Chicago (Day 3, Part 3)

If you missed Monday’s post about some rockin’ pancakes in Chicago, you should definitely check it out! After that huge meal we spent the remainder of the day sightseeing and enjoying more of Chicago’s delicious eats and drinks!

Our post-pancake stop was the infamous Bean!

As you can tell from the photos, the Bean is definitely a popular tourist area!

Wildberry Pancakes was just across the street from Millennium Park, so that’s a great place for brunch if you’re planning on a stop at the park for the Bean and some of the art exhibitions.

My sister and I had accidentally stumbled across the Bean on our way back to the hotel from the race. We grabbed a selfie since there was nobody there. It’s probably a rarity to get a pic without random strangers in it. Have you ever wondered how many strangers have random pictures of you?

By the time we got there with our group, there was a huge crowd. I didn’t know the Bean had a technical name, but it’s actually called Cloud Gate; I also thought it had been a part of Chicago for a really long time, but it was constructed between 2004 and 2006. The Bean is absolutely a tourist magnet, but it’s one of those things that you kind of have to see when you visit Chicago. It’s pretty cool to see the reflections and distortions of the city in the Bean.

After lots of picture-taking at the Bean, we walked along the edge of Millennium Park towards Grant Park where you can find the Buckingham Memorial Fountain. Apparently this is one of the biggest fountains in the world. According to its website, it performs a “major water display for 20 minutes every hour.” Major might be a slight over-exaggeration because it really just shoots water really high in the air for 20 minutes. It was a nice place to sit and relax for a bit, but I’d probably recommend that you go at night when the “major display” is accompanied with lights and music.

If you missed some of the earlier posts on Chicago, we had run the Rock ‘n Roll Chicago 10k that morning, so by this point in the day we were all moving really slowly and we  sounded really pathetic as we grunted and groaned going up and down stairs…and just on and off sidewalks…or just standing around.

After doing a bit more sightseeing, we made our way to the River North area for Chicago-style pizza! It seems like no two people can agree on what Chicago-style pizza is the best, and of course every restaurant claims that they have the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. C made a reservation at Gino’s East River North because she heard in an interview that it was Tina Fey’s favorite (that seems like a good enough reason to me!). Gino’s East River North is also right across the block from Lou Malnati’s, which was another pizza joint that we kept hearing about. But C had a plan – check the line at Lou Malnati’s (they don’t do reservations), and if the line was too crazy, we had a reservation that we could count on at Gino’s.

The line was, in fact, crazy, so we opted for Gino’s. I think we were a little concerned at first because Gino’s wasn’t busy at all, but maybe that’s because it was a Sunday night? We ordered a family-style salad as an appetizer and a Deep Dish Meaty Legend pizza. We each had a slice and a half of pizza, which was definitely enough.

The pizza reminded me of lasagna, and I’m sure if you’re from Chicago you might have a stroke when I say this, but the crust was really similar to the pan pizza from Pizza Hut but had more flake and butter. And you’ll probably really be upset when I tell you that my sister said she liked it but preferred Domino’s.

Later that night C’s husband, P, had made us reservations at a tiki bar called Three Dots and a Dash, which we were all really excited about. J and I went to a tiki bar in San Francisco, and it was so much fun (and I don’t even like bars). It was kind of difficult to find because the entrance is in an alley; we walked up and down the street for several minutes before P called and got us going in the right direction.

The tiki bar is underground, and as you walk down the stairs, there’s a collection of skulls to set the mood.

The hostess led us to our booth across from the bar that was decked out to look tropical and was covered in grass skirts, the music definitely matched the theme, and all the waiters and waitresses were in their Hawaiian shirts and dresses.

The menu was fun, but a little overwhelming, to look at. They have several options for group drinks (these are pricey) that have a whimsical aspect to them. We went with the Bali Bali – passion fruit, orange, pineapple, lime, falemum, Caribbean rum, armagnac, and London dry gin. I don’t know what half of those things are, but it came smoking from dry ice, so it looked super cool and ended up tasting delicious!

After our giant group drink, we ordered individual ones. I chose the Cobra’s Fang in the super scary tiki mug – 151 proof Demerara rum, lime tangerine, passion fruit, fassionola, falernum, bitters, and absinthe. I was hoping I’d start floating around the room like Robin from “How I Met Your Mother,” but no such luck.

They also have a drink that serves 6-8 people called the Treasure Chest. It’s $385, so if you’ve ever had that one, I’d love to hear your feedback!

I’m also super curious about everyone’s favorite deep dish pizza! Where’s your favorite spot in Chicago for pizza and what would you recommend for when we go back? Are you a deep dish or a thin crust pizza eater?

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