Surviving Chicago: Day Two

Hello all, this is Val.
I’ve decided to take a little different approach for my posts this trip … mainly to avoid the hassle that is transitions. I don’t like to think that hard this late at night.
My posts will be written as they’re happening. Hopefully this helps me remember what I enjoyed about each of the places so I can share them in real time with you.

12:15-ish a.m.
• Boiler Room
Technically today started with a slice of pizza, a meatball sandwich and some fries and we’re pretty happy with that.


My pizza slice was as big as my face. I’ve never had to fold a piece of pizza before in order to be able to pick it up, but it was necessary with this one.
A few times between his bites of a delicious meatball sandwich, Matthew mumbled about how much we shouldn’t be eating this late or right before bed (old man alert) and then I reminded him of the five-story walk up we had waiting for us back at the Airbnb … we’ll work this off no problem.

8:40 a.m.
• Wormhole Coffee
Looking for a coffee shop with a monster-sized Gremlin painting? We found it.
Matthew now wants a Gremlin (“They’re adorable”) and I’m the mean wife who told him “heck no.” However, I would’ve been perfectly fine if he wanted to bring home Margot the Frenchie.
This place was definitely quirky. They had a Delorion, guys …
An entire coffee shop decked out in ’80s decor. It was a cool find.
Matthew approves of their cold brew and their latte (and coffee art) was pretty good, too.

9:30 a.m.
• Wicker Park
This was a cute little park in the neighborhood where Wormhole was. There were quite a few people out walking their dogs today and the park was a hot spot for them.
This is also where we saw black squirrels … black squirrels.

11:30 a.m.
• Cheesie’s Pub & Grub
After a long walk to the downtown area to get a quick peek at the river, we stopped for some lunch.
With the exception of the bar off to the side, it basically just looks like a sandwich shop with a few skee ball machines in the corner. Turns out though nothing is normal about their sandwiches.
I almost went for The Mac (filled with Mac & Cheese), but I decided on The Edgar (Pulled Pork/Cole Slaw/Fried Pickles/Bacon/Provolone). Matthew’s choice was The Caprese (Provolone/Tomatoes/Olive oil/Cracked pepper and basil/with marinated chicken).


The sandwiches are so good that it easily distracted from the somewhat lifeless atmosphere.

2 p.m.
• 606
It’s a gorgeous day for a bike ride. The high today is 71. I’ll take this summer weather any day.
We walked to the 606 and rented a couple Divvy bikes. Besides it being a bit crowded, it has beautiful views of the residential areas. I don’t think I was expecting Chicago to have as many trees as it does. I think of cities like this and just think concrete.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by quite a few things here. Keep it up Chicago.

3:30 p.m.
• Chicago
We roamed for awhile after the 606.
We ended up down on the River Walk where the view makes you stand in awe. You don’t know whether to look at the high rises, the boats going by, all the dogs or the interesting color of the water (Matthew says it was a teal color, but I think it was a little darker than teal).
We’ll be heading back a little later tonight for Art on the Mart.

5:45 p.m.
• Nando’s
Okay, this wasn’t on our list of places to eat, but our first place fell through. It was closed — my bad.
But guess what? Nando’s was a block away and if you’ve ever eaten there, you know we couldn’t pass it up.
It was hard going in there and not comparing it to the one we went to in London. There are few times when the second time around beats the first. This one didn’t beat London, but it proved to have a bit of its own quirkiness and the food was still delicious.


As Matthew says, “Nothing beats a good chicken shop.”

9 p.m.
• Riverwalk
After heading back to the Airbnb to rest for about 30 minutes and grabbing some long sleeves, we headed back to the Riverwalk.
We had seen some advertisements for something called Art on the Mart, which is a light show displayed on the side of a huge building along the river. It ended up not really being our cup of tea, but we enjoyed some gelato while watching the pretty colors on the building before heading off to explore a few other areas downtown.
We stopped by the famed Chicago Theatre and took the typical touristy photo … we’re only human.

It’s 10:30 p.m. and we’re back to the Airbnb after a few grumblings from me about my aches and pains of being on my feet all day.
So that you feel a little more sorry for me, I’ll give you a couple of numbers:
1. 25,432 steps
2. 9.4 miles
So please have mercy on me. In spirit, I’m 22, in real life I’m 33, but I feel 60 with these aching knees. I’m hoping the next couple days my body becomes a little more aclimated to city living.

Check back in with us tomorrow as Matthew tags in.

“I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.”

– H. L. Mencken

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