A Hell of a Town…

Vacation recap blogs are daunting. To try and sum up everything you did, saw, and ate almost always guarantees you’ll forget something, someone, whatever. I’m quite certain I will forget a few things, but as a highlight reel, we’ll focus mostly on the main attraction of our trip to Chicago: the food.

The first night we got there, we headed up to Wicker Park starving and looking for food. After walking around a bit, we found a cute little place serving Bahn Mi (for Jeff) and Pho (for Laura). I ate that soup like I’d been starving for days. I am pretty sure on a normal day, the place wouldn’t have stood out in my memory at all, but factor in hunger power, and it was the best damn pho I’ve ever had. We then met up with a friend who had moved to Chicago recently and stopped in to one of Jeff’s favorite pubs. It was a bit of a hipster haven, but did have this delightful drawing on the back of the bathroom wall:

Thursday, we headed straight to Jeff’s favorite coffee shop in town, the Wormhole. Specializing in old school nintendo tile artistry on the walls, a delorean on display, and awesome coffee and pastries, it totally hit the spot. I got sconed, Jeff had a croissant, and we just hung out and read our respective books & magazines. I love doing that on vacation-we made another trip to the wormhole on a day we didn’t feel like doing much of anything, and spent some more time just hanging out without the guilt of “I should get home and tend to the yard a bit”. After our coffee, we hit the Shedd aquarium, where we made friends with this turtle:

And then realized we were starving. Off to Eataly! If you’ve never been, it gets a bit overwhelming to me, but it basically has all the foods you’d expect to find in Italy, as well as the supplies to make it yourself. We hung out at the meat and cheese section, and had some delicious wine and lunch:

I think this may have actually been the first time I’ve had a fig, aside from the occasional fig newton consumed after school when I was 7. But the honey drizzle, apricots, almonds, and figs may actually have been my favorite part of this meal. LOVE them with the crusty bread. This made us realize we totally needed to up our game for our own charcuterie nights at home! That evening, we cruised up to a recommended dinner spot, Miller’s Pub, and found it…OK. My dinner was unremarkable, and I think that I’ll remember that place only as the spot Jeff drank absinthe at.

Friday, we had breakfast at a Chicago chain that I had gotten a few gift certificates to some years back-I was already feeling the sting of spending all the money on vacation, so this helped. Headed over to the Field Museum, where we saw more taxidermied animals than I’d ever thought possible. After we got our science on, we decided to try “Little Goat” for lunch. It’s the less formal restaurant from a Top Chef winner in Chicago. I had a Greek salad, Jeff had an amazing looking burger, and we shared some fried pickles. I really enjoyed it-one of my favorite meals on the trip. That night, it was cold and drizzly so we just chilled at our condo and got some subpar Chinese delivered.

Saturday, we had breakfast at another of Jeff’s faves in “Little Italy”-Stax. Gotta love a place that has sweats as part of their uniform, right? After that, we peeked through the stained glass museum and then splurged on an architecture cruise of the city. Our guide was great and we learned a ton.

That night, we had some British fare at Owen & Engine and then took in a star wars burlesque show. It was exactly as crazy as you’re imagining. Honestly, even someone with a casual knowledge of Star Wars could appreciate it. This was our latest night and the people we encountered on the transportation home were quite…varied.

Sunday was dim sum day! Headed over to Chinatown and ended up at the exact restaurant my friend Molly and I had been to 2 years prior. Everything was divine except for the ill-fated “beef balls”-texturally we just couldn’t handle it. So both times I’ve been there, we had one dish we didn’t care for and everything else was delicious. This was the afternoon we meandered around Wicker Park, hung at the coffee shop, and just slowed down a bit. Dinner was some AMAZING tacos at Antique Taco-I’d recommend that place to anyone. Shrimp tacos mademe regret my decision to share with Jeff, as I wanted them all to myself!

So all in all, we had a great vacation. I think, for Chicago, we may have been there a bit longer than we needed. And I reinforcedĀ that I’m a creature of habit, and really thrive best in my little bubble of work, gym, weekend lazy, repeat. I think we’re all that way to some degree-but I have no problem admitting I cling to my routine a bit more than most!

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