A cast iron-fronted arcade in the historic Tree Studios building houses one of my favorite shops in Chicago: P.O.S.H. The owners stock this bright and elegant boutique with all sorts of tempting objects, but they specialize in vintage serving ware from upscale hotels, cruise ships, restaurants and even airlines. Sources include flea markets in France and Belgium, and London auction houses and china warehouses.
About eight years ago, P.O.S.H. bought a large selection of silver pieces at auction that once belonged to the Chicago Athletic Association. Some of them are now on display in the hotel across from the White City Ballroom. On this latest visit, I discovered mid-century coffee cups produced for officers of the Italian Air Force, a charming 1930s French kitchen canister set and various vintage silver-plate items from establishments such as The Athenaeum hotel in London, the Hotel Tuller in Detroit and the Rainbow Room in New York. But my favorite P.O.S.H. find remains some mint-condition American Airlines first-class china, which we use as dessert plates.