Thirty-Six Hours in Illinois

This past weekend was a whirlwind. On Friday night, I took a red-eye flight to Chicago, met up with my sister Laura, and we drove down to Springfield, Illinois. We were on a top secret mission: to surprise our cousin Camille by showing up at a performance of her high school’s production of “Grease” – she was starring as Marty. (See pictures of Camille, along with the rest of her family, in my cruise posts from January.) The surprise went off without a hitch – she didn’t know we were coming until she saw us in the fourth row during the opening number, and I had a great time.

It was a quick trip – I left on Friday night, and got home Sunday night – 14 hours of travel for 36 hours in Illinois, 7 of which were driving from Chicago to Springfield and back. I decided before leaving that I would take photos of everything I ate the entire weekend. The photos would keep me accountable – I had no idea where I would be eating, and there would be potentially tricky situations, like airports and restaurants, to navigate. And since I have a blog, guess what? You get to see all the photos! Shall we begin?

FRIDAY NIGHT: My flights (yep – plural, I had a layover in San Francisco) to Chicago were fantastic – I had an open seat next to me on each leg. My last few hours before leaving were spent running errands and packing, and I didn’t eat dinner. So meal #1 was purchased at the San Francisco airport on my layover. A grilled chicken salad with orange segments, a vinaigrette that I tried a little of, and a couple tablespoons of crushed cashews. Also, a fruit cup:

On one of the planes I got a glass of tomato juice (I slept through the drink service on the other plane – woohoo for plane sleeping, a rare occurrence for me):

SATURDAY: I landed in Chicago, and took the train to Laura’s house, arriving around 8am. We took a tough 10am spin class at her gym (thanks to the spin teacher, James, for giving me a guest pass!), then ate a quick lunch before hitting the road to Springfield. We went to my favorite Chicago mini-chain restaurant, Pockets, which has amazing salads served inside fresh-baked bread. I got their Greek salad, dressing on the side:

We arrived in Springfield around 3:30pm. Laura and I were greeted by these two:

That’s Javier in my lap and Lucy on the left. Plus, Laura brought her doggie, Conrad, so there were three four-legged friends running around.

Arrival snack: 1/4 of a soft pretzel from Gus’, a famous St. Louis bakery:

My aunt and uncle had hosted a cast party for all the “Grease” kids the night before, so dinner on Saturday was leftovers. They had served a ton of lasagna – so I had a small piece of that, and a big pile of salad:

I got seconds of salad, and added to it a bunch of strawberries:

The strawberries were also from the party – they were part of a giant chocolate fountain spread. There were tons of chocolate fountain leftovers: cookies, marshmallows, squares of different types of cakes, pretzels, and I stayed away from all of it, except those strawberries and 1 rice krispy ball, that I enjoyed later in the evening (which I did not dip in leftover chocolate):

We went to the evening performance of “Grease,” and it was fantastic – a very talented group of kids. It brought back lots of fond memories of doing my high school plays and musicals.

SUNDAY: I woke up and ate a banana:

My aunt and uncle have a machine called a TreadClimber. It’s a cardio machine that’s a cross between inclined walking and stairs. I had never used one before (hell, I hadn’t even heard of it), so I gave it a whirl for 35 minutes. I liked but didn’t love it, and had a good workout. I supplemented that with 10 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups.

Breakfast was more fruit (blueberries and kiwi), two small pieces of toast, and some scrambled eggs that came from very local hens. I ended up using 5 eggs (1 full egg, and 4 egg whites):

Laura and I hit the road at 11:30 to get me back to O’Hare. We had plenty of time to stop for lunch in Burr Ridge, a Chicago suburb. We ended up at Wok’n Fire, where I ordered wasabi grilled salmon, which came with grilled mushrooms, spinach, brown rice (I only ate half), and a sauce on the side:

We split the spring rolls appetizer – the fresh kind, not the deep-fried kind – these are basically salads rolled up in rice paper:

Laura got me to O’Hare with plenty of time to spare, and I bought an apple to bring on my 5pm flight with me:

I got more tomato juice on the plane, and this time, I got the whole can.Score!

In San Francisco, I rustled up some dinner: a grilled chicken salad with a few cherry tomatoes, a little goat cheese, and a garlic dressing I didn’t even open:

There were some travel snafus on the way home. The Chicago to San Francisco leg was supposed to be on a wide-body jet, but United had to switch it to a smaller, narrow-body jet. A bunch of people didn’t make it on the plane at all, but luckily, I did. Upside: I got switched to a seat in Economy Plus, so I got 5 extra inches of much-needed leg room. Downside: I was one of the last people to get on the plane, and since the overhead bins were full, they gate-checked my carry-on bag. That bag didn’t make it onto my San Francisco to Burbank plane, so I arrived home at 11pm on Sunday night without my luggage. My laptop was in that bag, which is why there was no blog post yesterday morning. When I got home I was hungry, so I finished off the last bowl of leftover gazpacho and ate a kiwi. I got my luggage on Monday, and I thought United handled everything well, from the plane switch to my missing luggage.

There you have it – a weekend on the go, and I had a great time, while managing to make smart choices and working out both days! 

Keep it up, David!

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3 Responses to Thirty-Six Hours in Illinois

  1. Sarah says:

    Looks like a good trip! I like all the pictures

  2. Mom says:

    Since all the pictures were of food, it seems like all you were doing was eating, and I know that wasn’t the case!!

    Wish I could have joined you!

  3. Coco says:

    This post makes me hungry! You continue to inspire me to make better food choices.

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