This marks the second year of my Chicago St. Patrick’s weekend getaway!! Last year I was in Chicago twice for Mc Dreamy’s Basketball shin-dig… This year will be the same I am sure. I don’t complain, Chicago is a city I instantly fell in love with!! I love that everyone has such a great sense of style! I love going to Michigan Avenue to shop, seeing everyone’s outfits is amazing! I could honestly pick a coffee shop and stare out the window all day long and gather clothing inspirations. I absolutely love it. The last two times I went to Chicago it was all the same restaurants and places to see, but not this time. I wanted to branch out and actually see more that Chicago has to offer rather than the same places we go to every time we are in CHI.
First off the St. Patrick’s weekend is celebrated the weekend before the actual calendar holiday, and it just so happens that the tournament that Mc Dreamy plays in is that same weekend!! WIN WIN!!
So seeing the river being dyed is a must, or should I say at least getting to see the dyed river. I haven’t actually gotten up early enough to go watch the river being dyed. We always seem to stay out late the Friday before that goes down. It’s not a big deal to me as long as we go down and take pictures in front of the dyed river I am totally content!!
I will share with you our Chicago itinerary this year, in no particular order. (last year we did lots of touristy things. Willis tower, the Bean etc etc.)
1. Double tree- We always stay at the Double Tree in Skokie,IL. My favorite place to stay, and you would wonder why…. um for the amazing cookies! They offer the amazing chocolate chip walnut cookies warm complementary!! of course they have other perks too such as fruits and coffee etc. but lets be real the cookies are the real reason I come!! This hotel is an amazing place to stay they have great amenities. Pool/hot tub, free cookies 😜, free wifi which is a big deal for a blogger such as my self, I was able to get some work done while I was there. The staff have always been super friendly and very accommodating. We always order food to-go from restaurants and eat it in our room and the hotel provides us with the plates and utensils we need, its great. I love all of the soaps and shampoos they provide, I don’t ever bring my own. The soap they provide is amazing, it smells so fresh and leaves me feeling so clean. Thats a huge perk, if the hotel soap is not good we would go to a CVS or the equivalent to buy shampoo and conditioner and soap. The hotel soaps and S&C is just perfect for our weekend getaway.
2. Eataly- This is a must!! Everytime we are in Chicago we go to EATALY!! This place is overwhelming when you step inside. Its a huge market place with wines, cheeses, chocolates, and restaurants. But skip all of that for now and head to the second floor of Eataly, and hit up the La Rosticceria!! The sandwiches speak for themselves. (if they could speak that is) The sandwiches can be over the top or super simple you chose. The sandwich that is a must eat is the Prime rib/Roast! Super simple the prime rib sliced and placed in a roll with sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Very simple and very delicious. The sandwich I tried this time was a special they were having called the Sausage and peppers! I can’t even tell you how amazing this sandwich was. The sauce was spicy goodness with the seasoned pepper and sausage! mmm mmm mm ! I made a huge mess of my sandwich let me tell you, I had sauce dripping down my arms and hands. I looked like I hadn’t eaten in years judging by how messy I was with my sandwich. Be sure to try a sandwich from La Rosticceria. They have a different sandwich for every day of the week. However they always have the Prime Rib everyday!
3. Lou Malnati’s- Where do I start. If you love Pizza you have got to try Lou Malnati’s, this pizza pie is over the top!! This made from scratch, baked super yummy goodness is a must try when in Chicago. This deep dish chicago style pizza is layered with what ever toppings you like. We ordered the Sausage, pepperoni and cheese. The sausage is literally spread out a cross the crust, layered with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, pizza sauce but might I add that the sauce has chunks of tomatoes and more cheese and then baked; delivering this 5 pound pie of meat and cheese goodness! (not really five pounds, but it is stacked full of cheese and meat) One slice fills me for days. I love pizza and I get my pizza fix off of one slice of LM pizza.
