I had an absolute blast in Chicago over St. Paddy’s weekend, we really got our green on!
I took a Porter flight to Chicago and had a grand time hanging out in the lounge before my flight. They have free wifi, newspapers, snacks, bevs and espresso, I love it!
They just opened the new lounge on Monday, it’s basically a larger version of the old one, and it’s pretty sweet. I sat in the Bistro area (banquet+ table/chairs) but there is also an area with larger tables/chairs…
… and a huge seating area that you can see 1/2 of in this photo.
Porter is seriously the way to fly, a great lounge, tons of leg room on the plane and even the soap in the bathroom smells amazing!
I was a little bummed that they weren’t serving little lunch boxes on my flight :( I hadn’t eaten lunch and was really looking forward to one of their lunches (yes, great airline food exists!!). Instead I settled for some Terra Chips and some Cran/Water.
I love that they serve your bev in real glasses, it’s much better for the environment – not to mention you feel like a grown up! To top off a great flight, the business man next to me asked if I was on Spring Break!
Mel met me at the airport and we headed downtown to drop off my stuff. After catching up and discussing dinner options we walked to her neighbourhood Flattop Grill. I had never been to one before but I’m a big fan of the Mongolian Grill north of the border so I was more or less familiar with the concept (essentially make your own stir-fry).
Look at all the nummy ingredients to choose from!
I loaded up with tons of veggies +beans + squid + chili sauce!
Unlike the Mongolian Grill you don’t have to wait for your food to be cooked, instead we dropped our bowls at the counter and headed back to our table to enjoy our appetizer and drinks.
Lemon Garlic grilled edemame and Pomegranite Mojitos!
Flattop adds a twist by offering fun add-ons to your meal. Mel recommended the Roti Bread so I had that with my first bowl and it was yummo!
Sorry the pics are blurry, it was super dark!
We both elected to make a 2nd smaller bowl with the lettuce add-on to create lettuce wraps.
While we were eating Jules was on her way down from Michigan and arrived not too long after we got back to Mel’s condo.
We had planned to go out for a midnight treat but first Jules needed some fuel so we walked to The Jefferson which is a nearby pub that is super nice, clean and has good food (waffle fries!). We got I.D.ed at the door (which happened all weekend long and was AWESOME) and my Canadian I.D. led the bouncer to ask me to sing the Canadian National Anthem. I was more than happy to sign it loud and proud!
Once we sang our hearts out we claimed a table and kept ourselves hydrated while Jules fueled up.
We ended up being “picked up” by two guys who were hilarious and we had fun chatting with them before we peaced out for our final destination.
Quotables from our drunken companions:
“Are you a physical therapist?”
“You’re cute, keep it up!”
“This is like a legit jacket” (re: our Olympic gear)
Eventually we were on our way Berry Chill, a frozen yogurt place with lots of fun toppings from various fruits and Girl Scout Cookies to cereals and sprinkles! They’re also conveniently open until 2am!
I ordered a small banana biscotti flavoured fro-yo with PB covered pretzels, choc. sprinkles and strawberries. Ungh!
Saturday was pretty rainy which made it a little chilly to be walking around in knee high boots and capris… but I just looked at it as icing my groin for free! LOL
We picked up some Starbucks on our way to the El.
The El always makes me feel like I’m in an episode of E.R.
Our first stop was race packet pick-up followed by lunch at Wilde, an Irish Pub, which was pumping with St. Pattys fever! They had tons of fun things going on including Irish Dancers.
We obviously ordered (watered down) green beer with lunch.
Does that photo look awkward? It’s probably because I’m wearing my race shirt over top of a long sleeved sweater. Don’t ask why.
I had the edamame salad and veggie soup.
The salad was good but a little to heavy on the onions. The soup was a bit bland but I was impressed to find a veggie soup with Kale at a pub, awesome!
We had fun! Do you like my gangsta peace-out sign? It doesn’t quite work with a broken finger does it? Failblog!
Next stop was the famous Mollys! I love cupcakes and Molly’s makes THE BEST cupcakes. We all ordered the St. Patty’s day Mint Chocolate.
The cake is light and fresh while the icing is not too sweet, PERFECT!!
We intended to do some swanky shopping but the weather was turning nastier so we kept walking to an indoor mall near (on?) the Magnificent Mile.
Jules and I both bought pants at the friendliest Lululemon I’ve ever been to. I scored with a black pair of Wunder Under capris! Obviously I was very happy about my purchase ;-)
Next we made our way to State st. to shop at Anthropologie. Jules and I LOVE Anthro but it was Mel’s first trip and I think it’s safe to say she hopped right on the Anthro bandwagon. We all found some amazing purchases.
I really really really love my wrap sweater. REALLY.
Very happy with my goody bags!
It was pretty late at this point (we closed down Anthro), we were starving and eager to try Decolores, a Mexican restaurant Mel had raved about.
We ate at the bar and started with chips and salsa. The salsa was obviously authentic with just the right amount of spice.
I also tried Horchata, a rice water drink flavoured with cinnamon. I really enjoyed it!
The ladies at the restaurant were very sweet and recommended the Fajitas which I ordered with Chicken. They came with salad, “soon to be famous” white rice and beans.
Every. single. thing. was amazing.
The beans were the lightest, most flavourful “refried” beans I’ve ever had. They were light and obviously very fresh. The rice had a very unique flavour so I asked one of the ladies how they made it and she told me it had corn, cream cheese and a mexican melting cheese. You would think all of that would make the rice too heavy and rich but it really wasn’t, all of the ingredients created a delicious and unique flavour.
The fajitas were out of this world amazing.
The chicken had been marinated in white wine and in all honesty was some of the best chicken I’ve tasted.
This was hands down the best Mexican I’ve ever had. Everything was very fresh and authentic.
With dinner that good we couldn’t skip dessert and decided to split a Vanilla-Coconut Tres Leches cake which is made at a bakery down the street.
The cake was soo incredible we had to try the chocolate one too.
We were all on a foodie high at this point.
We finally rolled home to get dressed up for a night at The Gage. As we got ready we broke out the Champagne, mmm Moet.
The gage is a classy bar in downtown Chicago that features a unique drink menu.
I ordered something modeled on apple pie that came with a caramel lollypop. It was good but very strong so I didn’t order anything else, nor could I finish it.
And so ends Saturday night in Chicago. I’ll be back with Part II soon but I’ve already written about the 5k I ran on Sunday, go here if you missed it!