Having grown up here, it feels weird to categorize this as a “vacation.” Yet we don’t make it back very often and when we do so much has changed. This trip was part business trip, part visiting family, and part mini-getaway. This is by no means a comprehensive list or a city guide, just some highlights of what we did and where we went this time.
follow the jump to continue reading (and disregard that it says “recipe”):
We flew in late last Monday night, and headed straight to Avec around 10pm. Which, turns out, is the perfect time to go. I’ve had this one on my list for awhile but was always intimidated by the long wait (they don’t take reservations). This time we walked in and sat right down. The vibe is loud and fun. And the food… so so good. The highlights were: 1) baba ghanoush crostini with radishes and sumac, 2) rainbow trout with peaches, garbanzo puree, and mustard greens, and 3) the focaccia – it’s impossible to describe why this was so good, so if you go, just get it. It’s a thin layer of dough and cheese (not like traditional bread-y focaccia), it’s somehow light and insanely rich at the same time.
We all made fun of this modern art installation while it was being built, yet we always feel the need to stop and take a few quick photos every time we’re passing by.
So I have this little obsession with boutique hotels. As in – it’s not uncommon for us to bounce around to multiple hotels within the same city on any particular visit just to experience more than one. I’m lucky that my husband is patient.
I was really excited about Public - it’s an old hotel renovation – the way to my heart. The entry is grand with gorgeous white columns and large antique mirrors, the bell men are uncommonly good looking (that’s never actually been a criteria of mine – just something that happened to stand out here), the bar area/coffee lounge decor is chic and quirky at the same time. Sadly it seems that their entire renovation budget was spent on this first impression because the rooms were less than impressive and with incredibly hard beds. So stop here for a drink, but go stay at The James, which is our standing favorite so far.
Art Institute of Chicago, Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective
I went to the school so this museum is like home to me. It still feels weird to come back as a “tourist” and actually pay for a ticket. This time, we happened to be there while this Lichtenstein Retrospective was going on. And art imitated life – Jack ate that hot dog (pictured above) for breakfast, and then we saw it in pop-art form on the wall.
We look forward to this vegan restaurant every single trip. And we never miss for this reason alone: peanut butter cookie dough milkshake. You would never even guess that this is vegan. And I’m not usually one for fake meat, but I crave their seitan gyro.
I try to stay clear of restaurants of TV personalities, but I booked this place before I even realized it was Top Chef Dale’s place. Everything we ate here was incredible, and this post is starting to get long, so I’ll just cut to our favorite thing which was this crazy dessert – zucchini curry cake with beets and carrot ice cream. Sounds so weird, I know.
Not a place for taking instagram photos, this place is DARK. After your eyes adjust and you can see further than your hand in front of you, it’s a speakeasy style bar with victorian decor and old time-y cocktails… A nice change of pace in this city full of TV’d bars where “the game” is perpetually on.
Everyone has their favorite place for pizza. This one’s mine.
Public lobby photo credit: Public’s website