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Alex

Plan: 2008 Heartland Gathering in Chicago Aug 8-10

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If you'd like to get a visual picture of where everything is, if you think of downtown Chicago ("the Loop") as the center of town, Evanston is 14 miles north of the Loop on Lake Michigan, Chinatown is 3 miles south of the Loop, O'Hare is 17 miles northwest of the Loop, and Midway is 10 miles southwest of the Loop. O'Hare airport is served by the CTA Blue Line and Midway by the Orange Line.

Neither Chinatown nor Evanston is terribly close to O'Hare, or each other. It's about 17 miles from O'Hare to Evanston, about 20 to Chinatown. I've taken only public transportation out of O'Hare, so perhaps someone else can give you a cost estimate for a taxi; I'm guessing about $40-45 plus tip. Obviously one pays for convenience, but if I'm schlepping a big bag and just got off a 12(?)-hour flight and a visit with Customs, I think it would be worth it.

For $2 you can take the CTA in from O'Hare to a few blocks from Lao Sze Chuan. With the walk to the airport station and a transfer in the Loop from the Blue Line to the Red Line, I'd count on 1½ hours.

From O'Hare to Evanston, you can take a free shuttle to the Kiss-'n'-Fly station, where you can catch a $1.50 bus ride to Evanston. The bus ride itself is about 1¼ hours.

Getting from Chinatown to/from Evanston is very easy via the Red Line. I strongly suspect, though, that you'll be able to find a ride or someone(s) to share a cab with.

Alex's advice here is accurate, good stuff. Note that the "shuttle" you can take to the "Kiss n Fly station" is actually O'Hare's "people mover" (also known as the ATS, or Airport Transit System) which you catch inside the terminal, so don't go outside the terminal looking for a bus or van. In the terminal, go to the ticketing area on the departure level and you'll see escalators up to the people mover station. You can see a schedule and map for the bus between O'Hare and Evanston here.

Also note that to get to Chinatown from Evanston via the CTA, you'll catch the Purple Line in Evanston, and transfer to the Red Line which serves Chinatown. During commuting hours, the Purple Line goes all the way to downtown Chicago, and it's easy to transfer to the Red Line at Belmont or Fullerton

Beware of highway construction and CTA construction. There are several major projects going on.

One is the widening of the Tri-State Tollway (I-294 and I-94) between O'Hare and the Wisconsin state line. This affects driving between O'Hare and Evanston. Normally the easiest and quickest (30 minutes) way between O'Hare and Evanston is via I-294 and Dempster Street. Currently the entrance from Dempster Street onto I-294 southbound (which you would use to go back to the airport) is closed, although the detour is reasonably well marked; I don't know whether the ramp will be re-opened by August. You can try finding updates on the Illinois Tollway website.

Another is the Edens Expressway. The Edens consists of I-94 and US-41, beginning as I-94 at the "junction" on the northwest side of the city where I-94 splits off from I-90, continuing north into the suburbs. In Northbrook, the "Edens Spur" of I-94 splits off to the west to meet up with the Tri-State, while the Edens Expressway continues as US-41 north to the Wisconsin border. There is major construction (currently only two lanes open, one of them the shoulder) from the I-90/I-94 junction north to the US-41 stretch up to the Clavey Road interchange in Highland Park. There is no construction on the spur itself, although the eastbound spur often backs up where it feeds onto the Edens.

Evanston itself has a major construction project going on along Ridge Avenue, a major north-south artery through town. Southbound traffic is closed and detoured, which will continue through August and beyond. There is a brochure on the project, noting the construction zones and traffic flows, here.

Road traffic can be bad at any time, particularly in the construction zones, and is worst during prime commuting hours. Late afternoon and early evening travel on Fridays can be especially horrendous.

The CTA has construction projects on both the Red Line (lately they have been running it on the elevated tracks through downtown Chicago on weekends, instead of the below-ground tracks where it normally runs) and the Blue Line.

For additional travel information, see:

CTA (buses and el/subway trains in the city and a few close-in suburbs)

Metra (commuter train service between the city and suburbs)

Pace (suburban buses)

Regional Transportation Authority, or RTA (umbrella organization for the above three groups - they have a "travel planner" function on all these websites which often has trouble identifying locations, but they have a nice .pdf map of the entire area showing transit routes)

Real-time traffic

Midway and O'Hare Airports


Edited by nsxtasy (log)

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Ronnie - Please add NancyH +1 for dinner Friday evening!


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I'd like to offer a thought or two about accommodations. Normally, hotel rooms in Chicago can be expensive during the summer, especially over the weekend. However, I'm starting to see some good deals, so perhaps the slowed economy is cutting into vacation travel.

Most of you probably know about the usual travel web sites -- Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. I'm also a fan of travelzoo.com. In fact, about a week ago they reported on a great $109/night special at the 4-star Swissotel Chicago, on E. Wacker in the Streeterville area, about a ¾-mile walk from the El.

If you prefer to stay in Evanston, your choices are more limited, of course. I originally had reserved a room with a shared bath ($79) at The Margarita European Inn but later decided to stay in Chicago. I don't know if that room is still available.


