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You’d think we’d just been crowned queens of the Magic Kingdom. The chatter and delight in my building’s swimming pool over having a grocery store right here in downtown Chicago has made lots of us giddy. Not that it particularly interests me–my husband does the food shopping, but having a grocery store that we can walk to is truly fantastic.

Marv and I walked to this new grocery, Marianos, recently and found vendors outside grilling hotdogs to push their various mustards. We tried several kinds on our hotdogs, munching our free dinner, inch by inch, at the outdoor patio tables.

Because dinner was free, we had to have dessert–an apple slice for Marv and a cinnamon scone for me. Yummy. The bakery cases are way too tempting. There is indoor seating by a deli counter, so we took seats there and watched all the people. Seems EVERYONE is excited about this new store.

There was a healthy-looking colorful display of fruit, but, really, that had to be saved for another day. When in doubt, eat bakery. When not in doubt, well, I’d still choose bakery over an apple.

I have to admit, though, that this photo, enlarged, would look stunning framed and hanging above my kitchen sink.

Or maybe it should be on my bathroom mirror next to the sticky that says, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”

You can now also have pancakes in the Loop in a bona fide pancake house. Wildberry. Try their seniors’ breakfast. An egg, two pancakes, one sausage. All on the ground floor of the Prudential Building, on Randolph just north of Millennium Park.

When you’re finished with breakfast, cross the street and visit the Bean. Pull a funny face and take a picture of your reflection in its super-sized stainless steel shape like all the tourists do.

After a jaunt in the park, and maybe a stroll through the adjacent Art Institute, you may be hungry for something French. Mosey down Washington to Toni’s, a new Patisserie and Cafe.

In case you lose your bearings, it’s across the street from Subway and across the alley from Dunkin’ Donuts. There’s no comparison between the foods at either. I had something that I could not pronounce, but it was elegant. A lunch sort of thing.

After lunch you must shop State Street: Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack, Filene’s Basement, TJ Maxx, and more. Nicely priced selections everywhere. When you are totally shopped out, stop for afternoon tea, at the brand new New York Magnolia Bakery in Block 37, just west of Macy’s.

And, I hope you have a restaurant savvy friend with you like I did. She figured out if we bought a piece of cake for $6.00, in size it would be equivalent to about three cupcakes, so, in the end, it’d be cheaper to buy a piece of cake. And so we did. Pumpkin spice–the best ever. Three layers of autumn bliss.

After this sugary shopping trip, head to your hotel for sweet, sweet dreams.

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