Liz Birthday Day: Brunch at Somerset, Show of Hands, Jurassic Escape, Dinner at City Mouse

Big birthday day today for Liz! We had a lot planned, and a lot of places to visit. First up: brunch at Somerset.

Then, off to Show of Hands to peruse some custom, hand-made crafts.

Even though I had a coffee with my breakfast, I decided I needed a little more… and had a lovely little cup from Littlefoot.

Perusing the various vendors, I was particularly taken with the mugs by Angela Venarchik. You can check out more of her work on Instagram.

The upstairs space.

I have to say: I’ve been to my fair share of fairs and events and whatnot. And by far, the vendors here had the best logos and booth designs I’ve seen. While I may not have cared for all their wares, by and large everyone’s graphic design game (logo, signage, booth layout) was super tight.

The event was held at Artifact Events. And it sounds like Architectural Artifacts itself is closing.

It’s been about 5 years, since we were here last. This place is still a place of wonder.

If I had actually kept up with Game of Thrones, I’m guessing I’d have a pretty good pun here. But I’ve… got nothing.

An incredibly large (and incredibly disconcerting) face.

Saw this crazy thing in the middle of the main floor.

On closer inspection, it’s some kind of scale.

A whole lot of tile (which previously had been on the other side of the building).

I kept encountering these large, musty tomes – most of them written in German.

There was a small part of me that secretly believed that I would crack one open, and discover a series of magical spells that would let me control time and conjure spirits. If there was ever a place for that sort of thing to happen, it’s here.

A very old foosball table.

I had no idea they were this old! Liz noticed that both sides had built-in ashtrays (for the true sportsmen).

Saw this amazing ticker tape machine, behind some glass. To my surprise and delight, the glass opened up so I could get a closer/better view.

A lot of wires.

I thought this was some kind of ticker tape thing used to track stocks/trading, but turns out it was part of a fire alarm callbox system.

I think that this may have been the main device at the fire station, and other locations had something like this.

Pretty fascinating stuff.

An assortment of old maps and prints. I was remembering how, last time I was here, I found blueprints for a Chicago bank. Still open to hearing from anyone who wants to go on a heist with me.

Wandering around more, I found more places for blueprints.

Scanning these shelves, I kept thinking how amazing it would be to sit down, camp out here, and go through all this “stuff” one by one.

More boxes of large tomes (all in German).

A few areas were wide open, making way for more events it seems.

I’m sure these spaces will be amazing, but it’s sad that there’s going to be less items around to stare and wonder about.

Next: a short break over at Spoken Cafe. They had Cortados on the menu, and so I decided that yes, I’d like a third cup of coffee please.

Liz got a lovely PB&J sandwich, and we got a little rest and refueling in before the next adventure.

Fast forward about an hour, battling traffic and a surprising amount of snowfall. An event I decided to keep as a surprise: an escape room!

I had looked around at a few closer, local options… and decided to go with Escape the Room because the rooms looked pretty slick.

Walking down the hallway, peeking at some of the other rooms.

We got paired up with another group and did the Jurassic Escape. I’ll hold off on any spoilers, and won’t go into details.

The room itself was really well done – amazing design and setup. But I was really let down by the nature of the clues and overall story itself.

We’ve done a few escape
rooms
before, so we’re somewhat familiar with the structure of things.

While there were a series of different numbers and clues, things just didn’t really seem to line up in any way: sequentially, narratively, anything. There was a bunch of stuff, we put some of it together, and then something happened. But there was no clear X led to Y. It was like we figured out B, K, and P, which resulted in D.

We won and officially beat the room, but to be honest most of us were unclear how that happened. From a story perspective, it was disappointing… but the room itself was really super well done, and showed a lot of effort/detail.

After a drive home, we had about an hour or so to rest a bit. We then headed out to City Mouse for dinner.

// Edit: Almost forgot – we parked about a block away, but the wind was so strong and fierce, we had to stop at least once to cover our faces. Once inside, we were pretty wet from the wind and snow, despite a somewhat short walk.

We’d been to Giant before (and have really thought about going back). So this seemed like a good option for a birthday meal.

Picture above: the Country Mouse (cheddar, caramel, caviar shooter).

Grilled carrots and Potato Bread. The bread was amazing, due in no small part to the butter but also because we haven’t had much bread in a really, really long time.

We also got some pastas to share (because what’s a birthday dinner without pasta).

Afterwards, we wandered the hotel a little bit. And circled back to the photo booth that Liz spotted, when we arrived.

The interior was a little dark, but had a scanner for your credit card. I had my phone out, with the flashlight on, so we could see what we were doing… and the card immediately got accepted, and we were off to the races.

No warning, no announcement – just a quick *flash* to let us know that the first photo was done. So we had to scramble to get in place for the last few.

We had a pretty full day, and by all accounts probably could use another weekend to recuperate. Glad we had a chance to wander about, as I’m all for celebrating this amazing and wonderful woman I’ve been so lucky to have encountered. I’d shower her with pasta and bread all the time, if I could.

Related:
Liz Birthday Day: Architectural Artifacts, Edgewater Antique Mall, Broadway Antique Market, Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits
DC Vacation, Day 4: More Escape Room Adventures, Beer at Churchkey, and a Sudden Rush of Water from the Ceiling
Date Night at Giant, Logan Square

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