When we arrived on Thursday and the flight attendant mentioned that it was 80 degrees, we assumed that she was mistaken--but she wasn't! Unfortunately, that weather didn't exactly hold out for the rest of the weekend...but at least we were spared any rain, I suppose. As we didn't even arrive at Andy's house in Aurora (hometown of Wayne and Garth of Wayne's World fame!) until nearly 7 PM, we decided to spend the evening out in the 'burbs and went to The Foundry to grab dinner and drinks. After a somewhat mediocre experience (the service was terrible, the food and drinks average, but I can see how it would be a fun place if there was a big sporting event going on--lots of TVs, a big, open building, etc.) we returned to the house to hang out, catch up, and drink a few beers.
As it was vacation, Steve and I wanted to sleep in on Friday. We hadn't done much of that on our previous vacation (New Orleans) and we really didn't have a set schedule for Chicago; it felt good to not set an alarm clock! And we were still out of the house by lunchtime, to grab food at a Portillo's before heading downtown. Now, I'm not a huge hot dog fan, but Portillo's "Chicago style" hot dogs impressed both of us!
Had it been rainy or cloudy we may not have done the following activity, that being a visit to the Sears--I mean, Willis--Tower, including paying the ::cough::somewhat exorbitant fee::cough:: to take the elevators up. However, thanks to a beautiful clear day got some great views of the city. I have to be honest, though--the little "observation booths" with the clear floors were a bit much for yours truly.
As we walked back to his car, Andy pointed out a few of the places where The Dark Knight was filmed. Although I'm not a big fan of that particular movie, it was really neat to hear Andy talk about what it was like to see it being filmed in his city over a period of time. Yet another reason why it's always fun to have a local "tour guide"!
That night we ate at a Lou Malnati's in downtown Naperville, Illinois. The pizza (including the Chocolate Chip dessert pizza) was some of the best I've ever had! Of course, I love pizza and prefer deep-dish over thin crust anyway, which helped my opinion ;o) And Naperville was beautiful as well. We were actually really happy to see some areas other than just downtown Chicago, and downtown Naperville was so similar to downtown Greenville that we couldn't help but love it at first sight.
Our final day in Chicago was long, tiring, and admittedly...a bit too cold for our liking. (So much for that 80 degree weather they bragged about upon our arrival.) However, it was also an absolute blast! We began the day with a train ride into the city and a baseball game. Unfortunately, the Cubs lost--despite numerous stupid mistakes made by the Astros--but even though we were pretty much freezing up in the stands, we made the best of it with hot Irish coffees and the promise that after the game, we would be walking in the sun, where it was just a little bit warmer ;o)
Dinner that evening was at the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, and this truly was a different kind of pizza. Andy described it as "pizza pot pies" and that's pretty much what they were! (Besides being delicious, of course.) This restaurant is actually located across the street from the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, but nowadays there isn't really much to see dealing with that. Not surprisingly, Chicago isn't exactly proud of what happened that day in 1929. (Right after we returned from our trip, I wrote a comparison post of Malnati's and the Oven Grinder--check it out here!)
We topped off our last day with a night out at the Tilted Kilt in the West Loop. It was...interesting, to say the least. Basically a Scottish/Irish themed Hooters, and apparently the people who thought up this restaurant don't know or understand that the Scottish and Irish don't really, err, care for each
|Site of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre...shhh!|
Last but not least, on our way to the airport we made a quick stop at White Castle for hangover food...and I don't care what anyone says, Krystal and White Castle taste exactly the same. I have to say that this was one city where I was happy to have some great tour guide friends, and I hope to some day get back to Chicago...if only to stuff myself, once again, with pizza and hot dogs!
|Famous Chicago Bridges & the Sun-Times building!|