Friday, September 11, 2009

We got into Chicago last night around 8:30, and quickly caught a cab to take us downtown to our hotel. We're staying at the Hilton Garden Inn. Once again, I bid on a hotel on Priceline, and this was the hotel that accepted our bid ($75/night, woohoo!). It's really nice, especially considering it's only rated as "3 star" hotel. We have a refrigerator and microwave in our room, which is always nice, and also... FREE INTERNET ACCESS! That almost never happens.

Anyway, after we got checked in last night, we walked a couple of blocks over to a local sports bar (called Mother Hubbard's) to have a bite to eat. It was the LOUDEST SPORTS BAR EVER. Seriously, I thought I might have permanent hearing damage. We didn't stick around there for very long, just long enough to eat. I was tired and wanted to get some rest.

This morning, we woke up to beautiful sunshine shining through our hotel window, and got up to get the day going. We started off by hitting up a favorite breakfast joint--West Egg. I actually ate there with my boss (who used to live in Chicago) when I was here a few years ago for work, and I remembered it being really good, so we figured there was no better way to begin our exploration of the city.

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They have a pretty extensive breakfast menu, so it was a little bit hard to decide what to eat. Given that I ALWAYS get pancakes, though, it wasn't too hard for me. Ultimately, Michael decided to go with pancakes, too.
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They were really quick to serve our feast. Yum.
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I had "Crunchberry" pancakes, which had blueberries and granola mixed into the batter. The granola added a nice texture to the pancakes--it was different to have a little bit of a crunch. I loved them.
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Michael had "Strawnana" pancakes, which were basic buttermilk pancakes, but topped with fresh strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream. OH! And we shared homefries. Because honestly, who can resist homefries? :)
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After breakfast, we walked over to wander around Michigan Avenue, aka The Magnificent Mile. It was just such a nice day to be out and about. We couldn't have asked for better weather today.
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From there, we walked South to Millennium Park. I have been a few times during my past visits, but still wanted to go again as it is one of my favorite spots.
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I had way too much fun with the mirrored sculpture. We probably spent about half an hour taking pictures in its reflection.
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After wandering around the park, it was time to head to the baseball park--Wrigley Field.
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A few weeks back, we purchased Chicago Cubs tickets so we could go to a game at historic Wrigley. Ever since our trip to AT&T Park in San Francisco, Michael is all gung-ho about visiting different baseball parks (and other sports arenas, as well).
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I used to be a Yankees fan back in my days of playing softball, and I used to watch the games regularly. I've even been to see them play a time or two. But I've fallen out of it (football is my sport of choice now!). There's just too many games and they're just way too long. And frankly, I'm just not that committed. So I'll admit I could not care less about baseball. But even I could not complain about being at a baseball game on a day like this. PERFECT WEATHER. Just beautiful.
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Plus, there was something nice and patriotic about being at a baseball game on September 11th. (Side note: I can't believe it has been eight years. I found myself thinking and feeling much of the same things as last year. And the year before, and the year before that. The anniversary really causes it to all come rushing back for me.)
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After being packed into the "L" like a couple of sardines on our way to Wrigley (seriously, I've been on a lot of subways, and have never been that closely squished next to strangers), we decided to leave in the 8th inning to avoid the crowds. We did stop for another short photo op, though.

When we got off the Red Line and walked up to street level, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it had spit us out RIGHT IN FRONT of our hotel. Literally steps away. After all of the walking we had been doing, we were grateful.

We relaxed in our hotel room for a little bit before heading back out for some dinner. Since we hadn't eaten since breakfast, we were eager to experience Chicago-style pizza--deep dish, y'all.
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Thanks to all of the blog readers who recommended it, we ended up at Giordano's.

Upon arrival, we were told that the wait would be approximately 30-45 minutes, so we grabbed a beer at the bar and took it outside to wait and enjoy the summer evening. We were told to pre-order our pizza, so we did that, too. Stuffed pizza--cheese, onion, broccoli, and pepperoni. This day was all about "yum."

The wait went by pretty quickly, and before we knew it, we were being served our scrumptious pizza.
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It was really good, and very different from regular pizza. It almost reminded me of a calzone. My only complaint was that the amount of cheese on it was wayyyy too much for my liking. I'm not much of a cheese/dairy person to begin with, and I absolutely cannot stomach a mouthful of cheese. With normal pizza, if it's too cheesy, it's easy to take off some of the cheese. With this, it was sort of like performing surgery. But whatever, I made do and it was still delicious. But filling. Two slices and I was stuffed.

After dinner, we stopped back at our hotel to drop off our leftover pizza, then took a walk down to Navy Pier.
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This was a perfect place to walk around on a warm summer night. It almost felt like I was walking around inside of a movie because it was so idyllic. Does that make sense, or do I just sound crazy? :)
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I had a blast taking nighttime photos down there.
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The lights...
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The skyline...
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And American flags. (Lowered to half staff for September 11th)
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It was a wonderfully full, fun day. We can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow.

Now we're going to kick back and watch some Bill Maher since the hotel has HBO. We don't have it at home, so it's a real treat for us! I miss my Bill. ;)


Jen September 13, 2009 at 10:28 PM  

I love Chicago! Great pics.

etta September 14, 2009 at 12:18 AM  

I adore Chicago! I live two hours southwest of there. The only time I've been to the downtown area, it was foggy/rainy. :(

jenn September 14, 2009 at 8:25 AM  

That is the same reason I don't like Chicago style pizza- way too much cheese for this tummy.

Have fun!!

Michelle September 14, 2009 at 10:27 AM  

Ok, now I really want to go to Chicago!! Great pictures Heather. I love the night time pictures of the fair rides. I can't wait to read the rest!

Becky September 14, 2009 at 11:54 AM  

Great pics! You had perfect weather all weekend here!!!

Kylee September 14, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

I like the symbol of Americans enjoying a baseball game 8 years after 9/11/01. It's comforting, no?

Also, I LOVE chicago!

Anonymous,  September 14, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Kari Beth September 15, 2009 at 7:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kari September 15, 2009 at 7:30 AM  

Chicago is AMAZING! Glad you got to experience it!!

P.S. Tell me you watched the monstosity. You guys ALMOST had it. McKelvin just needed to take a knee. Ahh. Oh and...we don't see many Bills games in Indiana. Compliments on a decent quarterback!

Elise September 15, 2009 at 9:12 AM  

I LOVE that American Gothic sculpture. I saw it when it was in Key West, J. Seward Johnson's work is utterly fantastic.

Beautiful photos :)

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