Chicago is an incredible city. Under Mayor Daley, beautification projects have been plentiful and public art and flowers abound.
The occasion that brought us there was the royal wedding — Prince William and Catherine Middleton were finally going to tie the knot and that served as the impetus for a trip to the Windy City for a group of my banking women friends. We converged on Chicago from Massachusetts, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Mississippi, ready to watch history being made — at 4:00 in the morning.
It seemed only fitting that we should wear our tiaras with our jammies and enjoy a feast fit for royals. My friend Barbara Job Packham took control of all the preparations. Back in Madison, she prepared for weeks with assistance from her family.
Since Barb was driving, she loaded up the Lexus with linens and platters and food, leaving just enough room for Gigi and the boxes of books our group was donating to a local children’s hospital. The result of her efforts was nothing short of spectacular!
It was amazing to be able to simply be a guest and to be surprised and delighted by the efforts of another control freak (and I say that in the most respectful and admiring way).
We loved the wedding, thought Kate’s dress was beautiful, the pageantry was amazing, and the whole party was just the coolest thing. It was well worth getting up for. We felt like fairy princesses ourselves.
And then it was time to go back to bed.
I can attest to the fact that the petit fours were as tasty as they were beautiful. Some had a mango-peach filling, while others were stuffed with raspberry sauce. It was Barb’s first time to make this tasty treats and they were a major hit.
The lemon cheesecakes with lemon curd were among the last items Barb placed on the table so they would be perfectly chilled. Also nestled among the rose petals on the table were miniature wedding cakes (3 tiers!) made of fudge and gilded in silver and gold.
Doesn’t the group look amazingly perky, considering it was the wee hours of the morning?
I knew the cameras would be there, so I had on full makeup. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to see me otherwise.
Before the ceremony was over, two more joined us.
Barb had scoured her area for vintage tea cups and saucers in preparation for this event. She lined them up oh so prettily beneath the image of the nuptials being beamed across the pond, next to lovely linen napkins, and invited each of us to choose our favorite as a keepsake.
All of the tea sandwiches were scrumptious, but I particularly loved the ones where she had sauteed morel mushrooms in butter, deglazed the pan with sherry, created a mushroom butter to use as a spread and tucked crispy crumbled BACON into each one!
The teacups were all so beautiful, but I had no trouble choosing the one I wanted to take home with me!
Later that day, we visited The Bean — a huge, iconic stainless steel bean-shaped structure. We derived endless amusement from staging different reflections.
Next, it was off to the top of the Sears Tower (now officially named the Willis Tower) where there are plexiglass walkouts that allow you to stand nearly 1500 feet above the city, with a clear look all the way down. I was terrified — but I did it!
The next evening, we dressed up and went out on the town. A couple of our group members were still off playing in the fountains when this shot was taken.
We may have dressed up, but that didn’t stop us from getting down on the ground and cavorting with The Bean again.
And, yes, there was other pretty food in Chicago. This was the Asian Kettleburger from Weber Grill. Wonderful friends, food, fun.