(this picture is for Karen *)
Thanks for all the Chicago love….I adore the windy city. It captures everything I love about New York City and the Midwest. It has great food, great shopping, great arts and culture, and great public transportation. The only downsides really are a ridiculously high sales tax (one of the highest in the nation and going up soon!) and brutally cold winters. But as Carolyn tells me, that just keeps the l-a-m-e people out. 🙂
If you happen to be lucky enough to be in Chicago, here are a few things that I personally endorse. (i.e. I would be really ticked off if you went all the way to Chicago and didn’t do at least one of these things!)
- Pizza: This is hotly contested among Chicagoans but I’ve tried them all and I have to say nothing beats a stuffed spinach deep dish from Gioradano’s.
- Hot Dogs: Also hotly contested but I can only speak to the awesome Chicago dogs at Superdawg’s, a kitschy little drive-in visible from half a mile away. A superdawg or whoopskidawg will have you stuffed for at least a day. I hear that Hot Doug’s is also amazing but they happened to be closed when I stopped by. On Friday and Saturday they have duck-fat fries. Can you believe that?!
- Good laughs: Catch a show at Second City or a taping of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! I’ve seen a few shows at Second City and they can be hit or miss. Fortunately, the show I saw last Saturday had me falling out of my chair laughing so hard. If the show doesn’t live up to your standards there are tons of bars nearby with excellent people watching that will substitute for a good laugh. I’ve heard that tapings of Wait Wait can also be hit or miss depending on the makeup of the panelists but there’s something really magical about witnessing a a radio show’s creation. After listening to last week’s show on podcast I can say there’s a lot of hilarious stuff that gets edited out.
- Killer views: Chicago has many tall buildings but an overpriced drink or two and a clear day is all you need to see the entire city from the John Hancock building.
- Cute shops: Lincoln Square, a cute neighborhood on the north side, has tons of cute shops and restaurants. Save room for a killer slice of cake at Cafe Selmarie.
- Getting around: The El is incredible! The rates on visitor’s passes are next to nothing and you can get from O’hare to downtown for around $2!
I’m sure I could go on and on but these are all things that really made this last trip to Chicago for me. And for those wondering, the food picture from the last post was “Housemade 5 Spice Donuts” (with ice wine vinegar gelee, huckleberries, hazelnut praline, and hudson valley foie gras mousse) from Bin 36. I got it pretty much because of the foie gras mousse but I gotta admit it wasn’t that good. Too many strong flavors on one plate.
Ok, enough tour guide/tourist blabber from me. I swear the city of Chicago did not pay me for this endorsement….I just love the city that much and I haven’t had a second to craft since I got back! 🙂
* Down town, there are these really weird tower fountains with LED displays. Sometimes it’s just GIANT heads and sometimes a picture of running water. And yes, sometimes water comes squirting out of the mouths of the giant heads. Frankly, I find it totally creepy!