December, 29 2016
Experiences
Chicago, Illinois
And each time I roam, Chicago is
 Calling me home.

Frank says it best.

I love exploring different parts of the world, but I LOVE coming home. Sweet home, Chicago. I’ll win in any argument – Chicago is the best city on the planet. I can say that with confidence even considering the cold, windy Chicago winters.

Here are some reasons why Chi Town is My Town and the Best Town

I love this city, photo by David Kopka

Eat

It’s more than deep-dish pizza.

Fav Scene: Bar Siena. It’s Italian and fun and filled with really pretty people.And the sweet corn ravioli with chiodini mushrooms and truffle butter is a dream. So is the meatball. And if you get a chance to meet Top Chef Fabio Viviani, now that’s just the icing in the bomboloni.

Fav Burger: Au Cheval. It’s the naughtiest treat in all the land and the (sometimes 4 hour) wait is well worth it. Top your burger with an egg and the thickest cut bacon you ever did see. Because… you already taste like a burger. Make it the best you eva had.

The Au Cheval Burger, photo by Kevin Miyazaki

Fav Sushi: Kai Zan. The chef’s tasting menu is the best-kept secret in Chicago. $60 omakase?Yes, please! While the menu changes often, ask for the DIY uni and tuna hand rolls. They melt in your mouth, not in your hand(roll).

Fav Pizza: I have to admit; I’m a thin crust NY style pizza gal. So I prefer the thin crust straight out of the coal oven at Coal Fire. But for the best deep-dish, don’t wait in line with all the tourists at Giordano’s. The only acceptable options are Lou Mal’s or Pequods. At Lou Mal’s, get the sausage pizza. And when I say sausage I don’t mean a few dollops of sausage sprinkled on your pie. I mean a SHEET of sausage that’s a sweet, sweet blanket keeping your pizza warm at night. At Pequod’s, go for spinach, mushroom, and pepperoni. Goes great with the caramelized crust.

Fav Hot Dog: Wrigley Field. With mustard and grilled onions. Cubs aren’t in town? Head to Portillo’s. Don’t forget a side of cheese fries.

Fav Steak: For a traditional options, head to Joe’s for the perfect mix of a bone-in strip, side of king crab legs, and dirty martini. For something a little more trendy, dark, and sexual; head to El Che Bar for some Argentinean love or Bavettes for a rib eye, the smoked trout caesar salad, and a Martinez.

Bavettes, photo by Kari Skaflen

Fav View: Cindy’s Rooftop has a view of Lake Michigan that will make you think you’re in Miami Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Fav Dish: This is tough!! While this changes frequently, some options that will never over promise and under deliver include the raviolo at The Bristol, the steak tartare at Maude’s Liquor Bar, the wings and oyster mushrooms at Mott St, the plin at Osteria Langhe, and the truffle pasta at Oriole.

Fav Restaurant Of The Moment: A not so giant spot in Logan Square called Giant.  The entire menu is on point.  So is the mezcal negroni.  The zucchini, little biscuit, orzo with king crab, and chicken are just a few of the stars.  Leave room for a little taste of nostalgia.  The cajeta ice cream is a much better version of those strawberry shortcake bars from the ice cream truck.

People

My kind of town, Chicago is
 My kind of people too
 People who smile at you

It’s true what they say about the Midwest, and Chicago is no exception – the people are just NICE! They’ll help you with directions, show you to their favorite pizza spot, and maybe even invite you over for dinner. Okay, maybe not. But we’re all pretty friendly. And what I love most is that Chicago is such a small world. It’s hard to walk down the street without bumping into someone I know. Overall, people are just generally happy.

Architecture

Aside from the massive “trump” in bold letters on the side of Trump Tower, Chicago architecture is beautiful. To prove it, we have an entire boat tour dedicated to it.

Sports

While the sports is DEFINITELY not my area of expertise, the one thing I know is that Chicagoans love and support their teams and will stand together for the love of the game… and the hot dogs and beer! Did you hear that the Cubs won the World Series this year? These super fans stuck by their team without winning once since 1908. Now that’s dedication and loyalty. I told you these are good people.

Summer

Chicago is,
 my kind of razzmatazz

In NYC, people flock to the Hamptons. In Chicago, people stay put. NOTHING compares to #summertimechi. Driving down Lake Shore with the windows down, popping champagne on a boat in the playpen, drinking margaritas outside at Big Star, catching a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, taking in the view at London House, and strolling down the hot new River Walk.

Air and Water Show, photo by David Kopka

River Views from LondonHouse

We LIVE for Chicago summers.
Sweet, sweet home… Chicago.

Credit to my man Frank Sinatra for the love song to my favorite city

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