Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Chicago Part 2: Day 4: People, Places, Food
Staying true to my Jewish heritage, I ordered a bagel and lox. Danny ordered a Spanish omelet. No, he is not Spanish. I enjoyed my bagel and lox quite a bit. Bagels are one of my favorite foods, but thanks (or no thanks) to the Paleo diet, I hadn’t had one in probably a year’s time. Danny enjoyed his omelet, but felt like there could be a little more kick to it. He likes things to taste like fire. We also split a fruit tray, which was scrumptious.
After a few cups of coffee, we headed out east to Navy Pier. The walk was fairly long and it was hot, but it was nice to see a different part of Chicago. Navy Pier was built in 1916. It was originally used for cargo ships and warehouse storage. At the very end of the pier is the ballroom. The ballroom was used for public gatherings. The ballroom's wall that faces the lake is made up primarily of windows, which makes the events that are held there, that much more grand.
Navy Pier has now been turned into a tourist attraction. The Navy Pier’s website claims it is the most visited attraction in the Mid West. I think this has something to do with people wanting an ocean experience in the Mid West. The building further away from the lake has touristy shops and a children’s museum in it. There are also an IMAX theater, various restaurants, a theater for plays, various boat excursions, some carnival rides, and a stained glass museum.
We hopped on board the ferris wheel, because who doesn’t like a ferris wheel? The ferris wheel is 15 stories high and gives you a great view of the cityscape and the lake. I was a little disappointed that a six dollar ticket only got us one trip around the wheel. The other rides didn’t seem too exciting so we did not test any out. We walked to the end of the pier and looked at the big lake. Danny complained that I wouldn’t let us go on the Sea Dog, which is a touring speed boat that goes out on the lake. I would have rather wasted my money on the pirate ship excursion. I did not know that the pirates pillaged and plundered the Great Lakes, but now I know.
We headed back to the hotel so I could throw my hair up. 85 degrees in Chicago feels like 100 degrees here. On the way there, a band was playing in a little courtyard area singing Barbie Girl. Remember the song Barbie Girl? It’s horrible. Of course Danny sang along.
Next stop was what else but food. We went to Portillo's to try the Italian Beef and cheese fries. I seriously don’t know how every Chicagoan isn’t at least 50 lbs overweight. Portillo's is a big restaurant, but it used to be just a little shack. The restaurant was packed, but the line moved quickly because of the proficient staff. Reviewers on Yelp recommended the Italian beef and cheese fries so of course we obliged. The Italian beef is pretty much just what it sounds like. It is a bunch of beef on French bread and giardiniera on top. This time I played it cool Chicagoan style and skipped the mayo. It was simple, but delicious. No wonder this little shack turned into a must have for Chicagoans and visitors alike. The fries were good, like most fries are. The cheese was just a mild nacho cheese sauce on the side. I think cheese should always be served with fries. Hopefully the French fry gods will read my blog and start making cheese a mandatory condiment. For an ultra piggy move, Danny and I dipped our sandwiches into the cheese sauce. Yummmmm.
The newest addition to the Sears Tower is the Skydeck. The Skydecks are three clear glass cubes that pop out of the windows. So literally the only thing that separates you and the ground is glass and 1,450 feet. Now I am not a big thrill seeker. I don’t enjoy crazy roller coasters, but being that high above the world with such little between you really makes you realize your insignificance. This is actually a nice feeling. Plus every time the wind would blow, the box would shake a little. After a few photo ops with Danny, we got in line to head down.
I forgot to mention that on the way up, we saw a bride all decked out in her beautiful wedding gown. She got to go on a different elevator. I overheard that the wedding ceremony was going to be at the very very top of the building. I thought that was pretty romantic, being on top of the world figuratively and the tip top of Illinois literally.
We did a little shopping, stopped by my favorite fancy store Anthropologie, and of course took a nap.
Next on the to do list was Wrigley Field for a Cubs vs. A’s baseball game. We took a stab at public transportation again and rode the Metra. The Metra is basically like BART, but has more routes, runs more often, and is way more crowded. Again, if you are claustrophobic do not take the Metra to a Cub’s game.
We had originally planned to go to Chicago the week before, but when Danny found out the Cubs were playing the A’s he kindly asked if we could push it back. Of course I said okay…I mean we went to an A’s game the day after our wedding. Wrigley Field was built in 1914. It is famous for being old, small, and having an ivy wall. The scoreboard is not your typical electric light up scoreboard, it is still hand turned. If you look closely you can see a guy peeking his head out of the spaces to catch a view of the game. The buildings around Wrigley Field are famous for having parties on top of their roofs during the games. There are now bleachers on many of them and most rooftops charge for a seat even though it is not technically in Wrigley field.
We both ordered some hot dogs and some Old Style brewskies: the perfect baseball game meal. Unfortunately the A’s ended up losing. We still had a wonderful time. Looking around, eating my amazing hot dog, it felt very nostalgic. Our Americana experience was just that: totally red, white, and blue.