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1.  My favorite sandwich shop in Chicago is Cafecito (at Congress Pkwy and Wabash).  I have been frequenting this sandwich shop since last January and I would (&do) personally recommend it to everyone I know.  The owner, Philip and I have been close since the first time I went in there and he introduced himself to me and the friend who brought me there.  When I went back, alone a week later I was shocked and impressed that not only did he recognize me but remembered my name.  We have been friends ever since.

The atmosphere of Cafecito is as sexy as a sandwich shop could be, with couches and small tables that create an intimate setting for conversation, or if you go alone, to read a book and enjoy the delicious food.

When I go, I always order the same thing: an iced Chai tea latte (which has a much more distinct flavor than Starbucks) and the Pavo sandwich – which is turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado-mayo.  Despite this being my personal preference, I hear the “Cubano” is excellent, after all it is rated the #1 Cuban sandwich in Chicago.  Just in case you don’t want to take my word for it, stop my Cafecit around 1PM on the weekdays and check out the line that is out the door!

2. My favorite Italian place in Chicago is definitely Sopranos, located at 2901 North Sheffield (Sheffield and George).  Sopranos has a very relaxing environment and a good selection of food and wine.  The bread that is brought to your table as soon as you sit down is the first sign that dinner is going to be delicious (the bread has tomato sauce rubbed on top and is served with garlic butter).

My favorite thing to order is the Cavatelli al Forno.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys to eat.

3.  The Thorne Miniature Rooms on the lowest level of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of my favorite sections of the Art Institute.  The miniature are decorated in a historically accurate style for the settings that they are depicting and are constructed in a scale of 1 inch in the miniature room = 1 foot in reality.  The rooms are fascinating to look at, especially knowing that they were created all by hand with period accurate materials.  i have included some borrowed photos from Google, to convince you to go have a look for yourself:

1770 English Dining room

1800 Shaker Living room

The Art Institute is filled with wonderful collections, i also enjoy the furniture they have on display.  I would suggest a cup of coffee or two before if you intend to see it ALL in one day, because the museum is enormous, especially since the Modern Wing was added on.  The museum is free on Thursdays after 5PM (open until 8PM) as of now, but its best to check their website before making a trip because regular admission is $18.

4.  Another museum that I enjoy to visit (occasionally) in Chicago is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), although I usually leave in a very disagreeable mood because I can’t figure out why some of the things hanging on the walls in there ever made their way into a museum.  However, the MCA is worth visiting, just for the view of the lake visible from the top floor.  I would suggest visiting on a Tuesday, since admission is free all year round on Tuesdays.

5. The Field Museum is one of the most interesting museums to visit in Chicago because there is something for everyone.  Named after one of its first major benefactors, Marshall Field, the field museums is primarily designated for the study of natural sciences.  My favorite exhibitions are “The Evolving Planet,” (Dinosaurs!) and “Inside Ancient Egypt” (Mummies).

And on the topic of mummies, I recently watched a show on Planet Green about the discovery of the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh who was not only one of Egypt’s greatest builders, but also responsible for establishing the precedent of burial chambers being dug into the Valley of Kings.  Here is a short clip about the discovery.

The Field Museum is free on the following dates for 2011:

March: 14th; April: 11th; May: 9th; June: 7th, 13th; July: 11th; August: 8th, 29th, 31st; September: 1st, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 21st, 27th, 29th; October: 3rd, 5th, 6th, 10th, 24th, 25th ; November: 2nd, 7th, 14th, 21st; December: 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 22nd.