Field's holds a special place in the hearts of Chicagoans. My husband and I lived across the street for over year, connected via the underground pedway so that I didn't even have to put on a coat to visit. I arrived in the basement, where tea, chocolate, coffee, cookbooks, and other gourmet goodies made perfect gifts like the one Pernilla gave me. Upstairs, the store's Culinary Council of Chicago-made celebrity chefs offered cooking classes; the Walnut Room served signature comfort food in a glorious old world setting; the Frango Cafe served killer sundaes topped with Frango mints; and one of the best food courts in the city prepared quick, elegant lunches on the fly. In between nibbles, you could visit the Paris Flea Market, the apothecary or even the enormous bridal salon where I bought my wedding dress.
Macy's has tried to retain some of Field's specialness, and even kept most of those elements. But the products have become more generic, and the store has lost some character. The Macy's name took over the same day I picked up my wedding dress, and I fought through the protesters (yes, protesters!) to get inside, hoping that Macy's wouldn't actually change it too much. When I got in, I literally saw a bad sign: a tower of Field's official cookbooks stacked in the corner and marked down 40%. You can find a copy on Amazon.