So…here it is, finally. My recap of Chicago, or at least the sites I saw and places I ate. I left out the play-by-play of my shopping. You can thank me for that later. And in case it wasn’t evident before (which I’m sure it was) I am a total foodie. Good times.
Friday evening, after picking me up at the airport (thank you) Kelly and Kevin took me to their favorite place to take visitors for dinner, Ballo. It was great. I have never been a huge meatball fan, but I’m a believer in being open-minded, so I didn’t say anything when they ordered some…and I was right to keep my mouth shut. They were absolutely delicious, as was everything else we ordered.
Lunch on Saturday was at The Signature Room. This is obviously not a picture of the food, but the view of Navy Pier from the restaurant, on the 95th floor, which is really why the restaurant is such a big deal. Amazing!
The Art Institute of Chicago. I went here twice. On Saturday, we saw a very thought provoking photography exhibit (and warmed up). It was all about adolescence in women. I could have spent hours in that one room alone (except that the museum was closing, so we got kicked out). The next day, Kelly and I went to see the impressionists (my favorite art period) and it was incredible to see some of my favorite paintings in person; some of Monet’s Water Lilies, Renoir’s Woman at the Piano, Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, and Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.
This is one of the reasons I love big cities: street performers. These guys were outside of the Art Institute and they played so well.
At the recommendation of Jenny (and Oprah…apparently), I also picked up a bag of The Mix at Garrett Popcorn; a combination of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn that is their specialty (and I’m all about specialties). It was surprisingly good, although next time I might have to try the Macadamia CaramelCrisp. Doesn’t that just sound delicious?
We went to Giordano’s for dinner on Saturday and this is where I had my first experience with Chicago deep dish pizza. It really is so much better than regular pizza and totally different than real Italian pizza. I am a fan.
As is my true nature, I needed a little something sweet, so Kelly and I stopped at Potbelly’s for shakes. So. Good.
I had the good fortune to visit Chicago during its Restaurant Week (I also had this luck on my D.C. trip last summer). Kelly made reservations for us at the Pump Room. It was so delicious. Honestly, I probably would have been happy with just the croissants (the best I’ve ever had on American soil), but the rest of it was worth the calories, too.
I was luck enough to make two visits to Millennium Park. This is the giant bean. Strange? Yes. Fascinating? Absolutely. Entertaining? Completely.
On our way back to Kelly’s to pick up my luggage and head to the airport, I wanted to stop at Paper Source. We had just enough time, so we got off the train and headed in (where I proceeded to spend a small fortune on…yes, paper.
But then, Kelly mentioned a chocolate shop that was just down the street. So, rather than be practical and head back to the apartment so I wouldn’t be late for my flight, we went to Vosges Chocolates. I had actually seen this place on-line before my trip and wanted to go there, but had completely forgotten about it. I think I might have had the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted (it might be a tie with Max Brenner) and I also purchased some truffles that were absolutely divine. I felt a little daring with the strange flavor combinations; coconut and curry, and various chilies, but they ended up being absolutely delightful (once I was able to taste them…as they were in my luggage that didn’t make it on the plane because I was late to the airport because I stopped to purchase them).