Edited by Alex (log)

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Friday sounds wonderful. Please add me+1 probable.

Thanks.

-Karen

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Add two to my two for Friday. Equals four.


Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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Ronnie --

Mark me +1 in for Friday night's dinner. It sounds absolutely fantastic!

Thanks.


Flickr: Link

Instagram: Link

Twitter: Link

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Please mark me in for Friday also. Thanks for organizing this and pulling it all together, it looks like it will be a great time!

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Ronnie - please add me as a +1 for Friday's event. Thanks!


I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

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Ok, here we go . . . :wink:

Updating Thursday's stuff . . .

Thursday Dinner at Blackbird

=R= +4

Alchemist

newbie21

HeatherM

Alex

tammylc* + 1**

jesteinf +1

edsel

Lady T

prasantrin* +1*

Jean Blanchard +1

santo_grace +1

HOLLY_L

NancyH +1

Nina C.* +3*

nyokie6 +1

nsxtasy +1

yellow truffle +3

joiei*

Sam Iam +1

LuckyGirl* +1*

Elrushbo

stuart_s

daniellewiley +1

Amy Viny +1

white lotus +1

cat lancaster**

ricain** + 1**

-52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting)

Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables".

Thursday Drinks at The Violet Hour

=R= +4

HeatherM

Alex

tammylc* +1*

jesteinf +1

edsel

tino27 +1

Lady T

prasantrin* +1*

Marmish* +1*

newbie21

Nina C.* +3*

Jean Blanchard +1

santo_grace +1

HOLLY_L

NancyH +1

nyokie6 +1

nsxtasy +1

yellow truffle +3

joiei*

moreace01 +1

Sam Iam +1

LuckyGirl +1

Darcie B

kasw* +1*

stuart_s*

daniellewiley +1

Amy Viny +1

Aaron Deacon

white lotus +1

cat lancaster

ricain + 1

-59- (47 definite, 12 probable)

Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session :smile:

Updated list for the Friday night dinner at Lao Sze Chuan:

=R= +4

prasantrin +1

torakris

tammylc +1*

CaliPoutine

Alex

Sam Iam +3

Fresser

NancyH +1

nsxtasy +1

jesteinf +1

kasw* +1*

tino27 +1

HeatherM

santo_grace +1

Kerry Beal

edsel

Cathy2

yellow truffle +1

-35- (32 definite, 3 probable)

45 spots remain for Friday night's dinner at Lao Sze Chuan

Updated list for the Saturday dinner at Immanuel Lutheran Church:

=R= +4

NancyH +1

torakris

edsel

LuckyGirl +3

Alchemist

CaliPoutine

Alex

tammylc

jesteinf +1

nsxtasy +1

Kerry Beal

Marmish +1

moosnsqrl +1

Osnav +1

prasantrin* +1*

tino27 +1

Sam Iam +3

nr706 +1

hsm +1*

joiei

Jean Blanchard +1

newbie21

hjshorter

moreace01 +1

HOLLY_L

santo_grace +1

daniellewiley +1

kasw +1

dls*

nyokie6 +1

Nina C. +1

LAZ +1

maggiethecat +1

Elrushbo

Darcie B

white lotus +1

Fresser

cat lancaster

HeatherM

Lady T

yellow truffle +3

Amy Viny +1

Aaron Deacon

sweintraub* +1*

karen m +1

ricain + 1

elfin +1

-86- (80 definite, 6 probable)

Only 4 spots remain for Saturday's group meal :smile:

Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately.

Thanks! :smile:

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Hi Ronnie,

What a great weekend this is promising to be. We are so looking forward to seeing folks we had the pleasure of meeting in Cleveland last year and meeting many new folks. Your plans for the weekend are wonderful. Please count Steve and I in for the Szechuan meal.


Edited by LuckyGirl (log)

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Details for Friday August 8 . . .

I know that many of you have been waiting patiently for the final piece of the puzzle to fill in and I'm happy that I can finally post about it.

List of attendees for Friday night's dinner at Lao Sze Chuan:

=R= +4

-4- (4 definite)

Are we doing a group meal/brunch/anything on Sunday?

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Sunday's even was posted here.

Thank you prasantrin. I saw that when it was first posted then last night I couldn't find it again (tired and sleepy?).

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Ok, this is shaping up quite nicely . . . :smile:

Please add me +1

Please add me to the list for the Friday event.

Please add me for Friday.

Please add Dance & I to Friday events.

Please count Steve and I in for the Szechuan meal.

Updated lists . . .

Thursday Dinner at Blackbird

=R= +4

Alchemist

newbie21

HeatherM

Alex

tammylc* + 1**

jesteinf +1

edsel

Lady T

prasantrin* +1*

Jean Blanchard +1

santo_grace +1

HOLLY_L

NancyH +1

Nina C.* +3*

nyokie6 +1

nsxtasy +1

yellow truffle +3

joiei*

Sam Iam +1

LuckyGirl* +1*

Elrushbo

stuart_s

daniellewiley +1

Amy Viny +1

white lotus +1

cat lancaster**

ricain** + 1**

-52- (38 definite, 10 probable, 4 waiting)

Only 'wait list' spots remain for Thurday's dinner, although it's likely that some who have signed up will drop out, as we have 10 "probables".

