Spring Vacation (Food Edition): Chicago, IL

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

As with any trip post, I like to do quick reviews of the places that I have eaten at whether they are chains or not!

2017-03-02 11.42.41 1
Chipotle Mexican Grill
8488 W Golf Rd
Niles, IL 60714

I will be completely honest in saying that I have not been to a Chipotle in what I feel like months so when I realized that you had to ask for lemons at the register, I knew something probably changed. This particular location is fantastic if you are the type to like big portions of everything. The employees really packed our bowls and did not skimp on a single one. The parking lot is pretty accommodating and if you still cannot find parking, there is always the huge Walmart lot right behind the establishment.

2017-03-02 11.23.12 1
7188 Dempster St
Morton Grove, IL 60053

Ever get the late night munchies but the last thing you want to do is go somewhere that will make you regret eating what you ate? Luckily this Subway location is open 24/7 so you can drive your pretty self in your jammies and make yourself whatever your heart desires. I scarfed down my sandwich pretty quickly and man did it hit the spot (can I get a woo hoo to all my veggie delite eaters?).

2017-03-03 07.41.57 1 2017-03-03 07.41.53 1
Kai Sushi
1255 S State St
Chicago, IL 60605

When it comes to sushi, I know I am quite spoiled by the amount of options I get here in California (specifically Orange County). Sushi restaurants can be a complete hit or miss for the most part and it all depends on the texture of the rice and or the freshness of the ingredients. In this case, Kai Sushi did a stellar job in providing quality ingredients in their rolls. As for the service, I felt somewhat suffocated at times because the waitress kept coming back every few minutes to see if she could take away my plate. As the pickled ginger loving individual that I am, I was somewhat devastated watching her take my plate away without asking if I was done (the sushi was gone, but the ginger was calling my name). What happened if I wanted to keep my plate and use it to eat some of Mac's sushi? Sad times, but the food was great and the tab was not too too bad (still pricey). It was $57 for everything you see in the photo (5 rolls).

2017-03-03 07.41.09 1
3534 W Touhy Ave
Skokie, IL 60076

Now I have never actually gone to a Jollibee. I have always had it when it was catered, but I have never personally gone to one because the closest one to me in California is a long ways from my house. On our way to Avalanche Bubble Tea (review down below), Mac decided to go through the Jollibee drive-thru to pick up some peach mango pies for the two of us. Let me try to describe to you how amazing these pies are in words: yes. Forget all the things you know about personal pies like the ones they serve to you at McDonald's or your local grocery store. These pies are legit. Please order one when you go to a Jollibee. I promise you will enjoy them (and eat them while they are still warm).

2017-03-03 07.41.08 1
Avalanche Bubble Tea
6317 Dempster St
Morton Grove, IL 60053

You cannot end an amazing date night without meeting one of your beau's best friends. Mac took me to Avalanche Bubble Tea where I finally got to try out one of their drinks from their huge selection of drinks and flavors. I will be completely honest in saying that I cannot remember for the life of me what I had ordered... but it probably had something to do with mangos. Either way, it is really good and I can see why this place gets crowded through the evenings with lots of college/high school students working on their assignments and overall the atmosphere of the place feels extremely welcoming. Thanks for the drinks, Arthel!

2017-03-04 12.14.19 1
Panera Bread
9400 N Milwaukee Ave
Niles, IL 60714

Somewhere along my trip to Chicago, I managed to get myself really sick. I guess it has to do with my Southern California-built immune system because my body just could not hang with the constant changing weather in Chicago. Hail, snow and cold winds later, I needed something in my system that could help me get rid of my stuffy/runny nose and coughs: soup and bread. Mac was just a good sport and ordered my meal for me without having to ask me what I wanted. See, that is the one thing that I love in a person - their ability to have the same food preferences as you. The sandwich was super filling and the soup was as hearty as it should be. Panera still gives you the ol' piece of bread and bag of chips without asking if you want it so you will definitely be stuffed after you have consumed your meal.

2017-03-05 11.32.55 1 2017-03-05 11.32.54 2
Signature Room at the 95th
875 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Nothing screams romantic than having dinner on the 95th floor of a tall building or in this case, the John Hancock Building. Book your reservation in advance and I highly recommend that you call in to verify that your reservation went through if you book it through their website. We almost lost our reservation because they could not find the one that we had placed through their site. Parking is quite pricey ($26-32) and it can be sort of confusing to find as you have to drive to the back of the building and enter from a small alley. Besides the parking issues, getting to the actual restaurant is a breeze. As you walk through the parking garage, there are multiple signs that lead you to the restaurant itself. You will have to take two separate elevators to get to the host's table and then you will queue up for the elevator that will take you to the 95th floor.

I got the vegetable pot pie for the evening (my cold at this point was still going strong) and Mac went for the half chicken. Overall, I absolutely loved my meal. It is sort of like a deconstructed pot pie so if I wanted more of the flakey pastry, I could just break apart a piece. We also ordered dessert, which I unfortunately did not take a photo of. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed by the dessert because I kind of was. Mac and I got the blueberry cheese cake, but what it really was was a plain cheesecake and a side of blueberries (lol wut). As with any fancy restaurant, the food is pretty pricey with anything ranging from $26-60. Mac and I's bill came out to being a little under $100 before tip.

The only small gripe I had about the place was that I wish they gave you an option of where to sit. The plan was to originally be seated next to the window to be able to look out into the city lights, but we were not given an option to sit there despite the number of available tables that were located next to the window. Oh well, maybe next time I will go again and try out their brunch and see if I can get a spot next to the window.

