CHI (2x)

Super bitter feelings about this post right now.  I already wrote more than half of it before I hit “save draft” and BOOM – gone!  There was some error with wordpress and I’m still not over it.  Last attempt at this one:

Chicago.  I’ve been 3 times in my life and every time was in the winter.  Stupid, I know.  But I still loved it.  A LOT.  I am almost scared to go back in the summer when it’s supposedly perrrrfect for fear of making a scene through the airport as I get pulled against my will to get on a plane and come home.

My husband and I went to CHI this past November as I had gifted him some Bears tickets for his birthday back in August.  He’s a big fan.  We stayed at the Park Hyatt right off Michigan Ave.  It was an amazing hotel and a great location for shopping ;)  The first night we went to RPM Italian.  Just down right tasty Italian.  I even witnessed my husband get a little starstruck as Robert Smigel was sitting a few tables away.  Apparently this restaurant is a big celeb sighting hot spot…and the food was great too.  Those two reasons had me sold.

After dinner we headed to Mindy’s Hot Chocolate as recommended by a few people.  The cocoa is rich, the marshmallows are homemade, and the wait for a table is long.  We got it to-go and headed back to our room to call it a night.

The next day we did some shopping and met up with some of my husband’s family that lives in the area.  They took us to R.J. Grunts in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  It’s a staple in the city and known for being one of the first places to have a salad bar.  Shocking that my husband did not bite…  He loves a good salad bar.  After lunch, we walked over to the (free) Lincoln Park Zoo.  I loved that you just stumble upon a zoo in the middle of a park.  The highlight of the zoo trip?

Oh… just this baby rhino having the time of his life.  Go ahead and bookmark this video so you can refer back to it any time you are having a bad day. 

Later that night we met up with some friends that live in the city for dinner and some improv comedy at Second City.  The next day was the Bears game.  Not the best experience.  We realized I wasn’t allowed to bring my purse in when we were almost there.  Had to turn around and go drop it off at the hotel.  Then we get there and realize it’s cash only.  We had no cash.  Then several ATMs were down and the ones that were working were extreeeemely slow.  I think we finally got to our seats in the middle of the 2nd quarter.  Oh and our seats?  Last row possible.  Oops.  OH – and they lost :-/

After the game, we got some take-out deep dish from Pizzeria Due and hung out in our hotel room for the night before flying out the next morning.  If only we could have brought the leftover pizza home as a souvenir.

After our trip in November, we decided we needed to go back and soon.  And this time bring friends.  We invited several people and ended up getting a group of 8 total together which encouraged us to rent a home through VRBO.  The house was awesome and located in the Bucktown neighborhood…unknowingly a 5 minute walk to our friend’s place.  Convenient.  The first night we went to RPM Italian (again for my husband & I).  It wasn’t quite as impressive the second time mainly based on the location of our table.  We were in this corner of the restaurant snuggled up to a server station of some sort.  Nothing like the first time when we had a view of the whole place from our raised 2 top table.  Sorry friends!

After dinner several people went to bed.  Pasta and wine will do that…to some people at least.  The rest of us went to what our friend that lives in the ‘hood described as his favorite “dive” bar, Danny’s Tavern.  Well, let’s get this kid to Atlanta, OK?  This place was NO dive.  I mean it wasn’t glamorous but it was just a normal bar with dimmed lighting.  At least that’s what I remember seeing.  I also thought there was a chair somewhere there wasn’t and I woke up with an extremely bruised tailbone.  So maybe it really was a dive bar?  Either way, it was great because it was right across the street from our house.  We also met up with some other ATL friends that were in CHI for a wedding there and all in all – a great night.

The next day everyone sort of did their own thing.  My personal mission?  Eat amazing sushi for lunch.  A place called Coast was walking distance so 3 of us headed there only to be extremely disappointed to the “closed” sign on the door.  I think they were renovating or something…or maybe I read the hours wrong on the website?  I don’t remember.  Minor details.  We headed to the next sushi restaurant with a decent yelp review.  We were the only ones in there but hey – it was like 2pm on a Friday.  Whatever makes me feel better.  The sushi was okaaay, the ramen was pretty good, and the saki was going down.  After lunch it was time for some of us to go shopping.  Because it’s so much easier to shop after a drinking lunch of course.  We also stopped at a arcade bar for a beer.  Because why not?

For dinner that night, the Mr. & I had dinner with our friends that live in the city at Gilt Bar.  One of our friends has had basically everything on the menu and therefore we requested that she just go ahead and order for the table.  She did the best job.  Perfect amount of food and it was ALL really really good.  After dinner we met up with most of the others for more drinks and fun, and had a late night at the house…the usual.

The next day, my husband and I met up with some of his family members in the area at Big Star.  Two of their margaritas and I was feeling pretty good again.  Buh-bye hangover!  After we ate, we ventured to another bar for some extra afternoon cocktails.  We eventually departed and headed back to our house to get ready for dinner that night at The Publican.  We had almost the whole group at dinner and from what I remember – the food and drinks were great ;)  We went out after dinner and made the most of our last crazy night in Chicago.

All in all, it was a great trip.  Looking forward to that Chicago summer trip one day too..

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