Chicago Trip to See Michael Kelsey March 9, 2006Posted by Matt Cook in Music, Travel.
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This past weekend took the family to Chicago to see Michael Kelsey at the Embrace Cafe in Hinsdale. We drove up Saturday morning, spent some time at Navy Pier walking around, went on the 3D “ride” and off to the hotel. Kids and grown-ups swam and napped and went out for dinner at the Embrace Cafe. Hotel was only five minutes from the cafe. We had a great table they had brought up to seat the eight of us. Cool. Appetizers of fries and shoestring sweet potato fries. Kids ate from the kids meal, the normal chicken tenders, mac n’ cheese etc. Wife had salmon and creamed spinach. I didn’t taste her salmon but the spinach was good. I had chipotle chicken rigatoni. This was very good. Spicy with peppers, onions, and portabella mushrooms. Warm sourdough bread too.
Michael Kelsey (see sidebar for link to his website) played from about 8 pm to a little after 11 pm. I had not yet seen him live as I missed him the last time he was in town so we had to road trip to see him. Good show. Very talented guitarist and great improvisational performer, working audience interaction and suggestions into songs. “Chapstick! and Filapia!” Chatted with him for a bit, kids got to meet and chat too. Perhaps will road trip to see him in Indiana.
Snow began on our return trip Sunday. Stopped in Springfield, Illinois to visit the Cozy Drive Inn for corn dogs. They were closed. We ended up at Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe. The wife had a buffalo chicken ponyshoe and I had the philly steak ponyshoe. They are known for the horseshoe and ponyshoe. This is toast, meat (ham, turkey, etc.) covered in french fries and smothered in cheese sauce. Tasty. And had a lovely strawberry shake too. Breakfast is served all day. The place is covered in Beatles memorabilia. The waitress was friendly and wonderful. She was the wife of the owner, whom we also met. Also friendly. I read a framed newspaper article about him on the wall. His family emigrated to the US from Jordan in the 1970s. They are naturalized citizens and they are open year round except for Easter Sunday. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, they open their doors and feed anyone who comes through at no cost. The owner claims that Allah repays 700 times one’s generosity and asks where else is he guaranteed a 700% return on his investment? Neat family.
Overall this was an excellent trip with nothing but hospitality from start to finish. The wife called and talked to several people at Embrace Cafe. We felt like family when we arrived. The hotel, Spring Hill Suites in Burr Ridge, Illinois, had great service and were very accomodating, plus we got a great rate. Sgt. Pepper’s fed us well and had excellent service.
Not a bad trip for ten hours in the car with three adults and five children. Of course the kids didn’t know the words to sing along to the Olivia Newton-John songs.