Our adventure in Chicago began at LAX on Saturday morning. I naturally refused to go on a 4 hour long flight without eating beforehand. McDonald's proved to be the only acceptable choice available, naturally. I must have underestimated the time we had left before our flight because it seemed like minutes after I finished scarfing down my Big Mac we were queuing to board our flight. And yes, I'm back on the meat again. But I do aspire to cut back on it.
In the short while before our flight was to depart, we waited at our terminal - and were promptly greeted with the most foul smelling odor that an old man could possibly emit. Of course he had to sit down next to me. This seems to be my luck. We made up some ruse that we were looking for a closer seat to the line for boarding so we could get up and escape, yet there were no closer seats so we had to return with our tails between our legs and sit back down next to halitosis man. We prayed together (literally, and we practically never do this) that he would not sit next to us on the flight. You really cannot comprehend how disgusting this dude stank.
We boarded among the first (yay for A's!) and chose the exit, towards the middle of the aircraft. Adam always has to have the aisle and I much prefer the window. The logistics of this are clearly a nightmare, but we found a row that had only two seats, so I got window and lovey got his aisle. Then it happened. Stink man enters the plane. I clutch Adam's hand and hope for the best. And... he sits down in the 2nd row! Adam and I embrace and do a subtle (or maybe not so much) happy dance... and then naturally, Mr. Vomitocious stands up and begins walking towards us. I can only imagine that someone at the front of the plane came up with something ingenious to inspire poobreath to change seats. Our hearts sank down to the pit of our stomachs. We thought we were in the clear, and now it was clear that this dead-breathed asshole was going to sit near us, just our rotten luck. But... lo and behold, he passed us and continued on to the back of the plane!
You'd think that after this emotional rollercoaster we'd be thrilled with whatever the flight had in store for us (relatively speaking, of course), but dear God that was the worst flight I've ever been on. I'd rather give Foul-mouthed Fred a wet sloppy kiss than relive that flight. Turbulence on and off the whole time. My big Mac was pissed at me. I was quite peeved at it. We couldn't land soon enough. But alas, we finally did, and I was anxious to get myself to a restroom. I seriously cannot pee on a plane. I imagine when I flush that I'll somehow get sucked down through the toilet and end up airborne somewhere over the Midwest. I discover that in Chicago, they don't call bathrooms restrooms, but rather "Toilets". This made me giddy.
My brother in law picked us up from the airport in a snazzy Mini Cooper - excellent choice, by the way for hauling two oversized suitcases, as well as two oversized travelers. I was instantaneously enamored with the city. So this was the midwest. I'm always thrilled to experience something new, and I had thousands of ideas in the ol' noggin of what I wanted to see and do on this vacation. First stop: Pizza. Did you have to even think about that one?
Hello! It's Chicago people! You can't go there without trying the deep dish pies. I'd done my research, and was led to Giordano's. Supposedly the cream of the crop. We met up with b-law's girlfriend and headed to G's. Well actually, I lied. First we stopped at our hotel, the Indigo, and dropped off our luggage. If you can recall, we snapped up this place for a steal a few weeks back on Hotwire. Now I know why. The room was ti-ny. Cute, but small. They wouldn't even hear of upgrading us to a king-sized bed, so we were destined to snooze a bit closer together in a queen.
But enough of that. Back to the food! There was a mob outside of Giordano's, which both frightened me and reassured me that this place was legit. We did in fact wait over an hour and 15 to be seated. I must have been delirious. We even had time to hit up a bar across the street.
I must warn you. You are about to peep some serious food porn.
The food... It was so good! So. Damn. Good. We ate like pigs and didn't heed the warnings that the pizza expands inside you. I didn't believe this could happen. Kids, be careful. As you can see in that last pic above, we overdid it just a tad. Adam and I just couldn't help ourselves. We ordered a medium - enough to feed 4-6 people. It is true what they say, the eyes are bigger than the stomach. This time our eyes really gave our stomach a run for its money.
