Chicago, Just Because

29 days before I landed in Chicago for the first time, I decided I would go to Chicago for the first time. Which is obviously not exactly like me. Me, the planner of all things.

And not to give y'all the wrong idea, I'm not rolling in cash. I got my flights all with frequent flyer miles, and it cost me $21 in taxes and insurance. That's it. 

So what was the plan? Pretty much, to go into without a plan.

I needed a break from being, well, here. I needed to be with friends. I needed to try something new. And dangit, I really needed some good pizza.

Lucky for me, I had two friends I have known for ages (living together!) in Chicago, it was somewhere I had never been, and yeah, there is a lot of pizza out there.


We Ate:

Madison Tavern : About 1 hour after I landed, and after thawing out in a Starbucks (grabbing yet another "medicine ball tea," big fan,) I made my way up West Madison to grab lunch with Danielle.

And, if you have ever woken up at 3:00 AM, flown all the way to Chicago, and only had a banana and Goldfish, you might know how hungry I was. So I inhaled my Cuban sandwich, and we hit the very tip of the iceberg when it came to all the catching up we had to do.

Big Star : After grabbing the bus (!!!) home and finally also hugging Kendra, we headed out to dinner. Big Star was billed as "Tacos, Whiskey & Honky Tonk," I was in.

But you know what sealed the deal? When we found a seat at the bar, and started to order our margaritas, and the waitress simply said, "How 'bout a pitcher?" Baby, how 'bout it. 

So a pitcher of margaritas, loads of chips (and killer guac!) and plenty of tacos later, I sold my heart to Chicago, officially.

Kanela Breakfast Club : Knowing that you're getting the local's "best of the best," is hands down the best part about going to new places with people that already live there. And that's what we got when we went to breakfast Saturday morning (but also, with every stop we made.)

Y'all the menu was unreal, (two of us got the Loraine Scramble, and honestly, I have never loved eggs more.) And they were playing Disney movies behind the bar. But not just regular ol' Disney movies, they were playing them on VHS TAPES. 

Not kidding.

Mahalo : A dinner place with the most Rylee-aestetic ever? Sign me up. 

We had a drink in a pineapple, bomb fried rice, potstickers, wings, and a very shameless photoshoot on their swings that are inside the restaurant. Yeah.

It was just enough food to tide us over before our late night adventure at Bub City.

Did you think I was going to find my way to a country bar and eat atomic cheese while listening to a cover band? You did? Good freakin' call. 

By the way, they have group moscow mules at Bub City, and if you've got $55 it is all yours (and 7 of your closest friends.)

Fairgrounds: On Sunday morning we bundled up for brunch at the coolest coffee place in Wicker Park.

They had cold brew, on. tap.

We grabbed paninis, coffees, and breakfast sammies, and thawed out again while watching the line of pour-over coffees. 

Pequods: And to top it all off, we ended with Chicago deep-dish. (Well, we started with some bomb cheesy garlic bread, because you know how I roll.)

I have nothing to say other than I housed two pieces and had never been happier. 


We Went:

So, I went to the Chicago History Museum by myself on Monday before flying out. You might remember that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

What a day to be at the museum. Of course, it was wildly busy. But they also had a lot of special exhibits up featuring MLK and perspectives on race and race relations in America.

We also went and got our nails done. As someone who is totally gun-shy of getting her nails done in Burlington, this was a total treat.

And! I also - obviously? - went to The Bean! And y'all saw that I nabbed a photo when no one was around. But yes, the tourists showed up too.

Overall, do I recommend a quick trip to Chicago?

Yes, duh.

But overall, this was more about me being about to do something new, being able to get away, being able to take a breather from being alone and sad in bed.

And it was perfect. It was friendship, and food, and finding my way around the city.

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