Chicago over 4th of July weekend was a huge success filled with lots of activity and even more food. I’ve been to Chicago plenty of times being that I grew up not too far away in St. Louis, but this was Matt’s first time so that gave us an excuse to be unapologetically touristy for the weekend. While our days were filled to the brim, there are a few highlights that are worth a try in my opinion….
1. Batter and Berries – This popular Lincoln Park breakfast and brunch gem is an absolute must if you can manage it. Warned that there would be a wait, we arrived at 8:50am and only waited about 25 minutes for our table, but within 10 minutes of our arrival the wait was much longer. The decor is sunny and cheery, the staff is beyond friendly, and the food is homemade deliciousness.
Famous for their Super Flight French Toast, we immediately knew we had to try it. The Super Flight includes a half slice of all four of their french toast flavors plus a half slice of the rotating special french toast. My favorite was the Cherry Pie special variety but Caramel Pecan was a close second.
Our second entree to split was another special, the Lobster and Shrimp Cake Benedict, which was served with freshly grated cheesy hash-browns. This dish was nothing short of amazing. Good start to the weekend, right?
2. Chicago Architecture River Cruise – From Batter and Berries we hopped on our Divy Bikes (Chicago’s shared bike program, just $7 per day and a great way to get around when it’s nice out) and headed downtown to our Architecture Tour. This tour is absolutely worth the time and the money (about $50 per person after taxes). Our volunteer tour guide was knowledgeable and charismatic and the weather was perfect, so we really lucked out. But no matter what, the buildings and stories behind them are fascinating. We could even see the tents of die-hard Grateful Dead fans hidden on the river’s edge. The tour is a quick 90 minutes. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early and get in line to secure good seats and drinks at the full bar with time to spare.
3. Green City Market in Lincoln Park – On Saturday morning Matt, my friend Karen, and I had a lovely time walking through the Lincoln Park farmer’s market. There were samples galore of everything from fresh tofu, cheese, pancakes, pickled vegetables, and hot sauces. Along with fresh produce, flowers, and goods, there were also several food stands. We opted for the freshly made mozzarella sticks from Zullo’s, which were the best I’ve ever had. Before walking around we grabbed coffee from Elaine’s at Hotel Lincoln, right across from the market on Clark. It was fab and just what we needed.
4. Lou Malnati’s – If there was one meal I was going to share with Matt while in Chicago, it was deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s. It’s just so good. We chose the Old Town Location which is a combination of lively sports bar and crowded pizza joint. The house salad (salami on the side) was delish, and The Lou deep dish pizza (spinach mix, mushrooms, and tomatoes) was perfectly cheesy and flavorful. Not much more to say about this place, it’s just freakin’ good.
What a fabulous weekend in Chicago this was. We cannot wait to go back and try some more!