Squeezing in the fun with two days in Chicago

At least once a year I try to make it my business to visit my favorite US city, Chicago, for a whirl of fun, friends, family and of course food. My most recent trip afforded me 2 days to get all the fun I could squeeze out of Chicago with my two favorite travelers, my kids, in tow.  With a weekend base camp of the Hard Rock Hotel on the Magnificent Mile I took off right away to get reacquainted with a city I adore.

It’s hard to tell if it’s my loved ones that make the city fun for me or if my friends and family there embody the spirit of the city, explaining my love for both. Chicago is brazen and busy and metropolitan but it still has woven in it the love of life that appreciates art and food and friends that keep me coming back for more.  Automatically at the top of my agenda is to connect with people, but there is no reason that cannot be combined with some other city highlights.  Of course food is supreme in Chicago so be it brunch at Yolk or a deep dish Pizza at Giordano’s there are some things that are undeniably often imitated and rarely duplicated on the Chicago food scene.

My top highlights from the trip, however, were not my usual food fest. Instead something old and something new took the cake.  On the something old side a walking tour of the Magnificent Mile area always does my heart good.  Coming from Houston where walking is rare I love how easy the city is to maneuver by foot and all the possibilities at hand.  In an afternoon of walking you can explore Millennium Park and its art installations, meet new friends for you kids, wander in and out of shops, and get some great live street entertainment.  All these things make Chicago the constant top pick for US city.  On the new side I was able to do something that has escaped me before, Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula.  From first stepping into the hotel I knew it was something magical and afternoon tea was a great mix of prim and proper with smiles and giggles from the opportunity to spend great time with great friends.  The champagne that comes with tea doesn’t hurt either.  All in all Chicago gives you a chance to do almost anything under the sun, even in a pop in pop out weekend.

A few of my favorite things – Chicago edition

Making moves on my visit to ChicagoThere are no ifs, ands or buts about it… Chicago is my favorite US city.   There is something really magical about the balance of the city that gives a little taste of home town hospitality along with an urban metropolitan culture and vibe.  One of the most attractive qualities in balancing those two flavors is the ease you have in exploring some of the highlights of the city on foot (at least before winter hits).  It is with such effortlessness that you can make a day out of exploring and get your fill of culture at the museums, history with the architecture, beauty in the parks and by the lake and of course FOOD.   In my most recent visit I got a chance to really do some walking and found a couple of new favorite things in my favorite city to add to my list.

Events Tips

Raise The MacAllan 5I am never sure how I get on these Chicago mailing list but as destiny would have it right before my trip I got an email from Save Our Social (S.O.S).  The site is a great list into the fun ins and outs of Chicago with some Featured Events that are so diverse something is sure to catch your eye.  The site lead me to a MacAllan tasting that I loved so it is a great place to decide how and where you want to tackle fun in social butterfly called Chicago.

Drinks at the Peninsula

I’m so fancy!!! Well at least this is how you feel when you set foot in the PeninsulaBeignets and Martinis at the Pennisula Martinis at the PennisulaFrom the BMW car service to the Ultimate Academy to the view on the terrace, the Peninsula knows how to make you feel like a boss!  As my stop at the hotel was on the move I stopped by The Lobby to grab some treats, which for me consists of drinks and dessert.  With a French martini and beignets on deck all seems well with the world!!!  If you have time make sure to check out their Afternoon Tea, it’s a great take on an awesome tradition but seats fill up fast

French Market

Chicago is a foodie’s paradise and few places are a greater reminder of just who many great food choices exist in the city than the French Market.  In one short trip around the vendor circle you can get a bite of almost any and every flavor you could think of. From organic pressed juices to wine to pretzels and everything in between the French Market is a great way to grab lunch on the go but still get a great treat for your taste buds and belly alike.  I went with a lobster grilled cheese sandwich and got a little piece of heaven with every bite.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast at Yolk Breakfast at wishbone YolkOne thing is for sure if you plan to attack the city of Chicago on foot you need a great breakfast to start your day off right. My go to’s in the city are always Yolk and Wishbone.  Good food that fills your bell and atmospheres were you feel at home really highlight a city where the best at anything can be done fancy or not but still be fabulous.  Between the laughs and conversation with good friends these eateries give you something different with their menu that will leave you wanting more for weeks after your visit.

So what are your Chicago highlights???


Raise the MacAllan, a whiskey lovers dream

Raise The MacAllan 1First stop on a great visit to Chicago and what better way to catch up with friends than enjoying a favorite…MacAllan Whiskey. Over the years I have become a huge whiskey fan and The MacAllan is definitely one of the best of the best in the world of single malt Irish whiskeys.  While some back away from whiskey because of its strength (40% alcohol by volume), The MacAllan proves that you can indeed really enjoy all aspects of the whiskey experience.  The brand does a great job of balancing power and style with a rick flavor and a smooth finish. Raise the Macallan 4

The secret to this delicate balance for The MacAllan is their curiously small stills.  Famous enough to make the face of Irish currency these stills are proof positive that The MacAllan puts quality over quantity in every step of the process.  The small still and individual batches are just the first step in a long process that produces an exceptional spirit.  From beginning to end The MacAllan has its hand in every part of their creation process and yes this even includes sourcing barrels in which to age the spirit.  Instead of grabbing up bourbon or sherry casks The MacAllan does something unheard of, they grow the wood that makes the cast.  That’s right, when you can pick up a bottle of The MacAllan in a local store, the process of creation actually started 100 years previously when the seeds for their oak trees are first planted.  Through growing, harvesting, sherry creation, and drying the wood you are talking about a very long and very expensive quality all just to guarantee quality.  Raise The MacAllan 5Raise the MacAllan 2The MacAllan spares no expense, even small details such as allowing the wood to dry naturally in order to maximize their color and flavor which come from the wood, in bring something great to whiskey lovers everywhere.

The process truly demonstrates their craft and their passion for producing exceptional whiskeys. With only 16% of all productions ending up in bottles you can see why their finest cut becomes one of the finest whiskeys.  With such a painstaking process it’s easy to see why The MacAllan appeals to such a wide audience and is a great way to bring people together with the fun, laughter, and memories that really makes life great.