We got in town on a Friday night, rode the L downtown to our hotel, and hit the streets to find some dinner. The Purple Pig, also recommended by our friends, was probably our favorite meal of the weekend. It might have been partly that we were truly off on an adventure, but in fact, everything we ate was innovative, unique, and oh so tasty. Plus we were seated at a community table, and that just added to the fun.
Saturday morning, we were off to Eataly, one of 17 world-wide locations, and the largest Eataly in the US. The Chicago location is co-owned by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, so expectations were high. Arriving relatively early, we settled in for coffee and pastry at Caffe Vergnano - definitely a little taste (and reminiscence) of our time in Italy.
We scoped out the entire store, with it's specialty counters (butcher, panini, focaccia, Nutella(!), gelato, etc.) spread throughout the first level, and its six larger restaurants on the second.
After wandering around, we agreed we'd come back for dinner at Osteria di Eataly, which proved a real Italian feast.
While in town, we also made it a point to try out the Chicago staples, going twice to Portillo's, as that was reportedly the place to have the best hot dog, Italian Beef, and chocolate cake. So of course we did. Don't want to offend any Chicagoans out there, but I'm not a fan of the huge pickle as big as the dog. But I tried it!
Totally not Chicago tradition (I don't think.), but fun nonetheless, was a quick stop in at Three Dots and a Dash on our last night in town. A Tiki bar! It we hadn't been told, we wouldn't have known to look for the blue line along the top of the building and head down the alley...
And last, but certainly not least, we had to have deep-dish pizza before we left, and we chose Gino's East, which was another very good choice.
Don't worry, we did more than eat - we enjoyed The Art Institute of Chicago, walked out to Navy Pier to see Lake Michigan, and went on a river cruise hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Let's just say we got a good "taste" of the city in just a few days. So yeah! That was great, delicious fun!