Hey folks! I am back with another travel blog and obviously with a delicious food story from our recent trip to Chicago. During summer this city is full of fun! There are so many outdoor activities you can do, even with children. The streets were filled with people, road were badly crowded with bumper to bumper traffic, afternoon were real hot but overall the windy city has its own charm. I listed the name of every places and restaurants that we visited and enjoyed during our stay. It was 3 nights & 4 days trip and our experience was very good. If you don't have any plan for the summer, then just buy tickets and visit Chicago ... you and your children will have so much more fun there.
Started our trip with some breakfast ($18) at Austin airport - 2 egg & cheese tacos with salsa from Maudie's tex mex and 1 turkey & bacon sandwich from Scholatzky. Everything was hot, tasty and fresh ... totally recommended.
After two and half hours flight we reached at O'hare International Airport, Chicago which is one of the busiest airport on the earth. Our hotel Doubletree Hilton was in downtown, so we had to take the CTA Blue line train ($5 each) from airport to Washington station in Downtown Chicago. The walkway was having lot of flags and nice colorful art works both side of the tunnel.
The distance was around 18 miles and the train took 45 minutes to get there. Its the easiest, nicest and cheapest way to get into Chicago downtown. No problem of traffic jam or any other hassles.
We were tremendously hungry when we reached there downtown. So, tracked down a restaurant named 'Roti Mediterranean Grill' which was the nearest one from the Blueline train station. The place was fully crowded and very similar to Chipotle.
We ordered 2 plates ($21) of rice bowl with chicken kebab, onion, hummus, tomato & cucumber, hot sauce and pita bread. Food was delicious. The rice was very flavorful and quantity was also pretty good. They have veg (falafel) option also.
After finishing our lunch we headed towards 'The Art Institute of Chicago' and the famous 'Swami Vivekanand Way'. After 8 minutes walk we reached there. It's a beautiful building with two lion statues in front. Swamiji represented India and gave speech - 'Sisters and brothers of America ...', at the Parliament of religion which was occurred inside this famous building.
We also went to the Chicago River walk ... don't ever miss this walk, it is charming and wonderful. After that we looked at the clock and it was 2.00pm. So, decided to go to the hotel (DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago - Magnificent Mile) as the check in time was 3.00pm and also we were tired. Our room ($181 per day) was on 20th floor. It was very clean as expected. The bed, towel, sofa, toilette were very impressive. Although you can't keep your personal drink in the fridge as it was filled with their expensive (!!) drinks, they should keep some empty spot for us so that we can keep our own stuffs, which is a bit awkward for us.
It is a beautiful place with splendid views and filled with life. We took an Chicago Architectural Boat Tour ($35 per person) which was 75 minutes long water journey into Chicago river.
The boat covered almost the whole city and the tour guide gave very informative descriptions about the buildings of Chicago. As that afternoon was very hot, we got exhausted after an hour. So, I will recommend you to take this type of trip after 6 or 7pm in the summer days.
While the boat left us at the Navy Pier at the end of the trip, we bought an awesome looking ice cream cone and started our journey towards the famous Chicago Water Tower. We took a bus, it took about 8 minutes to go there.
The tower is located at North Michigan Avenue. It is the second oldest water tower in USA. The story says, this tower was the only building which survived the Chicago Fire and also it is one of the few surviving structures still standing. But it must be a place to visit if you are in Chicago.
While coming back from the water tower we suddenly tracked down an indian restaurant - 'Indian Garden' which was few foot steps away from our hotel. The ambience of that place was pretty decent and many tables were filled with people. We placed an order ($37) for - a chicken dum biriyani, a chicken korma and a butter naan.
Well, the 'biriyani' was just a mixture of chicken curry and rice, you can see that from the pictures, it came with a 'raita' which was good. Korma was ok, there was no complementary rice with it! But their 'naan' was very soft and fresh. They also served 'papad' and 3 types of chutney as a complimentary starter which was really tasty. Overall food was totally overpriced.
We started our next day with little breakfast ($8) from Dunkin Donuts, which was very close to our hotel - 1 egg n cheese croissant, 1 pack of hash browns, 1 vanilla chai and 1 frozen hot chocolate .... delicious !
Our first destination was 'Willis Tower' also called as Sears Towers. We took Lyft and got there within 10 minutes. It's 108 storied and the 2nd tallest building of USA. The famous sky-deck is located at 103rd floor of the tower. Elevators will take you there within quick time. It is the most popular attraction point in Chicago. The view from that floor was marvelous. We spent 2 memorable hours within it.
