Chicago Returns

The travel recaps continue!

Two weeks ago, I met some of my dearest girlfriends in the Windy City for a
good ole fashioned girls weekend. Yeehaw and Amen. Living a scant 5 hours away, I simply loaded up my car with wine supplies for the weekend and hit the road. I was ready for some quality time.

The girls and I rendezvoused at our hotel downtown and got to shopping and talking.  After browsing for a bit, we got drinks and snacks on the rooftop of Zed 451. I was too busy catching up to snap pictures of the cocktails; but they were fun, girly and refreshing (much like us?)

Hi pretty girls (some of us were on the other side, out of picture view)

The rooftop space was excellent and the drinks and apps were perfect fit for the venue; definitely a place I would recommend.

After returning to the hotel to get prettied up, we headed to Old Town for a Mexican feast at Adobo.

I kept dinner on the simple side with a jicima and mango salad with pumpkin seed dressing; I loved how crunchy and refreshing this was (and the mango didn’t taste like hot garbage, win!)

I went with a salad to save room for THIS…..

Oh hello, table-side guacamole. I love you.

We all happily put our faces into crisp tortilla chips and fresh, chunky, spicy guacamole. I’m a fool for chips and guacamole so this was basically appetizer paradise for me.

After dinner we walked around for a bit and a couple of us stopped into a blues club to hear some live music. The walk home yielded some fun interactions with strangers….one  (obviously astute) man on the street told me that my backside was “Number 1 while J.Lo, only so-so” – as if I needed another reason to love Chicago! Girls, forget those squats and just move to Chi-town.

The next day dawned bright and sunny, and we had a full day planned.
Before hitting the streets, we stopped for breakfast at the fabulous Yolk.

I went for the California egg white omelet (no sour cream) with salad on the side.
I love salad for breakfast.

Much fortified by the deliciousness at Yolk, we headed over to Navy Pier to do the tourist thing.

We rode the Ferris Wheel and hit the local beach for a while to get in some sun
and lake time.

I loved that we were in the middle of the city and people were just jumping in the lake.
In Boston, you do not swim in the Charles River unless you’ve been pushed in and in Cincinnati, there is no beach on our river.

We didn’t dawdle too long lake-side; since we all had spa appointments at the fabulous Spa Space . My friend Beany and I went here on our trip to Chicago in March and it was delightful; it did not disappoint a second time. The space is clean

friendly and knowledgable and the massages are heavenly. Go. Now.

All blissed out from massages, we headed around the corner for a post-massage cocktail at N9NE Steakhouse.  It was pretty early and we had rather late dinner reservations so we ordered a few rounds of drinks and appetizers to hold us over.

Clockwise: Lobster Bisque, Wedge Salad, Trio of Tacos, Pear Salad, with a round of martinis…..

….and this AMAZING rock shrimp. I could not keep my fork out of this, it was absolutely PERFECT. Tender, crunchy with great flavor.

We headed back to the hotel to relax before changing clothes and heading to the fabulous RPM Italian for our late dinner. The experience, once again, was positively AMAZING. I love RPM for the celebrity sightings (yes, we saw Bill Rancic, adorable!) but the food is absolutely sublime.

Tough to see, but I didn’t want to harsh the mellow with too many pictures….

Our appetizers were incredible. Zucchini Fritti with Herb Dip; these literally tasted like Cool Ranch Doritos and I mean that in the BEST possible way. Crisp, herby and addictive; I wanted to hoard the whole plate. The Roman Style Artichokes were so different! The leaves were kept intact and deep-fried on the stem; I loved the presentation. Finally, the Mediterranean Octopus with celery and chick peas was quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten (high praise). I normally shy away from octopus; but when asking for appetizer recommendations, our waiter insisted this was not one to miss. He was SO convinced we’d love it, that if we didn’t – he’d pay for it himself. Not one to turn down a challenge; we happily ordered it and dug in. The crunch from the celery paired perfectly with the citrusy, delicate octopus and smooth, rich chick peas;  this was fantastic. Who knew octopus and chick peas could be so amazing?

I was still swooning from the octopus when my meal arrived; Short Rib Pappardelle. Rich and complex with fresh, snappy homemade pasta and dreamy, braised short rib. Delightful.

Belive it or not, we did try dessert: the Tartufo. A creamy hazelnut gelato covered in essentially a giant Ferrero Rocher; and I wasn’t mad at that. A perfect ending to a great meal. Happily stuffed, we waddled our way back to the hotel for more catching up.

Sunday morning came all too soon; and the girls and I had to pack up. Noooo!
We stopped for breakfast the Original Pancake House for (what else?) pancakes.

I went with my standard diner order of blueberry pancakes and egg whites, but I was disappointed. I thought my pancakes were dry and didn’t have nearly enough blueberries. If you’re going to boast about pancakes being your thing, make them amazing. My friend Nursey ordered this crazy Dutch Baby thing that had an omelette INSIDE a pancake crepe thingy that was so good – it took awhile to cook (about a half-hour) but well worth it.

(with a groping side of bacon).

After hugs and good-byes, I hit the road back to Cincinnati.
Another successful Chicago weekend!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    RPM I love you. Yolk I love you too. Although our trip was way back in March, I think my food is still settling on my butt – so guess it’s time to get back to Chicago and show that ass off!

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