Spring Break: Chicago Food Edition

Thursday, April 09, 2015
If you remember from my last trip to Chicago, I went when the weather was incredibly cold (early January). This time around, I decided to go when I assumed it would be decently warm weather, but I was surprised with a day of snow. Despite the unexpected weather that is Chicago, I still enjoyed every moment I had while being in the beautiful area. In this particular post, I am going to do a quick run through of places that I ate at for those who plan to dine around the area.

Just to throw out a disclaimer, I know that the majority of these places are not necessarily within the city limits of Chicago and as someone who does not live in Chicago, I still consider where I live Los Angeles despite living 45-minutes away from the city. It just helps for location purposes for those traveling within the area.

1880 Tower Dr
Glenview, IL 60025

On the first day that I arrived to Chicago, I spent the first couple of hours going through a bit of hotel issues which I will discuss in the next post. Despite the minor drawback on time, I still ended my first night with a bang. My friends and I decided to head over to Glenview where we queued for a table at Yard House on a late Friday afternoon. While we were waiting, we had enough time (30-minutes) to kill so we stopped by the neighboring Gamestop to check out any games worth purchasing before being called to our table via pager. Our food eventually came within 15-20 minutes after we had placed our orders, which was understandable given the day of the week we decided to stop by Yard House. I ordered the spicy jambalaya, my friend ordered the pepper crusted filet, and Mac ordered the BBQ bacon and cheddar burger. Needless to say, I felt that my jambalaya was missing something to it because it tasted a bit bland. My friend enjoyed his meal and as did Mac. All three of us opted out of dessert that night.

7954 N Waukegan Rd
Niles, IL 60714

The next afternoon I was not too entirely hungry enough to eat a large meal but I did want something that would satisfy my minor craves in the mean time. My friend took me to Jimmy John's, and while Jimmy John's does exist in California, it is not exactly big over here. I had my first bite of Jimmy John's a while back, but for some reason it was quite alright. This time, however, I got the turkey sandwich and I really liked it! The sandwiches came out quickly and they were made really well (you know you have had those days where your sandwich would fall apart - this was not one of those times). Sorry for the lack of photos of the sandwiches, but my friend and I scarfed it down pretty quickly so that we could make use of the rest of the day we had.

967 Waukegan Rd
Glenview, IL 60025

After an exciting day of driving around gas-powered go-karts and experiencing I would presume to be my first double-date, my friends and I stopped by Oberweis. Momentarily, I thought the place was called "Over Ways" until I realized the spelling of the ice cream haven. Oberweis has an adorable interior that just makes you feel like you are in an ice cream joint - and I am making this comparison with Baskin Robin's or Ben & Jerry's. The establishment was adorned with adorable cows (even the bags they give to you has a cow print on it) as well as glass jugs of milk. My friend and I opted out of ice cream, but we did take back some milk, brownies, and the world's most amazing hot chocolate I have ever had.

609 Milwaukee Ave
Glenview, IL 6002

And despite having bought brownies and drinking away my hot chocolate, my friend took me to an adorable Italian restaurant where we were stumped at what we should order. Upon looking at the specials and being briefed by our waiter of each item, we ordered a plate of vongole al forno as an appetizer. I went for the spaghettini con vongole e cozze, and my friend went for the costolette parmiggiano (which by the way, was probably the most expensive pork I have ever seen anyone order at $45). Needless to say, I had the misfortune of being unable to completely enjoy my pasta due to feeling ill at the table. It was an amazing, amazing meal despite feeling ill and if I ever get an opportunity to come back to this cafe, I will most definitely return.

8808 Gross Point Rd
Skokie, IL 60077

Snow greeted me (for some reason, I bring cold weather with me even though I am from California) which made it rather difficult for me to pick a place to eat at. Luckily, my friend had a thought to take me to my first kosher establishment. As an appetizer, we were given pickles and pickled beets. Now, I have always been a fan of beets, but never have I fell in love with pickled beets as I do now (if you have never tried them, you can get a jar of them at Trader Joe's for $1.89). I ordered the Taboun pita which was absolutely 100% the most delicious pita sandwich I have ever had. It was filled with grilled chicken tenders sauteed with onions, garlic and olive oil and just filled with deliciousness inside. I wish I could tell you more about the onion mashed potatoes, but I was absolutely stuffed from my pita that I only had room to have a small helping of it.

