Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicago, Chicago

For Christmas, we got my parents four tickets to a Bulls' game... with the stipulation that they choose their game-attending buddies very wisely. Fortunately, they did, and we met them in Chicago on Saturday for some shopping, game-attending, and an all-around good time.

We arrived in the city just past lunchtime, and we were starving, so we stopped for one of our favorite Chicago foods - deep dish pizza at Giordano's.

We started with a salad, you know, to cancel out the 3 lbs. of cheese to come in the pizza. It came with anchovies (on the side), and I tried anchovies for the first time. Salty, very salty. Pretty sure I was the only one that came close to even touching them.

Oh, anchovies... you were quite the experience.
And then our pizza came out. Man, oh, man. We ordered a large supreme, stuffed with cheese, sausage, green peppers, onions, more cheese, and topped with sauce. It was SO good. The crust was definitely my favorite part. I made sure to finish off my crust, my Business Man's, and half my dad's. Just the true carb-a-holic coming out. (Notice my mom didn't share her crust... that's where my carb lovin' comes from.)

Mom prepares to attack her first ever slice of Chicago-style pizza.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon shopping. Eddie Bauer, the Nike Store, Crate and Barrel, the Gap, Williams-Sonoma, and perhaps my favorite, HomeGoods. Think the housewares section of TJ Maxx times a million. If only we would have had this store close when we moved into our house! (Or maybe not... we could potentially be thousands of dollars poorer right now.)

Infinite amounts of discounted bakeware... my dream aisle.
My dad was thrilled with the afternoon of shopping, as you can clearly see. At least Crate and Barrel has comfy furniture to lounge on.

Is he sleeping?
We stopped in the Ghiradelli shop for an afternoon pick-up. Love that they give you a free chocolate as you walk in the door. Of course we proceeded to buy more chocolate plus a salted caramel cocoa, so I guess their marketing plan works. Have you ever had salted caramel cocoa? It was delicious - a little sweet, but perfect shared between us.

We then made our way to the game, which was super fun! Our seats were up in the boonies, but we were able to see if we squinted enough. Hehe... actually we could still see pretty well. 

The game was pretty close at times, but the Bulls pulled through with a win over Charlotte. Although they didn't score over 100 points, so we didn't get our free Big Mac's. My Business Man was pretty disappointed about that.

Enjoying the game.
My favorite part had to be the mascot - Benny the Bull. He was hilarious.

Upon returning to the hotel, we feasted on a little something my mom & I had picked up earlier... Sprinkles' cupcakes!

There just happened to be a cupcake shop conveniently located just a block and a half from our hotel... coincidence? I think not.

Love the packaging... think a cutesy cupcake shop would succeed in the Bean Town? Haha... at $3.50 a pop, probably not.

We got four flavors to try - Red Velvet, Strawberry, German Chocolate, and S'mores.

So cute!
The hands-down favorite was the Red Velvet. The others claimed the German Chocolate was fantastic as well, but I didn't have any because coconut gives me the willies.

My second pick was the S'mores, which had a graham cracker crust and a ganache center with a marshmallow frosting. I might need to recreate that flavor combo at home.  

On Sunday, we ventured down to Millennium Park to meet some friends for brunch. We planned on walking through the park and visiting the Bean beforehand, but it was 25*F and spitting rain. Not so pleasant. So we stepped into the Chicago Cultural Center instead for a few minutes.

Check out the haze! We couldn't even see the top half of most of the buildings.
The Chicago Cultural Center was built in 1897, and used to be a public library. It was beautiful inside! We enjoyed walking through the rooms and displays and looking at the architecture. And coveting the tile floors.

Absolutely beautiful stained glass dome.
After our historical lesson of the weekend, we headed over to Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe to catch up with our friends Adam & Sarah who moved to Chicago a few months ago.

Their menu was quite extensive, with breakfast and lunch options. Some of the lunch options were enticing, but since the restaurant is called Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe, I decided to go with the pancakes. And I had quite the selection - red velvet pancakes, cranberry-pecan pancakes, Oreo s'mores pancakes (!) to name a few.

I ended up settling on the fig & walnut multigrain pancakes, which were absolutely delicious. The pancakes were perfectly sweet with just a hint of whole grain, and were topped with walnuts and dried figs. (First time eating figs for me.) Perfect with some maple syrup. My mom had a panini that looked pretty awesome too, so if you're looking for a brunch place in Chicago, Wildberry is the place to go!

Sadly, after brunch and a quick tour of Adam & Sarah's apartment, we had to say good-bye to my parents and start the trek back to the Bean Town... 

... but not without another stop at Sprinkles. This time for a Peanut Butter Chip cupcake with Peanut Butter frosting. Yessss. Definitely made the whole getting-ready-for-the-work-week-thing a lot easier Sunday evening.


Ali Mc said...

hahaha that pic of your mom was amazing EPIC!! I love this. It looks like you guys had a great time. Kudos to you for even trying anchovies. YUCK I could never. I've heard they are salty though, so you confirmed that :P

Glad you got to go to a bulls game :D YAY!!! love that feta cheese pile on the salad

Ali Mc said...

oh...and may I have a cupcake please!

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Sounds like an amazing time in Chicago! I definitely go for the crust and grab everyone else's too! I used to as a kid as well and call it the "pizza bones!"

Have Your Way said...

FAVORITE pizza place BY far in Chicago!! AHHH makes me wanna go to Chicago RIGHT.NOW!!

Sounds like you have a great weekend!!!

Talen said...

Sara! I want your coat, it's so cute! All the food would be nice too!

james straub said...

The pizza is much better at Geno's East.

Sara said...

@Ali - yes my mom is awesome!

@Vanessa - love it! pizza bones, haha

@Allie - isn't it so good?

@Talen - when I get a new one you can have it... it doesn't do a good job of keeping me warm. That's whatcha get when you pay like $30 at Target.

@Jim - will definitely try that place next time!

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