Joh vs. Food – Chicago Edition 2015 – Day 2

I woke up on my 2nd day in Chicago with much anticipation.  The day would see us checking out Eataly Chicago and visiting the Navy Pier for The Great American Lobster Fest.

Eataly is the place to go for anything and everything Italian.  Two floors of Italian food and drink arouse the senses.  You can grab some coffee and a pastry or some pasta and sauce to make at home.  Or you can do what I did, sit down to some freshly made pizza.

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A table at La Pizza & La Pasta.

Some warm bread and olive oil to start along with a glass of Bastianich Sauvignon “Adriatico”

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Pizza of choice – Teanese – three cheese pizza with mozzarella, gorganzola, grand padano and prosciutto di parma.  I was worried I would not be able to eat it all, but it was too delicious to leave anything on the plate.

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After some more shopping and a ton of walking, it was time for dinner at the navy pier.  Lobsterfest!!  Only in its 2nd year, this is a great event that brings a ton of people to the awesome Navy Pier for entertainment, food and drink.

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Lobster dinner – before….and after.  Demolished.

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Some sangria and a Blue Moon to go along a chocolate caramel funnel cake.

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Gotta love Chicago at night.

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I love Chicago at any time.  =)

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Joh vs. Food – Chicago Edition 2015 – Day 1

So let me just put it out there.  I LOVE Chicago.  And Chicago loves tourists right back.  It shows.  I was in Chicago last year for few days.  Decided that another trip in 2015 was warranted.  The focus this time around however, would be food.  Of course.

After checking into our hotel – Aloft Chicago City Centre, it was off to the Shedd Aquarium to check out all the water wildlife.  I quite enjoyed seeing this guy give me a grin. IMG_3007

After the long walk to the aquarium and spending a few hours there, we were famished.  Time for the The Purple Pig. This busy and bustling establishment is located on the Mag Mile and serves food in they style of tapas and share plates.

This was a long-awaited meal and it did not disappoint.  First off, let me say that the wait staff was AMAZING.  The hostess was friendly and welcoming.  The busboys were so efficient and we sometimes didn’t even notice when they re-filled our water glasses or took away dirty dishes, they were that swift.  And our waiter! Oh the waiter! So generous with his time and not just with us, with all the people he was serving.  We told him what we thought of selecting and he offered his thoughts on which ones were better and what order he thought was best to eat them.  He periodically checked in on us and it seemed our dishes appeared in perfect time just as we were ending with the one before.  I’ve never been so well attended to at a restaurant.  Especially one as busy as this one.  Kudos!

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Some sangria to start.

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Roasted bone marrow with herbs and capers, served with bread. IMG_3047 IMG_3048

Pig’s Ear with Crispy Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers & Fried Egg

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Octopus with Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes & Salsa Verde

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Squid stuffed with prosciutto & bread crumbs, santorini fava puree & charmoula

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Sweets to end.  Always.  Lemon panna cotta and Sicilian Iris (brioche stuffed with ricotta and chocolate)

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Fully stuffed, it was time to walk some of the food off and go to bed.  Day two would be just as tasty.

Hotel Living in Mesa

I’ve recently returned from Mesa, Arizona where I spent a week working.  My one big concern was what I would be eating.  My goal was to avoid eating at any fast food chain and try to eat freshly made meals as much as possible and as little junk food as possible.  It helped that there was a restaurant downstairs in the hotel I was staying at.

Standard breakfast buffet each morning.  I became obsessed with these chicken apple breakfast sausages by Saag’s.

http://www.saags.com/pc/viewProducts.asp?Category=c11.Breakfast%20Meats

I ate some every morning and still crave them now that I am home.  Unfortunately, the grocery stores here do not carry this brand, so I may have to make a trip across the border to get some.

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As the week wore on, I began to snack on the cocoa puffs and froot loops.  I would take a bowl up to my room and munch on them like chips. One of my few junk food indulgences.  I don’t consider these to be proper breakfast foods, whole grains or not.

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Cream cheese and lox.  Watermelon every morning too.

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Fresh made waffles with strawberries and maple syrup.

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For Halloween, the hotel had a pumpkin display in the lobby.  A big food theme laid out in pumpkin carvings.  Very creative.

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The Zuni Grill, hotel restaurant.

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Beef nachos.  I had this a couple of times.  The nachos never became soggy under all the toppings.  I love the crunch of a nacho chip.

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Chicken and salad, a side of grilled asparagus.  Delicious.

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White chocolate, creme brûlée cheesecake.  Ultra rich, took me two nights to eat it all.

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Calamari.  I had high hopes for this appetizer, but was let down.  Overly salted.

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Beef fajitas and chicken soup.  I end up just eating the beef with the rice and dipping the flatbread into my soup.

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A spiked peach tea.  Enjoyable, a few times during the week.

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A little quiche Lorraine for lunch while waiting at the airport to fly back home.

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“Yummy” pizza on the plane.  Never again.  But when you’re hungry, you’re hungry and even in the air, supper time still exists.

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The best part about plane travel? Having an entire row to oneself.  I ate my pizza and watched movies in stretched out comfort.

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The sun sets on plane wings.

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Mesa, it was swell, but I’m happy to be home now.  =)