Such Great Heights

by Alicia

I have to say it is truly amazing when you are able to add and mark off, at the same time, something on the figurative ‘things I must do within my lifetime’ list.  I didn’t realize our experience at the Signature Room at the 95th in Chicago would be one of those things until we were already standing there surrounded by the brilliance of the illuminated city.

The day began with a snowstorm.  The winter weather has been so brutal since the beginning of January and I have, literally, lost track of how many snow storms we have endured.  This day became another day where I waited and tried not to overly worry about Mason traveling in the snowy conditions as his path was being saturated with snow that fell non-stop since early morning.  We were wondering what the travel would be like the rest of the way to Chicago and we hoped to just be able to make our dinner reservations rather than cancel.

Luck and a lower positioned stream of snow allowed us to travel past whatever was left of the storm and leave it all behind us.  The rest of our travel to Chicago was clear.  The sun even came out as well.  We arrived along Lake Shore Drive in plenty of time to check in, change clothes and even relax for a bit before our reservations for dinner.  We stayed at the Westin located right across the street from the John Hancock building, home to the Signature Room where we planned to spend our Valentine’s day evening.  I don’t think this could have worked out better.  We didn’t have to plan on a cab ride or a freezing walk very far at all.

Around 7pm, Mason in his dark blue jacket with plaid shirt and me in a black sleeveless top and newly purchased taupe and black chevron print skirt walked over to get in line to begin our ascent to the Signature Room at the 95th floor.   The staff is very organized and we were put into little groups to ride the elevator up.  It was a cozy ride up and the door opens into this lovely, pristine dining area where a real person is playing the piano and couples are adorned with roses and candlelight.  We had a brief wait and, with bated breath, we both intermittently fantasized about winding up with a window seat for two.  When Mason’s name was called we followed someone to seat us and I eyed an available window seat for two where I had this little voice in my mind repeating ‘please be our table, please be our table.’  Sure enough, we were seated at the table by the window for two and we both breathed out gently and smiled big.

The view was one I’d never seen before.  The buildings looked like peaceful structures of lights and movement below.  The city hustle became scenic patterns like a soothing fire in a fireplace and the noises were a muted calm.  I was mesmerized by this view and could stare out the window for hours.  This perspective allowed you to see the city light stretch out into infinity.

For the special Valentine’s menu we had a few appetizer choices and main course choices to begin.  Mason chose the short rib ravioli and I chose the seared scallop.  We picked a red blend, for our wine, and we were both happy with our wine and appetizer choices as they suit our individual likes practically perfectly.  Another choice was a soup or salad type of option.  I chose the cauliflower veloute.  This was a wonderful soup served table side as a server poured it gently into my bowl that held one ham and cheese crouton.  This was one of the best soups I’ve ever had.  It was velvety in texture and paired well with the savory crouton.  Fantastic veloute.

Next, we had main dishes and we had desserts.  The main dishes were the filet of beef for Mason and I had the chicken with vegetable and an orzo.  We were, again, happy with the selection and yum’d our way into dessert.  While waiting for each course, it was nice to just discuss and gaze outside into a view that wasn’t like anything else you could see elsewhere.  This made any wait or any time spent there seem like the perfect amount of time spent.  For dessert, Mason chose the red velvet cake and I chose the chocolate mousse cake.  My only regret was not being able to finish dessert.  My dessert was so amazing, smooth and gave me the chocolate I had been yearning for throughout the decorated day.  It was a decadent way to finish the dining experience from 95 floors above the ground.

The Signature Room at the 95th surpassed the expectations I had.  The view is truly amazing and something one should see and experience.  Dining included palate pleasing options which were both beautifully presented and bold in flavor.  Most importantly, the time spent sitting at a window seat table next to a view on top of the world with my valentine made the evening truly memorable and for that I am thankful.