Chris and I met a wonderful person when we visited our friends in Calabasas. Her name was Alana and she was one of their friends visiting from Chicago. We just so happened to be in the same area at the same time, and within a single conversation after meeting her, it became obvious that we were destined to be friends.
Alana told us that we were welcome to stay with her at her house while we were visiting her home town. We were so grateful for her kindness--Alana thank you so much. We truly hope to continue growing our friendship and make our way back to Illinois for some good times.
We knew we wanted to check out all the amazing food Chicago had to offer during our stay. Be warned. You are about to witness some serious eating.
Day 1: Lunch
On our way into town, we stopped at Gene & Jude's for their well-known hot dogs. The line was around the shop and we expect it's like that all day. There were only a few bar stools that were of course already taken. It seemed like a takeout place mostly anyway. We were surprised to see that the prices seemed to be as cheap as they were when they opened in 1946. Probably because of the volume they get on a daily basis. We got lucky though because right as we left, an entire baseball team showed up!
Simply a long snappy dog on a bun with relish, onions, mustard, peppers and topped with hand-cut fries. It was perfectly delicious and only $2.34. Whatever you do--do NOT ask for ketchup.
Day 1: Dinner
Gene & Georgetti's was the best Italian food I've ever eaten and the service was incredible. As soon as you walk in, you can feel the history dripping off the walls. The smell of the way restaurants used to be run still in the air. The staff and the guests dressed up nice and pressed. You could tell took pride in their attire even though it was a casual joint. In the middle of our meal, you could look around and just tell that everyone in the room grew up in G&G's. It was quite an experience.
Day 2: Lunch
You can't visit Chicago and not enjoy a traditional deep dish pizza! I had ordered a pizza from here as a Christmas gift for Chris a few years back and we liked it so much we wanted to make sure and try it fresh. Though they take 30-45 mins to bake, it was well worth the wait!
Day 3: Brunch
Family owned and operated since 1902, this bakery has not only an impressive amount of history (over 100 years old)--it has the delicious quality home cooked food to back it up. When we walked in, it was standing room only! Packed with locals--every table occupied.
We were so full of amazing food from the past day it was hard to keep eating though we wanted to try it all! We heard that the canoli's were amazing and let me tell you they did not disappoint. The other pastry in the photo is nostalgic for me because I had one for the first time on the island of Capri when I visited in 2014. I still cannot pronounce the name. Let me know if you can: Sfogliatella. Yeah. I know right? But its DELICIOUS.
The Worm Hole
Let me begin by saying I'm a huge Yelp fan. I honestly do not like to go anywhere new without reading reviews first. My philosophy is that if other people like or dislike something enough to write a review about it--that's saying something.
Chris and I are huge coffee aficionados. We both worked at Starbucks which may have peaked our interest and increased our knowledge of the incredibly delicious bean water. Along with our history and after trying coffee all over the country and beyond, we've began to develop particular palettes.
The Wormhole showed up as a high quality, highly rated local coffee shop in downtown Chicago. When we walked in, it was like walking back in time to the 1980s with the movie posters, vintage lunch boxes, and the full sized DeLorean from Back to the Future as part of their decor.
We ordered a shot of espresso, and a cup of their recommended roast. Both were unique and different than any other blends we've tried. Very fruity and floraly. It was a nice spot to visit.
We walked around the street for a little while until it was time for our tour of the famous Ferrara Candy Company.
Ferrara Candy Company
We were so lucky to have had the opportunity to literally see how so many popular candies are made. This company is family owned and operated since 1902. It all began with Lemon heads and Fireballs! When the company merged with Haribo, a whole new range of amazing candies were included in the mix.
We dressed from head to toe in official Ferrara lab coats, hair nets, and gloves to make sure we were sanitary during the tour. We were shown the kitchen, the drying areas, and the packaging departments. Such a cool experience to get an inside look and be able to try candy seconds after it was made. We were so grateful for all the tasty treats we were given at the end! Such a wonderful experience that we will remember forever.
Day 3: Dinner
Portillo's is famous for their Italian beef and our trip to Chicago would not be complete without one of their traditional sandwiches! We loved the throw back diner feel inside.
We had a wonderfully relaxing time in the city. We are excited to get back on the road and head down towards Tennessee! Thank you so much for following our journey <3