One of my favorite things to do when I head to Chicago is to treat myself like I tourist – I love trying new places – and a work weekend with out-of-towners this evening gave me the prime opportunity to do so. The day started with this gorgeous view from the office.
We then headed for lunch to Hub51 with a mix of entree selections. I ended up with the Social Shaved Turkey sandwich and a half order of the Caesar Arugula – perfect, light and refreshing, and a great way to kickoff our weekend. They also offer a variety of other selections, including sushi, tacos, and more – the perfect locale for people with a wide variety of tastes!
For dinner, we headed to Carnivale – my first time – and let’s just say that it won’t be my last. The gorgeous decor, fun, bright atmosphere, and AMAZING food. This Latin-infusion restaurant nails every aspect and we feasted on starter plates and entrees – perfect for trying a variety of options all at once. I highly recommend the “Samantha Special” – a dessert I had created that includes light and dark chocolate mousse, a hard chocolate shell, and melted chocolate drizzled over the top – a true representation of heaven.
In the morning, we walked up down Michigan Avenue to right behind Labriola Bakery to find Stan’s Donuts and grab a dozen for our everyone. These gourmet donuts have delicious flavors, lots of glaze, and vivacious personality (yes, a donut has a pretty strong personality). I highly recommend the Biscoff Pocket which has COOKIE BUTTER INSIDE OF IT. Ridiculously delicious and a great addition to our food line-up. Think pink!
Because we also had some out-of-town visitors, we ate dinner at the Chicago staple – Portillo’s. Beef sandwiches, Maxwell Street Polish, cheese fries, onion rings, hot dogs, and the EPIC chocolate cake – you don’t need any pictures of the food you know and love so WELL!
After a boat ride along the river, we walked back up Michigan towards our hotel and made a pitstop in Dylan’s Candy Bar to snag some gummy bears and other sweets. I managed to dance my way through the store and earn some free suckers to enjoy. I’m also positive I could live there and plan to visit again whenever I’m in the city.
They also had an entire section of politics-inspired candy and they had me laughing out LOUD including mints that endorsed “Monica Lewinsky’s ex-boyfriend’s wife” who is running for president.
After ending up at the hotel, I remembered that Sprinkles had cupcake ATMs and much to our surprise, there was one literally around the corner.
We walked up to find a legitimate line at midnight waiting to snag one of these sweet eats. Once we grabbed ours, the line had grown, so clearly they have cornered the market on late-night munchies. The pink doors reminded me of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
Beamed down from Cupcake Heaven, the sweets were deposited in the door and ready for consumption and consume we did.
We were sure to grab Gino’s East Deep Dish pizza on Sunday afternoon to get the other famous Chicago staple that we’re known for. Layers of cheese, sauce, and graffiti on the walls and we were set to enjoy the rest of our day.
The last stop of our weekend was RPM Italian – Bill and Giuliana’s restaurant inspired by Italian dishes. We enjoyed a series of small plates and then our entrees for which I selected charred corn and risotto – which was AMAZING!
I ended my selection with RPM Cold-Pressed Coffee poured over Chocolate-Hazelnut gelato – a coffee float that was the perfect refreshing drink to end my meal!
Our waiter surprised us with light-as-air beignets and Nutella creme that LITERALLY floated me away to the hills of deliciousness.
All in all – a fantastic weekend feasting in Chicago while hitting all of the culinary highlights.
Added bonus: Giuliana Rancic gave me ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS on Instagram and I literally died of fangirling.
What are your must-eat stops in Chicago?