War is hard. The casualties, the commitment, the crosses we bear — it can wear on you. But we muddle through because we must. Because we have no other path. Sometimes, though, the enemy hits a little too close to home. Sometimes the horrors of war show up at your front door and remind you that the battles aren’t all fought on some distant front.
Sometimes Gwyneth Paltrow writes about Chicago.
In the ongoing war between Gwyneth and me, this is the Dresden bombing. The firebombing of Tokyo. The Blitz in London. The Nazi submarine in Lake Michigan. Gwynnie has brought the war to me, and she’s left me feeling like I’m the one who brought a knife to a gun fight.
Chicago is not my hometown, but I’ve lived here for more than a decade, so when GOOP runs a feature in which Gwyneth recommends restaurants, hotels and shops in Chicago, I can’t help but take it as a personal attack. Shit’s getting real.
This is actually the second attack from Gwyneth on Chicago, following her husband worming his way into singing the hook on Kanye West’s “Homecoming.” What’s next, Apple running for mayor?
Well, I’m sorry Gwyneth, but YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
This ends here. Today.
I always love a visit to the Windy City and this time I made some amazing new discoveries and visited some old favorites, a few of which are detailed below, as well as some suggestions from a couple of super in-the-know Chicagoans.
Just who are these super in-the-know Chicagoans?
The absolute highlight of my trip was eating at Schwa. Chef Michael Carlson and his brother Seth who run it are so punk rock that they don’t even answer the phone, which makes getting a table difficult, yet weirdly fascinating.
Ughhh my God. A) Not answering the phone is not fucking punk rock, you hateful cow. It’s just being an asshole. It’s elitist bullshit. I hope Schwa burns down. B) What are the chances that getting a table was difficult for Gwyneth Paltrow?
We did the 9 course tasting menu, which ranged from a very inventive bourbon Manhattan aperitif to the most unbelievable baked potato soup with crispy potato skin on the side (my favorite) with scallion purée and cheddar cheese.
It’s classic American comfort food by way of Ferran Adria/Banksy/Tony Hawk.
Definitely a normal, cool thing to say about a restaurant. What I love most about Banksy is how good he is at cooking. Can Banksy come over and cook me some soup tonight? Also, is anyone less punk than Tony Hawk?
It’s off the hook.
For many years [The Peninsula] was my all time favorite city hotel. The rooms and suites are spacious and beautifully turned down with great views of central Chicago. It’s definitely more of a traditional hotel with everything you’d expect—a great big pool, a wonderful spa, and perfect service.
Wow, what a find, Gwyneth. The Peninsula! However did you discover this secret Windy City treasure? Thank the Lord we have you to guide us. I do wonder, though, why the Peninsula was Gwyneth’s all-time favorite city hotel. (And seriously, Gwyns, we use hyphens when connecting two modifying words before a noun, as in “all-time.” Boom. Roasted.) What did they do to offend her and drop down the list? Did they refuse to lay rose petals at her feet? Did they not allow Apple to stand on a table in the dining room and perform a song from Annie? Did they tell her they could only valet three of her Bentleys at one time? Did they not sell the GOOP-recommended manicure scissors in the gift shop?
I stopped [at Madison & Friends] to buy a few things for my kids and loved their selection of cute and stylish clothing that kids actually want to wear.
What little boy wouldn’t thrill at the thought of wearing this to school?
I love going to Barney’s in Chicago. To start, the buyers at this branch are incredible at finding pieces that you often won’t find anywhere else. A huge plus, because Chicago tends to be more conservative, is that you can actually find runway pieces, as they tend to disappear lightning fast in New York.
Barney’s! Another amazing find! What would we go without you, Gwyneth? “Let me tell you about this amazing hidden gem I found in Chicago: it’s called Outback Steakhouse, and the menus use the most darling Australian dialect!” I also love the elitism in that quote — shoppers in Chicago are so fucking dumb and backwards that you can get stuff there long after the tastemakers of New York and L.A. have raided the shops there. (Not that that’s necessarily false, but…)
Longman & Eagle: Another Chicago gastropub with great food and drinks available. You’re free to stop in for either or both, and are likely to be impressed. New at the Longman & Eagle are a few very affordable and sleekly decorated guestrooms, featuring the work of some great American craftsmen and designers.
Noooooooooooo. I was just at Longman & Eagle on Tuesday (#humblebrag). And now I can never go there again.
How could we do a Chicago newsletter without mentioning Grant Achatz, the Midwestern wunderkind of molecular gastronomy?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the douchiest, most Gwynethian phrase ever seen in the written English language: “the Midwestern wunderkind of molecular gastronomy.”
It’s official: I’m moving.