Then our next stop was 'Buckingham Fountain' which is located at the 'Grant Park'. The fountain is a landmark of Chicago. Many tourists and locals visit the fountain every day. It's one of the very beautiful place in Chicago. Water (light) shows occur from evening to night. We couldn't get the chance to see it as their gate was closed for a concert. But morning view was very refreshing and wonderful.
Another famous point is Millennium Park walkable distance from Grant Park. We went there as well and it was just awesome.
Now it's time to reveal about that attraction without which Chicago trip remains incomplete - The Bean or the Cloud Gate. We all know, it was designed by an Indian artist - Anish Kapoor. The sculpture is named 'the bean' because of its shape, made with mercury and it reflects the city's beautiful skyline. The morning view was totally different from the night view. Both were very impressive.
After finishing these, we got very much tired and hungry. One of the legendary food item of Chicago is - Deep dish Pizza and we had it at Uno Pizzeria & Grill: Uno Chicago Grill - Deep Dish Pizza. Our server Phill was very helpful and decent. We ordered for a small (really enough for two of us) deep dish pizza with chicken, onion and jalapeños. It was delicious. They took 45 minutes to make it but the wait was totally worthy. The pizza was hot, fresh and very heavy. After that we wanted to taste Chicago style 'cheesecake', well it was nothing fancy, just like a very normal cheesecake. Overall our experience was very very good at this busiest restaurant.
At the evening we again went at the Cloud Gate to see the evening view of The Bean. You can say from the pictures that it is wonderful and the place is very happening. The street was packed with traffic and we got late for our dinner.
I eyed a spanish restaurant named 'Emilio's Tapas' from the first day which was very nearby from our hotel. So we got into an Lyft to get there quickly for our late night dinner. Ahh, the experience was awful. At first we placed 3 orders - a salad plate with duck breast, a casserole of chicken and a grilled calamari plate. The quantity of them were surprisingly less / tiny. Salad was good, my casserole was also ok, but calamari plate had a very burnt taste. Then we again placed order for a chicken item and they gave us beef. After that shamelessly they charged us $48 and the server was not even sorry for serving beef instead of Chicken ... what the hell !!
Next day we again had the same breakfast with a refreshing mango smoothie instead of hot chocolate. It was a very relaxing day for us, the sky was filled with clouds, breeze was lightly cold and we walked the entire day upon 'The Magnificent Mile'. It's a famous road, packed with upscale shops and small size shopping malls.
When there is a Cheesecake Factory, there is always a big smile you can find on 'his' face. He is a crazy fan of them. So, as usual we had our lunch ($42) there - Dynamic Shrimp, White Chicken Chili and Factory Chicken Nachos there. The batter fried shrimp was the star and you can never complain about their quantity. We loved the other 2 Mexican dishes too. Just mind blowing nothing to complain about.
After returning to the hotel, the rain started and the weather became more romantic. We went to the 'Navy Pier' again to enjoy the evening. And yeaahhh the decision was perfect. The sky became totally clear by then. We spent 4 long hours there and then had our dinner.
There were plenty of restaurants filled with people. One of them was 'DMK's Fish Bar'. We went there and our order was ($48) - 2 ginger ale, 1 spicy turkey burger, 1 crispy calamari and 1 fish and chips. Calamari was very good, topped with some cheese and pickled jalapeños. In my burger- the bun was very soft, patty tasted good, just didn't like the cheese. The battered cod fish fillets were so crunchy and delicious. The thing we disliked was their french fries - they were very soggy, otherwise everything else was spot on.
This was the last day of our trip, we were leaving Chicago. Started with very light and yummy breakfast we brought previous day night from 711 - 1 marble cake and 2 bananas. Then checked out from the hotel and went to the airport. While reaching there we got an email that our flight is delayed for 1 hour ... bummer ! After the security check, we had lunch - chicken shawarma, spicy chicken burger with fries from 'Gold Coast Dogs'. My shawarma was good, french fries were very crunchy, but his burger was no at all spicy.
After waiting for 1 hour they again announced for another 3 hours delay due to bad weather. While waiting I ate an ice-cream from McD and before flying we also ate some snacks - french fries and onion rings, forgot to take the picture.
With ups and downs our Chicago trip was packed with fun and activities. We loved the windy city and it's people. This was my story, now I want to hear or read about yours too and don't forget to leave your comment and feedback regarding this blog. According to me, don't waste your precious holidays at kitchen or malls, do some travel, try different cuisines, explore some new places, click lot of pictures, stay happy and connected with your loved ones ...