2017-03-05 03.49.22 1
Chicago Waffles
1400 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

Mac and I have a running joke about waffles because for the longest time prior to my trip to Chicago, I had wanted to get waffles. I mean, do not get me wrong, I love pancakes. There is just something about waffles that you kind of want from time to time, though. Our plans fell through with the original waffle place that Mac had wanted to take me because the wait time ended up being well over two hours so he took me to Chicago Waffles. I got this special of the day that had something to do with a trio (as shown with three large waffles). On each of the waffles was a different type of protein: smoke salmon, pulled pork and roast beef all of which were topped with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. I enjoyed my meal a lot, but realized really quickly how full I was getting. The service was quick and the food was decently priced. Parking can be a pain in downtown, but we went around 10AM and managed to find parking right in front of the restaurant.

2017-03-05 05.54.59 1
Dylan’s Candy Bar
445 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

I have never been that big on sweets. If I could describe my taste preferences, I guess I like savory or tangy things more. A couple years back, a friend of mine went to Italy and came back with Belgium chocolates that he had purchased from Dylan's Candy Bar. Unbeknownst to me, I looked up the company and voila there was a location in downtown Chicago. I probably passed by it a handful of times when I visited downtown Chicago, but I never gave it a thought to visit. If you ever want a kick of nostalgia, this is the place for you. They have candy from when I was a child (I am talking candy that you cannot buy anywhere anymore) as well as their own branded stuff. I love their dark chocolate candy bars the most and for $12 for 4 bars, that is not a bad deal at all. If you love cookie dough, however, those were pretty disappointing. I feel bad for Mac. He really had high hopes for them.

2017-03-05 09.01.34 1
Coffee Haus
209 W Golf Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60195

Nothing screams date night like a double date to the movies. Arthel and MK kindly joined Mac and I to watch Logan, but not before we all decided to stop by Coffee Haus for some bingsoo and drinks. Because I had a slight cold, I did not want to eat too much of the bingsoo so I got the Kona latte. I kid you not, if there is ever an option to get Kona-anything, just do it. There is something about the nice strong blend of Kona and mocha that goes so damn well together. I have not had a good Kona latte in a long while so I appreciated this one a lot. I cannot say much about the bingsoo since I only took a bite out of it, but it seems like it is a popular choice of dessert amongst their patrons.

2017-03-06 02.48.31 1
Noodles & Company
5681 W Touhy Ave
Niles, IL 60714

How silly is it that I did not know Noodles & Company actually exists here in California? Either way, I have had my share of noodles from this place and always enjoyed it. Yes, I know nothing can ever beat authentic Thai food at an actual Thai restaurant, but when you are on the go and you are ordering with someone who is craving something not Thai-related, this is the place to go. I got my usual pad Thai with tofu and scarfed that thing down so quickly before knocking out from what I think was a combination of food coma and NyQuil. I think the portion sizes are pretty spot on from dining in and take out so this location gets a thumbs up from me.

2017-03-07 06.53.50 1 2017-03-07 06.53.49 1
Olive Garden
3303 W Touhy Ave
Lincolnwood, IL 60712

Here is another inside joke that I had with Mac (along with the pizza one, but we will get to that in a minute). Not too long ago, I was at Olive Garden with a friend and I joked to Mac about how I was double fisting the garlic bread sticks. Let's be honest... who does not like Olive Garden's bread sticks? Mac graciously took me to Olive Garden where the two of us fought over the three initial bread sticks that were given to us not realizing that they were refillable (whoops). I made my own pasta with whole wheat linguine and marina sauce and enjoyed every bite of it alongside the salad and bread sticks. Thank you to the waitress who served us because you are the MVP for giving us a ton of the Andes mint chocolate candies after we finished our meal.

2017-03-07 10.31.09 1
Pizza Hut
7957 Golf Rd
Morton Grove, IL 60053

I promise this is the last mention of inside jokes, but this one pretty much tops it off. Along with my cravings of waffles and bread sticks, I had wanted pizza. Yes, I know this has been such a carb-filled craving streak of mine but it is not often that I eat like this so I decided to just indulge for once and cave into my cravings. Mac ordered a large pizza with half of the pizza being topped with pineapple (and yes, I am one of those people who likes pineapples on pizza) and the other half with pepperoni. We ended up watching The Grand Tour and caught up with the episodes that I had yet to watch since last December. The pizza came pretty quickly and I have no complaints to share with how our pizza tasted.

2017-03-08 10.15.10 1
Egg Harbor Café
2350 Lehigh Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025

The last place that I had my meal at before heading back to California is this cute family-owned restaurant called Egg Harbor. Known for their organic ingredients and farm-fresh eggs, this place is pretty legit on the scale of being health conscious. I got the California Club which was composed of turkey, avocado, bacon, lettuce, Swiss cheese and mayonnaise. It also came with their famous potatoes and a side salad with homemade poppyseed dressing. This was an extremely fantastic meal and Mac loved his meal as well. This is probably my new favorite place to go to in Chicago and can knock out Bavette's quite easily.

Cafe Orchid
650 N Northwest Hwy
Park Ridge, IL 60068

During my trip, I did go to a mediterranean cafe but decided against taking photos of the food because I was more fixated on my meeting with Mac and his older sister. Sometimes, it is nice to get away from our devices and divulge in deep conversations. The food was absolutely delicious and I pretty much finished my plate. Actually, come to think of it, all of us wiped our plates clean! The service was stellar and the portion sizes were massive given the cost of the meals themselves. I highly recommend coming here if you ever crave some mediterranean food!

Thanks so much for reading!
If you'd like to see more of my posts of Chicago, check out this link here.

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