 9525 Skokie Blvd
Skokie, IL 60077

Because of a minor issue (that the hotel cleared up right away), the staff at the DoubleTree Hotel kindly offered my friend and I a voucher to try their breakfast buffet inside the Jameson's Charhouse restaurant. Unfortunately, my friend was unable to join me do to scheduling conflicts, so I braved the breakfast line alone. To my surprise, it was quite small for a buffet. You had about twelve options to choose from: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash brown, bagels, other baked goods, greek yogurt, fruits, 3-4 choices in juice other than the ones you can order at the table, and cereal. According to their menu, this buffet would have cost $14. I am not sure if I would have paid $14 for the buffet, but it was definitely good enough for a free meal. The service at Jameson's Charhouse is also impeccable and the employees were absolutely kind.

2900 Patriot Blvd
Glenview, IL 60026

Nothing says fun like a walk through Costco - and no I am not being sarcastic. Who knew that Costco stores vary from location to location as far as what sort of products they sell? We were quite hungry from our eventful day (which will become even more exciting as shown down below) so we decided to go ahead and order ourselves two hotdogs each. Let it be known that each hotdog was $1.50 and it comes with a drink. It was by far the most filling meal for such a low cost (both of us were unable to finish the last bite of our second hotdog).

6318 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60660

This is my first time at a billiard so I was absolutely nervous about it. I have seen movies and plenty of TV shows where the setting takes place in a billiard room, but never have I actually gotten to go play in one. The atmosphere at this particular billiard was very laid back and for the night that we went, it was not crowded at all. My friend and I enjoyed our time with mixed-alcohol ("Blue Motherfucker") and a side of nachos. To say the least, I really enjoyed playing pool a lot, but the night ended quite quickly when I realized that my alcohol tolerance was still zero to none.

Side note: Thank you for taking care of me.

 2211 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

The following morning my friend took me to the most adorable little spot in Wicker Park for brunch. I ordered the smoked salmon salad (comes with a toasted bagel) and he ordered the croque madame breakfast. Both of us fell in love with our meals. The smoked salmon was cooked perfectly and the amount of smokiness was divine. The salad itself was tasteful with every bite. My friend especially enjoyed his croque with a side of an interesting chocolate hot sauce recommended by our waiter. For dessert, we both took home a gigantic cookie each - a chocolate chip cookie and an oatmeal butterscotch cookie.

9400 Skokie Blvd
Skokie, IL 60077

My last morning in Chicago meant that I had to try something different for once. Yes, I have definitely been to Portillo's (there is one location that is quite a drive from me in California), but I have never actually dined in the restaurant before. The moment I walked through the revolving doors, I was greeted by the most insane interior ever - with hanging decor from the ceiling and bright neon lights. I think I ordered a single bacon burger with a large side of fries and my friend ordered a double cheese bacon burger(?). He also ordered an eclair cake that we both shared before my unwilling departure back to California. Let me just say that Portillo's makes me not want to order from any other fast food restaurant in a long time because their burgers and fries are hands down amazing.

Places worth mentioning but not photographed:

225 W Touhy Ave
Park Ridge, IL 60068  

Like any trip, I am in constant need of stocking up on snacks and water especially when staying at a hotel. The last thing you want to do is gravitate towards the $3 water bottles and expensive snack bar or even have an urge to order room service. Luckily Whole Foods was not too far of a drive away and my friend and I also decided to grab dinner there as well. I never knew that the pricing at the food bar at Whole Foods differs from location to location. In California, it is $7.50-$8 per pound and we are also given a choice in the size of the containers we place our food in. In Illinois, it is roughly $9 per pound and there is only one large container that you can use to put your meal in. Regardless in the differences of prices and containers, we still enjoyed our meal and we got our snacks readily available during the duration of the trip.

630 Davis Street
Evanston, IL 60201

Jamba Juice is always a must for me and surprisingly enough it is the same for my friend. Both of us always order our own "usual" which would equate to 100% satisfaction. However, there will be times when that is not the case and your drink will have a case of it being too watered down or not smooth enough (unable to drink through a straw due to large chunks of fruit). None of the less, despite a bit of disappointing drinks, not every Jamba Juice location will disappoint you. I will have to say though, this one is in a cute location if you are ever roaming around Evanston.

To see more of my trips to Chicago, check this tag here. Thank you for reading! 

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