Category Archives: Chicago

Atwood Cafe in the Hotel Burnham

State Street Entrance

Gleaming floors and vintage Chicago warmth welcome you to the Hotel Burnham via the State Street entrance.  Just to your left in the photo (above) are the open doors that lead you right to the Atwood Cafe where you’ll find:

Cozy Views of State Street

Afternoon sunlight spilling in from Washington Avenue

Afternoon sunlight spilling in from Washington Avenue

Yes, we had to wait 90 minutes (this is how we spent it), but it was worth it!  (Make a reservation if you’d rather not take the scenic route to lunch!)  If you love food and quotes, the menus here will bring delight:


However, a bloody mary is only truly tempting if I can add fresh horseradish ~ and there was none available.  (Note to self: pack fresh horseradish.) Kidding.  I’d never admit that I would do that!

On to ordering:

Lemon poached loch duart salmon nicoise

VERY pleased with my salmon nicoise salad.  It was a “big salad” as stated on the menu and the salmon was perfectly prepared.  (Sometimes cooked salmon can get “fishy” on me and I love fish so it’s really off-putting when it goes so far that I don’t like it.)  You’ll note the pickle and onion off to the left side – garnishments of the angus burger across the table that didn’t have a chance of being photographed!  The salt-pepper fries were outstanding, too!

** I had a really tough time choosing: would love to hear if you’ve had the “crispy lobster rangoon” or the “graham cracker fried calamari”…**

We’d have ordered more main course food but it was the day after Thanksgiving and we thought we’d surely be satiated with what we’d ordered.  We were pleased that we underestimated our bellies since that left room for a bit of dessert (ok, we were plenty full but the dessert menu had so many options!)

Mid-way through warm Michigan apple-walnut dumpling

I show you this dish, already slightly devoured – an homage to the aroma, the appearance of this delectable dessert – irresistible.  I lost my head.  The camera-phone slipped to the floor.  It was the “When Harry Met Sally” Meg Ryan diner moment.  Phew.  Ok.  You get the idea.

Peppermint always brings a girl back to her senses, so it was the white peppermint hot chocolate for me:

That IS a giant homemade marshmellow!

In the end, yes, we felt like we could leave the table with an “oink” but we came in just under the advisory of a very well known celebrity:

Pig with sage advice

The quote above is from the dessert menu and is well heeded advice, there are so many desserts here I’d like to try.

Thanks in advance for recommendations ~ OR if you haven’t tried one, which one sounds too good to pass up for next time!?

warm roasted banana-white chocolate bread pudding
banana caramel
lemon-buttermilk panna cotta
summer berry compote, fresh mint
fresh key lime tart
toasted coconut crust, blackberry coulis
summer strawberry shortcake
vanilla-butter pound cake, lemon custard, chantilly cream
fried fresh peach pies
cashew brittle, bourbon sauce , vanilla bean gelato
brown sugar cheesecake
creamy butterscotch sauce
warm tart cherry dumpling
lemon curd gelato, apricot compote
vanilla bean crème brûlée
fresh raspberries
dark chocolate soufflé cake
rum zabaione, chocolate sauce
gelato and sorbet
selections vary daily
prairie fruits farm artisan cheese plate
little bloom on the prairie: Champaign, Illinois
krotovina: Champaign, Illinois
roxanne: Champaign, Illinois

FYI: The Atwood Cafe is located at 1 West Washington, Chicago, IL 60602


Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago, Food and Drink, Restaurants

Project Onward…Project Ornaments

WHO?:  PROJECT ONWARD, a group of talented artists on-site in an open studio, creating original artwork on ornaments.



WHEN?:   There until December 19, 2009 but year-round for general artwork

All-season artwork

WHERE?: The Chicago Cultural Center – 1st floor, phone (312) 742-1445

WHY?:  Beauty, special, Christmas, unique!

I picked up my ornaments and was fortunate enough to meet one of the artists: Fernando Ramirez:

Fernando and his hand-painted ornaments

Fernando told me that he can even “paint to order.”  (Time permitting, of course, as the studio closes December 19 so if you want him to do a custom piece for Christmas, I’d contact him Monday!)  I asked him if he could even do a portrait on an ornament and he said that he could! Otherwise, regular portraits are available by Fernando (as well as the other artists, based on availability):

And yes, only $5.00 on paper (on the ornament is additional.)

Back to the ornaments though…Fernando’s had caught my eye because he was painting nudes. There’s a long story behind this for me, but suffice to say that someone was encouraging me to pose nude for artists this past year!  I appreciate the human body, the study of it and artistic development, but I’m a bit shy for this kind of gig!  Anyway, I thought it would tickle this person if I got him a nude  on an ornament.  I thought Fernando’s work was impressive:

And, he has a sense of humor, for on the other side:

I purchased six ornaments in all, by a variety of artists:

Here are the close-ups:

According to Rob Lentz, Program Director, these creatures are the artist’s “protectors”…Mr. Lentz couldn’t recall the name of the lion but the hawk is Hank:

I like having protectors around 🙂

Here’s one by Winnie:

Here’s another ornament, not sure of the artist as it wasn’t indicated:

(Gee, I mean, that’s just one ornament!)

And if you’re waxing more traditional:

The candy-cane artist is “J.H.”  I’m thinking it’s James Hall (as he’s the only J.H. from the website, but I shall find out for certain!)

And we round out the group with a trip back to Fernando:

The ornaments I purchased ranged in price from $5 to $25.  Does anyone else think this is a tremendous amount of talent and value for such beautiful work!?

Remember, even if you miss out on holiday art, there’s the all-season artwork and I did see MANY works in progress!

General artwork

All-season artwork

There’s one artist, James Allen, who specializes in trains (I really like trains).  I believe the kitties above were done by George Zuniga.  Here again is the main link because you can click on artist’s names on the page.

In summary:

“The mission of Project Onward is to support the creative growth of visual artists with mental and developmental disabilities.  Project Onward provides studio space, art supplies, and professional guidance to emerging artists in a communal workshop environment…”

Excerpt from “Mission” on pamphlet

“Project Onward” Tree, studio at Chicago Cultural Center

Share the beauty!


Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees

Christmas Flies at Midway Airport

Christmas flies at Midway Airport

En route to A-gates, I spotted this cute little tree off to my left.  Christmas and a white picket fence!


Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees


Simple Starbuck Tree at Dominick's

This little tree got a big smile out of me.  Somehow it was just in the right place at the right time and it perked up my chilly evening.  Stay warm!


Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees

Part Tree, Part Picasso

Part Tree, Part Picasso at Daley Plaza

Hungry for Wiener Schnitzel?  Need a cuckoo clock?  Maybe a nutcracker?   There’s all that and Christmas caroling, not to mention a big, beautiful tree at Christkindlmarket at the Daley Plaza.

The Tree

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees

“Tree of Lights”

Salvation Army's "Tree of Lights," John Hancock Building

“Now that’s a lot of lights,” first words out of my husband’s mouth.

I tried to find out just how many, and this year’s brief isn’t specific about the tree but according to last year’s brief from the Salvation Army, the 2008 tree was 40 ft and 5000 lb…that IS a lot of lights even though I still couldn’t find just how many!)

It’s nice we don’t need specifics to quantify our “oooooh!!”

Here are some additional shots:

Christmas is...looking up!

Flags and Lights

Tree of Lights and The Four Seasons

1 Comment

Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees

Trump Chicago Tree

Trump Tree, Chicago, 2009

Tree in the main lobby at the recently completed “Trump International Hotel and Tower.” Friends who recently stayed here said it was spectacular.  Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Chicago, Christmas, Christmas trees