When we arrived at Dulles International Airport on Thursday for our flight to Chicago, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise – a fantastic way to start our much anticipated trip to help Joseph celebrate his birthday!

Bill and I have been very lucky that both of our sons have lived pretty close by since graduating from college.  Recently, though, Joseph and Julie moved to Chicago for Joseph to attend grad school.  Neither of us had been to Chicago other than flying through O’Hare (who hasn’t flown through O’Hare), so we were thrilled to have an excuse to visit a new city.


After a quick flight, and extremely abrupt landing where our plane came to a screeching halt (both eye glasses and mobile phones were sent flying forward from other passengers), we found Joseph in front of the airport waiting to pick us up.

After getting settled into Joseph and Julie’s place we took off for lunch and to see a few of the local sights – unfortunately, Julie was working and couldn’t join us.  First stop was the Bean!


I had decided that I was going to enjoy all of the amazing food Chicago is famous for, and just try to eat it in moderation.  As Mark Twain once said, “Eat what you like and let the food fight it out on the inside.”  Well, I couldn’t really do that, especially if I was going to run the next day!

Naturally the first food Joseph suggested was a Chicago deep dish pizza so we went to Giordano’s.  We learned that the locals don’t necessarily choose deep dish when they have pizza.


Our server brought our pizza out, and then told us to get our phones out to take a picture.  And just like that, I decided to document my weekend of food with pictures.


Bill, Joseph, and I spent the afternoon walking around the city while Daniel went back to the apartment to work remotely.  Our next door neighbors are from Chicago and told us we had get some Garrett popcorn while in town. 


We picked up a bag of Garrett Mix which is combination of caramel and cheese popcorn, and another bag of buttery popcorn.  I thought we’d devour it in no time, but both were so rich that we couldn’t eat that much.  Even though we purchased small bags, we bought too much and ended up throwing much of it away after a couple of days.


Joseph and Julie both had work/school commitments on Thursday evening so Daniel, Bill, and I set out to find Portillo’s, a restaurant the Daniel remembered from his trip to Chicago a few years ago.  We never found Portillo’s that night – our GPS walking directions were having trouble under all of those skyscrapers.

We did see a lovely, non-colorful sunset across the Chicago River while out on our walk.


We walked slightly out of our way so we could see the Chicago Theater, and then turned to head back closer to J and J’s apartment to find a place for dinner.


We wanted to watch the Redskins’ Thursday night game, so we settled on a sports bar, Howells & Hood and typical sports bar food – burgers.


Friday morning we awoke to another beautiful day, and Bill and I headed out for a walk for him, and a run for me.  We headed south along Lake Michigan on the Lakefront Trail for about six miles round-trip.


After our run we decided to stop by Whole Foods for lunch.  I teased Bill that he was in Whole Foods withdrawal since he loves having lunch there when he’s at work.


I was in salad withdrawal, and desperately needed something light, so I got a salad and fruit.


Friday evening we were in a rush to get to the iO Theater (improv) in time for our show so we had a quick dinner at Dino BBQ.  I like barbecue, but I’m no connoisseur.  I don’t know which cities/states are famous for which types, but I do know that I prefer the smokey flavoring over any of the others.  I was in luck!


Saturday morning while Bill and Joseph headed over to Hyde Park for a Chicago Booth event, Julie, Daniel, and I headed out for a run.  We headed north along Lakefront Trial with my trusty GoPro in hand.


We finished our run at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and after visiting the monkeys, we took Uber back downtown.


Next up on our Chicago food tour was lunch at Bongiorno’s.  It was a nice day so we decided to sit outside, and I couldn’t help but remember dining alfresco while in Italy with Bill, Joseph, and Daniel.


I had my first ever, and probably my last, chicken Parmesan sandwich.  It was delicious, but just way too much food.  I ended up taking part of the roll off so I could enjoy the chicken.


While walking back we stopped by the downtown annex of Chicago Booth.  I considered taking a picture of Joseph standing in front of his school’s sign just like I did years ago when he was in pre-school.


Saturday evening we treated ourselves to Spanish tapas and sangria at Iberico; and it didn’t disappoint! 


We ordered a bunch of different tapas and shared them.  Each different dish was just enough for us each to try a small portion.  My favorite was the roasted vegetables, and I could have eaten most of them.  The calamari was very good, but I didn’t like the beef.




Chicken and Potatoes


Beef and Fries


Roasted Vegetables


Pesto and Goat Cheese


Meats and Cheese




By the time the paella came, I was and full didn’t want anything else to eat; however, I took a small bite just to try it.


Seafood Paella


This wine bottle display was on the ceiling, and I was looking straight up when I took this picture!


Sunday morning we hit the Chicago River for a two-hour kayaking tour.  It was a blast, and I learned so much about Chicago.


Daniel finally got his Portillo’s beef sandwich on Sunday.  I’m not a fan of roast beef so I opted for a hot dog.  Unfortunately, I was very disappointed.  I love a good hot dog, but only eat them a couple of times a year, usually when I go to a baseball game.  This hot dog just didn’t measure up, and I found gristle in it. 


Until next time, Chicago! 


  • Questions:
  • Have you visited Chicago?
  • If so, what was your favorite thing to do?
  • If so, what was your favorite food?