We spent two days in Chicago, one of which was Mel’s birthday. Our experience in this iconic city can be summed up in three words: Classic, tasty, and friendly.
Chicago is quite classic in its architecture.
Stately towers draw the eye with repetitious rectangles.
Charming houses share space with nature and businesses below. The blending of the old with the new is a compelling example of a city aging with style.
When in Chicago, paying a visit to Anish Kapoor’s “Bean” in Millennium Park is as touristy as it gets, but worthwhile.
While you’re there, wander over to Frank Gehry’s band stand shell. The design of it is really quite impressive, and there’s a good chance you’ll be fortunate enough to take in some live music in the park.
There are a few things that are ‘must eats’ when in Chicago. For Breno, those were Chicago deep dish pizza and a Chicago dog.
We asked around for the best place to get a Chicago deep dish pizza. At the top of the locals’ picks were Giadano’s, Lou Malnati’s, and Uno’s, and Piquod’s. We decided on Giordano’s because it was closest to our current location, and took our pizza pie to the beach. This move seemed to astonish the locals and made for a great moment in our accomplished picnicking history.
We had just laid out the blanket on North St. Beach when a young man walked by and eyed up the deep dish pizza on Brendon’s plate. “Oh my god! That’s amazing,” he says to Breno. His friend simply gives thumbs and nods up in upmost approval. Perhaps it never occurred to them to combine these two elements?
Some locals brought to our attention that there was probably an item left off our list: The Italian Beef Dipped sandwich at Portello’s. They just raved about it. So I suppose we had to try one of those too. We crossed the two remaining food items off our list with a single visit to Portello’s.
We got two Italian beef dipped sandwiches (I went bunless) with a Chicago Dog on the side. The sandwich was flavourful and soggy (like a good beef dip should be).
As for the hot dog, Brendon says he’s never quite eaten a hotdog like that one, so I suppose that’s a good sign? He says the freshness of a juicy pickle and ripe tomatoes on top was a great touch.
By now, we have visited a few different cities, and must say that some of the best customer service experiences we have ever had were in Chicago.
A shout out goes out to Intelligencia Coffee, both the Logan Square location, as well as the new Wicker Park location that just opened the day we visited. We were greeted so warmly and given such a wonderful experience by the staff at each of their cafes. Awesome coffee too.
Other special mentions go out to Fleur- a very cool floral/textiles design shop, Gaslight Coffee, and the Bang Bang Pie Shop for their super friendly service and praiseworthy offerings. It really doesn’t take much to make an encounter with another human a positive and lasting one, yet most of the time people don’t do it. Chicago on the whole had it together.
Our Airbnb host, Merissa, was absolutely lovely and set us up well with a stylish & comfortable place to stay, as well as recommendations of her favorite Chicago spots. Her pet bunny, Hurricaine, was the cutest. We had such a great experience staying in her thoughtfully decorated apartment.
We were out our first evening in Chicago strolling the well-known Wicker Park area. Aspiring to tick one item off our Chicago food list, we asked a random duo walking beside us where one could get a good Chicago dog around here. They didn’t know, but invited us to come to a gig with them that was happening just down the road at an arcade. We went with it, and were glad for this chance to get a feel of the local indie music scene, get to know a few of the very friendly locals and get some tips for the rest of our time in Chicago.
Chicago, thanks for being so delicious and welcoming to us Canadians.