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Guilty Pleasures

C'mon. Confess. We all have things we can't resist. Here are our Midwest indulgences. Fessing up is good for the soul. But so is pie for lunch and spending too much on jeans.

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Pie for Lunch and More Guilty Pleasures

Holing up in a hotel

It's raining tonight, and I couldn't be happier. I'm settled into my room at Chicago's Hotel Monaco after a long business day, and now it's me time. I have friends who'd like to see me for dinner, and I have e-mail I could check, but frankly, I'm busy right now with a nine-piece box of Vosges exotic chocolates and a bottle of red wine from room service.

My room has a river view and window seat. I turn on some music and, propped up by pillows, watch the city while savoring my wine and chocolates (I should have splurged on the 12-piece box!). Next, I drop an ice-cream-scoop of bath fizz (bought in the lobby for $7.61) in my bath and just soak. I put on a terry robe and prepare for bed—luxurious sheets, a down-filled duvet and lots of pillows. But I'm in no rush to go to sleep. Room service is still open!

- Travel Manager Jodie Burlog Schafer Remains Very Willing to go on Business Trips

Having someone clean your house

There are dishes in the sink, shoes in a jumble by the front door and wet towels that have dried into stiff little sculptures on the kids' bathroom floor. And that's just the mess I see out of the corner of my eye as I make for the driveway, where an equally messy car will take me to the airport. If I admitted it to myself, I'd realize that I'm rushing not to make a plane, but to avoid the cleaning crew that will arrive at any moment. I don't want to explain what I did last night instead of picking up the shoes. And what kind of person leaves dishes in the sink? Who lives like this? I don't want answers. I just want the dirt and the clutter to magically disappear—along with the check I leave on the kitchen counter.

- Senior Travel Editor Barbara Morrow Now Would Like Something Done with her Car, Too.

Eating dessert -- for lunch!

My secret culinary dreams have names like Banana Cream. Triple Berry. Apple Crunch. Strawberry-Rhubarb. Chocolate Pecan. French Silk. Sour-Cream Raisin. So I had to work hard to control my glee when I learned that part of my Taste of the Midwest summer road trip in 2005 would require sampling pies in 12 Midwest states.

I dutifully went from town to town, eating gooey, sugary slices of one of my worst vices for lunch: Chocolate Peanut Butter. Lemon Meringue. Pumpkin Supreme. It was a childhood fantasy fulfilled! I'd gladly return to the scenes of my crimes any day for another orgy of guilty, pie-eating pleasures. Betty's Pies in Two Harbors, Minnesota, on Lake Superior's North Shore, with crusts made with lard and fillings that are—well—filling. Or the Norske Nook, a legendary pie palace located in tiny Osseo in west-central Wisconsin—Sin City to many a defeated dieter!

- Editor-in-Chief Dan Kaercher Gained 10 1/2 Pounds While Living This Culinary Dream

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