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Hello Chicago

Hello Chicago

Bye bye Westin, hello Chicago. The great East coast blizzard of 2016 has us stuck in the middle of the country until Sunday no make that Monday (at the earliest). But we don’t mind. We’ll make an adventure of the whole thing.

Job #1? Secure some rooms at the Palomar for the C-level posse. An email to the fantastic staff at the Palomar made that happen. Thanks Brandon Massey, Nabeel Toubayly, and Benjamin Gress. Sadly, the artist suite is occupied. Happily that doesn’t matter. Rooms 1725 and 1726 are a great combo package and situate you right in the middle of the city with excellent views all around. And get this, rooms at the Palomar can be had at less than half the price of the suburban Westin. Just wow. The world is seriously confused.

1725 entryway

1725 entryway

Man is it nice to be back where style rules the roost and the staff is top notch. Kimpton takes the cake.

View from one side of the corner, 1725

View from one side of the corner, 1725

1725 bedroom

1725 bedroom

1726 sitting room

1726 sitting room

Of course, here at NPS we are obligated to talk about the showers. In 1725 you will find a glass cube design and a huge tub. Very Kimpton.

Wait for it

Wait for it

The long glass cube

The long glass cube

Bathroom area

Bathroom area

Other aspects of the Chicago Palomar fit right in with excellence in showers. Like John Stanton and the Sable bar. The bar at Sable (not to mention the restaurant itself) is great enough to be a destination of its own. If you’re in Chicago, pay a visit. Not staying at the Palomar? Who cares, come to Sable anyway.

The best part of Sable is seriously great craft cocktail capability. Every time NPS visits, we learn something. This time, we were wowed by the Scot Toddy (warm, mint, lemon, wow) and an experimental beverage that John created on the spot which we’ll call the
Shaped Charge:
1.5 Rye Whiskey (Wild Turkey 100)
.75 Suze
.25 Carpano antica
.25 Caffe moka
2 generous droppers of Bitterman’s Hellfire shrub
Stir down. Serve on a big cube. Express lemon peel.

Seriously though, Sable is great and it is always a delight to see John in action. Plus you can end the night with a taste of George T. Stagg (2015) just like at home.

Back to the situation at hand. If you’re going to be stuck in a city, pick Chicago. Want some deep dish Chicago-style pizza? Try Lou Malnati’s pies. Doughnut for breakfast? Glazed and Infused is the way to go.

Our posse’s Saturday plans included a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, some jazz at Green Mill and taking in an obscure Tenessee Williams play (The Mutilated) at the Red Orchid.

Doughnuts at Glazed and Infused

Doughnuts at Glazed and Infused

Dali details

Dali details

More art from the Art Institute of Chicago on apothecaryshed.

Green Mill for Paper Machete

Green Mill for Paper Machete

Irish coffee chaser for Malort shots

Irish coffee chaser for Malort shots

Red Orchid Theater: Set for Mutilations

Red Orchid Theater: Set for Mutilations

For providing a safe haven from 24 inches of snow at home, we award the Chicago Palomar the massive snowplow award and five showerheads forever. Thanks for being home in Chicago.

Chicago Palomar Tops Itself

October 10, 2013

There are many reasons this trip is going well. First, United somehow accidentally upgraded me in advance on both legs (time warp to pre-merger), barman John Stanton is on duty at the Sable bar while I am in town, and the fabulous Chicago Palomar is engaged in the battle of the Palomars. Optimal trip! Too bad it’s only one day.

Room 1716 is the best one yet at the Chicago Palomar. Plenty of room, that’s for sure.

Living room.

Living room.

Sleeping room.

Sleeping room.

And the shower is not plastic in the least.

Cleaning room.

Cleaning room.

View from the glass cube.

View from the glass cube.

Sparkling water and a cheese plate that includes honeycomb. Plus a handwritten note. Wow! The bonus plate of homemade jerky is a quirky delicious twist.

Yum!

Yum!

All that aside, my favorite part of the Chicago Palomar is the excellence at the Sable bar. John Stanton is a knowledgeable barman who is happy to chat about his craft. The night’s experimental beverage looks like this. We’ll call it the Chicago Skyline
2 oz Old Granddad 114
.5 Zucca amaro
.5 Dolin blanc
2 dashes Reagans orange bitters
Stir down, express orange peel and discard.

John also shared a recipe somewhat similar to a Boris Karloff that I want to try when I get home:
2 oz Old Heaven Hill
.75 lemon juice
.75 honey pepper syrup (I am going to try green peppercorn)
egg white
cracked pepper garnish

Because it was a gorgeous clear evening, we decided to have dinner at Nomi on the garden terrace. They can’t mix a drink to save their lives, but the food is good and the atmosphere is terrific.

For breakfast, go one block to Glazed and Infused for gourmet doughnuts and espresso. Vanilla bean glazed? Creme brulee? Dangerous.

Five stars for the Chicago Palomar (as always) and a fervent wish to have a longer stay in the future.

My first trip in 2013 involved the Chicago Palomar. They were a superb way to start the year, setting the bar very high indeed. And they are still superb today. I look forward to many visits in the future as our Chicago office evolves! (Hopefully longer than half a day and one night!)

What’s good?

John Stanton’s outstanding barmanship. (He’s super delightful and happy to chat about mixing drinks.)

What's left of John Stanton's welcome drink.

What’s left of John Stanton’s welcome drink.

Sparkling water.

S. Pelligrino.  For free.  With bubbles and everything.

S. Pelligrino. For free. With bubbles and everything.

Delicious cheese at 1am left with a note from Adam Gurgiolo (asst GM).

One of these cheese was incredibly great.

One of these cheese was incredibly great.

Rooms that have interesting design.

Bed in 1517.

Bed in 1517.

The best shower in all Kimpton history. (Glass cube + great water pressure = perfection.)

Shower cube.

Shower cube.

Art.

Ferris wheel art.

Ferris wheel art.

CIMG0346

Chicago.

Chicago at night.

Chicago at night.

Favors from front desk guy Jake Forbes who rescued my forgotten cell phone from my parked car and brought it to me at the bar. Thanks Jake.

And there’s more. The bar at Sable gets better and better. A new menu with 17 house-designed drinks, including:

Fence’s End
1.5 Bulleit rye
.5 Amaro Zucca
.5 Raspberry syrup
.75 Lime
2 slices of cucumber
Shake, tir, strain, float cucumber wheel.

The Sovreign
2 oz High West Rendezvous rye
.5 Ramazotti
.5 Green chartreuse
.5 Kalani
Stir, up, slight lemon peel express (discard)

And experimental beverages such as the one left in my room as a greeting with a note from John. (Love it!)
1.75 Weller’s Antique bourbon
.75 Dolin’s blanc
.5 Zucca amaro
.25 vanilla syrup
2 dashes orange bitters

Or this Liberal-esque thing that Mike sampled
1.75 Wild Turkey Rare Breed
.5 Dolin’s dry
.5 Amaro montenegro
.25 Amaro Ciocinro
1/16 vanilla bean syrup
2 dashes Reagan’s #6 orange bitters

How can you top this hotel? I’m not really sure. Five enthusiastic shower heads for the Chicago Palomar.