Pardon the Punctuation...A little while back my friend Steve Green the founder of Foodie Chats asked me if I wanted to join him on a trip to his hometown Chicago courtesy of Choose Chicago and American Airlines. How could I resist? Steve was my guide to the windy city and I couldn't have asked for better company. Here are my highlights from the weekend.
Early flight from LAX and I had the opportunity of checking out the American Airlines Flagship Lounge. This is normally reserved for first/business class on long distance and international flights. If Foodie heaven was an airline lounge this would be it. Chef inspired breakfast options and of course some yummy champagne.
Checked into the Hotel Zachary. A brand new hotel right across from Wrigley Field. This is the perfect place to stay if you're coming in to catch a few ballgames in town. Great bars and restaurants within the hotel. For morning coffee your room key is good for a complimentary coffee at Westtown Bakery which is right downstairs at the main entrance of the hotel. Rooms are retro with a nice and clean modern touch. Worst part of the trip was having to check out of the hotel.
Lunch at Mordecai. Named after famous Chicago Cub Mordecai Brown, this is the perfect place for a bite and a drink before or after the Cubs game. Great burger, curds, fries and fresh oysters. Don't forget their deep whiskey list and cocktails.
Drinks and snacks at Three Dots and a Dash. A place had always been dying to check out. Hidden in a downtown alley you'll find the entrance to this enchanting Tiki bar. I went with the "caribbean punch", the gorgeous "Bali Bali" and the "Pu Pu Platter" as a bite.
After getting some sweet beverages in my belly I made it to my favorite cocktail bar in Chicago. The famed Milk Room. Hidden within the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, this bar has just about 8 seats and served curated vintage spirits. By vintage I mean you're going to have the chance to drink spirits from the past. I had a Negroni made with 1970's Campari and in interpretation of a Manhattan made with 1960's Cynar...yeah that kind of vintage cocktail. It's definitely not for the budget conscious but worth it 100 percent! The staff and location are amazing but make sure to book a reservation.
Started with brunch at Smoke Daddy which is right across the street from Wrigley Field. Literally across the street. I loaded up on yummy mimosas, pancakes, pork benedict, hash, hashbrowns, and a monkey bread that was like crack...addictive.
After rolling out of brunch I was ready to hit the field and root for the Cubs...being a life-long Marlins fan this wasn't easy but the amazing people of Chicago make you want to root for them. My friend Steve and I were in baseball heaven. We got to go on the field pre-game and take in a little bit of the history of this iconic stadium. During the game we devoured some Chicago Hotdogs, giant nachos, and of course some yummy beers.
After the game we headed over to the Hotel Versey to check in. A cute little hotel that used to be a Days Inn and some off that vibe still lingers in the rooms. The rooms do come equipped with a Nespresso machine and coupons for free Stan's donuts which is right on the corner. A definite win win. My favorite thing about the hotel was the lobby. All of these great art pieces, artifacts, and murals that scream Chicago. So cool. Also it's a shirt ride away from Wrigley Field and downtown.
For dinner I wanted to eat a little lighter so I checked out an new spot in town called Beatnik. Really cool location that felt like that recreated a jungle indoors. I love me some mediterranean food and Beatnik did not disappoint. My highlights were the beet hummus and curry meatballs.
Day 3 started with pastries at Floriole. All I can say is wow...good stuff. If in Chicago you gotta make this happen. Go with the sticky bun, ham and cheese croissant, and definitely a latte. I had my first latte made with oat milk there and it rocked.
Next we were off to an awesome Chicago Beer Experience tour. A great historic tour that lead you through tastings at four awesome bars. We also got to taste a yummy Chicago hot dog to keep the effects of the beer at bay. Yummy beers and a wonderful tour guide made this an experience to remember.
Next it was off to the IO roof top lounge at the Godfrey Hotel to grab some drinks, bites, and watch the Belmont Stakes. Great roof top bar with a stunning view of the city. The food was also on point. Try the truffle fries, Lamb Lollipops, shishito peppers, and tartar. Bravo! Perfect place to check out on a sunny day.
For dinner we went to one of the hottest restaurants in town...the Bellemore. Everything about this place was on fire. Decor looked like something out of a design magazine and the food was equally as stunning. The wine, cocktails, food...have a mentioned the food? Every dish is designed for a perfect foodporn photo and the flavors to match. You gotta get the Hawaiian Rolls, Shaved Foie Gras, charred octopus, lamb, chicken, black truffle pasta and finish with some chocolate. Dudes...this place is legit. Make a resy ASAP.
Supposed to start the last day with a kayak tour on the river but the weather didn't permit. This is definitely on the top of my list for the next time I'm in Chicago. How cool would it be to kayak through all that amazing downtown architecture. After skipping the kayak tour we did the river walk path up until we hit up Bar Siena for brunch.
Lets not forget Bar Siena. Loved the Lobster benedict, fresh juices, and fig prosciutto pizza. Asked for an egg on the pizza and they put an over cooked fried egg on it. Kind of hilarious. After a couple more tries we finally got a nice and runny poached egg on board. Bravo! I took the original overcooked egg off the pizza for the pic...much better look.
I ended my trip with my final stop in the American Airlines Flagship lounge...could have stayed here for 10 hours. Everything was top notch. My fav dishes were the duck confit lasagna, made to order pierogies, and their killer cheese plate. So yum. Who can turn down champagne? Definitely not this guy.
Thank you Choose Chicago and American Airlines for giving Steve and I the chance to explore this wonderful weekend in Chicago. The only bad thing about visiting Chicago is you spend the rest of your life trying to go back.