were stuck with two reservations for the Chef's Table.
After frantically trying to sell them on Twitter (heh, it's hard to sell $3000 worth of tickets in one shot), we were relieved to find out that Alinea agreed to cancel our second reservation and sell it to someone else (phew!).
Dinner at Alinea was an unforgettable experience. We were surprised and delighted by all sorts of tastes, aromas, and visual experiences.
We also enjoyed a late dinner at Girl and the Goat, tried two of Rick Bayless's Mexican restaurants, sampled Chicago deep-dish pizza twice at two famous institutions, and avoided long lines by trying Portillo's Chicago-style hot dogs during brunch hours.
We hung out at Millennium Park listening to jazz during the Jazz Festival, soaking in the unbelievably perfect weather. We learned about city's fascinating architecture via an excellent river boat cruise. We explored world class art at the Art Institute of Chicago, a stunning museum that houses an impressive collection of art.
I fell in love with Chicago. The city has gorgeous architecture, phenomenal culture, and great food. Being a Midwesterner myself, I felt comfortable in Chicago. I could totally imagine living there and really enjoying it.
It has been close to 20 years since I last visited Chicago. I'm sure it won't be another 20 before I visit again!
Stay tuned as we begin our new A Chicago Anniversary series.
[…] friends asked us months earlier whether we wanted to make a special trip to Chicago just to dine at Alinea, one of the most famous fine-dining restaurants in the US. It had been years since I had visited […]