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Post Chicago Blues

Aaaahhh Chicago. Where to start…

The trip kicked off on Thursday afternoon, we arrived at Waterloo Regional International Airport and its likening to Albury Airport was enough to give me sweaty eyeballs right off the bat.

We were on the first American Airlines flight out from KW to Chicago, ever. Its a new route and they made something of a show of it. There was a live band, free food & drinks, and the media were there with camera crews, photographers & reporters looking all important. When the inbound flight landed  there was applause (almost like it was unexpected, which made me a little nervous) and speeches. Crazy talk! The flight was about an hour, a small plane, and before you knew it, we were queuing in Chicago customs in no time. For about two hours.

Our cab ride from the airport took about half an hour, and they are not wrong when they tell you Chicago has some mean traffic! But the city… the beautiful city. Please bare with me while I jabber on about about what we ate, what we did, and what we are going back to do (including taking a better camera with us, shame on me!).

Once checked in to our hotel, we head out on the hunt for dinner. Originally this option was on my ‘must avoid’ list, but we were both thirsty and hungry, and stumbled across Pizzeria Due. The time was ripe to have a crack at the famous Chicago deep dish pizza. And oh my god, this isn’t even a pizza! Its a a pie. With a cake-like base. It’s a pizza cake pie.  I went for an individual size four cheese & pesto. Honestly, it was rather delicious but I couldn’t eat the crust, it was too huge, and to be honest, it was a bit wrong. Lee went with some meaty special in a bigger size, and it nearly ruined him. This is back on the must avoid list.

A couple of beers later, with uncomfortable bellies we called it a night and rolled back to the hotel.

Friday morning was glorious! We had such a good time exploring the city, it really is beautiful. There is something in the air in Chicago, it’s almost electric. I love New York because the streets speak to me, but Chicago? This is a whole new ball game.  There is such an awesome casual vibe to the city, its a party town without the pressure.  The people are awesome, everyone is helpful, casual, and funny. And its so beautiful.

I skipped breakfast as I was still coping with the previous night’s deep dish, so by the time lunch came around I was famished. We found ourselves at a pub called Elephant & Castle (of course), where I enjoyed a delicious salad & a pint in the sun (as you do). Lee quaffed a pint or two himself over a ploughmans lunch, he has been missing the ol’ ploughmans since we left the UK.

The afternoon involved more wandering, and a rest back at the hotel, before heading out for our steak dinner. On the way we stopped at Pops for Champagne for a drink & some of the most delicious olives I have ever had. We sat out on the street, which was quite cute and fun, until a group of precious snobs rocked up and sat next to us, and complained about just about everything – from the layout of the menu they couldn’t understand to the woeful party in a lush part of town they had to go to last week. I think their diamond shoes were too tight and their pearls too heavy that day.  It was the bickering about how Las Vegas wasn’t enough fun for them that sent us over the edge, so it was time to pay up, and get our butts to steak central.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse was bloody sensational. I went for the bone in ribeye, Lee had the porterhouse. We shared sides of creamed spinach & the most amazing truffle scalloped potatoes, it was insane. The spinach was a bit average (tasted like frozen spinach), but everything else was awesome. They have an extensive wine list, and here’s the gimmick – the wine list is on iPads. How cool is that?! Lee’s steak was definitely better than mine, as mine was a bit fatty for my liking, but the non fatty bits were delicious. Unfortunately no pics, but not really as by the end of the meal I looked like I had eaten the steak with my hands, I was covered in steak splats. Gah!

Saturday was a busy day, with a bit of disappointment attached. We went to the Navy Pier, and I suggested the ferris wheel which surprised Lee as I hate heights. Well, I thought I was good for it, but quickly realised I wasn’t when I was having a mini wigout during the ride. Poor Lee, he didn’t need me having a panic attack mid flight! Still, views were great and the weather was stunning so a perfect day for roaming around, once I was off the ride and calmed down a bit.

We jumped in a cab and head up to Half Acre Brewery for a tour, but when we got there, the tour was full, so we missed out.  Noooooooooo! So we had some samples, and called it a day. We hopped on the train heading back to downtown and found ourselves by the river for lunch. I had a turkey & avocado foccacia and it was divine. Lee ordered a ham and egg croissant, and got some massive monster of a meal, a little unexpected (but from what I could see he welcomed it with open arms!). Neither of us finished it all.

Later early evening we spotted a rooftop bar above Rock Bottom Brewery, and head up for some samplings, and stayed for dinner. I had a seared tuna salad with pickled ginger, and it rocked, I have to learn to make this! Anyhoo, we met some crazy people, got into crazy Obama banter, and next thing you know it, we are being booted off the rooftop due to torrential rains & a kicker lightening storm.  Lee and I trekked back to the hotel in the rain, and crashed. What a random day.

Sunday was painful, we were suffering the wrath of the beer from the day before, and the day kind of got away from us. We spent some quality time in Millennium Park mincing around and lying on the grass under trees before heading back to the hotel to grab our bags and head to the airport.

Chicago – we love you. Thanks for being so good to us, we will definitely be back! Our to-do list has some outstanding items (such as blues bars, the architecture boat tour, and some segway action! Oh, and of course,  some restaurants!). Now to cope with the post Chicago blues….

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