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Chicago Review

  • June 2, 2015
  • By casualonthecoast
  • 5 Comments

A few weeks ago, we ventured to the Midwest to explore Chicago!  It truly is such an amazing city- especially in the spring/summer.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to travel there in the frigid temps, extreme wind chills & massive amounts of snow!  The middle of May proved to be a great time to visit with temperatures in the 70’s & 80’s with hardly any humidity.

There is SO much to do in Chicago and while we only tapped into a small portion of it, I wanted to share some of the things we experienced and enjoyed.  There are still many things on our “Chicago to do list” but I’m happy to say we were able to cross some things off of our list.

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One of our “must-dos” was a trip to Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs play.  We unfortunately witnessed the Cubbies lose in a close game to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Win or lose, I’d highly recommend checking out Wrigley Field; including Wrigleyville.  It is such a cute little neighborhood and if you are unable to catch the game from inside the stadium you can watch from many of the rooftop bars & bleachers that surround Wrigley.

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We ventured to the top of the iconic Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) & made the trek onto the Sky Deck Ledge overlooking the city below.  It wasn’t nearly as scary as I had anticipated and am glad we decided to walk out onto the ledge.  If the thought of the ledge is too much for you, the trip to the 103rd floor is still worth it.  The 360 panoramic views of the city are breathtaking and I’m confident you’ll enjoy the vistas!

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Being that we love and appreciate all types of food, we had plenty of different Chicago food stops in mind.  We chose Giordano’s for Chicago deep dish pizza- a must try, it was delicious but I much prefer NY style pizza.  If you are in Chicago, take advantage of the abundant farmers markets throughout the city.  We went to the Green City Farmers Market and I am still dreaming about all of the fresh, local produce, cheeses (& curds), meats & delicacies galore.  We picked up some fresh shitake mushrooms from our favorite vendor there, River Valley Kitchens, as well as their portabella salsa (amazing) and cherry bomb hot sauce.

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Maya del Sol in Oak Park, IL (a short distance to the West of Chicago) is a great Latin American restaurant.  We had the ceviche de atùn (tuna ceviche with the most delicious sweet & spicy habanero/citrus juice) & the tostada de pulpo (octopus) did not disappoint.  Nearby in Forest Park was a neat brewery, Exit Strategy Brewery.  There beers were tasty, the atmosphere was cozy & adorable and a simple yet elevated menu.

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We made it a point to visit Big Star Tacos in Wicker Park from Chef Aaron Sanchez’s recommendation on Taco Trip.  We tried a variety of tacos, al pastor (pork shoulder), al pibil (chicken thighs), de panza (pork belly) & de pescado (fish.)  My personal favorite was the al pastor with the grilled pineapple being the perfect condiment.  We are planning to recreate them in our test kitchen and once we are successful, I’ll share our variation!

Bottom line, Chicago is a fabulous city with plenty of green space, great architecture, museums, restaurants and things to do/explore.  Comment below with any of your Chicago recommendations as I would love to add things to our list for next time we visit!

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By casualonthecoast, June 2, 2015
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