Tag Archives: Chicago

Afternoon Tea at The Allis

One of the things I really wanted to do in Chicago was afternoon tea. Strange I know, but whenever I go somewhere I always check out the possibility of afternoon tea and when I checked out Chicago do you know what I found? There were a LOT of places that served afternoon tea. There might have been a ridiculously loud *squee* released all the options I had. It was a long shot, but I had a list of potential spots on my phone just in case. After exploring Lincoln Park, Andy and I had some time so with a quick call to The Allis, we were a short Uber away from  tiny sandwiches and awesomeness.

 The Allis was what I think Anthropologie would look like if it were a hotel restaurant. Initially I was a little worried because we were dressed fairly casually, but once we got there we saw everything from yoga pants to luxury label cocktail attire.   We opted for the non “sparkle” option since, well, my love of sparkle aside, I can’t drink, but I can have chocolate and the “Chocolate Pu-erh” was the delicious love child of my beloved hot chocolate and really good tea. Andy ordered off menu, and got “Emperor Green” which was wonderful, but mine was better. I won at the game of tea. The only criticism, if it can be called that, that I read about this place was that their food options were “traditional” and.. .that may be true. However, not a single option on those three delightful tiers was anything less than exceptional. I mean the scones, the scones guys, I am usually okay sharing food with my husband, but damn if I didn’t want to smack his hand and take them both.   The tiers were so treat laden that we ended up taking needing a to-go box, best left over breakfast ever let me tell you.  We has such a wonderful time at this trip bonus. Yet another spot I could see myself frequenting if it wasn’t a three hour plane ride away. One of the best afternoon teas I’ve ever had.

 


The Lincoln Park Conservatory

When doing research for our Chicago trip, I happened upon an Instagram series of gorgeous garden pics which seemed to be taken in a large greenhouse. A quick note to the user and I had a name: The Lincoln Park Conservatory. Said user gave me a few other tips, but told me I absolutely had to pay a visit if my schedule permitted. Sunday, we found ourselves with an open afternoon, so we made our way to Lincoln Park to see what we could see.

 The first thing I want to say is that this amazing place is free to the public. FREE. As in no dollars. There is a box in the lobby for donations, but other than that, nothing. The place is well maintained and absolutely gorgeous. With the overcast day, it reminded me a little of the green house in The Haunting, but that is probably just me.     The conservatory is a series of large glass rooms all connected by a meandering path. There are flowers and plants of all types, and knowledgable staff/volunteers (honestly, I’m not sure which) are scattered about to answer any questions one might have… and also, I suspect, to keep people from touching or picking the flora.  While the ponds were my favorite, I did enjoy the orchid room. Mostly because orchids are such finicky plants and to see so many with such variety was very impressive.    It’s difficult to tell in this picture, but that little glass box is full of carnivorous plants. I know they don’t hurt people, but they still freak me out a little.   Truly, I wish Andy and I were better at gardening. He has a black thumb, and I am prone to over watering. Someday though, maybe we’ll figure it out. 

Such a beautiful place, and while a decent size, it doesn’t take long to walk through. Definitely check it out if you find yourself in the windy city with some spare time.


Pearls Southern Comfort

Something that a lot of you know about me already is that I like brunch. A lot. Like, whoa, baby, big time. I brunch like a boss; some might call me a bross (I’m not exactly sure who exactly, but I am pretty certain I could get Andy to). Anyway, I was absolutely delighted when my brother-in-law and his new wife invited us (and other family members) to brunch with them the day after the ceremony. My favorite meal, on a Sunday Funday, in a new city, with people I like hanging out with? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sunday, we clown-cared into an Uber with Andy’s mom and dad and headed over to Pearls Southern Comfort to check out some elevated “southern style” food. As a southern girl born and raised, I felt like there was only two ways for this whole thing to go. Fortunately, everything we tried came down squarely on the positive side of things.  With a larger group like ours, we got to try a decent number of menu items. Especially since we don’t mind sharing with one another.  All said and done, I got to sample the following: Crawfish Cheesecake, Beignets, Blackened Catfish & Eggs, French Toast, and Cornbread with Hot Sauce Honey Butter. It’s hard to declare a clear favorite; the cheesecake was incredible – and not to mention my first savory cheesecake, if you ever make it to Pearls you have to try it -, but if this was going to be a regular haunt for me, I would have to go with the catfish and force someone to split the cornbread with me. Catfish is hard to do well, even in the south, and this was some of the best I’ve ever had. Same with the cornbread. The bread itself was delicious, but that hot sauce honey butter really pushed it over the top.

