Chi-Town days 1-3

28 Jul

Warning: long post, in multiple parts, with lots of pictures ahead. It’s detailed, but that’s the way I like my vacation recaps. And this is my blog/housing for all our fun memories, so I get to do that if I want to. Don’t say you weren’t warned! :)

Calvin and I just got back from a wonderful week spent in one of my favorite places in the US: Chicago!

I have always had an unexplainable love for this city and Calvin had never been. I also love the Cubs and have always wanted to go to Wrigley Field with my basketball-loving husband. So one of my Christmas presents from him was tickets to a game! Thus, our Chicago summer vacation was born.

He originally got tickets to see a game during our anniversary week back in May, but since we kinda made a super big purchase that month {a house!}, we decided to push the trip back to later in the summer. Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue with the tickets because the other cool thing he did was research all the rooftop venues that line the streets behind the outfield of Wrigley, and got our tickets from Beyond the Ivy. They are much easier to work than Ticketmaster, and they give you all-you-can-eat food and drinks, so it worked out perfectly.

We drove to Chicago on Saturday and made it there without any major incidents. At one point it did start pouring rain and we were a little nervous that we might need to pull over to wait it out, but it ended up being a short, summer thunderstorm and we drove out of it pretty quickly.

Once we got to the city and Calvin experienced driving in all their traffic, we were really ready to be at our hotel and park our car for the week.

We got checked in and parked, and then decided where we wanted to go eat. We ended up choosing Bucca di Beppo because I had been there before and it was a block from our hotel and we wanted something easy. They serve everything family style there so we split a huge meatball and a bowl of pasta and got sufficiently stuffed. After dinner we walked around the block for a bit, but then headed back to the hotel to call it a night.

Sunday morning we woke up and had breakfast at Orange. We found this, and most of the restaurants we ate at, on Yelp and it did not disappoint! It was a charming little place that made their own juices {you could even create your own} and they served orange coffee. I will admit I was a little hesitant about it, but it was actually pretty good if you can get used to a slightly acidic coffee! And the food was just as good as the drinks. Calvin had a decadent breakfast sandwich with fried eggs, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a zesty pesto and I had cinnamon roll pancakes. And yes, they were as good as that sounds.

After we ate breakfast we moved our car from the hotel’s garage to one slightly cheaper {read, still really expensive} and walked from there to the Field Museum.

We spent the majority of the day here wandering around the exhibits and staying out of the heat. I don’t remember ever visiting the Field Museum before, and Calvin could spend an entire day in almost any museum, so we had fun exploring it together. Sue the dinosaur and the Tsavo lions were a big hit, and Calvin loved the Egyptian mummy exhibit. We definitely recommend carving out some time to spend here if you’re ever in Chicago!

We ended up skipping lunch since we ate such a big breakfast, so we had an early dinner at a local place called Flo & Santos where we ate sum yummy bruschutta and shared a thin crust pizza. I know, I know, Chicago is known for their deep-dish pizza. But don’t worry; we definitely had plenty of that later in the week!

We rode the L-train back to the area where our hotel was and enjoyed exploring Millennium Park and walking along the Chicago River before calling it a night.

I may be slightly obsessed with the Bean, aka the Cloud Gate!

But only slightly.

Awesome amphitheater

And some fun finds on our walk back…

The next day we had a light breakfast with some stuff we bought at Trader Joe’s {why doesn’t Memphis have one of those?!} and wandered around Nordstrom for a bit before we met a co-worker of mine for lunch. We ate at Yolk where we once again were blown away by the portions and couldn’t clean our plates before we were too stuffed to move. Are you sensing a theme yet? We vacation around our bellies and hop from restaurant to restaurant. There are no diets on a Morris vacation!

After we left Yolk we walked over to the John Hancock building and made a trip to the Observation Deck. We spent some time wandering around and admiring the city from every direction before heading up a few more stories to the Signature Room Lounge. My dad and I did this when we were in Chicago together a couple of years ago, and it is a really fun experience. Basically you’re overpaying for a cocktail to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Chicago while you sit and sip your drink 96 stories in the air. It’s a fun experience and you can save a few bucks by skipping the Observation Deck and going straight to the Signature Room since it’s basically the same view.

When we left the John Hancock building we decided to walk back down Michigan Avenue and check out some of the shops since many were closed the day before. Luckily, my husband is a pretty good shopper and let me spend over an hour in their four-story Crate and Barrel! {Memphis needs one of those too, though it’s probably much better for my wallet that we don’t have one}. And from there he even took me to buy shoes. Seriously, I am a lucky girl.

We were near the River when we finished shopping and were looking for a casual, inexpensive place to grab a quick bite and a drink while we ate and watched the boats drive by. So I asked the girl checking us out for recommendations. She gave me two: one was a really expensive, fancy steakhouse {looked fun and delicious, but not what we were going for} and the other was a pretty chilled out looking place with a really unusual name—Dick’s Last Resort. So we went there. And then later decided that the girl must not have liked me very much even though I did buy something, because who recommends a place where waiters are purposely rude to you to anyone they like? But after sitting down at our table on the patio, we discovered that’s exactly what this place was. It was pretty much a Chili’s in terms of quality of food plus the added perk of having your waiter insult you and act like they’re annoyed by you, for fun. Maybe that’s a cool thing if you’re with a big group of friends and looking for some laughs, but for a couple on vacation looking for a cool spot to eat along the River, it was not.

Needless to say, we quickly ate our food, finished our drinks, and left. We had been planning to try out a local basement wine bar Calvin had read about, so we made our way there and hoped it would redeem our weird dinner experience.

And it did! DiSotto Enoteca is likely a local favorite on the weekends, but it’s in the basement of another restaurant, so typical tourists wouldn’t just stumble upon it. But that’s what Calvin is good at. Give him a few minutes with Google and he’ll find a cool place that the guidebooks would never tell you about! And because they never attract drop-ins from people passing on the sidewalk, we ended up being the only ones there. A little awkward for me at first, but Calvin was loving the fact that we had the place and the waitress to ourselves.

We ordered several different tastings of red wines throughout the night, enjoyed some delicious appetizers and cheese, and had a great time hanging out together. There was a slight mishap involving the rickety table, Calvin’s glass of red wine, and my white shorts but we didn’t let it spoil our fun. And thanks to Pinterest my shorts are perfectly white again! :)

Days 4-7 coming soon!


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