Books, Bites & Flights

Chi-Town Chilling

“My first day in Chicago, September 4, 1983. I set foot in this city and just walking down the street, it was like roots, like the motherland. I knew I belonged here.” ~Oprah Winfrey 
This year for Spring Break I decided to do something different. Instead of setting out in search of sun, sand, and surf I headed to a city I had never visited before – Chicago. Five minutes after hitting the city limits I understood exactly what Oprah meant. Chicago is one of the few cities I’ve visited where I felt like I was coming home.

With only four days and three nights to spend in the Chi, I was determined to make every second count. We touched down at Midway, hopped on the “L” and the adventure began. As we traveled through the city I began to understand why they call Chicago the “New York City of the Midwest” – great shopping, great food, history, culture, etc. However, two things Chicago has over New York – it isn’t as congested and it is so CLEAN!! Sorry NYC the Chi has you beat!

We ate our first meal at Batter and Berries and I swear I have never had a better meal anywhere else. For a chick like me, who lives to eat, that’s saying a lot! Jhay had the French Toast Flight – five different types of french toast including one special flavor, this week it was Butter Cookie. I had the Crab Cakes Benedict and OMG it was heavenly! It tasted like Jesus returned, threw on an apron and started whipping up dishes in the B&B kitchen! I christened that meal the ‘Relocation Special’ because I’m ready to pack up and move on the strength of that alone!

After that meal, we needed to do some walking so we took a leisurely stroll through Lincoln Park. The neighborhood was gorgeous and the homes were beautiful. Everything you could need or want was within walking distance – parks, coffee shops, bars, eateries and a huge Whole Foods Market. Yeah, I could definitely live here!

Normally when I travel, I don’t stay in hotels. I made an exception on this trip because everyone I know who has been to Chicago said I had to experience The Magnificent Mile AKA North Michigan Ave. It stretches through downtown Chicago and has some of the best restaurants, hotels, bars and shopping you can imagine. If upscale dining is your thing The Grand Lux Cafe, The Allium at the Four Seasons and The Grill at the Westin are all right there. If you want to ball out the sales clerks at Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Rolex and Giorgio Armani will be more than happy to separate you from your cash. Afterward, you can head to your room at The Drake Hotel, The Four Seasons, The Westin Michigan Avenue, The Gwen or The Millenium Knickerbocker to drop off your packages. They are all located on the Mag Mile. For those of us who would rather not spend our coins like that don’t worry, The Magnificent Mile also has a Cheesecake Factory, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, H&M as well as a Hampton Inn and a Best Western.

During our trip, we did a couple of touristy things. We visited Navy Pier and we had some Garrett’s popcorn (I wasn’t impressed). I never got around to trying the famous Chicago deep dish pizza or the Italian beef sandwich with au jus. I’ll save that for my trip to the Chi this summer. What we did try was the sushi at Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill. Bruh! The sushi was fresh, delicious and the presentation was fire!! Check it out here Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill. I had the ‘Born to Chill’ roll and it was as good as it looks!

While in Chicago we got our eat on and our shop on. However, the highlight of the trip was our visit to the neighborhood where one of our favorite shows is filmed – Shameless.  We hopped on the train and headed down to the south side to the Canaryville neighborhood the Gallagher Clan calls home. We visited the Gallagher house, Kev and Veronica’s house, Sheila’s house, the Homeless house and the apartment building Fiona wanted to buy. We were so geeked!

What I’ve shared with you here barely even scratches the surface of my adventures in Chicago. My adventures in Chicago don’t even begin to give you an idea of all there is to see and do in this town. Trust me it would take several trips over a period of years to soak it all in and I’m just getting started!

— Jae

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