Sunday, September 18, 2011


This month Anthony and I took a trip to Chicago to visit some friends, do some sightseeing and take a nice vacation to re-charge after a hectic summer.  The Windy City had so much to see, but to give you a taste of some of our favorite stops (and some ideas if you get the chance to go) I've typed up a Travels, Tastings and Tales Top Ten, 'Chicago Edition':

10.   Roof on theWit: A swanky, scenic bar atop the Loop's 'theWit' hotel.  Great after dinner spot to meet up with some friends!

Molly and I enjoying ourselves at Roof on theWit

9.  Buddy Guy's Legends: Renowned blues club known not only in Chicago, but across the nation... Awesome music, interesting history and delicious jambalaya!

8.  The Magnificent Mile: Of course this would be one of my favorites... It's a mile-long stretch of some of my favorite stores (Bloomies, a ginormous Anthropologie, etc.)  If you do get the chance to visit, make a pit stop at The Purple Pig for some appetizers and vino. 

26-foot statue of Marilyn Monroe on the Magnificent Mile

7.  Wrigley Field: One of Anthony's personal favorites, we made a stop at the famous Wrigley Field for a little Cubs vs. Pirates action. 

Ant and our wonderful host, Boyle, outside of Wrigley field

6.  Table Fifty-Two: Definitely too classy a place to be snapping any pictures of my food. So, instead, you can take my word for it... Table Fifty-Two was excellent! Anthony and I were fortunate enough to hear about this spot from one of his coworkers who lives in Chicago.  Located a bit off the beaten path, the restaurant dishes out creations by Oprah's former chef who serves up some delectable organic dishes.  I highly recommend the side of macaroni and cheese (of course) and the twelve layer chocolate cake! 

5. Shedd Aquarium:  With its special 'Jellies' exhibit and magical aquatic show, the Shedd Aquarium made for a perfect last stop on our trip.  Included in our Chicago CityPass (a perfect way to explore the city on a budget), it's a great place to get lost for a few hours.

Some of the jellies 
My favorite part... penguins!

4.  The Bean: Apparently its real name is 'Cloud Gate.' The public art display by British artist Anish Kapoor offers a unique perspective on the city and a fun opportunity to take some wacky self portraits.

The Bean
Say cheese!

3.  Navy Pier:  We made it to Chicago just in time for Navy Pier's final fireworks show of the summer.  The 3,300 foot pier juts out into lake Michigan and features a bier garten, a wide variety of eateries and a 150-foot tall ferris wheel.

An aerial shot of Navy Pier from the top of #2...

2.  John Hancock Observatory: Having visited both the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of Willis tower and the John Hancock Observatory, I'd have to say that John Hancock offered a better view of the city.  It just happens to be in a more prime, uptown location which allows for a complete birds-eye view of Chicago.  (Plus if you use your CityPass, you get a free coffee in the observatory's cafe - yum! - and a multimedia Sky Tour narrated by David Scwimmer!)

View looking north from the observatory

View looking south from the observatory

1.  Lou Malnatti's Pizzeria: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreaming about trying Chicago-style deep dish pizza since we booked this trip back in May.  After an (embarrassingly) extensive amount of research, we landed at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria , a local, family-owned pizzeria that has been serving up deep dish pies since 1971… And now I know why it’s been around so damn long.

Anthony and I started with breaded and fried cheddar cubes as an appitizer, served alongside Lou’s homemade marinara sauce for dipping:

Now cue the star of the show:

Small cheese with 'buttercrust'
Ta-da! We ordered a small plain to share and an individual 'Malnati Chicago Classic' for Anthony.  It was love at first bite.  What truly made the pizza over the top (in my opinion) was Lou Malnati’s signature ‘buttercrust.’  It gave the crust a flaky, buttery texture that was a perfect compliment to the creamy mozzarella and homemade sauce melted together in the middle.  Needless to say, it was everything I dreamed of (and more)!

Click here for more pictures of our adventure.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned!