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Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis This is my first trip report so I hope I did it right but we had a great time so I figured it could help people by sharing:
Monday- Drove from Chicago for  4 hours and slept in Salem, IL at Holiday Inn express. We loved the Holiday Inn Express because the rooms are clean with duvet covers, they give us extra cots  and cribs without a problem and my kids really enjoyed their breakfast buffet with tons of kosher options like oatmeal, bagels with cream cheese, lots of cereals, chocolate milk, yogurts and more.
Tuesday- Got started early and drove for 4 hours and made it by the skin of our teeth to Memphis’ famous Peabody Hotel. Every morning at the Peabody Hotel they have the duck walk ceremony where the famous ducks that live in the hotel parade down the red carpet to their fountain in the center of the  very fancy hotel lobby. The walk is complete with a duck master in his royal attire. The lobby is packed with people so it’s hard to unless you have a good spot, kids are allowed to sit on both sides of the red carpet. After we toured the hotel and the roof where the ducks go to sleep at night we moved on. Our next activity was Mud Island which is is an exact replica of the Mississippi River and goes for a half a mile starting from “Minnesota” all the way to the “Gulf of Mexico” with the actual Mississippi River flowing throughout. It was a enjoyable and educational for the whole family. I highly recommend it. After a nice lunch at Mud Island overlooking the Mississippi River we moved on to the great pyramid in the middle of Memphis AKA Bass Pro Shop. When I was doing my research on activities in Memphis I kept on seeing people recommending this Bass Pro Shop, we are not big outdoorsy people so I didn’t have high hopes for this. Boy was I wrong, when you enter the pyramid you are essentially entering another land with trees and bears, alligators and scuba divers, boats and motorcycles. There is just so much to see.I let my kids loose to explore it all. They have a shooting range, bowling alley, hotel and the worlds largest indoor glass elevator that takes you to the top of the pyramid for a view of the whole city. We could’ve stayed much longer but the clock was ticking and we needed to move on to our next activity. We picked up some baked goods at Rikki’s Cookie Corner (which also sells pizza every Tuesday) and drove to the Memphis JCC. It was no easy task getting a guest pass for the JCC but when there’s a will there’s a way. The JCC has a great pool complete with two big water slides, diving board, lazy river and two shallow kids pools with slides and play areas. The best part was they have a DELICIOUS kosher BBQ restaurant in the JCC called Holy Cow which you can eat poolside! After leaving the JCC we did a little drive by of Elvis Presley’s home and airplane and drove two more hours until we got to Jackson, Mississippi where we slept at our favorite hotel the Holiday Inn Express.
Wednesday- After filling up from the breakfast buffet we drove two more hours until we were in Louisiana. We signed up for an Alligator swamp tour called Cajun Encounters. It was over 90 degrees but the boat was shaded so we were okay. Our tour guide was very engaging and informative about the homes and land surrounding the swamp and how they were effected by the Hurricane. He even fed the alligators by holding the food on a stick and the alligator almost jumped into our boat! Definitely something the kids won’t forget. Next we went to Storyland Park in New Orleans which is a very cute park with tons of nursery tale statues to look at and play with. For dinner we unfortunately decided to go to Casablanca which is a Moroccan restaurant and definitely not the place to go with kids. I would suggest going to Kosher Cajun which is around the corner. After dinner we checked into our hotel which was in the French Quarter. After the kids went swimming in the hotels pool they conked out and we had a babysitter watch them while we checked out the nightlife of the city. We walked all over the French quarter and ended up at the uber famous Cafe Du Monde, those beignets were amazing.
Thursday- We drove to Waffles on Maple which my kids and I loved, my husband not so much. We took a little drive by tour of the cemeteries in New Orleans which is interesting because nobody is buried underground due to the flooding so you can see the difference between where the rich people are buried and the poor people. We got back to the French Quarter and had a private tour geared towards kids of the French quarter. Our tour guide was so great and engaging for the kids, she brought games and kosher food all related to the history of New Orleans. I decided to switch our plans a bit since we all enjoyed Memphis so much to drive back and get a quick swim at the JCC and dinner from Holy Cow.
