Sunday, July 22, 2018

☆ Weekend in Chicago ☆

Even after living in NYC for 6 months, I still have to say that I love Chicago so much. I have some friends and family there, and it's always nice to make the drive and visit them (and it was nice to get out of the house, sorry mom). Last weekend, some friends from out of town were visiting, and it was my cousin Lisa's 30th birthday! Lisa, whom you may know as the owner of See Song Designs (and who is pretty much my sister), who has the best husband ever, set up such a great weekend filled with many activities. But before the birthday celebrations began, I spent some time with college friends that have graduated already. I was definitely exhausted after those three days, but it was all worth it.
Friday afternoon, I met my two friends Molly and Jenna in Lincoln Park (which is one of my favorite areas of the city). It's so quaint and cute, and also has lots of shopping around the area. There aren't too many taller buildings around, and kind of reminds me of a mix of Chelsea with the apartments, and Brooklyn with the shops and people. We went to dinner at Summer House Santa Monica, which was incredibly cute and overpriced. Nonetheless, we couldn't resist trying some of the instaworthy cocktails in the adorable California inspired restaurant. We ordered the kale salad, salon poke lettuce cups, and burrata with homemade bread to share. The cocktails are ~$15 each, and mine was made with the cutest strawberry aerated cloud on top!
my friend jenna + the ricky bobby cocktail

We went to Jeni's Ice Cream (always a must) next, shopped around, and then I met up with Lisa and her friends first at Flight Club Darts, and then Pizza Parlor in Wicker Park. I've been to Flight before, and they have a sit down and bar area to eat/drink off of their mainly seafood menu, and also many dart stations between their two floors. it cost $40/hour to play, which isn't too bad if you have four or five people. It's really great for anyone of any level to play. At Pizza Parlor, I wasn't able to try their pizza, but their vodka soda was pretty standard. 
Lisa's husband had a private hip hop dance class arranged for Saturday morning in Avondale. It was all of Lisa's friends, and the teacher just taught us some (very) simple combinations and helped us have fun. I have not taken a dance class since I was four, so this was definitely out of my comfort zone....but it was actually such a good workout and SO much fun. I would definitely recommend The Puzzle Box dance company where everyone was so helpful and not judgmental of our terrible skills.

Post dance class, we just walked across the street to have lunch at Honey Butter Fried Chicken. I had always heard about this wonderful place, and was excited to finally be able to go! We all just split the classic fried chicken that came with honey butter and honeycomb corn muffin pieces. I rarely eat fried chicken, so this really hit the spot (and was also not that expensive). They also serve brunch, sandwiches, and some yummy mixed drinks as well. I'd highly recommend the blueberry mojito.

After taking a quick pit stop at Vivi Tea, my second favorite bubble tea place of all time, we just rested and got ready for the birthday party at night. Her husband rented out the rooftop of Bounce Sporting Club  (their other location in NYC is right next to where I lived lol), and he hung up banners, balloons, and made it incredibly cute. 
double fisting bubble tea

Earrings: See Song Designs
Top: Banana Republic
Skirt: Garage

I really loved the music they played, and best of all, their fried mac and cheese bites were AMAZING. Her husband also had a custom cake made from Molly's Cupcakes with a cake batter center. We were there until around 11pm when they close the rooftop and open up the downstairs area. Oddly enough, early 2000's singer Ne-Yo was there and sang some of his hit songs. It was quite crazy, and we finally went back to the apartment and went to bed.

After sleeping in of course, we went to the annual Taste of Chicago food festival because it was the last day at Grant Park. I hadn't been in years, and it was incredibly hot and crowded - but for good reason. There were so many booths with a variety of cuisines, and these pictures definitely do justice to all of the delicious food there was. I would say to just be prepared for huge crowds, but the waiting times in the lines weren't terrible. I went with four other people, which was perfect so everyone could try everything without getting too full. 

havarti mac and cheese

chicken chili empanada (meh)

mangonada - SO GOOD
A little while later, we met up with my other cousin in Little Italy for some Italian lemonade. I cannot believe i had never been here before because it blew me away. I've had processed/store-bought Italian ice before, but Mario's Italian Lemonade was one of my favorite dessert places I've ever been to. Many of the flavors are made with fresh fruit and flavored with lemon, while also being creamy and light. I loved the pineapple, pomegranate, and coconut flavors best, but you can't really go wrong with any of them. They also sell popcorn and nuts too, so be sure to head there while they're still open for the summer! 

I was definitely tired, but I drove home three hours back to Michigan while also planning my next trip in August. I still don't know if I like NYC or Chicago better, but the next adventure is Lollapalooza! 
For reference, here are all of the places I went to:
- Summer House Santa Monica
- Jeni's Ice Cream
- Flight Club Darts
- Pizza Parlor
- Puzzle Box Dance Company
- Honey Butter Fried Chicken
- Vivi Tea
- Bounce Sporting Club
- Molly's Cupcakes
- Taste of Chicago at Grant Park
- Mario's Italian Lemonade

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