The last time I was in Chicago was a year ago. I visited my friend Kathryn over Labor Day weekend in 2011, and was lucky enough to be able to visit her again this past weekend (the weekend following Labor Day 2012 weekend). This time my visit was shorter, because I was extending my stay after completing a work meeting and not going purely for fun. However, fun was to be had and we had it! I've also decided this is the best time to visit the Windy City; the weather is PERFECT at this time of year! A sampling of my Chicago adventure is below.
Below: the view from my hotel room while I was on-site at my work meeting.
Below: the pooches! Samantha (the golden one, a.k.a. Sammy, Sammers) and Luna (the darker one) are two of my favorite doggies ever.
Below: Kathryn's amazing Thaitini! She invented this cocktail and it is divine.
Below: cocktails from Tiny Lounge. I enjoyed Henry's Holiday (Tito's handmade vodka, fresh strawberry puree, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice) and Marcella (hayman's old tom gin, fresh strawberry juice, balsamic syrup, rhubarb bitters, splash of cava). The bartenders were quick and made the drinks without blinking--I'm sure they could do it in their sleep! We sampled roasted sweet potato empanadas (sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, cheese, served with chimichurri and ancho sauces), and my mouth is still watering just thinking about them.
Below: my flight of mimosas at Fork. Included was a traditional mimosa, a bellini, and a "pomosa" (pomegranate and blueberry with prosecco). We sampled their house-made pretzels with beer cheese sauce and fell in love instantly! We've vowed to try brunch at Tiny Lounge and Fork upon my return to Chicago. Other places I love in Chicago are Royal Thai on West Montrose (the vegetable dumplings are outstanding!), Apart Pizza, Gene's (a gourmet European market), Ravinia Pavilion, and the shops around Lincoln Square. I've enjoyed the time I've spent downtown and in Millennium Park as well.
Below: Treats from Lutz Cafe and Pastry Shop. There were SO many good-looking treats--it was hard to pick just two to try! I had an almond croissant (filled with a delectable almond paste) and a lemon-poppy-seed cupcake (with light, fluffy frosting--not heavy or over-sugary). There is so much I want to try next time I visit, including the Baumkuchen, or "Tree Cake," which has concentric circles when sliced (they look like the rings of a tree!).