Day 7: Chicago

Saturday, September 5

For some reason we kept thinking about feet that morning.


Bunionettes, in particular

Phil took us to breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s. It’s an old-school place, founded in 1923—Phil told us that when Lou sold it, it was with the stipulation that nothing could be changed—and we sat at the counter, appropriately. Our server struck me as perceptive and kind, and I wanted to ask him how he’d gotten his black eye.



This was top notch, one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in some time. Coffee was also great.

After breakfast, we enjoyed a brief rest period—Phil didn’t want to push us too hard—then it was off to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play the Diamondbacks. I am very slowly tackling my Major League stadium list. Sadly both the Brewers and the Twins were out of town during my visits.


Photo taken after our strategic departure after the first out in the bottom half of the eighth. Sorry, Ben.


Andy took this goofball shot to send to his mom (aka MRB). This is our only digital photo of Phil, and one of only two photos of that stud behind us.


This is Jerry Springer waving to people who may or may not care about seeing him walk up the aisle.


Day 7’s dose of George. I love you, George.

After the game Phil granted us another rest period. Andy worked on a puzzle. I wrote a blog entry, did some work, and took some photos of Phil’s apartment. I wasn’t able to do it justice, though; it’s somehow both opulent and understated, incredibly detailed but restrained. The rooms are bright and inviting and I don’t think these photos convey that. Still:


The living room


George chewed up the rugs at left and Phil had to get them rethreaded. The piano was on a cruise ship in the 1920s.


The pattern on the living room ceiling took artisans eight weeks to stencil.


The dining room/library. Phil told us that formal dining rooms are out and that he was encouraged to make his dining room a casual/dual space. Real estate is ridiculous. I very much like this chair.

The powder room. The walls are painted glass, lit from behind.

The powder room. The walls are made of back-painted glass.

Dinner was at Momotaro, a new Japanese fusion restaurant. It is apparently impossible to get into, but Phil got reservations at the sushi counter by pretending to know the manager. I don’t completely understand how it worked, but there was pseudo-familiar small talk between them to establish the in. It was kind of weird, but who cares, because our meal was fantastic.

We took pictures of every dish we ordered (there were six or seven) but here is our favorite:


Momotaro tartare. It’s meatless, made from dehydrated Japanese tomatoes.


An old fashioned made with sake

The sushi counter was a rectangular expanse in the middle of the floor. I observed at one point that it must be difficult to be watched while you work, and one of the sushi chefs nodded, sipping a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee in between orders. He said it’s okay if people break the ice, but sometimes they want to watch in a more objectifying way, and it feels awkward to him. He was very personable and chatty and seemed to be alone among his colleagues in wanting to interact with customers. We told him we were from New York, and a little while later he asked if we were actors. He said he thought Andy looked like Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother:

Phil agreed.

We left with very full bellies and souls. I can state with confidence that I’m not going to top this meal in the next seven weeks.

Phil Art of the Day

~12″ x 8″
Robert Antoine Pinchon

Hotel Art Score

9/10. It’s a great painting, in a cool frame, and it’s a semicircle, another feature never encountered in hotel art (or almost any art). This was in our bedroom proper. Sorry for the glare in the photo.

Art Art Score

9/10. From Wikipedia: “Claude Monet referred to him as ‘a surprising touch in the service of a surprising eye’.” I’m with Claude. This was painted with the conviction that this way of seeing things and representing them, with this unlikely composition and these colors and these thick brush strokes, was right and good. Art!