One of the really delightful things I got to do last week was to have lunch at Russian Tea Time in downtown Chicago, followed by a visit to the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. My good friend Bev invited me to spend the day and celebrate my birthday. To say the time we spent was exquisite would be an understatement.
Bev really knows how to celebrate a birthday! I have watched her celebrate her own all the month long, enjoying her cards and calls and lunches and dinners and everything in between and, you know, it is rather enjoyable to stretch one’s birthday out for 30 days, give or take a day. Her generosity was really appreciated and I will savor it for months to come. Thanks, Bev.
We both both ate beef stroganoff as we dined in the splendor of the Russian Tea Time restaurant with its characteristically red accents and paneled walls, not to mention a host of samovars standing guard. We are real “talkers” when we get together, and we did, indeed, chat up a storm during lunch. I did, however, notice a few pauses in our conversation as we savored the flavors before us. I finished lunch off with a house tea in one of the elegant glass cups that are held in an ornate metal server. The tea, a blend of darjeeling and I don’t remember what else, was sublime.
Sated, we braved the wind coming off of the lake and the traffic on Michigan Avenue as we headed toward the wreathed lions and into one of the world’s finest art museums, the Art Institute of Chicago. Have you been there? Do you have a favorite gallery or painting?
The Thorne Rooms are magnificent miniature dioramas of mostly 18th and 19th century rooms and details so amazing one wonders at the time and artistic ability to bring them to life. One of the things I love about the rooms is to peek beyond them into the lighted courtyards or hallways that you can just barely see. I love the intricate carpets and candelabra, the dog warming by the fireplace or the canary in a cage at an opened window.
The room above, as well as five others, were decorated for the holidays. The Thorne Rooms mainly depict eras where Christmas trees would not have been introduced into society and when the flurry of decorating we see today was unheard of. I rather liked it for its simplicity and its grace, much like my dear friend Bev, who graciously brought me there.
Click here for more information and pictures of the Thorne Rooms.
If you know me, you know of my love of New England. This room is one of my favorites in any season.