88 In Travel

Chicago Part One

When I left D.C. the bar was very high. Luckily, Chicago was up for the challenge. I had plans to go into the city and stay with a friend for the weekend, then leave and go to the suburbs during the week with another friend. After spending a week in the suburbs (and a one night stay in Milwaukee ) we headed back to the city to spend another weekend with a different friend. Are you following? I didn’t think so. This is why there will be a two part Chicago post, sandwiching a Milwaukee post. This entry will include my first weekend which I spent with a girlfriend that I met from living in Dallas.

Lets kick things off with a view from my friend’s living room. Does it get any better than that? I ended up arriving from D.C. a bit later than planned. That morning I woke up with an email from the D.C. airport stating that all outbound flights were cancelled-due to “weather.” I don’t want to put my foil hat on and scare you away with my conspiracy theories but… there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and I’ll leave it at that. Lucky for me, I was able to get out just a few hours past schedule from Baltimore, rather than D.C.

As soon as I got there we headed to my friends place, had a glass of wine and took in a killer sunset, then headed to dinner. Dinner was good but I was mostly excited about coming across the Oscar Mayer weinermobile on our walk there! It’s the little things, people!

When we got up Saturday morning we decided our best bet was to walk the city so that I could really get up close and personal with the sights. To put it into perspective, my Birkenstocks (ugly as they may be) carried me nine miles blister free. I don’t want to spoil my part two Chicago post, but the above photo does a bit of foreshadowing…

Since we knew we had a long day of walking ahead of us, we decided to go to Wheat’s End for breakfast. If you ever visit Chicago and are gluten intolerant this is a must! I ordered pancakes and a cinnamon bun because I’m a deprived carb queen. The pancakes were good but not the best I’ve had. The cinnamon roll tasted like Christmas morning and I could have eaten ten more. My friend had their eggs Benedict and said that was great as well. They also had good coffee. As far as totally gluten free businesses go, this one ranks high. My carb and caffeine combo kept me running strong late into the afternoon.

We started our walk from Wheat’s End, then walked down along Lake Michigan until we found our way to the bean. I had to do as the tourists do so don’t give me a hard time for visiting a reflective legume, okay? It was super crowded so I didn’t get a photo with it but I’m pretty proud of the one I did snag. Also, some lady was straight up Lion King(ing) her baby to the underside of the bean. Like, holding it up and thrusting it near the under part of the bean over and over- it was very bizarre. **Note: no babies were harmed.

After walking about seven miles at this point, we headed to Raised, the rooftop bar/restaurant on the third floor of the Renaissance hotel. It had beautiful views and was the perfect pit stop for a little pick-me-up. We had the fries and the brussels sprouts appetizer and each had a beer. It was hunger games-esc trying to snag a seat but we ended up grabbing a bench and making use of it as our table.

Fast forward to a few hours later and I had my first ramen experience. The closest thing I’d had to it was Pho (which I love) so I knew I’d more likely than not, enjoy this as well. Boy is that an understatement. We went to Oiistar and had one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. On top of that, they make their own gluten free noodles and they have amazing sangria. If you think I’m exaggerating about the quality since it’s my only ramen experience, let me share a secret with you. I unbuttoned my pants at the table. Not afterwards, at home, in a food coma. I unbuttoned them so that I could eat more since we were going out after and I couldn’t take my leftovers with me- IT WAS THAT GOOD. Was I in pain? Yes. Was this a healthy choice? No. Would I do it again? Yes, right now, in a heartbeat.

After my ramen coma, we headed out to a few bars with some of Emily’s friends. Emily is my sweet friend with the killer ramen recommendations. Emily can be seen above.

The next morning we walked to grab coffee and explore a bit more. We ended up going over to Lincoln Park and enjoying our lattes. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. I was sad to leave but excited to know I’d be back the next weekend. After our coffee I hopped on the metra and headed to the ‘burbs. If you want to hear about the rest of my time in and around Chicago, keep your eyes peeled for my next post!

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