4. The River- This has become a yearly tradition. I don’t know what will happen if Mc Dreamy no longer has to go to Chicago for basketball. I would be so sad. I would have to make a point to make it out during the St Paddy’s weekend or if all else fails at least make it out there once a year. I honestly never knew what the tradition was behind the dyeing of the river, since I stumbled across this last year when I happen to be in Chicago the weekend of the river being dyed. After reading about the river this year, I have learned that this tradition dates back to the 1960s where plumbers would dye the river with a certain chemical to see where all of the dumping or wasting was occurring. The dye would point out waste. This then was known to cause damage to the river so they have since created a plant based dye that is no longer harmful to the river. Mind you this river is known to be mainly sewage. The dye that these 6 plumbers use to dye the river is actually orange but once mixed with the water it turns green. They now say that if the secret ingredients got out it would be the equivalent to the leprechaun telling you where he keeps his pot of gold. The dying of the river takes place on the Saturday before Saint Patricks Day every year and starts at 9:15 Chicago time. It takes about 45 minutes then Voila!!! The river is green. Of course these days the river only stays green for about five hours.. or so they say! By the time we were done shopping and walking around we got to the river at about 3pm and the river was still very emerald green.
5. Stax- WORDS… can’t even describe how amazing the food is here!! I of course was searching Instagram hashtags for restaurants in Chicago and Chicago Bloggers. There is a picture that is all over #chicagobloggers – and it is this “Adult Grilled Cheese” I knew from that picture that I needed to go there. (I have since tried to search this hashtag and this picture no longer shows up, Instagrams algorithm is so wonky, I can’t get it figured out yet.) Anyone that knows me knows that Coffee shops and Sandwich shops are my jam!! So of course Stax Cafe popped up and I started browsing the pictures on their feed and knew we needed to go ASAP. Mc Dreamy and I defiantly fell in love with this place and this will definitely be a place we go back to every year. I had the AGC (adult grilled cheese) which I hope they add to their menus as it is a special right now. Multi grain bread, swiss, pepper jack, bacon, avocado, and a blueberry lemon jam!! Um delicious!! I had a cup of coffee, a glass of orange juice which might I add is the most amazing orange juice I have ever had and come to find out it is freshly squeezed daily!! On the side I had the chicken orzo soup, which was amazing as well!! Dreamy had something so delicious I couldn’t take a picture because he had devoured most of it before I was done snapping pictures of my meal. I did however taste his tater tot skillet which had cheese, eggs, tater tots and gravy yumminess and I have to say I can’t find it on the menu online but it was amazing. Anyone in the area be sure to check out Stax Cafe! Along with this amazing cafe were two awesome Chicago bloggers! Brett and Erica, both super sweet! It was awesome meeting both of these babes, through my Chicago search on instagram I had found both of these girlies on the Stax page and noticed that they go here a lot so messaged Erica after reading some of her comments about going to Stax for lunch one of the days I was in Chicago and it happened to be the same day Dreamy and I were planning on going as well. We had planned to go shortly after the dying of the river but we didn’t make it down to the festivities quite that early so we grabbed a lunch at Stax and then we headed out to see the river. Alright, back to meeting the babes, I had noticed they were both eating or almost finished by the time Dreamy and I had been seated, so I wanted to let them finish before I went over to introduce myself to them. The girls were talking with Spiro who is the owner of Stax- and is such a welcoming, and very nice man. (He actually snapped the picture of me and the girls!!!) Brett was so sweet she is glowing with her pregnancy, which you can’t even tell in the picture BTW, and Erica had her little one with her Elia who is the most adorable little girl ever. It is always so nice to meet people that share a like community regardless of what we blog about we are all bloggers.
6. Nike Town– So I have to admit… I was not a huge Jordan sneaker head till I met Dreamy and his boys. They then changed me. I boycotted Nike for years and became a huge Under Armor fan. I had stacks and stacks of sneakers from UA, one pair for every outfit. When I met dreamy I had explained to him that Nike or a moment didn’t support the troops and I couldn’t have any of that animosity towards the troops as my dad was in the military along with every other family member of mine was in the military and it was a part of where I came from, so I couldn’t wear or support a brand that didn’t support men and women fighting to keep us safe and protect us. I don’t know where Nike stands as far as the troops go. I do know that Under Armor has a huge tactical line just for military and they support our wounded warriors which I can appreciate. So with that being said, I was introduced to Jordans- J’s for short. My obsession came on strong and fast. I was buying shoes like they were going out of style. I have learned a lot about Jordan and his brand and what he stands for and I am all about it. I do wear Nike Theas, and Nike Air Max 90’s now. They are a part of my collection. It is fun to wait for the next drop date and be entered in to the sneaker lottery and hope you get a call for the next best pair of sneaks!! I have been converted now and like to call my self a new sneaker head! I have the boys to thanks for this one. So, every time we go to Chicago you can find us in the NIKE TOWN!! five floors of pure sneaker heaven!!