After the fun of dinner, we decided to go check out the Hancock tower. I'd heard that the women's bathroom (or should I say toilets) has the most killer view of the city out of any place. I had to see. But my camera wasn't cooperating, or I was too delirious from the ridiculousness of dinner, to snap a decent pic. Hope this suffices.The next day challenged us. We awoke to see sunny skies and dressed accordingly. We took 2 steps outside of our hotel and quickly turned right back around and changed into much warmer clothing. I had the most adorable maxi dress all ready for Chicago, but I guess Chicago wasn't ready for it. The cold called for long sleeves and jeans. Poor Adam, I neglected to mention earlier, got sick the very day we arrived! He barely slept that first night, and battled a cold the entire time. He didn't let this dampen his spirit, and I think he had a good time nonetheless. So we bundled him up as well and headed back out. And would you farkin believe that after an hour we were hotter than a stereo you bought out of some sketchy guy's van back in '93?
We took a cab over to the Navy Pier and by the grace of Allah's boots, I got Adam to go on a Ferris wheel. He actually suggested the idea himself! And this is a man who gets nauseated in elevators.
Why yes, he emerged victorious, and in one piece no less. Here are some other shots of the surroundings:
After the pier we went back to b-law's apartment, which has a fire escape with a killer view.
Took the El train to a street fair that had a plethora of food, much to our enjoyment. This is where the Bratwurst Debacle of '09 took place. Follow along:
Clearly the brats were spicy. And messy. But according to Adam, damn worth it!
I just nursed a beer. :-)
... and some funnel cake. The scene at this place was pretty awesome. Lots of characters, music, and sights to see.
That evening we went to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. They just happened to be playing our Dodgers, but we hid our alliance and politely rooted for the Cubbies. The Dodgers creamed them, however. Ah well!
Wrigley Field is something to behold. It's the 2nd oldest pro baseball field I believe, and there are bleachers on top of the surrounding houses set up.
We had a great time and gorged on some more good eats. Here are some more pics from the awesome fire escape from later that evening:
The next day we took an architectural boat tour on the river. It was quite informative, even though we retained absolutely none of the information presented to us. I just liked the view. :-P
After the boat ride we ended up at the Field Museum, which didn't leave us with much time to explore the vastness of that place. Plus, my feet hurt. We did get to see Sue, the most complete T-Rex in the world, and we enjoyed a bitchin' pirate exhibit.
We had a delicious dinner that evening and since Adam wasn't feeling too hot we decided to play it low-key and check out a movie. We saw Up! and it was really cute, albeit with a sad, Notebook-like quality to it. We managed to walk back to our hotel around midnight. I learned my way around pretty fast.
I may have also gotten a little toasted at dinner.
Tuesday finally came, and this was the day that I was allowed to be unleashed on Michigan Avenue, appropriately named the Magnificent Mile. I did a little shopping, didn't quite break the bank (just dented it a little). We met up with my father in law, who was able to come out and visit for a few days from Arizona on his way to Detroit. Ate at yet another pizza joint, Edwardo's, which was good. But not quite the same echelon of Giordano's. But still pretty darn good.
We went to a blues club that night, called Kingston Mines. Saw some great musicians. Saw some horrifying dancers. I can only imagine what those blues musicians thought of the crazy awful white people spastic dancing going on in front of them. I got quite hammered and did my best impersonation of those characters (hey, red wine does something to me).
The next day we ate breakfast at the Bongo Room, which I highly suggest checking out once in your lifetime if you're ever in the area. I have just 4 words: white chocolate pretzel pancakes. With caramel. OK that's 6 words. Ahhhhmazing.We had some time to kill before our flight so we headed for the Lincoln Park Zoo. This is seriously the coolest zoo I've ever been to, and not just because it's free. The animals were completely active and were practically posing for me. And there was even a greenhouse with some gorgeous flora.
We ended our Chicago eating at the Wiener's Circle for some true Chicago dogs.
Funny story about our return flight. I thought we were taking off at 6:30. We were running late for this. We get to the airport and it turns out our flight was leaving at 6:05. Whoops! We made it on board in the nick of time, but unfortunately one of our suitcases didn't. We had to wait at the airport once we landed for the next flight in from Chicago for our other suitcase. And I caught Adam's cold.
Once we finally got home that night we slept like babies. An amazing trip, and hopefully just one of many more to come!