Sunday, July 22, 2007

my kind of town, chicago is....

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

And each time I leave, Chicago is
Tuggin' my sleeve, Chicago is
The Wrigley Building, Chicago is
The Union Stockyard, Chicago is
One town that won't let you down
It's my kind of town

this morning our plane touched down back in baltimore around 9:40 and the first thought i had was this doesn't feel like home to me anymore. maybe i was in such shock because the last few days have been chock full with adventure and fun, but maybe something inside of me has changed in the 72 hours while i was away. hmm....enough analysis! here's a recap:

the first item of import is that the weather was AMAZING. low to mid-70s, perfectly sunny, and breezy. no humidity. did you hear me? my hair was beside itself with happiness (that, and the chicago water made it look particularly perky).
friday, after a breakfast we wound up getting for free at our hotel, we made our way into the city on the L and proceeded to wander around for an hour or more before getting our bearings and heading in the direction of the palmer house hotel, where we were scheduled to meet our 2:00 mini bus tour (but not before salimah tried to get us a free ride on an out-of-service trolley by flirting with the driver - bummer it didn't work).

after 2 1/2 hours of chicagoland sight-seeing - including the field museum, lake shore drive, buckinham fountain, the trump towers (several times), wrigley field, and oprah's house - we decided to head to lou malnati's for some serious deep-dish chicago-style pizza. holy crap - this stuff was delicious.

i could get all technical on you (okay, i will) and say that while there was sausage on this pizza (the layers are as follows: sliced mozzarella - which was fabulous - raw sausage - their own special blend - and a chunky tomato sauce, topped with herbs and romano), it was in NO way greasy. the flavors were subtle, the crust perfectly cooked, the cheese appropriately stringy, and honestly, while i am a fan of thin crust, new york style pizza, this was an experience all to itself. i know i'm gonna crave this treat until i get to have it again. oh, and for you east coasters, don't waste your time with pizzeria uno. it doesn't hold a candle to lou malnati and what he's got going on....

so, after our pizza break, we took our one and only cab of the trip (all the rest of the time, we took the L and buses to get everywhere - a completely accessible option, in my opinion) to the top of the hancock building, where we proceeded to have delicious but overpriced cocktails at the signature lounge. the view was spectacular, but i did get a bit of vertigo from the experience (you could actually feel the building moving a little bit). in this photo, you can see the sears tower in the distance. it's truly an awesome sight.

by the time we left the hancock building, the sun was JUST starting its descent, so we made our way back to the train and trundled off to our hotel by the airport. once back, though, we were feeling up for just a BIT more adventure, so we decided to go off in search of a REAL chicago-style hot dog. there was only one option at this point: superdawgs. so, we put sleepy salimah in the back seat of the car and made our way north and west. (the one adorable thing i will remember about salimah from this trip is that every time we got on public transportation - train, bus, whatever - this girl was napping! at one point during the superdawgs outing, she briefly woke up and asked if we were in wisconsin. you have to love it.)

well, folks, i'm here to tell you that the superdawg did NOT disappoint. here are the dawgs now.... this place is just charming and the food is really great. plus, it's a drive-in with car hops, so you can just sit in the parking lot devouring the beefy goodness and watch all the classic cars roll through. it's like happy days or something. a bit of a tip: i'd avoid ordering the sport peppers on the top. i felt like they made the eating experience even more unwieldy and plus, they really were rather hot!

in case you don't know, by the way, a chicago-style hot dog includes finely chopped onions, mustard, bright green sweet relish, a kosher dill pickle slice, slices of tomato (although the superdawg had a wedge of a pickled green tomato), sport peppers if you want, and all of this is packed into a steamed poppy seed bun. at the superdawg, your beefy treat is also nestled in among some superfries and comes in its own cute little box. anyway, enough of the food lesson. we finally got back to our hotel and passed out, exhausted from a packed day.

saturday morning we headed back via train and went to navy pier (which juts out into lake michigan and has tons of places to eat, shops, and rides, including a huge ferris wheel). we lunched at charlie's ale house and then hopped on a cruise around the pier and the lakefront. afterward, i did manage to purchase a few small souvenirs, and then we hopped on a cross-town bus to second city where we saw a truly hilarious comedy show. i fully expect some of these folks to be on SNL any day now....

after walking around a beautiful little neighborhood in the north end of the city, we hopped the public trans. back to the hotel where we geared up for our final hot dog run of the trip - this time to portillo's. (those things are addictive!) salimah then suggested that we round out our final night with drinks back at the friday's attached to our hotel. after two (including a long beach iced tea), i was pretty much down for the count, so i left the girls and went back to our room to shower and pack for our early departure back to b'more. (4:40 is when the alarm went off this morning!)

this weekend was filled with fantastic moments, lots of great food, amazing weather, gorgeous scenery, incredibly friendly people, hysterical laughing fits and hijinx on the train, and the feeling that this will not be the last time chi-town and i will meet one another. it occurs to me, though, that if i keep going back, i might really not want to leave....but maybe that's not such a bad thing....

well, in the mean time, i'm going to gear up to get back in the swing of things tomorrow. but before i do, let me raise my glass. chicago, you're a true class act. you exceeded all my expectations. your people are friendly, your streets clean, your drinks delicious! (okay, that wasn't really the selling point - although they were.) i know now why frank felt the need to croon about you. here's to next time. you really are my kind of town....

1 comment:

Kate said...

you know, this post really does our visit justice. It's great! Love the pics!