Since retiring, my husband and I have been eating more lightly. Traveling with my daughter and son-in-law reminded us of what it was like when we were young and could eat without the subsequent explosion on our scale. Chicago has so many good restaurants, a visitor could eat at a different one – a good one – every day for ten years!
We began our gustatory adventure our first night, at my favorite pizza place in the whole world, Giordano’s. The fact it was about 5 min from our hotel meant I thought about returning before we left. Their stuffed pizza is sheer heaven, and I had my usual stuffed super veggie choice — mushrooms, green peppers, onions, broccoli, black olives, artichokes and spinach. We got a large and did half and half, with the guys getting the meat and more meat stuffing.
The next morning we hit Wildberry Pancakes and Café for breakfast. I had my favorite egg white, spinach and feta omelet, light as a cloud and too big to finish. The guys had eggs and hash and biscuits and gravy, Cameron had Belgian waffles, and we ordered a Signiture Berry Bliss Pancake to share. It was too good not to try, with vanilla anglais, blackberry coulis, berry mascarpone and fresh berries.
After a morning exploring Navy Pier, we indulged in margaritas at Magaritaville on the pier, then headed to Portillo’s for hot dogs for lunch. The first Portillo’s hot dog stand, known as “The Dog House,” opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park.
Owner and founder Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a 6′ x 12′ trailer without a bathroom or running water. To get the water he needed, he ran 250 feet of garden hose from a nearby building into the trailer. Today Portillo’s and its
branches is a billion dollar business and offers hamburgers, brats, Italian sausage and lately, pasta, braised beef and custard ice cream. I had a hot dog and it was every bit as good as I remembered. The kids returned there for more hot dogs after we left on Monday.
We had dinner at the Greek Isles Restaurant that night, the best Greek restaurant in Chicago in many surveys. Ouzo, retsina, sagananiki, moussaka, spanakopita – the food kept coming. I had to eat small!
So ended our biggest day of eating. BURP!
Saturday Cameron and Nathan left for a wedding in Michigan, so Gene and I skipped eating any meal except
for dinner on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building – salmon for me, lamb for him, and a sea food terrine to open the meal. This terrine is one I plan to try making myself – delicious with slaw with a mayo and wasabi dressing. The view of course is spectacular and we got a seat by a window, with a promise to the hostess we would finish in two hours.
Sunday, Gene and I had a flatbread egg sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts (it’s under 200 calories), and I skipped lunch except for a bite of a forgettable Reuben at an equally forgettable Irish pub – but the Irish coffee was good!
That night, the kids wanted to try another pizza place, so we went to
our other favorite place, Gino’s, which specializes in deep dish. It takes 45 minutes to cook the pizza, so you order it before everything else. Gene’s did his residency practically across the street at Northwestern Hospitals, so Gino’s pizza was a constant part of his menu. Again, I managed to restrain myself but it wasn’t easy. I am a pizza monster and have been known to eat cold pizza for breakfast.
The following day, after we had left, Cameron and Nathan tried one more pizza place, Lou Malnati’s, another deep dish specializer. Cameron said she liked the cheese crust there the best.
So there you have it – three plus days of eating our way across Chicago. Next time, we’re going Indian and Czech and Greek and Korean, although there’s always the pizza…