Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicago, Chicago

I had an eclectic week roaming around the US. It started in NY, then down to Miami, up to Washington, DC and then across to Chicago. It seems as if the world revolved around Chicago this week, (not because I was there!) but because two of its most distinguished citizens, President Obama and Oprah Winfrey, were in the news.

President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. A staggering selection in my view. Whilst no doubt a good man, he’s only been in office 10 minutes and hasn’t had time to achieve anything. I find this an incredible selection, and even his hometown of Chicago seems stunned.

Oprah had been in Copenhagen all week leading Chicago’s Olympic effort, which was absolutely battered by the IOC committee. They took exception to what they perceived as overbearing behavior from the US OC and voted down Chicago’s bid in the first round. $50M of public money went up in flames.

So a mixed week for an underrated and brilliant city.

Architecturally, the city has a lot going for it and it’s still one of the best places to hear authentic American Blues. With a bird’s eye view from my desk this morning in my hotel I can see the Allerton Hotel. At night a huge red neon sits on top of it proclaiming that fact with the intriguing words, Tip Top Tap underneath it. Memories of a bygone era.

Put Chicago on your next US itinerary. And don’t miss a visit to RL. Ralph Lauren’s only restaurant. Beautiful bar, great leather chairs, terrific black & white photographs around the room and great down home American comfort food. It’s the real Ralph Lauren experience expressed in a restaurant.