Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home sweet home, Chicago.....

Hello friends,
It's been a while since I last wrote you but I was so busy in Chicago after being gone for over 5 months.
It was tough coming back to the cold weather after being so used to summer weather for my entire trip.
I got to spend time with friends and family and start packing for my next adventure.  A lot has happened since I last wrote you.

A lot has happened since I have been away.  My niece, Celia just had a baby.  She named her Leeah.  I am now a grandaunt!

Having lunch with my friends Elsa and Paula.  They are modeling their new scarves I brought them from India. 

Elaine is also modeling her new scarf.  

I had lunch with my friend Elaine.  Elaine has been teaching in Korea for the past year and was only in town for a week.   Elaine was my first stop on my around the world trip.  

Out with the my girls Cindy and Sol at La Copa. Welcoming me home with a night on the town.

Ralphi, me, Sol and Cindy

What a lovely necklace.  My best friend has such good taste!  :)

Besos! Shadi planting a big one on me!  

My friend, Ralphi went from bartending to bar dancing. 

Me, Shadi, Sol and Shawn

Once I got back home, I received an email from this guy who lives in Toronto from CouchSurfing.  He  was coming into to Chicago for a week and wanted to stay with me.  I wasn't hosting yet because my German friend was coming too.  I had to prepare for my month long road trip to the west coast but I decided to say yes.  CouchSurfing had been so good to me and there probably isn't a better tour guide of Chicago then me.  The beauty of CouchSurfing is that I got to stay with locals who showed me the best of their city.  They took me to local joints, off the beaten path places, and their favorite eateries.  I got to show them Chicago through my eyes!

My CouchSurfing guest, Luis from Toronto!

Me, Luis and Nancy

Amazing food from Paris Club!  Wow!  Thumbs up!!

The next morning, we picked up my german friend, Jule from the bus station.  She took a Greyhound bus from NY and to Chicago and her bus broke down.  She didn't arrive until the next morning.

Yule and Luis at Bongo Room

Bongo Room Wicker Park

Orange-Ricotta Pancakes served with strawberries and gingersnap brown sugar butter

I had to take them to my favorite breakfast place in Chicago!  White Chocolate pancakes with caramel!  Always a winner! 

Poached shrimp salad: mixed greens,  shrimp, mozarella, diced tomato, avocado, roasted corn, toasted sunflower seeds in a lemon-basil vinagrette

After breakfast, I took them resale shopping in Wicker Park.  Luis was able to pick up some cool jeans. 

What a long day! 

I can't have them come to Chicago without experiencing Latin Jazz  Tuesdays at Cafe Bolero.
Luis and I having a refreshing mojito

Jule and Luis

With Juan, the owner

Franks N Dawgs:  Five star dining on a bun
I stumbled on this new restaurant on clybourn.   My favorite is the Tur-doggin: Turkey and date sausage topped with duck confit, garlic aioli, house pickled onion relish and pickled carrots

My good friend Adriana was celebrating her birthday at Carnivale

Luis, Yule and Sol

Luis is taking my friend, Sheila for a  salsa dance

Elsa, Adriana, Sheila, and me

Jule, Adriana, Sheila, Me, and Elsa

6 Corners in Wicker Park

Milennium Park

Cloud Gate

Jule and Nancy

We went to a CouchSurfing Potluck in Oak Park

Luis, with CouchSurfing host, Lori.  She held the potluck at her house.

Empanadas from 90 miles cuban restaurant: Guava and cheese empanadas

Croquetas de jamon y queso

Portabello mushroom with melted cheese

Jule getting down! 

My new roommate, Sharifa from Egypt! 

Lyn, Lori and Jules

Get down on it!

No tour of Chicago can be complete without taking them to white castle for steamed cheeseburgers! 

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