I promised to tell you guys about what I ate in Chicago, but then I got caught up with homework and I totally forgot. So now I'll do so, though probably with less detail than if I'd done it immediately. I will, however, make sure to give you links to all the restaurants we ate at, where available.
When I first got there, my flight had been delayed several (yes, several) hours, so we went and dropped off my things then went to have Thai food at Star of Siam. The Mee Krob was amazing, the sauce being lighter than normal. I also had the #16, which was delicious and had just the right amount of spice. P had the #32, I believe, and it was also quite delicious, though it needed a touch more spice. Later, we swung by iCream and got custom-made ice creams. P had the green-tea and pear, with blackberries and blueberries in it, and I had the mango sorbet with blackberries and gummy bears. Their set-up is pretty neat, because you basically decide what you want, then using liquid nitrogen, they make it on the spot. P was entranced by the liquid nitrogen, I was entranced by their stool chairs, which may be the most perfect chair I have ever sat on in my entire life. I really, really want some of those for the house. I have never been so comfortable as I was in that chair. Want.
The next day, we went to Taste of Chicago. I ate a lot there, but my favourite things were some unusually cake-like beignets, a hot wing, an African stewed goat with a jambalaya-like side, and an African hisbiscus sorbet. Of those, the sorbet was the best and P didn't get to eat much of it. He was kind enough to encourage me to hog most of it. :) I would like to go to there, again and again. That sorbet was pure divinity. That being said, we ate so much stuff there that I honestly have forgotten the majority of it. We went through 60 tickets. In one day.
We also ate at a place called Marai for dinner. Hands down, this was the best sushi I've ever eaten, in any city. The focus was really on highlighting the beauty of each fish. And with each dish that was served, the waitress told us what the chef's preference was regarding how we ate it (most notably, no soy). I don't really know how to describe the food there, and honestly I believe that any attempt to do so would not do it justice, so please just go there if you're in Chicago.
The next day, we started with breakfast at Orange. P got the pancake flight, which is a set of 16 silver dollar sized pancakes, four in each flavour. Since I was there over 4th of July, they were in a red, white and blue them. I tasted some of the cream on one of his and it was awesome. When you order bacon there, they ask if you want it crispy or floppy. That's a nice touch I really appreciated. I had the #6 omelet, which was delicious. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the balsamic reduction was a touch too sweet for me, so I scraped most of it off. They make a pretty wide variety of customisable freshly squeezed juices. I got just plain watermelon juice. P got some other kind of juice that I no longer recall. I think he had 2-3 juices in his glass. The only downside of this place is that they have no cream cheese for your English muffins. But all in all, I'm willing to sacrifice a little cheese for a good quality breakfast/brunch. Later, we went to a pub called Hopleaf and had the CB&J sandwich, a wedge salad and the fish stew. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should eat that sandwich. I don't see why it'd be challenging to make at home (given a larger budget than mine, of course), and it's just wonderful. Their mac 'n' cheese was really good too. I'm not a huge mac 'n' cheese person, but I think I ate more of it than P did. The fish stew was really, really good. I would definitely eat it again. They'll keep bringing you bread if you want to keep mopping up the broth, too. And they have a pretty vast beer selection.
The last day, we went on a massive hunt for Italian beef sandwiches. The original intention was to eat at Al's Beef and at Mr. Beef. We ate at Al's, and while the sandwich was good, I thought the gardiniera could've had a little more kick to it. For some reason, it's really, really difficult to get spicy food in Chicago. I may have lived in Texas too long. We walked over to Mr. Beef, and they were CLOSED!! But then, on a recommendation of one of P's friends, we went to another place, far, far away called Buona's and had their sandwich (and a salad). It was by the far the best of the two and I would probably be really, really fat if they put one of those restaurants here in Houston. I could happily eat there every day. I might see about getting their sammies shipped to me. They ship them, though they're way out of my price range. Maybe someone will get me their sammies for my birthday next year. Or, just because. Next door to Buona's was a little Italian ice shop (who we'd sampled at Taste), Gina's. They make this phenomenal lemon ice where it's basically frozen lemonade but in the middle of it are chunks of lemons (with rinds). It was awesome contrasting the bitterness of the rind with the sweetness of the actual ice. We also tried the cherry one, but agreed it wasn't quite as good. For dinner, we went to Lou Malnati's for Chicago-style pizza, which is always full of win. We got the normal one (with sausage on it), but added garlic and mushrooms. We also had a salad there, which was good but not as good as the one we had earlier in the day. Small tip: if you get there and there's a wait (which it appears there will be), go ahead and order your pizza during the wait. They take 30 minutes to cook so you want to make sure you've ordered before you've been sat so the wait isn't a full hour.
I think that's everything we ate, though it's possible I missed something. One thing I noticed that I thought was really bizarre was that whenever we went out (like, out out, not just food out), you got one of two things: awesome service, or ... well, ignored. Like, standing at the bar with a twenty visibly in your hand and the bartender helps everyone but you ignored. It was bizarre. I'm so used to the Southern politeness it kind of blew me away. Thankfully, this only happened at 2 bars and so we left and simply took our monies over to people who wanted them instead.
It was a great trip, and my belly is still happy from all the things I filled it with.