I wish I could hate the word staycation. But it's what we did.
For our fourth wedding anniversary Erica and I kicked around a bunch of ideas and decided to make an evening out of it at Hala Kahiki. Hala Kahiki is a tiki-themed bar in a very-near suburb, but just far enough away from our house that it would be a rather pricey cab ride both directions and we planned on drinking it up on fruity, rum-filled drinks. So we decided that we make it into more of a get away by staying at the nearest motel, a Super 8. Fancy!
On the way out of the city we stopped for dinner at one of our favorite bar-restaurants—Cleo's—how can you go wrong with star-shaped tatertots?
Cleo's is just down the street from Rotofugi, the awesome vinyl toy store, and so of course we had to stop in and grab a couple blind boxes. While we were there, I asked to use the bathroom and made a fun discovery: the bathroom walls are covered in doodles by artists who have visited the store and its associated gallery. Rotofugi is about to move to Lincoln Ave and so I suppose these artworks will be soon painted over by whoever moves into their old space.
Then it was out to River Grove to check into our motel. When I was making the online reservation I was going to pick a King-size bed but saw that they had a "Queen-sized bed with Jacuzzi suite". I figured it could be fun to take a soak in a bath with jets. As we were checking, the woman at the front desk kept making weird faces at us and then solemnly told us, "I have to be honest with you… the bed in that room is round." And indeed it was. The bed was round, there was a Jacuzzi tub/shower/pod in the corner. And otherwise the room was decorated in sterile corporate/clean hotel room style. It was the oddest sort of "honeymoon suite" I've ever seen.
Let's not even go into how the Jacuzzi pod had a tiny (non-functional) TV embedded inside.
So, off to Hala Kahiki! We decided to start at the top and get the Volcano, a drink for two or more people that's served on fire. Well, with fire in the middle. Still, fire.
After the Volcano, we were feeling not so much drunk as full of sugary drink. We thought we'd get one more and then check out the gift shop. I chose the Suffering Bastard because the description "Brandy. Gin. TART." intrigued me. Bitter was more like it. I'm well-used to bitter, but still. It's right there in the name—poor choice on my part.
Hala Kahiki also has a gift shop, located at the rear of one wing of the enormous bar. The woman staffing the gift store evidentally rarely has human contact, as she spent most of our visit following Erica around like a puppy and pointing out every price point of every category of item in the store.
Our whole experience in the suburbs was kind of weird (our waitress at a breakfast place in Forest Park the next morning almost dropped our waffle because she seemed to forget that she was carrying it) but really, in the end, it highlit why I love Erica so much—we were cracking each other up the whole time and there's noone I would have rather gone through the weirdness with.
Erica's take here.