Chicago – Food, Art & Wind

Chicago is such a great city. We just got back from a frantically paced 5 day trip to the windy city. Our bellies are full; our thirst for art/culture/architecture has been quenched.  We had a whirlwind of a time.

This whole thing got started when we saw a great deal on airfare about a month ago. We’d always meant to check Chicago out because we’ve heard so many good things about the food and the culture scene.

So where does one start to research about this great city? I was pretty frantic because it was so last minute and the toughest tables to secure in Chicago were already long gone (Alinea and Schwa), so I went through a back route. I thought to myself: “OK, James Beard just had their Awards ceremony. I can peruse the list of winners and see what the Chicago hits were”. That was step 1. Step 2 was trying to narrow down the list to just one place where we could drop some serious coin, but not go broke, while securing a fine dining experience in Chi-town.  Luckily for me, there seemed to be a unanimous winner from the Awards dinner – Curtis Duffy of Avenues.  After trying to find a write up about them in Chowhound and Yelp, I gave up (they must be REALLY under the radar) and just decided to take the plunge. I booked a seating for 2 and crossed my fingers.

Of course, me being me, I started to wonder a week or so later: “Did I make a good decision? What if Avenues isn’t that great? Why is there nothing written about them?” I started to stress. That’s when I did some more research and stumbled upon eataduckimust . I immediately fell in love with the photos of the blog and reached out to its owners. Luckily for me, they were wondrously generous and amazingly we became fast foodie friends. But I’ll save that story for later. After speaking with them and reading their blog entry on Avenues, I was much more secure in my decision.

Fast forward about 1/2 a month and we’re in Chicago.  First stop: Intelligentsia Coffee.  A girl has her priorities and after very little sleep the night (week!) before, I decided to drag E here for a caffeine fix at the highly touted Intelligentsia Cafe near Millenium Park. My thoughts? It surpassed my expectations and may just have been the best latte I’ve had in North America! It was sweet and rich, with a full and well-rounded flavour.  The Latte Art was also cute. Our first Chicago pick was a hit and this was just the start. We just knew we’d be in for a treat in Chicago!

The real Chicago experience began on September 23, 2010 with our wonderful tour with Chicago Greeters’ Allen Schwartz.  If you head to Chicago, make sure you book this tour at least 2 weeks in advance. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.  Allen was incredibly knowledgeable on all things Chicago and he gave us in-depth look into Chicago Architecture and the whole Cultural Scene. As a lover of the Arts, Allen highly recommended we check out Chicago Theatre on our next trip out (We definitely will!), so I’d recommend you maybe take a look before you head to Chicago as well.

With Allen, we were able to hit most of the spots on my “must-see” list that I had reserved for Day 2 or 3 of our vacation, which ended up clearing our schedule a bit (thank you, Allen!).  We were much better oriented after the tour as well, and got a better sense of what we were seeing, rather than relying only on a tour book’s short explanation. This enriched our experience immensely. We are now huge believers in tours by locals!

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Comments
One Response to “Chicago – Food, Art & Wind”
  1. shirley says:

    I love your picture so much, its so mouth- watering.

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