Friday- after staying just outside of Memphis we drove until we got to St. Louis which we were staying for shabbos. I heard great things about the City Museum so we decided to check it out. Well I am not sure how to describe the museum so I would just suggest that everyone with kids between the ages of 3-21 must go there! You can and SHOULD spend the entire day there. If you go in the summer there’s a whole climbing area outside that can’t be done in the winter.
Shabbos- we had a very nice shabbos in St Louis and headed home to Chicago but not before going to Shnucks and getting their .50 cent donuts...

May 02, 2019, 12:38:06 AM
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Exploring Chicago in a day For my daughters 10 year birthday I surprised her with a trip to downtown Chicago with her best friends who happens to be cousins with the King of deals himself. We started out early in the morning by taking the Metra train to downtown, we got off by the French market which is directly below the train station. It was cool to see the different vendors and even a kosher one (Bebe’s) we ended up just getting some chocolate truffles from one of the stands. We then headed outside where we got to our first destination, Willis Tower. Back when I was a kid it was the tallest building in the world now I don’t even know if it’s in the top ten. After checking out the building we got on the Hop On/Hop off bus. The girls of course ran straight to the upper level so they could enjoy the view and beautiful weather. Our next stop was Millennium Park, they have a great waterfall/splash area where kids have a lot of fun trying to escape the water spout. After drying off we checked out the Chicago Cultural Museum which was across the street, it was magnificent. We moved on to the famous bean in Millennium Park and then sat down to eat lunch In Grant Park where the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was rehearsing. We got back on the bus and enjoyed the scenery while listening to the very informative tour guides. If you read the book Devil in the White City it makes the tour even more interesting. Our next stop was at Maggie Daley Park which is huge and a great place to lose kids. Thankfully I was just with two 10 year olds that I could trust and let them explore on their own. Definitely a must go to place if your traveling to Chicago with kids. We got back on the bus and headed over to Michigan Ave and the famous Water Tower Place the girls were in heaven at the American Girl Doll store and could’ve stayed for hours. After dragging them out we headed over to Wrigley Field just as the Cubs game was finishing after getting some selfies we walked to Milts and had dinner with the rest of the family that met us there. Some would end the day here but I wanted this Bday to be epic so we drove to Navy Pier and let the kids run in the sprinklers there. Lo and behold the local camp Yeshivas HaKayitz had color war breakout just a few feet away from where we were sitting. Once it got sufficiently dark outside we headed over to the center of Navy Pier And the fireworks started (FYI navy pier has fireworks every Saturday night and Wednesday night in the summer). It was a great grand finale to a wonderful day!
May 09, 2019, 09:49:58 PM
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Re: Chicago Master Thread
We have 2 pizza shops in West Rogers Park, Chalavi (Aka Main Pizza) and Tel Aviv Pizza and two in Skokie, EJ's Pizza and Sarah's Brick Oven Pizza. Lots of different opinions on which is the best.
For vegetarian/vegan you can go to Emma's cafe in Skokie or Bond Coffee Shop in West Rogers Park.
 Thanks! Which pizza shop do you think would best accommodate a large group?

Probably EJ's since they have a back room, you should call them to ask if you can reserve it.

August 08, 2019, 11:46:16 AM
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Re: Random airline-questions. If i get a Chase Ink Business card will it go towards my personal 5/24?
