Last weekend was a three day weekend in Chicago. My brother-in-law turned 21, and so we decided a trip to a Cubs game was in order to celebrate. A group of nine friends and family took Amtrack up on a Friday morning, and we had an amazing time. It was incredibly hot, though, but we did managed to survive. Chicago has about a zillion things to do, see, and eat, but here’s a few our our highlights.
Friday for dinner, as we aimlessly walked around, we randomly stumbled upon a place that had been recommended to us –The Hubbard Inn . The menu looked perfect, the restaurant was beautiful, and there was actually a table available (I think it was only about 5:30 pm, though)! It has this hip bohemian tavern/speakeasy/community gathering feel, and our server was so helpful and spot on with recommendations and service. The drink menu is fantastic. I had a Moscow Mule (Vodka, ginger beer, lime, mint) – so refreshing! Though the entrees looked perfect – like, so right up my alley – I did not want to eat too much and be miserable the rest of the night. So, I started with the gazpacho – light, smooth, with just a hint of spice. For my entree, steak tartare. I had just mentioned the week before how it had been ages since I had steak tartare, so I thought it was meant to be that I ordered it – and, it did not disappoint. Other items we ordered included a watermelon, tomato, and feta salad; roasted pepper and arugula flatbread; lamb burger with tzatzike; and a lobster club. All were fresh and prepared perfectly. For an after dinner drink, I got the Cuzco – pisco, aperol, egg white, bitters, lime juice. Perfection!
Later that night, we stopped at Rossi’s Liquors for a few drinks. If you like dive bars, this is worth a visit while in Chicago.
Considering it was a bit of a late night Friday, we were a bit slow to rise on Saturday. Nonetheless we made it to Wrigleyville for the Cubs Noon game, and the Cubs actually won! After, Wrigleyville turns into a drunken frat boy cluster, but we did manage to find an Oasis in the midst of it – The Gingerman Tavern. And by Oasis, I mean, it had good craft beers, games, a pool table, and a rocking jukebox – not that it was cool temperature wise, because either the AC was broke or they need to get a new one, as it was 90 plus degrees out and hot as heck inside the bar. Still, a good time was had, having a few beers and listening to good tunes on the jukebox in order to chill after the game.
After we finished, we headed to the Wicker Park area. We had heard Wickerfest was going on, and it looked liked great music, so we thought we would check it out. It was madness! We walked around for a bit, but did have to duck into a couple places to get out of the throngs of crowds. One place was BIN, a cute little wine bar with snacks, and the front window/wall is a large garage door that opens all the way to let it be a nice indoor/outdoor space. I had a Rose wine flight, the hubby had some local beers, and we shared a salumi platter with a good selection of meats and cheese, plus olives, cornichons, and this little fennel salad. If I lived in Chicago, this would definitely be a go-to spot for me.
While wandering around, we also ran into a little cupcake truck called Flirty Cupcake. Kinda like the ice cream man/truck, I guess, but cupcakes. How cute is that? I did not actaully get one, as I was too hot and a cupcake did not sound good, but I wish I had just on cuteness factor alone. Next time!
From there, we essentially made our way through the maze of the festival and listened to some music. Once we could not take the crowds anymore, we stumbled upon several other bars, the last one being Jack and Ginger’s. Nothing too exciting, but great specials! On Saturday, it was $1 burger or pulled pork sliders and $2.50 PBR cans. By that late in the night, it was just what we needed!
Our 8 am train home Sunday certainly came early, but it was worth the fun we had. Though this trip was a bit of a whirlwind, we know there are several places on our list for next time, including Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill, Stephanie Izzard’s The Girl and the Goat, and Hot Doug’s (specialty hotdogs and duck fat fries). Can’t wait til the next trip!