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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Road Trip Days 2 & 3: Chicago!

Dan is a Chicago boy. He hadn't been "home", however, in about 30 years, so I deliberately routed our trip to Canada through Chicago, so he could see family and show me the Chicago of his youth- and we could eat a little Italian Beef, too!

We had a voucher from Hilton for our two-night stay at the Chicago Waldorf-Astoria , and upon checking in they upgraded us to a high-floor suite for being “Diamond” Hilton Honors members- so now you understand why we’re loyal- and that made it a truly great stay! The view from our balcony was spectacular, both at night and during the day when we could see the “fields” on the roof garden opposite our room! With both a fab shower and Jacuzzi for two, a fireplace, the full-size-bottle bar with ice, REALLY nice service, and (best of all) that delightful balcony offering a totally splendid view of The Windy City, we have to say that Hilton really made our limited time in Chicago the best it could be…

The first thing we did when we hit Chicago was eat Italian Beef at world-famous Al’s Italian Beef http://www.alsbeef.com/ because I had to experience “the real McCoy” Dan had tantalized me with for over 10 years! Then Dan drove me around Chicago and showed me his Garfield Park childhood…


Dan's Chicago childhood...
Dan's Chicago childhood...


                                         Stuffing our faces with Real Chicago Italian Beef...

                                                          Livin' Large at the Waldorf...


              What ARE they growing over there!?

 
Recipe from the Waldorf Mixologist!


                              Chicago at night- the "Gold Coast" area near the Waldorf...

We had dinner around the corner from the Waldorf at  Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House  http://www.hugosfrogbar.com/ ...

and wandered around the “Gold Coast” area, which felt fun and safe. That evening at the Waldorf's Bernard's Bar, I got to try the Yamazaki (Japanese whisky), and the Waldorf Mixologist, Tom Hogan, invented a delicious drink for me using Illinois liqueurs, crushed pink peppercorns and herbs, and wrote me the recipe!



The next day morning we wandered around the Gold Coast neighborhood and had a leisurely, lovely brunch of croissants and house-made bacon at Little Market American Brasserie:

Dan’s family had the “Dan-apalooza” at his niece’s beautiful house that afternoon: we were late, thanks to that AbFab Chicago Suburbs Rush Hour Traffic From Hell! They had delish Italian Beef from Portillo’s http://www.portillos.com/portillos/ for dinner, so we got to try two of the best versions of Italian beef in the city!

The Waldorf doormen, who told us that they have seen basically Everything, also said that a couple driving a truck with a freezer on the back, who were on their way to go moose-hunting in Canada was a new one... LOL 

Our last morning in Chicago we treated ourselves to an elegant gourmet breakfast in the Waldorf's restaurant, Balsan, which I jokingly refer to as probably the most expensive breakfast in the known universe! But the truth is that it was delicious, the service was charming and gracious, and it was worth every dime!


Before leaving town spent a delightful hour at the glorious Garfield Park Conservatory http://www.garfield-conservatory.org/, where Dan has happy childhood memories of warming up on frosty, Chicago school days. We bought some of the conservatory’s coffee and honey, too! And then we were Back On The Road Again!

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