Chicago – Part 2

On Saturday I had booked a table for breakfast at Nana. Can’t really remember anymore why I chose this place, but it was super inconveniently located from our hotel. The place was very cozy and the food was good, but not quite worth a subway and a bus ride, which took us 40 minutes to get there.


On the way back we stopped at Chinatown, which was mostly a mall and a construction site. Maybe we missed something, but what we saw was rather underwhelming.


As it started raining, we took another bus to the Navy Pier. There was a ferris wheel and some other rides, which were closed for winter. Inside there were a bunch of small shops, a lot of food places and a cool garden. We spent some time walking around and I would’ve killed to be hungry again as there were some delicious-looking food available, but as I’ve already mentioned, the portion sizes in the US are insane and I wasn’t even a little bit hungry.

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Navy Pier
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Navy Pier
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Navy Pier
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Navy Pier

Because it was raining, we got back to the hotel and spent some time reading and relaxing. In the evening, I had booked a table at the Forbidden Root, which had a good selection of locally brewed beers and quite good food as well. Amazingly enough, we still weren’t that hungry, so we chose to share an appetizer and still didn’t manage to be hungry enough to order dessert.

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Forbidden Root

The next morning I had a reservation to Beatrix, which was just around the corner from our hotel. And it was a very good thing I booked a table as the place was absolutely packed. For once the portions were quite reasonable, but they sold a whole bunch of cupcakes, which I was dying to try, so I came back the next day just to get some of them. 🙂


We continued with a walk and walked by Macy’s Christmas windows, which were pretty cool. The thing in the US is that there is really quite a lot of homeless people. It never seizes to amaze me how one of the richest countries in the world has such a big problem with homelessness. It’s not like there aren’t any homeless people in Europe, but they are often migrants from poorer countries, while in the US, the homeless people seem to be local ones, who have fallen on some hard times. I don’t think that situation in Europe (and specifically in Finland and Sweden) is perfect, but there is a level of security here, which just doesn’t exist in the US.


In the afternoon we went to the Art Institute of Chicago, which was a great museum with some really amazing artwork. I really enjoyed the visit.

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Art Institute of Chicago
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Art Institute of Chicago
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Art Institute of Chicago
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Art Institute of Chicago

As the breakfast for once wasn’t humongous, we decided to stop by Chicago Bagel Authority to try some of their famous bagels, which were actually really good, but I’m still more partial to Montreal-style bagels as they are crispier.

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Chicago Bagel Authority

In the evening we went to see Lucere by Wolfgang Butress, which is located in the lobby of the John Hancock Center. It was a cool piece of art.

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Wolfgang Buttress – Lucent
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Wolfgang Buttress – Lucent
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Wolfgang Buttress – Lucent

In the evening we had booked a table at Roka Akor, which was located just across the street from our hotel. The funny thing is that I booked the restaurants based on reviews and what I found interesting, but several of them were located near or hotel. The cocktails here were once again underwhelming, but the food was really good. Would totally eat here again.

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Roka Akor
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Roka Akor
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Roka Akor

Next morning we headed to Lula Cafe, which was recommended to me by a friend. We were there 5 minutes after it opened and we were absolutely too late. The place was already full and we had to wait for like an hour to get a table. To be honest, I don’t think the food was worth the wait. It was okay, but nothing super good.

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Lula Cafe

It was a rainy and a cold day, so we really didn’t have any plans nor we really felt like doing anything, so we headed back to the hotel to read and take a nap. 😀

In the afternoon we went to Giordano’s to try their famous stuffed deep-dish pizza, which was more of a pie than pizza. One slice of it had something like 500 kcal and it took 45 minutes for it to be ready. It wasn’t so good that I will miss it, but I’m happy that I tried this monstrosity. 😀


In the evening we had tickets to Second City stand up show. They served drinks and food there during the show, but there was no chance that we would be hungry. The show was good and I would totally recommend seeing a show at second city if in Chicago.

The next morning we had breakfast at Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe, which was full even though it was Tuesday morning. We had to wait maybe 20 minutes for a table, but the food was really good, although the portions again were huge.

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Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe

After that we headed towards Shedd Aquarium. The area has several museums and we kind of rock-paper-scissored on Shedd Aquarium. The aquarium is not super new and I’m generally speaking against having large animals in captivity, but they had some really cool fish. I’m still not cool with having dolphins and beluga whales perform tricks and would not support this aquarium again. But especially kids seemed to enjoy this place quite a lot.

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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium
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Shedd Aquarium

On our last full day in Chicago, we had a dinner reservation at Tanta, which had really good food. Their cocktails and wine were also quite good. Tanta was also located really close to our hotel and especially their ceviche was amazing. I love Peruvian cuisine.


The next morning we went to breakfast to Portillo’s Hot Dogs, because apparently they serve the best hot dogs in Chicago, but to be honest, these hot dogs were kind of crap. I didn’t like them at all. We even stopped by a bagel shop on our way back to get something else to eat.

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs

We checked out of our room and spent a few hours working from the hotel lobby before it was time to leave for the airport. O’Hare international airport terminal is surprisingly tiny and has only a couple of restaurants. We ended up choosing Tortas Frontera, which is by the same owner as Frontera Grill we had our first meal in Chicago. It had pretty good food for the price we paid and for expectations I had. I’m always surprised when the food at an airport is even halfway decent. 😀

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Tortas Frontera

The only thing I bought in Chicago (aside from food and entrance tickets) was a bottle of bourbon as a present to my parents. I really enjoyed the trip although I think I gained a couple of kilos just from eating all the good food. 😀

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