7. Sweet Mandy B’s– This is another must visit Place in Chicago! We literally were driving from the city and I was searching yelp and this was a place that showed a picture of a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with eggless cookie dough. UM YES PLEASE!! So we drove by, parked right out front, and went in and sure enough ordered not one but five of these cookies to bring back to Colorado. There is nothing like this anywhere that I have stumbled across here. Might I add these are super rich, huge 1/2 pound cookies, and I shared mine because it is so rich it is enough to cause your pancreas to shut down on you. I honestly was eating this guilty pleasure of mine and got half way through my half and started to think about diabetes and how much weight I was going to gain, so stopped eating. They are delicious and all of the cookies we brought back have still not been eaten. The boys can’t seem to finish them either. They are rich, and would be good to share. Once you start you won’t want to stop eating this cookie. Beware these cookies are jam packed with deliciousness!! We also ordered a peanut butter brownie which was amazing as well, and a couple cookies- a confetti cookie and a snicker doodle. Both were very good and inhaled in very few bites! hehe Mandy B’s definitely knows how to bake!! Her sweets are delicious! Be sure to check her out if you visit Chicago or if you are in the area!
8. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder– We first heard about this restaurant on the show Diners Dashes and Dives! Ever since watching the show we saved it as a must eat place the next time we go to Chicago! So here we are, in Chicago and we went to eat at this amazing establishment and go figure its $15 to valet your car, and it was a 2 hour wait to be seated. So with that being said we didn’t have the time to wait to be seated, so we sat across the street and ordered one of the one pound pizza pot pies for the two of us to share. Lets just say once again, this did not last all of 5 mins for the two of us to devour. Next time I am in Chicago I would love to actually sit down in this restaurant and enjoy a salad and some of their amazing cheese bread. I would definitely recommend a carry out from CP&OG if the wait is too long to dine in. I can’t speak to the dining expierence but the pot pie was amazing.
9. Psistaria-Best Greek food I have ever had!! nuff said! This restaurant is literally the only and the best authentic Greek food I have ever had. The ritual is to order; as follows: Greek Salad- (Horiatiki), Fried Greek cheese (Saganaki), traditional Greek soup (Avgolemono), Lamb chops (Paidakia), greek fries, and greek potatoes. The food is over the top at this restaurant! Honestly, it is super sad that I am a greek girl and have to go all the way to Chicago for great Greek food. Mc Dreamy’s mom isn’t greek but she cooks greek food and Dreamy will as well and its also very good. This is an awesome authentic Greek place! I highly recommend this to anyone that is Greek or wants authentic Greek food.
10. Portillos– Let me just say this restaurant is known for it’s Italian beef sandwiches and they sure know how to make a shake. The chocolate cake shake is not like any other shake you will ever have!! The Chocolate cake is made with mayonnaise making it super soft and moist. After the cake is baked they then add slices of the cake to vanilla ice cream and shake shake shake!! It is delicious, seriously every sip has chunks of cake! I am obsessed. Portillos is like Starbucks it is on every corner, so you can be sure to grab a shake any time!!
11. The Roost Carolina Kitchen– The Roost, in no way did I want to mention this restaurant last, its just the random order that I typed the blog post out. The Roost is definitely a great place to get some southern cooking. If you are into biscuits and spicy chicken this is going to be your spot!! This cute little place is hidden off w. Irving Park Rd., and surprisingly enough was once a food truck just over a year ago. When I asked about the place to some of the employees they said that the owner was from North Carolina and he had been looking for a simple spicy chicken biscuit sandwich and couldn’t find one, so he created one himself. I love that this place started from a food truck I think that is so awesome the progress that they have made in just one year. I ordered the spicy chicken biscuit sandwich. This sandwich was smothered with coleslaw, spicy dressing, pickles and of course cheese! For my side I ordered the delicious mac n cheese, and bread pudding and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Yummm I love sandwiches of any kind.
now let me just start off by saying Dreamy and I ate very well while we were in Chicago for the weekend. The scale hates me officially. Its just nice to know Dreamy still loves me for all of my curves and extra LB’s I may have put on this weekend. We ended up bringing back Psistaria, Lou Malnati’s, and Mandy B’s to Colorado. We couldn’t eat everything in one setting. I ate my left over Stax before we boarded our flight. We are both Greek and love our food that is for sure, it can get a bit dangerous when I eat my weight in food for the weekend. Nothing to be proud of.