Tag Archives: State Street

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


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Filed under Chicago, Food and Drink, Restaurants

Magic T.P. & The Great Tree

It’s time again for the “Great Tree” in “The Walnut Room” at the former Marshall Field’s on State Street.

It’s thirty years ago that a princess with a sparkling tiara in her wavy, golden hair sits in front of the tree.  You wait in line forever to answer her question: “what’s your wish?” You whisper it and she tells you “close your eyes.”  She sprinkles magic fairy dust above your head.  Like a feather brushing your cheek, a light stroke of her wand calls you back.  You look up at her, then waaaay up at the tree, knowing your wish will come true. You smile hard before filing to the right, ready to indulge in Christmas desserts.

The Great Tree, 2009

It’s six years ago, on Christmas Eve in Phoenix, that I’m missing Chicago and reminiscing about childhood traditions as my husband and are I driving to our new home that’s under construction.

We stop for gas en route and I’m just a bit emotional.  Between the new home, new life , the holidays…I get myself all choked up.  My husand fills the tank, pops into the gas station and comes out with the usual Mountain Dew.  But when he gets back into the car,  he turns to me and says: “make a wish.”

“Haha,” I say.

But he insists and instructs me, “and close your eyes.”  So, I do.  I make a wish and close my eyes.  A moment later, something brushes against my face.  I open my eyes to huge white flakes falling down around me, his hand still sprinkling over my head.  I adjust my expression into “what’s this?” and a grinch-heart answer comes my way: ”It’s shredded toilet paper,” he announces, kind of chuckling, “they’re all out of regular fairy dust but the guy inside swears it works just the same.”  Then, he hands me a package of Hostess Snoballs.

He was giving me a hard time of course, but also, he did get me back to that tree.  (I could see the love inside that grinch-heart!)  I think I was protecting my over-sentimental heart by being, at first, reluctant to make a wish.  But then, I did it.  I like thinking that there is still that kid who believes in magic (even if just a little bit) in me, in all of us.

So I say: “Bring on the ‘magic toilet paper fairy dust.’  Hey, whatever it takes.  I’d rather believe and be disappointed, because not believing is disappointment in itself.”

Happy Holidays!  Shred the Charmin and make a wish!

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Filed under Chicago, Christmas trees, Cultures, Writing