Before I left, I asked Kristen of Modern Coffee in Oakland where I should visit in the country. Her answer started with something along the lines of "of course you MUST stop at Intellitentsia in Chicago". Kristen (and her cofounder Rob) know their stuff, so I made a point to go here.
Well, it almost didn't happen! My all out trip down memory lane and the box of terror at the Willis Tower nearly cost me Intelligentsia. We were counting seconds as we drove across town to get to the door before closing, and N even called to put in an order over the phone, like they were a take out Chinese joint or something (the barista wasn't digging that idea). We made it, barely.
That is not to say that they were particularly happy with a batch or loud, exasperated Californians barging in right before the door was to be locked. They were actually quite nice, although they subtly gave us all of our drinks to go :).
The drink was, as expected, excellent.