You know, being in Chicago less than 48 hours I never assumed we’d get as much done as we did. I should’ve known Joe and I better than that. Of course the one thing I did know, was trying out the best of Chicago foods was practically going to be the entire trip. I have no shame during those two days because it was Joe’s 18th birthday and yolo or something…
Prepare for the onslaught of food pictures. I take no fault for the mouth watering cravings you’ll be having after.
By the time we got off the plane, to the hotel, and all checked in we were so hungry! That teaches you not to eat before flying. We knew one of the Chicago musts was hot dogs. Everybody told me to check out Portillo’s. One thing to know about Chicagoans and their hot-dogs is they hate ketchup. It is a well known fact that ketchup is pretty much in my top five food loves, so when I got told by multiple people that I was absolutely not allowed to ask for ketchup on my hotdog in Chicago I thought they were lying (and crazy.) Turns out, the people of Chicago really do despise ketchup (I don’t know what is wrong with them) so I was prepared to eat a hotdog with all the fixins. Including mustard and relish and onions. My mother was shocked at that and wouldn’t of believed me if I didn’t have picture proof. I thought it was delicious and I don’t even really like hot dogs.
We also happened to see the infamous two-story McDonalds. That led us to a long discussion on American consumerism, overindulgence, and that building being the glorification of both. You know, nothing like those simple conversation topics for vacation. What can I say? We’re cousins.
This place smelled like a dream! Joe debated buying a massive chocolate bar just because he could, but then we channeled our inner Fat Amy and thought “Mmm, better not.” We did indulge in some cookies. Seems like a decent trade off. The Chocolate Dream and Peanut Butter Explosion.
I thought I knew pizza before. That was until this heavenly slice of cheese and marina hit my tastebuds. What have I been missing out on all my life? I have never had anything so delicious. I want it again right now as I’m writing this. Luckily for me the foodies have blessed me and Minneapolis will soon be getting one of these babies in April. You know I’ll be there opening night. Joe noticed that the pizza was upside down (I was too busy stuffing my face) and the pepperoni went on top of the crust, then the cheese, with the sauce on top. Kind of neat right? Maybe that’s the magic secret.
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM
I lost it when I saw this. AN ATM THAT GIVES YOU CUPCAKES! I don’t care what kind of voodoo created this, it’s awesome. The cupcakes were absolutely delicious too, I now understand why Sprinkles are the talked about brand in certain cities. Why can’t every city have cupcake ATMs? That’s almost better than real ATMs, almost. We saw that they had red velvet and with us two we knew it was meant to be. We saved it until the middle of the night when we got back to the hotel room as Joe’s birthday cupcake.
What else do completely sane people do than sip on Slurpees from 7-11 while wandering the city at midnight in -5 degree F temperatures? Being from Minnesota we both had never experienced a 7-11 before and our celebratory drinks of choice are icees, only to be told slurpees were so much better. People were right. There were so many flavors!
Being the coffee nerd I am I had researched some great little cafes to try out each morning. I had a simple mocha from Intelligentsia and it was good. Nothing outstanding, but I fully enjoyed the taste. It felt like I was actually drinking coffee over some popular cafes’ drinks. The cups were cute too. I also loved the artwork on the walls inside – it was all graffiti style.
Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe
Om nom nom. Get in my belly! Wildberry was heavenly. This place started off our obsession with fresh juices all weekend. Now all I want is fresh juice and as far as I can tell Minnesota is seriously lacking. Joe had mango lemonade and I had wildberry orange juice. My favorite thing from this point forward was to constantly quote “Ooh that’s good. Shit that’s fresh.” Please tell me you get the reference and we can be best friends okay? The food was practically too pretty to eat. It was even more delicious so that thought process won over. I was seemingly on berry overload and got Berry Bliss pancakes on top of my juice. I’m surprised I didn’t turn violet like that girl from Willy Wonka. Joe had the Nutella Crepes. If I had one way to describe this place? YUM! Capitalization and exclamation point completely necessary.
