I have to begin this post by apologizing for the long delay between this and my last post. I have been making some pretty significant changes in my life and things have been a bit hectic! As I turn my relatively stable life on its head to move toward my next chapter, I have been overwhelmed and humbled by all the support I have received. I am incredibly grateful to my parents, friends, and my incredible and patient boyfriend, Andrew. I honestly do not believe I could be doing this without their help and I hope they know how much their support means to me.
But anyway, on to some lighter stuff! As a birthday celebration and escape from these hectic few weeks, Andrew and I took a quick weekend trip to Chicago. Blessed with wonderful weather, we explored the quiet, beautiful streets of Lincoln Park. As you work your way through the maze of the quaint, tranquil streets of this residential area, it’s hard to believe the bustle of downtown Chicago is just a few miles away. In between these unique homes, chic bars and understated restaurants dot the blocks.
As a food blogger, I am embarrassed to admit that I took very few photos this trip. The first meal I dug my camera out for was brunch at a paella-focused tapas restaurant called Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. After finding hour and a half long waits at most other brunch spots, Andrew and I were seated quickly and directed to the build your own bloody mary bar. Don’t get too excited; they pour the vodka for you.
Despite the alcohol control, this build your own cocktail bar was a fun take on a classic brunch libation. Choose your tomato juice, spices, and garnishes and if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for gin or tequila rather than vodka.
After our trip to the bloody mary bar, we chose three tapas to split. The first, a Belgian waffle, was very traditional and tasty. The cream it was served with had obviously been whipped that day and the berries added a nice, fresh touch. But, at the end of the day, it was just a waffle. Nothing all that special here.
Next, we dug in to a confit pork shoulder bocadilloa. This tapa was more impressive, but still left a bit to be desired. When I think confit of any kind, I imagine a rich dish full of complex flavors. While this Spanish breakfast sandwich was tasty, it did not provide the depth of flavor I was expecting.
The best tapa we ordered was the sausage fried paella rice topped with a poached egg. The rice, caramelized and slightly crunchy, provided a hearty and flavorful base for the rich, runny, egg yolk. Sweet peas complimented savory chorizo, providing extra layers of flavor. I won’t tell you this was the best brunch dish I’ve ever had, but the flavors definitely had me intrigued about their dinner paellas.
All in all, brunch was ok. The bloody mary bar was probably my favorite part, but I don’t think it would be enough to draw me back again.
The next meal my camera made an appearance for was a deep dish pizza from Pequod’s. Being tourists in Chicago, it’s pretty much a requirement that we get a deep dish pizza. I know some people are die hard New York style pizza fans, and don’t get me wrong, I love a good thin crust pizza, but I’m also an equal opportunity pizza eater. I can’t say no to that thick, caramelized crust you can only get from a deep dish pizza.
I haven’t had many true Chicago deep dish pizzas to compare Pequod’s to, but I can tell you that this pizza was everything I could have asked for in a deep dish pizza. The sauce, flavorful and slightly sweet, was layered with high quality mozzarella and spicy pepperoni. How can you say no to that gooey flow of sauce and cheese? I know I can’t.
Although I didn’t take any pictures there, Andrew and I also stopped in at Barrelhouse Flat for a drink. If you’re in the Lincoln Park area and appreciate handmade, high quality cocktails, definitely stop in at this spot. The atmosphere in the upstairs area is a perfect, intimate date spot and the cocktails were some of the best I’ve had.
Ok ok, this post is getting a little out of hand. But bottom line: I had a wonderful time in Chicago and will definitely be back soon to explore more of the infinite food options this city has to offer. If you haven’t been, it’s absolutely worth making the trip. There’s something there for just about everyone, food wise and beyond, and the city is one of the most beautiful I’ve visited.