To catch up on Part I, click here. For Part II, click here.
ARCHITECTURE & DETAILS
I’m a huge fan of old buildings, and I can even appreciate the clean lines of simpler contemporary architecture. After my visit, I find Chicago to be synonymous with classic and gorgeous detail, which is something I find very inspiring in creative aspects of my life. Despite The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which caused tremendous destruction, the city stands full of some of the most gorgeous and detailed classic buildings. It also represents modern and contemporary structures. This city has a beautiful blend of the old and new… and the ivy-covered variety. If you read the first two parts of this, you’ll know why some of the pictures were taken from behind a rain-covered window. This is from the tour boat during that crazy thunder storm. If you love history, you’ll love Chicago.
So where did I leave off? Oh yes, Chicago. One subject I haven’t touched on is food. Food is a very important part of my happiness, I’m sure a lot of you can relate. There are at least two types of snacks in my purse at any given time. I bring clementines(when they’re in season, of course) to the movies with me. I don’t really like going out and doing anything if some sort of snacking isn’t involved. I think that’s mainly why I don’t understand bar hopping, but whatever. Like, can I get an appetizer? The most difficult decision for me and my husband to make each day, is what we’re going to eat for dinner. We take it seriously. Anyway, when I travel somewhere, I like to plan out whats and wheres of eating.
Chicago cuisine, let’s see, we have deep dish pizza and chicago-style hot dogs. I planned on trying both. I also wanted to make it a point to go to RPM, which is Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s Restaurant. This is because I’m pop-culture and reality TV obsessed and you probably are too, right?
I hope no Chicago natives hate me for this, but I didn’t like your hot dogs… or pizza. Sorry. We ate at Gino’s East, after waiting on a huge line. I figured the pizza must be good, then. No? We ordered both deep dish and regular thin crust pizza. I wasn’t expecting much from the thin crust; this is because I am from New Jersey and you just can’t get any better than that, as far as pizza and bagels are concerned. That is a fact. The deep dish, on the other hand, was something that I was very curious to try. I had two bites of it and I was able to swallow those two bites, but I feared if I attempted a third, I would toss my cookies. So I did not try a third. It was too thick, too much stuff, not good dough, not good sauce. Quite frankly, it grossed me out. I then attempted the thin crust and I was able to eat the whole slice, but it was not good. It was all very bad. Now, I’m fully open to trying a different place for pizza next time I go to Chicago, but in theory, I feel that deep dish pizza is gross. Oh, and as far as hot dogs go, I just like them boiled with mustard and ketchup, so all the toppings weren’t my style. If any of you out there have any feedback on pizza places in Chicago, I’m open to trying it again. I hope there are no hard feelings.
Sushi Samba was very good. It’s a wildly decorated Japanese/Brazilian/Peruvian restaurant, which has locations in five cities. It was a little on the pricey side but the food was delicious and the ambience was wonderfully different.
Carmine’s on Rush Street, borders a small park which is surrounded by restaurants. I loved this area of the city, it was especially beautiful at night. The food at Carmine’s is Italian and very good. The restaurant inside is classic and has outdoor seating in the Summer. I would highly recommend this place, it was more family oriented, it reminded me of the North Beach section of San Francisco.
We didn’t eat dinner at RPM because reservations were pretty impossible to get, but we did go to the bar and have drinks and appetizers. It was chic. Very contemporary and clean. The service was very good and so were the appetizers. This was also an Italian restaurant, but more of a modern Italian. I would recommend this place if you can get a reservation, very well done.
Chicago also has a Magnolia Bakery! Dessert is my favorite!
As for night life, we went bar hopping in Old Town, and there was no snacking involved. But it was a fun time. I really can’t remember the last time I had so many drinks, probably because there wasn’t one. I drank the most I ever drank in Chicago. I’m not a drinker; two is a lot for me. I think I had like NINE drinks in one night! Yikes! Old town is a little more laid back than some of the other spots in the city, where all the trendy clubs are. I mean, some of the places in Old town are a little “club-ish” but not for the most part. It was just bar after bar. There were a good amount of places with outdoor areas; one place even had a retractable roof! It was just a good time spent with some old friends. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you – one of our other friends from our Minnesota days currently lives in Indiana, so he made the trip out to Chicago to meet up with us. Isn’t that great?! It got a little wild.
We had a blast. I love Chicago and I can’t wait to go again! All the celebrating led to this on Sunday morning.
Chicago had been at the top of our list for a long time. We were foolish not to have taken advantage of visiting “The Windy City” while living in Minneapolis, but what are yah gonna do?
My first impressions of the city were great. Very clean. I knew I’d love it there, but I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t feel like I was in the Midwest. To me, it felt more like the lovechild of San Francisco and Boston. Lake Michigan is so enormous it feels like you’re on the coast; it definitely brings an important dynamic to the city. We got the most amazing views from The Signature Room restaurant, at the top of the Hancock Tower. There are even views from the ladies room, it’s pretty incredible.
The food was pretty good, but the prices were ridiculous, as expected. It’s definitely worth it for the views and ambience. Not only does Chicago have this gargantuan body of water, but it also dons the Chicago River. There is an architectural tour by boat that we took. I strongly recommend it. It was enjoyable, informative, and gave views of the city’s amazing blend of architectural styles – all in a one hour boat ride. We, being who we are, brought a thunder storm with us that began as soon as we sat down on the boat and lasted the duration of the tour. We’re bad luck. Even with the rain, the tour was wonderful. AND they give you a fun little paper hat! It did rip when I tried to put it on, but I was still a first mate.
Michigan Avenue is the place for most of your shopping needs. It has all the good stuff. It was here that I fell in love with Top Shop; one of the three US locations, the two others being New York and Las Vegas. Another shopping area is what they call “Viagra Triangle.” Where all the high end stores are, also lurk rich old men and young attractive women seeking sugar daddies, hence the name. It’s a fun place to window shop, and that’s just what we did. Sad face.
Millenium Park is home to the famous “bean.” I’ve heard that the artist who made this bean-shaped sculpture gets angry at the fact that everyone refers to it as “the bean.” I know what you’re all thinking, then why did he shape it like a bean? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that it’s really cool to see. It’s especially functional if you don’t have any friends to take your picture, because it’s reflective!
Navy Pier is definitely a stop visitors should make, even for just a stroll. It’s sort of like the Santa Monica Pier, except bigger. Being right on Lake Michigan, It’s the perfect spot to view the firework shows. If you have children or act like one, worry not, because it’s equipped with rides and games. It’s beautiful, you should go.