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Travel Tuesday: Eating My Way Through Chicago

A few weeks ago I went to Chicago for the first time.  I know, it's crazy that with all the travel I do, and with how much I love big cities, that I had never been to the windy city.  For years people told me I would love Chicago.  Now that I have been, I can say that they were all right!
There was something about that city.  It felt like a big city (like LA, that feeling that everything you need is at your fingertips), but the vibe was friendly and a bit more relaxed than fast-paced LA or NYC.  I felt almost immediately that this trip was the beginning of a love affair I would have getting to know Chicago over many more future trips.
One of the reasons I fell so readily in love was the FOOD!  I only had a few days there, but ate some amazing food in that time.  Today's post will highlight how I ate my way through the windy city.  I am sure there are many more restaurants to try, and I look forward to the opportunity in the future.
First Evening: Wrigleyville
We were so lucky that we got to see a home Cubs game on our first trip to Chicago!  Seeing a game at Wrigley was on my family travel bucket list, and it was amazing.  Dinner was a hot dog (one must have a hot dog - no ketchup - while in Chicago) at the game, but more snacking came after the game in a bar called Deuce's and the Diamond Club in Wrigleyville.  When I saw "Glass of Bacon" as an option on the appetizers menu, I was sold. 


Second Evening: The Purple Pig

Several restaurants were recommended to us, like Girl and the Goat, RPM Italian, Rosebud, and Del Frisco's.  With only one more night for dinner, we opted for The Purple Pig, which was recommended highly. We will just have to come back soon to try those others!

The Purple Pig was totally our speed: a tapas-style restaurant that was heavy on the pork, with a Mediterranean influence.  We started with the Housemade Morcilla Sausage, Poached Lobster Tail, Grilled Asparagus with Rhubarb & Spring Pea.  I thought it was funny that the server said "you know morcilla is blood sausage, right?" as a disclaimer.  Oh, we know.  And yes, we definitely still want it.  It was amazing.

The server recommended we try the Pork Belly Rillons, Honey Mead Glaze, which we did, and really enjoyed.  We also tried one of their "smears." 

For dessert we were told that the house favorite was the way to go.  We got the Sicilian Iris (Ricotta & Chocolate Chip Filled Fried Brioche), along with some ouzo (reminding us of our time on Mediterranean Delights Fitness Voyage this summer).  This was definitely the way to go!

After dinner we caught a great improv comedy performance at The Second City.  The kids were so talented!  A very fun night, and at only $5 per person, worth every penny.   To pass the time before the show and after dinner, we did a little shopping on State Street, then found this fabulous champagne bar called Pops for Champagne.  We sampled an amazing cuvee and a blanc de noir, along with a few more appetizers.  I can never resist a good tuna tartare, and was so happy I ordered it.  Pops had one of the better tuna tartares that I have had in a long time.  Made with ahi tuna and black tobikko caviar, it was bound to be good. The hubs got the Tempura Wisconsin Cheese Curds, which were decadent and delicious.

Last Day: Lou Malnati's

Another thing you must eat when in Chicago is Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.  After receiving various recommendations, we opted for Lou Malnati's.  Now, admittedly, we are more of a New York-style pizza couple.  We love the thinner crust.  That being said, the pizza at Lou Malnati's blew us away.  You can't really compare it to NY-style pizza, as it is a different gastronomic experience altogether.  We thoroughly enjoyed this cheesy, saucy pie.  Note that your pizza takes a good amount of time to bake, so plan to go when you have some time. 

I am sure we barely scratched the surface of dining in Chicago, which seems to be a foodie's delight of a city.  Where should we go next time?  Let me know in the comments!

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