Aloha Spirit: Chicago

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As I mentioned before, I believe karma introduced me to Tiki, and it continues to swim in my bloodstream. I’ve seen many signs in my travels that have confirmed this for me. Here is the last example of what I’m talking about.

Chicago IL, August 2013. Last summer, the company I work for was acquired by another company, which is headquartered in Green Bay, WI. In order to get to know some of my new co-workers better, I wanted to visit our offices in Chicago and Green Bay, so we could all put faces to names and do a little bonding. It turns out I had already planned to visit my old friend Bruce to catch a Phillies vs. Cubs game at Wrigley Field at the end of August, so I decided to mix business and pleasure with a Wednesday to Sunday trip, starting in Green Bay and ending with a weekend in Chicago.

The Green Bay part of the trip went well, with time spent in the office meeting many of my new coworkers. I was shown around by the managing director of sales, Craig Avery, my boss’s boss and a fellow Tiki fan. I gave him a copy of my Oceanic Arts catalog so he could check out some new decor for his backyard Tiki bar. Craig was good enough to introduce me around the office, and we spent time after hours knocking back some beers and talking Tiki. I finished my stay in Green Bay with a visit to the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field.

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On Friday I flew down to our Chicago office, where I met the directors of our credit and marketing teams, who introduced me to their people. Another great group of coworkers! I joined some of the marketing folks for lunch at Heaven on Seven, one of my favorite Cajun restaurants right downtown in The Loop. What a tasty way to wrap up the business portion of my trip.

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Friday night I headed for my buddy Bruce’s place, where we started the weekend with a beer on his rooftop deck, admiring the Chicago skyline. What an amazing view of a great city! We had reservations for dinner at David Burke’s, which was voted the city’s best steakhouse by Chicago magazine for 2013, but before that, Bruce had a surprise for me. He wouldn’t tell me where we were headed as we boarded the red line el heading downtown.

We arrived at our destination at 435 West Clark, and it wasn’t until we walked down a flight of steps and turned a corner that I discovered my surprise: a Tiki bar, right in downtown Chicago! Bruce had brought me to Three Dots and a Dash, a new Tiki bar only open for 1 month prior to our visit. What a nice surprise! This was a serious Tiki bar, with authentic drinks, tasty appetizers, wonderful Polynesian decor, and beautiful wahines serving us.

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I enjoyed many great meals with wonderful people during my 5 days in Green Bay and Chicago, but none as memorable as my time spent at Three Dots and a Dash. Isn’t it ironic that the original reason for this trip, the baseball game at Wrigley, ended up being the lowlight (the Phils lost to the Cubs in one of the worst games ever played), while the highlight was a happy hour Tiki stop I never saw coming? Or, maybe it’s karma. Either way, mahalo to Craig Avery for championing the business part of this trip and sharing your love of Tiki with me. And a big mahalo to Bruce Philipson, who surprised an old friend with a new Chicago hotspot and added a new, special memory to a friendship already full of them.

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