August 14, 2019, 03:06:39 PM
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A weekend in Nor-Cal My sister who lives in Oakland, CA had a baby boy so it was time to check out Nor-Cal! I originally booked only myself a flight on United Airlines for 25K RT but then later decided I would make it a mother/son trip and added my 8 year old on the reservation. It would be his first time on the West Coast. After doing some quick research I got my itinerary planned and we were off. We landed very late Thursday night and went straight to bed. Friday morning we started off at the Berkeley Bowl, it is the most amazing fruit and vegetable store I have ever seen. Who knew there were 25 types of oranges and apples, it made choosing one very difficult! We saw different types of vegetables that I have never seen or heard of before. It was really cool and I would definitely recommend it. We then had lunch at Oakland Kosher which is a small kosher grocery store that also has hamburgers, falafels, shwarma, shnitzel sandwiches and more. My son got the hamburger and I got the falafel which were both good. Once we were full we were ready for the activity of the day, hiking in Redwood Memorial Park. It took us around 15 minutes to get there and park. Our goal was to start from the top of the mountain and get to the bottom. It was a very beautiful hike complete with redwood trees and streams of water at the bottom. We lost our way and couldn't figure out how to get back so we ended up walking for many hours. Somehow we managed to find our way and got back in time for Shabbos. We went to the daven at Beth Jacob Congregation and truly enjoyed it. For kiddush after shabbos day davening they had Flying Falafel's food for a sit down lunch. Sunday was our last day and we were going to check out San Francisco. I had booked us a tour of Alcatraz first thing in the morning. When we started driving there we noticed bumper to bumper traffic by the bridge and were told that there was a marathon going on and many streets were closed. I knew we would miss our tour of Alcatraz so i called them and asked if we could get a new time or refund, the woman on the phone said they were all booked for the rest of the day and they do not offer refunds for missed tours. I was very upset since my son and I had been so looking forward to going there. We arrived in San Francisco over an hour and a half later and parked our car and walked over to the pier where the boat takes you to Alcatraz. I figured it doesn't hurt to ask in person for a refund. I showed the women our reservation and asked if there is anything she can do, she said immediately it's no problem and we should just go on the standby line for the next boat and we would get on. I was thrilled! Sure enough we were able to board the boat with no problem. We sat on the top deck and enjoyed the ride, we even saw dolphins in the water! Once we got to Alcatraz they give you an audio tour to listen to as you walk through. My son loved it and cannot stop talking about it! While we were there there was a book signing going on by an actual inmate of Alcatraz who was in prison there for 5 years, that was the icing on the cake! Once we got back to San Francisco we walked along the Piers until Pier 39, we did some window shopping and ended up at a magician/acrobat/comedian show which was going on at the end of the Pier. He was really hysterical and even called my son up to be part of his show. After the show we went to the water where all the sea lions sun bathe and splash each other. It is really a sight to see. We continued until we got to the USS Pampanito in Fisherman's Wharf which was used in WWII. Of course you cant just see the outside of an actual submarine without going inside it so we got on board and checked it out, which is pretty neat but I am glad i only had to be on it for 30 minutes. At this point we are starving so we headed over to the kosher Krispy Kreme in Fisherman's Wharf. After regaining some energy it was time to make the hike to Lombard street, the crookedest street in the world. We were originally going to take a cable car up to it but decided not to wait for it to come. It was quite a hike up that street and definitely not for the faint of hearts. My son tried stopping many times and told me to just go without him but somehow we made it to the top. Once you get to the top tons of people are in the street taking pictures of the view and of Lombard Street. I am glad we got to say we did it! Once we got back down we got our car and drove to Frena which has two locations, we went to the one on Geary Blvd. It's kind of like a bakery with some hot food items and salads i believe. I got the egg in a basket and the Sabich and my son got the pizza bagel. They have sufganiot and hamentashen all year round and they were both very good. We still had a bit of time until our flight so we decided to check out the Pacific Ocean and drove to Lands End Lookout Point. You can just park your car at the top and walk down the steps until you hit the beach and water. It had spectacular views especially since we were there around sunset. My son even found a cave that we checked out and could see through a hole the waves crashing around it. We also walked down to the rocky area where the waves were crashing onto them. It was a wonderful ending to our trip. We got to SFO a few hours before our flight so we hung out at the United Lounge and my son had a lot of fun with their coke machine that you pick which flavors you want together and it makes your drink. We had the red eye flight and landed home at 6 AM on Monday, my son slept the whole flight so he was brought straight to school. We both had a great trip and very special memories.
September 03, 2019, 10:09:05 PM
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