Lunch Amid Art in Chicago

Ever since happily stumbling into  Bravo at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I’ve been more amenable to trying out the finer dining options at other museums. The Art Institute of Chicago, with its airy eating establishment in the modern wing, offered another opportunity for that, and I rested my museum-fatigued feet for an early Sunday lunch. Looking at art can tire a person quickly, and I say that only half-jokingly. Surely I wasn’t half as tired as this fine lady and her pooch – they’d been standing like this for hours, with no sign of a break anytime soon.

It was about noon, but rather than the traditional mimosa or Bloody Mary, I opted for a special cocktail – the Mantuano – sort of a tequila-based twist on the negroni. Whatever it was, it was wonderful, and the perfect appetite teaser for the main course of smoked salmon on an avocado spread and a 63 degree egg. Art museums seem to like the 63 degree egg, as I had a similarly-cooked concoction at Boston’s MFA.

This was similarly delicious, and a runny yolk will make any dish that much better. Only a few other tables were filled, leaving my dining experience a pleasantly quiet one. Maybe it was best that Chris wasn’t up yet.

I walked back to the museum entrance, passing at a few more paintings and pieces along the way. A series of polished marble statues guarded a rotunda of sorts. Out of reverence or awe, or both, I stop to stare.

Even the simplest objects gain a finer glean when housed with such finery. (Especially when arranged in the colors of the rainbow.)

Certain pieces called to me with their vibrant force of life, and I thought back on the previous night. Had I gone out and partied hard, I might not be able to be here now, and the here and the now was breathtakingly beautiful. Moving, too, and I felt a familiar tug at my heart.

Outside, the day was at its height.

The sun was warm.

This was spring.

How could I miss it?

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