Saturday, December 18, 2004


The cat is out of the bag!

Talked with Papa Virg tonight, and he has discovered the surprise.

The Amtrak ticket agent at Cincinnati Union Terminal (CUT for those In The Know) asked, "Is someone else is traveling with you from Chicago?"

Papa was waiting for the Westbound Cardinal. He should be boarding about now (and I should be in bed). Sunday we take the California Zephyr together from Chicago to San Francisco.

He still doesn't know that he will be staying at The Drake Hotel which will provide some element of surprise. Much to my delight, I was upgraded to a "Junior Execute Suite." Nothing "Junior" about it. It is about three times the size of our condo in San Bruno, and is a corner suite overlooking Lake Michigan -- stunning (more than makes up for the fact that United has lost my luggage -- just clothes, nothing valuable).

Ate a sumptuous dinner at The Drake Bros. Premier steak and the service was impeccable. Dinner consisted of Pine Ridge Cabernet, Heirloom Tomato Salad (highly recommend), Petit Filet, Shiitake mushrooms sauteed in garlic, ginger and soy (ambrosia), a wonderful corn special side made by grilling corn on the cob and shaving the corn with fun spices. No room for dessert.

Met the restaurant manager (he was hooked when I started talking about Napa and Sonoma wine country which he is planning to visit for the first time this January) and he made a reservation for Papa and me overlooking Lake Michigan for tomorrow night (I enjoyed looking over Michigan Avenue during dinner tonight). The music was pure Greg -- Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and I was transported back to the 40's.

The Drake is very festive with Christmas decorations, moving nutcrackers and -- Trains!

Looking forward to exploring tomorrow after picking up Papa.

After all, I may just have to shop for new clothes in the Water Tower!