Last weekend I had a fabulous time visiting Chicago! Five Star SexiMexy recently moved there and kindly put me up for the weekend and took me out on the town. We both have an appreciation for fine food and drank, and for trying new things, so we always have a fantastic time going out. Here are some of the highlights.
The evening I arrived began with a late-night happy our at one of Five Star’s favorite new Chicago hangouts: Devon Seafood Grill.
A few of Five Star’s local friends met up with us for a couple rounds of martinis.
Classy Ladies, Reuniiiited.
We shared a few apps, including Calamari…
Roasted Duck Flat Bread with Gorgonzola Cheese and an Ahi Tuna Sushi Roll.
Our evening continued at Tavern on Rush.
The next day, we ate our lunch in courses, visiting a few different places to try as many flavors as possible!
We first shared an absolutely amazing BBQ Pork Banh Mi sandwich at Ba Le Sandwich Shop in Uptown Chicago, topped with plenty of Sriracha. Five Star can house large volumes of Sri like it ain’t no thang.
Ba Le serves a mix of French and Vietnamese cuisine – all of the food looked so good! Additionally, Ba Le also makes and sells these gorgeous French macarons right onsite! I was so tempted by these beauties… I haven’t had a macaron since my trip to Paris last fall.
Next, just steps away from Ba Le, on the block dubbed “Asia on Argyle,” we visited the Chiu Quon Bakery for Chinese buns (BBQ Pork, back, and Coconut, front) and milk tea. We ate these on the ‘L’ while we settled in for a long ride to our next destination.
We made it! A bit south of the Little Italy area of Chicago, the Festa Pasta Vino festival was being held. We walked through the Italian block party that featured wine, food, and music.
Not super impressed with the wine offerings at the festival, we walked a block or two away from the festival to an Italian restaurant with a sidewalk patio and ordered
Italian Wine, er… no… actually, we ordered Margaritas. Makes no sense. But it does. These were a nice refreshing afternoon libation.
And thus debuted the Michael Barimo glasses, which became an obsession as the day progressed. Cheers!
Lots of rides on the ‘L.’ Love that SKYLINE! Chicago is such an amazing city. I would live here in a heartbeat if an opportunity ever presented itself. (Don’t worry Ann Arbor, I still have much love for you too.)
After our day activities, we headed back to Five Star’s place to get PHRESH for our big night out. FTD.
Then, back out on the town, riding the L.
We began our evening in a very classy way, with an incredible dinner at Sola.
We had the most absolutely perfect, warm summer evening for dinner on Sola’s patio.
Pretty romantical, right?
Sola, from the menu,
“Sola embraces flavors, philosophies and cultures of Hawaii, while also using locally raised ingredients whenever possible and supporting sustainability here in the Midwest.”
First up, we were presented with the amuse-bouche, a bite of lentils, carrot, and apples.
We have pretty similar tastes in food, so selecting the Seared Scallops appetizer to share was an easy choice. These giant sea scallops were pan-seared, crusted with hemp seeds, served with seasonal greens, diced apple and kohlrabi, with a Thai chili vinaigrette. Delicious. I think it is safe to say that scallops are my favorite food, if I had to choose.
Five Star & I are both Brussels Sprouts freaks so we could not resist ordering a side of Crispy Brussels Sprouts Leaves to share. Super addictive. I don’t know how anyone could not like these!
For my entrée, I selected the Halibut entrée, served atop a pea puree, with baby artichokes and morel mushroom. Holy goodness! The halibut was cooked beautifully, meaty, and very tender. The seasonal ingredients featured in this dish were beautiful additions.
The ginger-glazed salmon entrée was Five Star’s choice, which was served atop edamame puree, and topped off with tempura green beans. I tried this and also loved the bold flavors and tender, moist salmon. Five Star raved about the edamame puree and hopes to recreate it herself!
Naturally, to celebrate this special occasion, we split a bottle of this light and crisp Pinot Gris with dinner, as well.
This might be my favorite picture from the entire weekend. It says it all! Live it up, biatches!
Such an incredible dinner we had at Sola! I highly recommend visiting the restaurant.
Next, we were back at the L, after running through a few rain drops. We had only a short burst of rain on Saturday evening, which luckily affected neither our dinner, nor the rest of our evening.
We confused lots, and lots, and lots of people with these Michael Barimo shades. Muahahaha.
Up, up, up, to the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building was our next destination, for a round of drinks in the Signature Lounge.
There we oohed and awwed over the magnificent views of Chicago, moving from table to table throughout the lounge, every time with a slightly improved view of the city, until we drove the wait staff mad and ended up with THIS incredible view. Be still, my heart.
(I also highly recommend visiting the women’s bathroom.)
The famous B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted was open until 3:00 AM, so we made that one of our final stops for the evening. We hung out and enjoyed the live jazz and blues music. This place was great – I wish we had something like this here in Ann Arbor!
Naturally, after last call at B.L.U.E.S., we simply could not end the night without indulging in some cheap eats nearby. Just around the corner, we found the packed Allende Restaurant, where we dined on Al Pastor Tacos and gauc. Yumm! And conveniently open til 5:00 AM.
The next morning, I put on my best “No, of course I’m not hungover!-face” on the patio at Nookies, in Edgewater, for brunch.
Oh my goodness – brunch was so good! I swear, everything we ate over the course of the weekend was delicious. Five Star found some great spots for us to visit.
We shared a sweet and a savory brunch entrée, again, to try more foods!
For the sweet, we shared the Sweet Breakfast Trio that was on special, which included oatmeal pancakes with cherry and almond, rhubarb and strawberry-stuffed French toast, and caramel banana pancakes.
And for the savory, we had the lovely, seasonal Springtime Frittata that was on special, and was also amazing. I really felt my body needed some green veggies, so this was perfect, as it was filled with asparagus, peas, red potatoes,and topped with delicious tangy crumbled goat cheese. Mmm.
I loved the wide selection of unique and wholesome offerings at Nookies.
Then we had just enough time for a short stroll down to the beach before my departure.
So crazy that just blocks from the hustle and bustle of Chicago is this amazing sandy Lake Michigan beach. Gorgeous!
And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading about the food and drank highlights of my Chicago getaway.