Chicago in a day. A nearly impossible task. With some determination and a big appetite, I made it happen.
Since time was of the essence, location was key. The Park Hyatt Chicago on the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave.) was our home for the weekend and I couldn’t have asked for more. Perfection! The view was everything. Our room was large with a bench at the window that overlooked the city and Lake Michigan. And any hotel that offers mid-day snacks and water, tea, and coffee is good in my book!
Chicago is bursting at it’s seams with good food. If you only have a day, do it right. I skipped the deep dish & dogs (not sure if I should be ashamed or not!) and participated in my perfect mix of foodie finds. My list is short, & some of it sweet.
Breakfast: I’m a brunch girl. But brunch is time consuming and tends to leave me wanting to snooze the rest of the day away. No time for that! So I did the next best thing: DONUTS. If you know me, you know that I am on an epic quest to find the world’s best donut. The Doughnut Vault (401 N. Franklin Street) is certainly high on the contender list. With great accolades coming from the Huffington Post (link will be at the end of this post), I knew I should have high expectations. They were met. There’s a daily changing “donut of the day.” At the beginning of each week you can check their Tumblr page for the schedule (www.thedoughnutvault.tumblr.com). It was definitely my lucky day because strawberry shortcake was on the menu! I also tried the old fashioned buttermilk (incredible!) and the chocolate. All were worth the calories & worth the walk! Be sure to arrive early because there’s typically a line.
Lunch: I’ve had a long time desire to visit Eataly. Fortunately, a location opened recently on 43 E. Ohio Street, excellent timing. Eataly is a foodie’s dream. Counters, aisles, and restaurants all inviting you to taste what they have to offer. The daily special at the sandwich counter upstairs was prime rib on a baguette. Quickly grabbed one of those and brought it to the vegetarian counter, Le Verdure, where I ordered a farro and roasted vegetable salad. Both were great, but I’d definitely recommend the sandwich. It was a well-rounded combination of everything a prime rib sandwich should be- meaty, crusty bread, rich aus jus. On our way down the escalator, I couldn’t help but notice a Nutella counter. Seriously, a Nutella counter!
After spending the day sight seeing on the river and at Cloud Gate, “the bean,” in Millennium Park, I couldn’t help but work up an appetite for a tried and true Chicago staple. it was time for a visit to the ever famous Garrett Popcorn Shop for the Chicago Mix (which may be re-named Garrett’s mix soon). A strange but amazing combination of salty cheddar and sweet caramel popcorn that will leave you wanting more when your bag is empty. It’s addicting, be careful.
Dinner: So many options, so little time. My original plan was to have an adventurous dinner at the Purple Pig, but it was just too overwhelmingly crowded and it’s not a good time being shoved between other patrons. So without a plan, we thankfully stumbled upon Mercadito on 108 W. Kinzie Street. Mercadito was just what we didn’t know that we were looking for. A good cocktail can set the tone for any meal so when our waiter recommended the “pepino el pyu,” I was excited to try it. I’m not a fan of sweet sugary drinks and this was definitely on my level. A shaken mix of hornitos blanco, cucumber, lemon, & hoja santa with a cumin salt rim was exactly what I needed after treading the streets of Chicago all day. We then ordered a trio of salsas, all of which were so good that you could eat them atop anything! The show-stopper of the meal were the lobster tacos which consisted of lemon-poached lobster topped with corn hash, pickled ramps, scallions, and a jalapeno butter emulsion. No meal is complete without dessert of course, but luckily I had Doughnut Vault donuts back in the room. 🙂
Normally after a full day of trekking & eating I’d be ready to hit the sheets. But when you only have a day in Chicago, that’s just not an acceptable option. Earlier in the day, we happened to drive past the Second City theater and stopped in for tickets. The show that night was called “American Mixtape,” and it was a hilarious Saturday Night Live type comedic skit show. The perfect ending to a wonderful day in Chicago.
I’m in love with Chicago. It’s a walkable city with so much to offer. If you have the chance to go, take it! I’ll be back Chicago! Oh and here’s that article about The Doughnut Vault: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thrillist/the-21-best-donut-shops-i_b_5206201.html