Short and I try not to repeat ourselves too often and Chicago BaconFest 2016 is one of our exceptions to the rule. We enjoyed both the city and the foodie event so much last year that we swore (during the event) we’d be back.
This year though, it turned out that BaconFest was almost an afterthought. We really wanted to experience more of the city so we had a few things planned and were going to try to “wing it” for the majority of the weekend. Short and I aren’t great at living in the moment or being mindful. As a matter of fact, I started to try meditation this year so that I could work on my mindful muscle. I’m on and off with it and realize that, when I’m on, it really does work. Speaking of work, I had to work while we were away which was a bit of a drag but I tried to separate that and I think I was successful?
Short wanted to try Air BNB this time around and found a great apartment in a coach house owned by an awesome couple that suggested a few lesser-know restaurants to visit while we were in town. Super nice people that gave us made our stay really comfortable and easy. When you next visit Chicago, click here to check them out. As we were walking up the steps for the first time, we saw this …
We wandered around looking for somewhere to have lunch and stumbled upon Summer House. It felt like we were outside when we were inside and the food was fantastic. On to Armitage Avenue to check out all of the shops that we remembered from last time along with a few new ones. The star of the show was Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Hands down THE BEST chocolate ever. If only because of the flavour combinations. I stocked up on the Banana, Coconut and Ash Chocolate Bar because I’ve been dreaming about it since last year. My god. Continuing on with the eating theme of the day, we had dinner that night at Trenchermen which was a suggestion from our Air BnB hosts. Gorgeous interior, a little hipster but the food was sooooo good and beautifully plated. We both went for the prix fixe and were stuffed by the time we got to dessert. I highly recommend.
The next day we walked over to Perennial Virant for breakfast. Chef Paul Virant is a Michelin star chef and firmly believes in farm to table. Service was great and the food was sublime. What a way to start the day!
It started raining but we were prepared so we hopped on the subway (and were quite proud that we continued to use the transit system all weekend to get around town) and headed downtown to Eataly. I know we wrote about this place last year but we felt that we didn’t have enough time to fully explore it. It’s a massive two story experience that takes up a full city block. A Nutella booth, candy, gelato, limoncello bar, stone pizza ovens, cookbooks, fresh pasta, charcuterie … I could go on but I think you get it. It’s everything Italian thing you could ever want to eat or drink all in one place. Aaaaaand you can walk around the store while drinking a big glass of your favourite wine. I know!!!!
I could spend a whole day there. We even saw a guy making fresh mozzarella!!
After wandering around for a couple of hours, we sat down for a wonderful fresh pasta lunch.
It was still raining so Short suggested that we head to the Chicago Cultural Center to the Strandbeest:The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen. I didn’t realize until we got there that I had seen a documentary on the man and his passion a few years back. The artist has spent decades making these “live” sculptures from plastic tubing and zip ties that walk on their own using the power of the wind. When they are in motion, they are beautiful and creepy and elegant all at the same time. I’m soooo happy to have seen them up close.
We went home (still raining), had a little rest and hopped into an Uber bound for Chicago BaconFest 2016! This year, they separated the show into three different sessions: Spicy, Smoky and Sweet. We chose Sweet because that was the Saturday dinner slot but found out that there really can be too much of a good thing. I had to stop tasting an hour in because I was sugared out. Not before this though…
Yep, we went a little bit cuckoo. It was still a great BaconFest and we love the event so we’ll be back again.
The next day we had one more thing scheduled that we’d missed last year. The Gospel Brunch at The House Of Blues. Loooooved it! They served up a buffet that included chicken and waffles, mimosas and an omelette bar which we ate while watching a young gospel choir on the main stage. It was a uplifting and inspirational way to say goodbye to the Windy City!
So even though it rained all weekend, we both lived in moment and made decisions on the fly. Guess what? It worked! We had a great time, ate ridiculously awesome food and had a bunch of experiences that we wouldn’t have if we’d both been bogged down with expectations and a jam-packed schedule. Hurray! Now I’ve got to get back to doing mindful meditation every morning and all will be well in my world.