I had never been to Chicago before so I am aware the title of this post is a little deceptive. The reunion part of the trip was in the form of KW and Max–my two awesome roommates from when I lived in Washington, DC 10 years ago. We all live in different parts of the country now and don’t talk as often as we should so when Max suggested a reunion over Labor Day we all jumped at the chance and actually made it happen. We picked Chicago because none of us had been there before and because it was a good central location. (Actually, technically I have been there before but I was a teenager and with my family on a huge road trip and we didn’t really see anything in the city so I don’t count it.)
So, I loved Chicago. If you love cities (and goodness knows I do) you will love Chicago too. First, the food…
On a first trip to Chicago you HAVE to have deep dish pizza. We got ours at a famous place called Giordano’s. I think it might be a touch too famous as the line there was INSANE. We fought the crowds, got up to the counter where they told us we could put our name down, wait an hour and a half, and then come back and order our pizza. We did as we were told only to find out that once you order the pizza, the wait is another hour before you sit down. At this point we were at the end of a long day and opted instead to have the pizza delivered to our hotel (to cook the pizza and deliver it was going to take the same amount of time).
Pizza in your hotel bed while watching a pay-per-view movie…perfect.
We went to some great restaurants. Rick Blayless’ XOCO had really amazing sandwiches and guac as well as churros for dessert with a shot of chocolate and some Mexican vanilla ice cream for dipping.
Another noteworthy meal was Heaven on Seven for brunch. One of the brunch options is a buffet style meal. There is not a buffet set up in the restaurant but if you order the buffet you get a variety of dishes brought to your table, all you can eat, for everyone to enjoy–100% participation is required. Once we saw this deal, obviously we all decided to enjoy the buffet. We were brought scrambled eggs, thick cut bacon and sausage, potatoes, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and all of our personal favorite…bananas foster french toast. Yeah. We ended up getting seconds of that perfect food. It was divine.
We also snacked on copious amounts of Garrett’s popcorn–we got the mix of cheese and caramel popcorn and it was amazing–although it turned my fingers fluorescent orange whenever I ate it. KW didn’t have the same problem and I couldn’t understand why until I watched her actually eat some popcorn. She swiftly but delicately would pop each kernel into her mouth, one at a time but really fast, which resulted in super clean hands. I really must remember to eat more lady-like when consuming large amounts of popcorn.
We also loved the Doubletree cookie we received at check-in to our hotel. Max tried to fib sweet-talk her way into another cookie when we checked out but the lady ignored us and we remained cookie-less. Sad.
So the food, it was really great. Chicago is known for it and I got a small taste as to why. You would think that was all we did (interspersed between bouts of food comas) but no. We managed to get out and experience some of the town too.
We went to a Cubs game. I am not a huge baseball fan but I do enjoy seeing a game in person. Plus, Wrigley Field is historic and an arena unlike any other I have been to. You can just feel the history there.
Our seats were located in a section that was nicely shaded–only problem, this was the kind of day where you really needed the sun to be comfortable. I learned why Chicago is called the Windy City. The wind coupled with the lack of direct sunlight resulted in a very cold watching experience. But still, it was fun to be there.
One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Chicago Art Institute. There is some amazing art there that we had a lot of fun exploring (and taking pictures with).
Max as modern art.
Some took a little more time to take in.
Max listening in.
We also walked around Millennium park, took lots of pictures of ourselves in the bean,
and saw other cool outdoor art.
If you wait a few minutes he starts crying. It’s pretty deep.
One morning, we took an Agricultural river cruise. Chicago has some of the most interesting and historic buildings and architecture in the U.S. so this tour was very interesting and a great way to see the city.
Our tour guide was awesome but she also looked and sounded exactly like the girl who plays the super fan Mel from Flight of the Conchords. I’m not joking, I even wondered what the possibility of them being the same person was.
Hi Mel. You were an awesome tour guide.
Perhaps the coolest thing we did was visit Oak Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s first family home, the studio he built, as well as a ton of homes in the neighborhood that he designed. We were able to go on a tour of the inside of his house and it is hands down worth the trip out there. He really was a genius and you can see it even in his early work. I was in awe the whole tour long. I wish they would have let us take pictures of the inside but alas, you will have to settle for this.
Outside Frank’s studio
As you can see, this trip was awesome. What made it even more special was I got to reconnect with two friends who I love and share a lot of history with. True friendships stand the test of time and pick up right where you left off. KW and Max are those kind of friends.
Love you girls.