I took the Amtrak from the Milwaukee Airport station on Friday afternoon. Arrived in Chicago around 2:45, and immediately proceeded to find myself some bao. I'd been craving those little steamed rolls full of goodness for probably close to a year and a half, now, ever since my Costco stopped carrying them in their little take-and-bake section. Happily, not five blocks from the train station, there was a Wow Bao, and they know their bao. Two bbq pork bao, a Chinese vegetable salad and a pomegranate ginger ale later, I was a happy man. I hopped on the blue line and ventured up to meet my friend Andrew.
Got to Andrew's around quarter to four, and helped him put together a desk for his wife Emily on the back porch, the better to hold all her scenic painting supplies. Ran with him to get goodies for his birthday party that night, and pitched in slicing cheese for the snack trays. Andrew made a kick ass stir fry, we ate, we drank, I helped Em decorate their tree, I played with their dog, Imixed cocktails, lots of people came and partied, and I wound up leaving with my friend Michael, who I was staying with, at close to five in the morning.
Saturday, after waking up and chugging coffee to deal with the effects of the night before, Michael and I grabbed a burger at the Chicago Ale House, and then headed out to meet up with our friend Lucas. Michael and I both had things to head to later that evening, but it was great just chatting and catching up with Luke. He had some fun war stories to tell about his days teaching in the Chicago Public School system (he's got good kids, by and large, it sounds like).
Michael headed down to his company Xmess party, and I made tracks to meet up with my friend Magen (who renface knows of, but has never met), the better to hit up Trader Vic's. It was repeal day, after all. We made friends with the bartender, I gave him my recipe for bacon-infused bourbon, he gave me the Trader Vic's recipe for the custom sour-mix for the London Sour (orange and lemon juice, orgeat and sugar syrups, and no, you don't get the proportions).
Had a blast at Vic's and then met up with Michael again to head to our friend Peter's combination housewarming and Christmahannukakwanzaakazamus party, where there was more food and lots more booze. Oh, the booze. Peter had stuff I'd never seen but desperately wanted to sample, and he was good enough to share. I had two gins from North Shore Distillery, as well as a limited edition Mole Poblano spirit they released. I had a little cordial glass of a 28 year old Kentucky straight bourbon that was so incredibly good I'm still trying to plot an Ocean's Eleven-type heist to get the rest of the bottle. I got to play around and mix drinks for some folks as well, so that made me happy. Among some of my old friends that were there, my reputation for drink-mixing had preceded me, which was kinda cool, frankly.
We wound up leaving Peter's around 3, and I crashed around 4. Woke up at noon, had more coffee, and then skedaddled downtown to take the train back here to Wisconsin.
Good trip. Although I missed seeing roolet this trip, an oversight which I most certainly will remedy on my next trip down. Which I will not take another year to complete.