Chicago Half Marathon – Saturday

Sara came to our house and we left for downtown at 1PM. Not bad traffic, got down at 3PM. Checked into the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza. The wonderful clerk at the front desk, Loretta, was great, and offered to upgrade our room for $10. Turned out to have a perfect view over the river and the kayak docks. Nice.

Bette had called Chellie asking about references for Italian food — you know you need to carbo-load the night before. Gemma wanted to get together, but ran into a conflict, and she was my other source. Anyway, Chellie’s new “friend” was a regular at this place on Rush St., so we met there.

Bette, Sara and I cabbed from the Mart Plaza to Carmine’s and went downstairs to the bar. After a while, I went up and asked the hostess about reservations — she had none for a party our size, and the outside tables were first-come-first-serve.

Chellie came 5 mins late, I met her outside at the curb as she ran across the street. She pointed out the gentleman at the bar with us as Alberto, her new friend. He knew musicians that played music every Thursday and so he was a regular, and had the outside table reserved. It was a great table, and as the evening went on, it got very busy.

We ordered wine — 2 bottles of Ruffino Tan chianti. It was good, but $50 each? Yow. Note to self — check the price first. Bette had a nice Riesling.

We had three huge house salads ($6), Sara had wonderful chunky Minestrone. Bette had Zuppa di Mare ($39!), a fish soup with mussels etc that reminded us of a Paella without the rice, or the Davis St Fishmarket’s bucket of mussels and clams. I had the Veal Saltimboca ($25), very good. I usually don’t do veal, but it looked the best to me. Sara had noodles with a chicken breast and marinara sauce ($20). Alberto had the fish salad. He is Sardinian, and my guess is he likes fish. Great guy. We had a long, leisurely dinner, visited, and cabbed back for less than $10.

The concierge assured us that there would be breakfast out for the runners in the morning. We didn’t believe her, and ordered a banana and peanut butter and bread for Sara in the morning. Good thing we did.

Carmine’s, 1043 N Rush St, Chicago (312) 988-7676 (website)
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 West Mart Center Drive, Chicago(website)