It only took me a week to get this posted, but here is my final Chicago trip recap post.
On our final full day in Chicago, the huz and I went to Shedd Aquarium. Despite arriving only a few minutes after the 9:00 AM opening time, we waited in line for over 30 minutes (in HOT 90 degree weather!) to get tickets. We only purchased inexpensive general admission tickets, but I think we somewhat regretted not upgrading our tickets, which would have allowed us to see much more of the aquarium, including the sea otters, dolphins, and belugas. We had been to Shedd Aquarium before and seen these exhibits and it is a very nice facility. The general admission area primarily consisted of somewhat small tanks of fish from different habitats and environments, but we did get to see a frisky river otter.
After spending time at the aquarium, we decided to have lunch at one of the places we stopped during the previous day’s food tour – Pizano’s! Another bonus is that Pizano’s is less than one block from the hotel in which we were staying.
And the star… the pizza! I had loved the “thin crust” pizza we tried the day before (along with the Chicago style deep dish), so we decided to order a medium thin crust. I put “thin” in quotations because I think the crust is only “thin” relative to a Chicago deep dish pizza. Compared to the average American pizza, I definitely would not have considered this thin crust pizza to be “thin.”
You might remember in a previous post that I said this about Pizano’s pizza:
“The crust truly was awesome. Especially in the thin crust pizza. Crisp, with a forgiving crunch you can sink your teeth into. And the sausage. Oh the sausage. Good gracious, the sausage.”
After lunch we spent a couple hours at the Art Institute of Chicago. My favorite exhibits are the European paintings prior to 1900 (also the least crowded section we visited).
Our final dinner was also our most low-key and affordable meal. For the third time, we walked to the River North area for dinner at Bombay Spice.
From their website:
“Bombay Spice Grill & Wine offers a unique twist on Indian cuisine: healthy, delicious dishes in a contemporary dining environment. Executive chef Sunil Kumar takes pride in serving Indian food that is not only healthy, but satisfying to the palette. With a rising focus on eating healthy, Chef Sunil believes more people will benefit from his dishes without feeling as if they have sacrificed the pleasures of eating.”
The wine menu was clean and straight forward: all wines by the glass were $7 each, but the cocktail menu caught my idea. I wish I could tell you more about this, but the online menu does not yet have the description listed and I can’t remember the exact details, but the cocktail I ordered reminded me of an Indian-inspired margarita, with tequila in it. It was really good!
I started with the most amazing salad, the Mango Salad. It was very unique, featuring iceberg and baby greens, an interesting (and good!) mango dressing, dried golden raisins and cranberries, sliced almonds, mango, and sprinkled with what tasted like garam masala. Absolutely loved this.
Bombay Spice’s entrée selection is very simplified and approachable. It reminded me of Ann Arbor’s simplified version of Thai cuisine, No Thai, or perhaps of Noodles’ ‘”choose a protein/choose a sauce” dining concept.
- Choose a veggie or protein (veggies, tofu, chicken, seafood, or lamb).
- Choose a sauce & a heat level (mild or hot)
- Choose an accompaniment: brown rice, basmati rice, or noodles.
I was a little sad to not see paneer on the menu (probably too fattening for their healthy eating theme), but happily ordered the multi-veggie entrée with curry seasoning and basmati rice. There were veggies galore!: red and green bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms, and also chickpeas. The curry sauce was really spicy tasty. I ordered it ‘hot’ and even hotter would have been preferred. The sauce was so good, but I wanted much MORE of it on my dish! I could definitely tell this dish was a “healthy” version of Indian cuisine, but it felt good to eat something a bit lighter after a weekend of indulgence.
After dinner we went in search of Buckingham Fountain, for some incredible nighttime views of the city.
We stick around long enough to catch the top of the hour show at 10:00 PM.
Just beautiful! After taking in the views at Buckingham Fountain, we strolled back to… you guessed it – PIZANO’s! – for the third time; this time for drinks and dessert.
I ordered a margarita on the rocks with salt and was given this huge glass. Uh…whoa! Let’s just say I was in most excellent spirits by the time we left.
And dessert! Underneath the caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream is a warm, soft, thick peanut butter cookie. Uh..yeah! If it were up to me, I would double the size of the cookie and halve the amount of ice cream. I asked to have the whipped cream omitted. As you might guess, the huz and I split this giant thing. So good!
And that pretty much wraps up our Chicago trip! The next morning, Memorial Day Monday, we walked to Union Station and took the bus back to Ann Arbor. In case you missed any prior recaps, here are links: