Friday, July 8, 2011


Steinvic and I had a great time this week in Chicago. We left Sunday afternoon and returned Wednesday night. While my feet are still tender from all the walking we did while we were in the Windy City, and I still haven't caught up on sleep, it was all worth it and we had a fantastic time.

I'll give you the highlights here, and later, I'll post about how we got there.

We stayed at The Seneca. I'd call this hotel a well-kept secret. It's an older hotel, but is conveniently located next to everything, and is very tidy and nicely maintained. The staff is friendly and our room was VERY affordable, especially considering we were there on a holiday weekend and that the Taste of Chicago was also going on. Our suite was huge - king sized bed, giant closets (with a safe...very handy), a living room, dining area and full kitchen. The television sets were a little outdated, but they had LOTS of channels to choose from, including 3 HBO stations (and who goes to Chicago to watch television anyway?!) We met a nice fellow on the sun roof who told us about how he and his wife rented an apartment there three days a week, several months out of the year, and I could see them being pretty comfortable if their apartment was like our suite...everything you needed was right there. We also ate in the cafe there and it was good: small, casual, good variety on their home-cookin' style menu for such a small restaurant (it's also where we heard the unfortunate verdict in the Casey Anthony trial). There are also more upscale restaurants in the hotel, but we didn't go that route.

We found Dublin's Bar and Grill on our first night and I am not sure if we were starving or if they didn't have the best bites around. We each had a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder and shared an appetizer - lobster ravioli - and we were very pleased. (I can't seem to get through to their website, but it's on State Street if you wanna go!)

We spent lots of time at Navy Pier...we always do! A favorite spot to have drinks or grab a bite is Harry Caray's. We walk and walk, to the pier from wherever we're staying, along the pier to look at the water and watch the boats come in and go out. We actually took a water taxi from the pier to Soldier Field, where the U2 concert was held, and that is the way to travel for sure!

The concert was AWESOME and they played and played and played. I'm not sure if they were making up for the delayed show (originally planned for last summer, but Bono broke his back in Germany and many tour dates were postponed) or what, but that concert seemed a good bit longer than the other two we've seen on this 360 tour. Bono wore his leather jacket the entire time, and I asked Steinvic if he thought that Bono had air conditioning piped into his jacket because it was freaking hot out, and I can only imagine that the stage lights made it even hotter for the band. Anyway, it was kind of cool for us because this tour was the same tour when we got engaged back in it was sweet and sentimental to hear Beautiful Day and remember how Steinvic proposed.

Leaving the concert was something else altogether...the opposite of sweet! Imagine some 60,000 buzzed and/or tired people all leaving the concert at the same time on foot, lumbering through the awkward paths that security had set up for them. It's like...11:30 at night, dark, and we're faaaaar away from our hotel. We probably walked a couple of miles before wising up and crossing the street, hailing a cab originally headed in the opposite direction. Our cabby was kind, but wanted to talk politics and I wasn't feeling it at that point in the evening! But we politely chatted and prayed our hotel would appear did and we fell into bed after 12:30. Big day!

Everyone always wants to eat at Gino's or Giordano's (or both) for deep dish pizza when they visit Chicago. Nothing wrong with should try it if you haven't! But you will wait and wait to be seated. Like not 45 minutes...we're talking hours at peak times. Some feel it is worth the wait. Since we've eaten at both places several times on previous visits, we weren't feeling the wait. We were just kind of wandering around and came upon Pizano's. Steinvic wondered if they had deep dish pizza and I whipped out my phone and checked online and indeed, they did. We decided to check it out...and if you're ever in Chicago, you should, too. DELICIOUS pizza. Our server boasted that his 92-year-old mother walked a mile-and-a-half, three days a week, to come make their dough. Could be a legend, could be fact, but no matter what, the food and service were awesome. And no wait! Looked like more local folks than tourists to me. We will be back!

A favorite bar we enjoy while we're in town is Pippin's. They don't have a website, but it's on Rush Street. We like it because it's not pretentious, they have lots of good beer and booze there, and during happy hour, it's darned affordable (Absolute Citron and soda for me and a beer for Steinvic cost $7, which is nearly unheard of here in Ohio, much less in touristy Chicago.) The folks who work there are pretty nice, too, and we've always ended up meeting some nice couple or chatting with other like-minded visitors who want something low key.

If you need to get out of the heat (or cold, depending on when you visit), there is a lovely AMC theater right down the street from Navy Pier. We saw Bridesmaids and chuckled a lot. See it if you haven't! You can also bowl at the Lucky Strike nestled into the same complex, but we didn't because we felt it was kind of pricey (came out to $40 for us to bowl and rent shoes, which seemed a little high, and we weren't that interested in bowling anyway...) but if you're into bowling, you might want to check it out.

In a nutshell, that was our whirlwind tour of Chicago. It was wonderful! (I will post a few photos later...) We returned to a very wriggly, happy puppy and as great of a time as we had, it feels great to be home.

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