Another thing we don’t have in Minnesota is Dunkin Donuts and I knew everyone thought it was all the rage. I had a friend who swore this was all she drank. I was curious about both the coffee and donuts. We decided to split the brownie batter and cookie dough donuts. Those were delish. As for the coffee? Trash. Utter trash. How do people drink that? It was so watery. I ended up throwing almost the full cup away and that’s a sin for a barista.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
At first we only stopped in Dylan’s because we were freezing, but it was an amazing assault on our senses of all the best flavors. Another mmm it smells so good location. There were so many neat candies and treats I had never heard of before. While we didn’t buy anything we made nice with one of the sales people and she walked around talking to us and giving us lots of free samples. Score! I’m glad I had just treated my sweet tooth or the gummi bears in every flavor imaginable would’ve been really dangerous for me.
Ed Debevic’s Short Order Grill
I figured nothing was more perfect for Joe’s 18th birthday dinner than a well-known 50s diner because Joe has a soft spot for those. The neat thing about Ed Debevic’s is that it’s fun. This isn’t just your Jukebox gold standard restaurant. The waiters are comedically trained and the meal is all about sass and playful insults. Our waiter was named Thunderbolt, with a full cowboy getup and everything. I learned quickly not to call him Woody. That earned me a thrown straw in my direction and the yellow cup of “rain water” to drink. I don’t think I’ve laughed that much at dinner in a while. It was great having that banter and watching the staff banter with the other customers – we had one particularly ballsy kid next to us who was aiming to be roasted, she got her request and it was hysterical. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture of Thunderbolt or the Lisa Frank print bubble heart rainbow lettered sign in the women’s restroom that declared “You’re too Good for Him!” Thunderbolt took our order in crayon and even left a fun little message and drawing on our receipt. The burgers and thick chocolate shakes were everything you’d want from a 50s diner. Both Joe and I swear that the fries had something special to them too, they were so good.
I don’t care if I get labeled basic, but brunch is my favorite. Give me all the breakfast foods and I will die a happy woman. Yolk was this adorable little place that was bright and colorful. I loved the mirrors scattered around the restaurant that were shaped like eggs with the little hole for the yolk and everything. I had been craving a mean omelette and Yolk delivered. Even better, Joe finally got to try the chicken and waffles that his heart desired. We continued the juice trend and got fresh strawberry orange juice. Yes, it was fresh and yes that shit was good.
This was everything I want out of a coffee shop. The industrial, artsy feel – the wide range of drinks. Dollop was wonderful. I was a bit more adventurous this time around and ordered a nutella mocha. Mm Mm good. It also came with latte art which will always make me happy.
I’ll admit I’m sad we didn’t get to the original donuts place on our list, but Stan’s donuts delivered exceptionally. I was going to go for a simple run of the mill chocolate donut until I saw the Cap’n Crunch Bismark. Of course I just HAD to try that because it’s not everyday you see something like that. Right? Remember my whole yolo? Yeah, just remember that. It was surprisingly better than I thought and had a rich Cap’n Crunch taste.
When we got home Monday afternoon all I wanted was a big warm bowl of homemade veggie soup and my bed. I got them both.
Many people think Chicago is expensive, but we found that the food was relatively cheap! I spent the same amount I would’ve on about three meals out at home with friends. Maybe it was because I didn’t have any liquor, or maybe it was because we were mainly eating junk. Either way my wallet was happy with the cheap price tag, because that’s what normally skyrockets a trip’s costs.
Stay tuned for tomorrow as I document all the adventures of what we saw and did that weren’t food related during our 48 hours in Chicago. What do you think made the itinerary?
Have you ever been to Chicago? What was your favorite thing you ate?
P.S. – My deep love of exploring fun new coffee shops explores to my home state too. Check out the time I traveled to Mocha Monkey, Minnesota’s top rated cafe.
Until next time,