As I mentioned in last week’s recap post, my husband and I spent the weekend in Chicago, a city which, to everyone’s amazement (including my own) I have never been before. The week leading up to our trip I asked all of my friends, co-workers and social networks what we should do, so I wanted to share the things we were actually able to fit in to our 2.5 day Chicago adventure so that you can be super mega epic jealous.
Rock Bottom Brewery
I was STARVING when we landed and this was the first place we saw by our hotel so this was where we ate. It’s a chain restaurant/brewery with a few dozen locations across the country, but it was my first time trying it, and they had decent food and a terrific Belgian IPA.
I was told we HAD to eat here, and that we had to get the lobster crostini, so we invited friends Ed and Jaclyn who live in town. My husband and I split four “small” plates (goat cheese and beat pâté, french onion gruyère fondue, bacon and caramelized onion tarte flambée, and of course the lobster crostini. Holy shit.) and we were STUFFED. But we ordered the trio of pot de crème (pistachio, crème brûlée, coffee) anyway. Terrific all around.
Boy they pack you in like sardines to this place, but it’s absolutely worth it. We got to see the main stage revue entitled “Who Do We Think We Are?” I honestly do not think we stopped laughing for two hours. Every bit hit. It was a mix of mostly scripted political, racial, cultural and random humor, with a few improv’d bits to boot. HIGHLY recommend.
Acme Boutique Hotel*
I’m so glad we stayed here! From the graffiti’d wall behind the checkin counter to the album poster plastered elevators to the giant zipper wall in the hotel room and the lipstick imprint on the mirror that served as a night light, this place had a quirky ambiance we really enjoyed. The room was small but took successful advantage of space to fit in a king bed, a large booth seating area and a “closet” (some poles sticking out of the wall).
Sable Kitchen & Bar*
Ever the drunk brunchers, we discovered Sable a block from our hotel. This bar had one of the most intriguing and extensive cocktail menus I’ve ever seen – over a dozen pages of unique and classic creations. At our servers urging we both ordered drinks that weren’t even on the menu yet, which the bartender had just worked up, and which were incredible and I wish I remembered what was in them. Really good food, too.
Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise*
Several friends of mine who live or have lived in Chicago recommended this particular boat cruise (there are a dozen different ones) and it did not disappoint. An hour and a half of beautiful Chicago architecture. I feel like I learned a lot and retained nothing, but someday I bet something that registered in my brain will win me a million dollars on a TV game show. I got a lot of great pictures and drank a mimosa. Good shit.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
My husband insisted on getting deep dish pizza, so our friends Doug and Tina who live in Chicago picked us up and brought us to Lou’s for some of the best pie in town (a topic which everyone seems to have very strong opinions about.) This was my first real Chicago deep dish experience… and I want more. (Our leftovers made excellent drunk snacks later.)
We wandered the mag mile to work off some of the pizza. I touched things I couldn’t afford.
Located in the basement of another bar conveniently across the street from our hotel, Watershed served up original and classic cocktails crafted with care (10 minutes or more to carefully make each one). Between the delicious drinks, the comfy wingback chairs in lieu of bar stools, and the hilarious staff, we were happy to spend several hours here, before grabbing a bottle of champagne from the grocery store and heading in for the night.
Chicago Cultural Center
The Tiffany stained-glass domed ceiling was very pretty. Other than that we meandered about for 15 minutes and meandered back out the door.
We were in search of a bar for my husband to watch his beloved Browns lose when we wandered past the Public House. It was a really nice sports lounge with a fair amount of tap handles and TVs, but none of them were turned to the Browns (in favor of Da Bears) and none of the tables were empty, so we leaned on a column for a beer each and headed out.
Bottomless mimosas? Challenge accepted. We weren’t really hungry, and had dinner reservations in a few hours, but split a breakfast pizza and some duck hash anyway to balance our bottomless beverages. Food was great. Mimosas were strong. I had 5… in 45 minutes.
Aaaand at this point we had to stop at Starbucks for a bit because I was drunk. At 2pm. On a Sunday. We couldn’t find a local coffee shop, but to be fair I was also too drunk to look properly.
Pops for Champagne
This is the bar above our beloved Watershed. A very educational menu explains the different varietals of champagne and sparkling wine. If you want to live like a boss you could buy one of the $1,000 bottles. We didn’t. We opted for tasty champagne cocktails.
This place is apparently the new hotness in Chicago because the only time we could get a reservation was 4:30pm on a Sunday – which was fine, since that would leave us just enough time to eat and get to the airport. The plate of four cheeses was delicious. We got a couple other small plates, which were just OK.
All in all we had a terrific weekend! I will definitely be back soon. And sorry for the Foursquare assault on my Twitter and Facebook feeds this weekend :)