weather and accomodations
I was super excited that I had the opportunity to return to this city sooner than expected, thanks to work! I think with any work trip, your expectations of your trip very much differ from that of a personal trip. Minding that I came for work, most of my experiences will revolve around food.
I stayed at the Virgin Hotel in Downtown Chicago during the days I was there for work, and stayed with a friend in Bronzeville over the weekend, which apparently is too far south for anyone to want to go.
The weather was pretty rainy and hot for most of the time I was there. Not Chicago's finest, especially after the weather had been excellent the first time I went.
Fun fact: A lot of companies in Chicago observe "summer Fridays" where they allow their employees to leave early on Fridays so they can enjoy all of Chicago's summer festivals.
I flew in the early PM and was situated in my hotel by dinnertime. I learned my lesson the hard way last time with reserving dinner in advance, so I made sure to make my reservations for Girl and the Goat weeeeks ahead this time for myself and some friends! I will say that this time was very good, but it wasn't like my first time there, but glad I went again since I was craving it like crazy after my first time.
For dessert, we walked over to BomboBar, which was just a small take-out window outside of a bar. Seeing how decadent and Instagram-worthy these desserts looked, it's no wonder there was a long line! They had an assortment of gelato, bombolonis, etc.
After work, our group headed to Sushi-San. A Japanese-American fusion restaurant with an playful yet elevated atmosphere. We ordered a bunch of appetizers to share and everyone got their own entree. It was all pretty fancy and fusiony but nothing really got my attention. It all seemed really expensive for what is.
The best thing consumed this day must have been a beer that my colleagues surprised me with when I checked into the hotel. After dinner, I cracked opened my Sun Crusher (Hoppy Wheat Ale) by Revolution Brewery. Oh gosh, it was delicious. Everything I love in a beer: crisp and hopper, full bodied, and citrusy. Highly, highly recommended.
Our work group went to Beatrix for lunch, which was excellent! I ordered off their prix-fixe menu, which came with shared salads and desserts, while we chose our entree. I got their Chili & Chocolate Glazed Salmon, which was basically "Salmon Mole" but they refused to call it Mole. Their menu was great all around, especially their salads and desserts! It's one of those places you'd go for lunch on a workday you take off as a 'personal day.'
Now that I was officially done with work stuff for the week, my friend and I met up for dinner and drinks @ Longman & Eagle, which is like a pub/restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. The wait was about 20-30 minutes so we grabbed a drink at the bar, which was chill. I honestly don't remember what we ordered since their menu changes daily and I wasn't able to eat much (I was still full from Beatrix), but remember the food being pretty good!
We spent the rest of the evening walking around Logan Square and found ourselves at the Emporium, which is a huge space with bars, arcade games, air hockey, ski-ball, and picnic tables for you to BYOFood with your friends. I kept wishing we had something like this in the Bay area... lo and behold: Emporium SF. I have yet to check it out but it's definitely on my list!
I started off my weekend at the Chicken and Waffle House in Grand Boulevard. It reminded me of Roscoe's, which I dearly miss. It was a solid southern chicken and waffle house. If you go, order chicken and waffles. Not much more so say than that.
Spent some time around Chinatown. Tous les Jours opened up a new storefront so there was a line out the door. It was actually the best bread from Tous les Jours I've had.
Made my way to 3 Arts Cafe during the mid afternoon). The wait was still 30 minutes, but better than the usual 2 hour wait during peak hours. I killed time walking through all the floors, guessing how many hundreds of dollars a simple mirror and sink would cost, and dreaming of the bedrooms I'll never have. The cafe is really as beautiful as all the photos show. It lights up the basic bish within, but my oh my, their food is costly for a cafe. I ordered the cheapest things on the menu and mostly used the time to enjoy the atmosphere. A great suggestion for the cafe (if you're reading this): Open up an afternoon tea menu during midday! ;)
For dinner, we ate at Mini Mott, started by Mott St.
(Fun fact: Most of the big food players in Chicago are all part of a larger restaurant group.)
Their burgers were good, and they also have alcoholic milkshakes and craft beer, which makes for a great meal, and upset stomachache. They also happened to serve Malort. A friend asks "have you ever had Malort?" I respond "What's that?" The next thing I knew I had a shot of this mysterious liqueur in front of me with people counting down until I was expected to down this sucker.
The shot itself wasn't all that bad. The aftertaste is what slowly killed me. It left a bad taste in my mouth, literally. The dry, bitter taste creeps in and never leaves, like your nomad friend who "visits" you with but a one-way ticket. It was bad, y'all.
I had to get that aftertaste out of my mouth, so we all went to Revolution Brewery for a drink. They have their own bar setup, but also table booths for their restaurant side. I ordered the Under Protest APA, which was also really really good. This brewery was 2 for 2 for me so I decided I absolutely love this brewery and highly recommend it. Two thumbs up.
I ended the night at Second City to watch their Sangria Popsicle show. I love improv, whether amateur or professional- it's always funny to me. Thank you, improvisers, who always bring smiles to faces like mine. Your humour is appreciated.
The morning was spent at church 🙌🏼.
I was taken to La Michocana to try Mangonada, a definite first for me. It was sweet and salty and spicy and all the reasons why Koreans love Mexican food. I can't say I loved it at first (and still even now) but I can absolutely see the appeal and obsession over it! It's also great for the summertime, so why not?
Before heading to the airport, my meal supper in Chicago was at Tank Noodle in Argyle for some authentic pho. I'm really bad at rating pho. It was good pho.
Funny enough, all of the things on my bucket list for next time on my first Chicago blog were not achieved. I shall save them for next time, haha. Blessed to have had friends to show me around and to experience Chicago with. Until next time...