CHI TOWN TOOK US DOWN

...okay it really didn't take us down, but my food baby is still kicking. 

I'd be the one to argue that timing is usually not in my favor - however this one weekend it worked out perfectly. Ethan was moving into his new place in Chicago and my sister, Lyndsy was going to be in Chicago for a concert - PERFECT TIMING! 

Thursday was a long hellish day of moving - starting early morning to pack up the U-HAUL, making it to Chicago at 8:30 pm to then unpack the U-HAUL until 2 am. (TIP - Don't try to move a king tempurpedic mattress by yourself).

Friday

We had a bit of a late start with Lyndsy's plane being delayed TWO hours because the pilot no showed...never even heard of that before. Once she got into town, we didn't waste any time. First stop - Au Cheval. Now if you are any sort of a foodie, you KNOW they are known for their burger...and their very long wait time. Being the smart thinkers that we are (and the paranoid person I am), I had Lyndsy jump out and put in our name before finding a parking spot. Shockingly we only had a 30-40 minute wait, unshockingly it took us that long to find a parking spot (West Loop is DEATH). 

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Let me tell yall - this burger did NOT disappoint. We split the single (which is actually a double) with bacon. Guys...just you have to. Its to die for...seriously, I'd die for it. 

The next stop has a special place in my heart and I want to move in. Sawada Coffee, is another Hogsalt company (aka my dream company) and the vibes were on point. Grunge with patio lights....serving up matcha, doughnuts and alcohol. SIGN ME UP! 

I got the Military Latte, which is essentially a matcha latte with a shot of espresso and topped with cocoa powder. HOLY HELL - it was the answer to all my prayers. The espresso cut any sweetness from the matcha and also gave you the extra kick of caffeine, that let's be real, we all want. Sawada ALSO serves Doughnut Vault (another Hogsalt co) - we snagged a buttermilk togo (we will come back to this). 

Some site seeing was in order next - from Maggie Daley park to Buckingham Palace (LOL JK, I know its Fountain), we ended up at Willis Tower. After an ear popping elevator ride, we made it to the top. Snagged a few pictures around the deck and waited in line for the look out point. Side note - we were casually watching everyone do their poses while waiting in line, but once you get in the box it is intimidating AF to have everyone starting at you. Anyways, we made it to the front of the line...and Lyndsy couldn't look down (it was funny), but we struck a few poses and called it good. Also, it WAS Natty doughnuts day, so I had to shamelessly take a ridiculous photo with my socks and doughnut...which I had been carefully holding outside of my backpack the whole time. 

After Willis, we met up with Ethan to grab our bags and head to our Aunt & Uncle's place. BUT we were both getting hangry and we decided to FINALLY split this beloved doughnut. Before we could devour, Lyndsy had to snap a quick picture...which almost resulted in the doughnut crumbling to its death...but don't worry I saved it and the doughnut was DELICIOUS. 

Dinner was at Summer House, which was also on my Chicago weekend list. Summer House gives you all the vibes of the beach without the annoyance of the sand. I mean this decor is on point.

Lyndsy got the Weekender (there was matcha in it - duh) and I went for the Hootenany (bourbon, blackberry & rhubarb bitters ). I went for a pasta dish, which is very unlike me however the morel mushrooms, pesto and gnocchi were calling my name. The pasta was great, but I felt like I could have eaten more...which is where The Market comes into play. 

The Market is a bakery in the lobby area of the restaurant. Yall...these cookies are the size of my face and I ate 1.5. I personally ordered the one with Rice Krispie chunks but got a bite or so off of everyone else's - peanut butter chocolate chip, oatmeal apple & good 'ol chocolate chunk. I can't wait to go back and get some of these bad boys for an ice cream sandwich. 

Saturday

After the food comma Friday, we planned to walk around the city while snagging a few more good eats. First stop - La Colombe. Now I've had their canned latte (It's at HyVee!) which is unreal, but I went for an oat milk latte - yes, yes yes please. 

Next up, we met our cousin at Left Coast - which is a place I've been dying to try. It is super "basic" as my cousin put it - kale everything, juices galore, and health health health - BUT it was tasty and exactly what I needed from the day before. 

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Lyndsy & I split the Guapo - turkey chorizo, egg whites, roasted red pepper, avocado, roasted hominy, spinach, salsa verde wrapped in a whole wheat wrap. Our cousin got the Chronic - steak, 7-minute egg, avocado, carrots, red onion, spinach, chimichurri. SO SO good and fresh. 

We had decided to sit outside, which was great for the first 30 minutes but then got really chilly...so what do you get on a windy Chicago day? MATCHA!

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A few google searches later we found a place called - Two Hearted Queen. Although the matcha doesn't hit my top 5 (don't get me wrong, it was really good - I just have had a lot of matcha). I LOVED this quant little neighborhood café and the staff was amazing. Also, since it was our first time they play a little game with you - if you choose the Queen of Hearts out of a deck you get your order 50% off (I picked an Ace.)

Then back to our family's place to get ready for dinner and to send the crew off to the concert! Luckily, the concert and dinner was in the South Loop, which is where Ethan just moved to - so we were all able to meet up for dinner with the whole crew. (The crew included three 14-16 year old girls and their moms en route to a T.Swift concert)

Now I just might think a lot of places are hidden gems because I know nothing about Chicago, but if you don't know about Café Bionda, you should. 

Started off with a very strong Negroni, just a few days shy of Negroni week and some French bread. They also serve their bread with olive oil/parm AND marinara sauce. I ordered the chicken Milanese with roasted veggies - I honestly could have just had a big bowl of the veggies and been a happy camper. They also have a secret menu of pizza, which a couple of the girls ordered (I snagged the extras to take home for leftovers and it was goooood thin crust pizza). Thee real show stopper was the meat lasagna. My picture in no way does this justice, but it was by far the best lasagna Ethan and I have ever had. It was more cheesy than saucy, which created this creamy texture...yall, I'm drooling thinking about it. 

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After dinner, the rest of the crew headed to the concert and Ethan and I headed home. The rest of the weekend included shopping, cleaning, organizing, and eating leftover pizza.