Oh Chicago, I think you won.
Nic and I pulled into the Windy City about 6:30pm on Friday and we were ready for some FOOD! Lucky us, we had a friend to stay with and her boyfriend had a parking spot for our vehicle. After getting everything situated and the Jeep moved, we walked to the Bottled Blonde. According to our friend, Lindsey, this was a restaurant by day and club by night. There were big screen tv’s everywhere, and it seemed like a great place to catch any sports game and she told us they even play Husker games so this place was winning in my book. We ordered some fries, the BBQ pizza, and I had a salad. It was all decently good, not as good as some of the food we have had on our trip, but we were so hungry we couldn’t complain. What we could complain about was the service. After we had clearly finished eating (napkins sitting atop our mostly empty plates, and beers drained), our server walked by multiple times without stopping to see if we needed anything or ready for the check. I actually had to get up and find her to ask for our ticket which is something that just shouldn’t have to happen. Having been a waitress myself, I can usually tell when a server is just bad, if they are busy, or if there is some unusual circumstance that is causes them not to be attentive the way they should be. In this case, it was apparent our gal just didn’t care about us or her tip. That being said, I would probably go back if there was a good game on and just hope not to get the same waitress.
After our dinner, we did a little bar hopping. Oops, did I say a little? I meant more bar hopping than should have. There are so many bars in Chicago, all of them with their own personality, it would be impossible not to find one you like. We had (too much) fun. I’ll just leave it at that.
The next morning came with a long list things to do. We didn’t do much of them. Nic and I left the apartment we were staying at and started searching for the first place that served breakfast. We did not have to go far; we spotted Butch McGuire’s as soon as we turned the corner, and walked in. It was the perfect spot for the hubs and I to grab a bite to eat, and drink something just strong enough to ease our hang over. That’s what you are supposed to do, right? Well, anyway, Nic had some eggs and hash browns with bacon while I had the pecan pancakes with eggs and bacon. They roast the pecans on site and they were so good. I shamelessly ate almost my entire plate. We ended up staying quite a while longer than we had anticipated. Our bartender was awesome and kept giving us ideas of what to do while we were in Chicago; our time was dwindling quickly so how many we would actually get to was a mystery. We also made a couple friends, two kids who just turned 21 and made us feel old… But let’s be real, we were probably the coolest people these guys were going to meet while they were in Chicago; we shared all our wisdom and life lessons. We are super cool.
Eventually, we made our way to Oak Street Beach. It was packed with people playing volleyball, sunbathing, drinking, hanging with friends, etc. You could see boats out on the lake; it was exactly how you would imagine the ideal Fourth of July weekend.
We also made our way to The Bean and Navy Pier. We walked the city, enjoying all the sites and smells. With restaurants and bars filling every block, there is a lot to take in. Not to mention all the people. I’m sure with the holiday weekend it was slightly busier than normal, but it was hard to get around some places because of the congestion, especially at Navy Pier. In Millenium Park we walked through this giant open concert space; there was a beautiful opera going on.
For dinner we went to Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta. It was recommended to us by the bartender from Butch McGuire’s. Nic had originally planned on taking me to Lou Malnati’s (this must be a staple deep dish pizza place in Chicago because everyone talked about going there), but we were told that Pizano’s is better. Apparently, Lou’s is turning into a bit of a chain, and although it is still good, Pizano’s is keeping it local. I loved the pizza. I’ve never had ‘real’ deep dish pizza before and I was not disappointed. I asked Nic if this place was comparable to Lou’s and he said it was better. I would absolutely recommend it. Not only is the food good, but the atmosphere gives off this old hometown feel; there are Christmas lights up and everyone is friendly.
I loved Chicago, but I could never live there. Both Nic and I agreed it would have been a great place to live if we were single and still in our twenties (the latter is just Nic, for the record). We definitely plan on going back, and it was a great first stop on the second leg of our trip.
*Dates visited: July 1-3