On the weekend, bored and not that willing to do much about it, I decided to fill out a customer experience survey e-mailed to me by the Chicago Architecture Foundation earlier in the week. I went to Chicago back in September and it was pretty great. CAF was emailing me because I took their tour out to Oak Park to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio followed by a walking tour of the neighbourhood (Oak Park has the largest concentration of Wright buildings in the world). To sum up my survey, I’d really recommend CAF if you’re in the market for a tour in Chicago. They are a cut above because their docents are volunteers which means they actually give a crap about what they’re talking about.
Anyway, my hotel was in Greek Town and not ideally situated to anything I wanted to do in Chicago. Let’s just say, this was the first and last time I use Hotwire, the website where you get a great deal on a hotel because you don’t know what hotel you’re paying for, or where the hell it is.* Something amazing happened as result of booking into this hotel, though. I had to cross this bridge to get any place I wanted to go and that bridge mysteriously smelled like chocolate. I could only smell the chocolate on the bridge. Once I’d crossed, it was gone.
If only I’d started listening to This American Life when Bryony told me to (ie. years ago), I would have obsessively started digging through the show’s archives long before my trip. I would have heard the 2006 segment in which writer, Jorge Just describes the scent as “magic”. I would have learned that the source of this bewitching aroma is Blommer’s chocolate factory on Chicago’s west side, a mere 15 minute walk from my hotel. Running a more enthusiastic Google search while I was in Chicago might also have done the trick, but you guys, I had a pretty packed schedule as it was. It’s probably best that I didn’t have to adjust it. In fact, you can’t tour Blommer’s, but I didn’t know that then. Magic: the word doesn’t even begin to describe how wonderful it is.
Working, as I do, in environmental law, I should always be on the side of air scrubbers and lowering air emissions, but I gotta say when it comes to chocolate emissions**, I want more, more, MORE air emissions! And who am I kidding, anyhow, with my complaining about Hotwire? If I ever go back to Chicago, I might stay at that slightly out of the way hotel again anyway, just so I can cross that magical chocolate bridge.
* Also, it’s probably total BS that I will never use this website again. Hotels are expensive, dudes, and it turns out I am pretty cheap.
** And cookie emissions. Something I really miss about my old neighbourhood in Toronto’s East end, is living within wafting distance of the Peak Frean’s cookie factory on O’Connor.