To the Starting Line We Come

Here it is – it’s the beginning of the road just a couple of blocks from the edge of Lake Michigan and just in front of the Art Institute of Chicago – famous for Van Gogh’s self portrait and a picture of a farmer holding a pitchfork (both subject to copyright and not shown for that reason – not worth searching for).


It was way too expensive to get in there so we headed straight for the real art of Chicago.


Found a mile or so along route 66 at Lou Mitchell’s famous restaurant.

The French toast was served with whipped butter and crispy bacon.  A plate of smoked salmon with poached eggs, hollandaise and fried tatties completed our sampling of this exceptional wee cafe. The service was short, sharp and to the point. Amazing coffee topped up whenever it got to the dregs, donut ‘holes’ served as a pre-breakfast treat and a small tub of ice cream to clear the palate after. There’s no airs and graces, just whopping big portions and enough fat to close every artery in your body.

The picture belo will raise your heart rate several beats per minute so don’t look if of a nervous disposition.


…. and there’s worse to come.







AfSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESter hobbling out of Lou’s fat-fest we ‘did Chicago in a day’. Here are the highlights….

Trump Tower standing as ugly as sin next to the Wrigley building. Trump’s building leers over the site of Fort Dearborn where US troops slaughtered the Potawatomi Native Americans and went on to build monstrosities such as Trump Tower to gloat over the top of their graves. This is a man who believes he should be president


Chicago’s CTSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA trains run above ground instead of under it. They are raised on amazing raised iron structures and are constantly screeching around the city overhead. You could spend all day looking at them.

They are rivetting (ahem!)


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES  The Willis Tower has these protruding glass platforms 103 floors up and people queue to stand over the streets and imagine they are Superman. Route 66 is directly behind this strange couple.






The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank has two piles of money in its little museum. This cube of one million dollar bills and a stack of $20s.

Tempting doGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAn’t you think?










The Chicago Tribune building has a wall containing a number of bricks and stones from other famous building around the world including this piece of Edinburgh Castle.

If Edinburgh Castle falls down any time soon we know who is to blame.

There are bits from the Great Wall of China, the Pyramid at Giza and other weird places. Not a thing from Inverness though.

There are great parks in the city and the river flows right through the centre of the Downtown area. The parks are full of unusual arty things that are mostly nonsense but sometime’s fascinating. Like the ‘bean’.


It’s a giant reflecting bean shaped structure which attracts huge amounts of attention. You could spend half the day playing around it.





This art work sits in the opposite ‘wtf’ category.





Ok – so that was Chicago (yes there IS more to it than that it but it’s the food that matters).

We couldn’t face lunch so we deferred until later afternoon and then visited the Cheesecake Factory in Mile North

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA This being the Pecan and Caramel cheesecake with a lump of chocolate brownie on the top (kind of resembling something a small dog might have done).

There was also a similarly large sliced of Key Lime Cheesecake. With two drinks the sum of $25 was probably too much. It’s nice, but not $25 nice.


Dinner was another fat-laden error of judgement.  A pizza pie from at the Navy Pier. Prepare your nerves again.



Yes – it was astonishingly good but best eaten on a different day to Lou Mitchell’s breakfast and should certainly not be tripled up with cheesecake.

What were we thinking?



Monstrous portions in Chicago.



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