Thursday Drinks at The Violet Hour

=R= +4

HeatherM

Alex

tammylc* +1*

jesteinf +1

edsel

tino27 +1

Lady T

prasantrin* +1*

Marmish* +1*

newbie21

Nina C.* +3*

Jean Blanchard +1

santo_grace +1

HOLLY_L

NancyH +1

nyokie6 +1

nsxtasy +1

yellow truffle +3

joiei*

moreace01 +1

Sam Iam +1

LuckyGirl +1

Darcie B

kasw* +1*

stuart_s*

daniellewiley +1

Amy Viny +1

Aaron Deacon

white lotus +1

cat lancaster

ricain + 1

-59- (47 definite, 12 probable)

Only 1 spot remains for Thursday's cocktail session :smile:

Updated list for the Friday night dinner at Lao Sze Chuan:

=R= +4

prasantrin +1

torakris

tammylc +1*

CaliPoutine

Alex

Sam Iam +3

Fresser

NancyH +1

nsxtasy +1

jesteinf +1

kasw* +1*

tino27 +1

HeatherM

santo_grace +1

Kerry Beal

edsel

Cathy2

yellow truffle +1

nyokie6 +1

stuart_s

HOLLY_L

white lotus +1

LuckyGirl +1

-43- (40 definite, 3 probable)

37 spots remain for Friday night's dinner at Lao Sze Chuan

Updated list for the Saturday dinner at Immanuel Lutheran Church:

=R= +4

NancyH +1

torakris

edsel

LuckyGirl +3

Alchemist

CaliPoutine

Alex

tammylc

jesteinf +1

nsxtasy +1

Kerry Beal

Marmish +1

moosnsqrl +1

Osnav +1

prasantrin* +1*

tino27 +1

Sam Iam +3

nr706 +1

hsm +1*

joiei

Jean Blanchard +1

newbie21

hjshorter

moreace01 +1

HOLLY_L

santo_grace +1

daniellewiley +1

kasw +1

dls*

nyokie6 +1

Nina C. +1

LAZ +1

maggiethecat +1

Elrushbo

Darcie B

white lotus +1

Fresser

cat lancaster

HeatherM

Lady T

yellow truffle +3

Amy Viny +1

Aaron Deacon

sweintraub* +1*

karen m +1

ricain + 1

elfin +1

-86- (80 definite, 6 probable)

Only 4 spots remain for Saturday's group meal :smile:

Again, please take a look at the above lists and let me know if I have failed to record your status accurately.

Thanks! :smile:

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Unfortunately, there is no dedicated thread here about Lao Sze Chuan.  However, some descriptions, images and general praise/discussion can be found here and here.  The food at LSC is absolutely delicious, the cost is quite reasonable, and unlike a few 'finer' dining spots we investigated, Lao Sze Chuan will easily be able to handle a group of our size without service issues or having to 'dumb down' their menu.

Nice call on Lao Sze Chuan. Another nice, and maybe developing, thread on the LSC menu is also available.


Edited by Aaron Deacon (log)

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I'd like to offer a thought or two about accommodations. Normally, hotel rooms in Chicago can be expensive during the summer, especially over the weekend. However, I'm starting to see some good deals, so perhaps the slowed economy is cutting into vacation travel.

Most of you probably know about the usual travel web sites -- Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. I'm also a fan of travelzoo.com. In fact, about a week ago they reported on a great $109/night special at the 4-star Swissotel Chicago, on E. Wacker in the Streeterville area, about a ¾-mile walk from the El.

If you prefer to stay in Evanston, your choices are more limited, of course. I originally had reserved a room with a shared bath ($79) at The Margarita European Inn but later decided to stay in Chicago. I don't know if that room is still available.

I'd also like to remind folks about Priceline.com. Courtesy of a heads-up from CaliPoutine (and, of course, William Shatner), I picked up a $59/night room at the four-star Hyatt Regency Chicago. Please PM if you're not familiar with how Priceline works.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I'd like to offer a thought or two about accommodations. Normally, hotel rooms in Chicago can be expensive during the summer, especially over the weekend. However, I'm starting to see some good deals, so perhaps the slowed economy is cutting into vacation travel.

Most of you probably know about the usual travel web sites -- Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. I'm also a fan of travelzoo.com. In fact, about a week ago they reported on a great $109/night special at the 4-star Swissotel Chicago, on E. Wacker in the Streeterville area, about a ¾-mile walk from the El.

If you prefer to stay in Evanston, your choices are more limited, of course. I originally had reserved a room with a shared bath ($79) at The Margarita European Inn but later decided to stay in Chicago. I don't know if that room is still available.

I'd also like to remind folks about Priceline.com. Courtesy of a heads-up from CaliPoutine (and, of course, William Shatner), I picked up a $59/night room at the four-star Hyatt Regency Chicago. Please PM if you're not familiar with how Priceline works.

Rona( Prasantran) got the room for 59$ too. How fun it would it be if there were whole contingecy of Eg members at the Hyatt??

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