Not the fanciest place we ate at on our trip, but from food to ambiance, I think this was my favorite. It’s almost a little disappointing when I enjoy something as much as I did this place. When I travel I like to try new places every visit, but now I am going to have to make sure that any subsequent visits to Chicago includes a meal at Pearls or I’ll regret the missed opportunity. First World Problems, am I right?


Back From Chicago or Chi-town as I Insist on Calling It

Hey guys! I’m back! Technically, I have been back since Tuesday afternoon, but Andy and I had to hit the ground running to play catch up so things like unpacking and going through pictures were put off until this weekend. There are some specific things I can’t wait to do posts about, but I figured I’d kick things off with a general trip overview.

 Our trip to Chicago was interesting to say the least. The initial trip to JAX was uneventful and our flight, while packed, was fairly smooth until week got to Chicago. There was a horrendous storm over the city (think lightning and hail) and O’hare wasn’t letting anybody in our out. They had our flight circle Gary, Indiana until we ran out of fuel and then diverted us to Indianapolis. This was the point in the trip where we found out that I have panic attacks. While trying to set our plane down, we hit some pretty intense turbulence and the plane dropped dramatically not once, but twice and that ended with me shaking, short of breath, and crying uncontrollably (albeit quietly). Fun stuff. After all of that, United still wasn’t sure if we’d be flying into Chicago or not that evening, so Andy and I  let the gate attendant know we weren’t going to be getting a back onto the plane and rented a car to take us the last 3 hours to Chicago. Of course that couldn’t be the end of it, we hit horrible traffic and the drive that should have taken 3ish hours took closer to six. But we made it safely and in time to watch the sunset amidst the skyscrapers.  The rest of the family arrived on Friday so the day was spent doing a little sightseeing and catching up with everyone as they arrived. It was a little over cast, but that just made for some wonderfully cool weather, which was much needed after the oppressive humidity of our home state.   You can’t see it in this picture, but someone had left an entire hotdog in the foo dog’s mouth. For some reason it was really funny at the time. Also, I saw so many beautiful neighborhoods as we walked around and I now feel like I need to own my very own ivy covered townhouse. Not usually a city girl, but this place really stole my heart.   The happy couple tied the knot at this beautiful location above. A little further down their were people sitting on the rocks reading and sketching. Two things I could absolutely see myself doing if I lived down the road from this place. As it was, the only reason I didn’t try it was because I was 90% certain that if I tried I’d end up wet or somehow destroying my dress.   My brother-in-law and his fiance had, what I think, is one of the coolest rehearsal dinners I’ve ever been to. They rented out the party room at George’s Ice Cream, kicked things off with amazing Mediterranean food from one of their favorite local spots and then finished with build your own sundaes. The entire shop smelled incredible, like vanilla and their house made waffle cones. If I could have bottled the scent, I would wear it every day. The ice cream itself was some of the best I’ve ever had and I am sitting here regretting that I didn’t eat more when I had that chance.   Since the bride and groom postponed their honeymoon until the spring, we were lucky enough to get to spend some extra time with them before heading home. On Sunday night, we all went on an architecture boat tour. It was a perfect blend of fun and informative and had the added bonus of getting to watch the sunset from the river and the whole city light up.   There will be a whole post on this later, but one of the most interesting things we did on this trip was go to Lincoln Park. Not only do they have gorgeous green space they have a conservatory and a zoo which are all free to the public. Free. F-R-E-E. Which blew my mind because they were so extensive and well kept. I would definitely play a little more in local taxes if it meant creating resources like this in Tallahassee. Just saying. 

Before boarding our entirely uneventful flight home(thank God), Andy and I took one more stroll down Miracle Mile and I visited the Cloud Gate(silver bean) in Millennium Park for the obligatory Instagram photo. All in all, an excellent trip, and I am already bugging Andy about when we can go back.