I know I left all of you hanging on the edge of your seats. Now that day 1.5 is over, I'm onto the next couple of days of our Chicago rendezvous.
Sunday morning we had originally planned to rent bikes and go on a bike ride up and down Lake Shore Drive on Lake Michigan. But we happened to have caught the weather at breakfast (at a place called Eggsperience) and saw there was some impending rain so we scratched that. Instead, we walked the Magnificant Mile which is a stretch of high-end stores. Like ones we can't afford but just looked at. For you Bostonians, the Magnificant Mile is similar to Newbury Street but bigger.
Then we went to Eataly. I had been to this Mario Batali empire in New York City and was thrilled to see there is another location in Chicago (also one being built in Boston at the Prudential Center next year. EEK!). This is essentially Italian heaven. Since I studied abroad in Italy, Italian cuisine (REAL Italian cuisine, not American-Italian food) is near and dear to my heart. The set-up is like a giant market with small markets and restaurants inside. There is a meat section, fish section, alcohol section, sweets section, etc. etc. and also coinciding mini-restaurants (one with pasta and pizza, one that is more high-end, one for seafood, etc.).
I mean just look at all the goods.
There was even a pasta maker.
We didn't want a huge lunch but we ended up with a platter of charcuterie, cheeses, bread, olive oil, and wine. You may have seen this on Instagram. But give me this and I am a happy girl. The honey, we found out, had amaretto in it. #foodinspiration.
After Eataly and some resting, we went to the Goose Island Brewery for a tour. Chicago has a ton of breweries in the city or just outside of the city. It was hard to pick which one too visit (plus they all only give tours at certain hours). We settled on Goose Island because we had heard of the beer but didn't know much about it.
It was a really good tour and they do a lot of unique things with their beers. Above is a picture of where they age certain types of beers. Some are aged in oak barrels and some are aged in bourbon barrels, depending on the beer. They served small glasses of beer at different points during the tour so you could listen and drink. That doesn't always happen with tours.
We went back to their brand new taproom to try more beers. Baby beers!
We then went to an earlier dinner to a Japanese restaurant called Momotaro. We sat downstairs at their Izakaya bar. Now, we had seen Izakaya on one of Anthony Bourdain's shows before and had always wanted to try it. It was really good but not what we had expected. On Anthony's show, they showed people around an open grill, watching skewers being cooked. But Izakaya by definition is basically tapas and small plates to be shared. Therefore, we just had a different perception going into it.
It was really dark in there so I apologize for the terrible pictures. We had Uni Chorizo Toast (the bottom picture), a spicy tuna roll with crunchies on it, a Chicken Thigh and Scallion Robata and a Wagyu Beef and Shishito Robata (both of those are meat skewers essentially).
Then, we made another attempt at the tiki bar. We were super happy we went this night (Sunday night) instead as it was far less crowded and we could sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders. This place was called Three Dots and a Dash. And it was amazing. It felt like we were on vacation on a tropical island for starters.
Each drink comes in its own special cup and illustrated on the menu.
Oh and they were STRONG. Luckily we were walking home.
The bartenders put a lot of care into the awesome garnishes too. We decided we need to open a tiki bar in Boston. Anyone want in?
On Monday morning, we took a long walk to a restaurant called the Little Goat Diner just outside of downtown Chicago. The Girl and the Goat is one of the best restaurants in Chicago and since we couldn't get reservations there, we went to their sister restaurant.
There were cute little goats everywhere! The inside looked like an old school diner but upscale somehow at the same time. We shared a cinnamon bun to start.
Tim has a cinnamon bun obsession but doesn't eat them often so we took advantage of them being on the menu.
For breakfast, I had Crumpets with Chorizo Maple Syrup topped with gooseberries (which are delicious and I had them for the first time ever here) and blueberries.
It was a great sweet and salty combination (with a bit of smokiness from the chorizo) and the crumpets were sooo buttery.
We took the L train back into the city and walked around Millennium Park. We had to make the obligatory visit at the Bean.
and also to the Buckingham Fountain.
Chicago has some gorgeous parks and Millennium is huge. We then headed over to the United Center to see where the Chicago Bulls play. We met Michael Jordan (not really, just his statue).
Then went back to Navy Pier. But, as you can see, rain was on the way.
We made it back to the bus just as the skies opened up. Whew. That night, we went to an improv show at Second City Comedy which is a very well known comedy theater and improv school. A lot of very well-known comedians started here including Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Mike Myers, and a ton of others. I highly recommend making a visit to one of their theaters while in Chicago. After the show, we had some drinks at a restaurant near our hotel to end the night. Also, since it was Monday, we thought they had $6 drinks buuuut they did not. Oops.
Stay tuned, more Chicago to come!