Chicago Eats

Cori and I love to find fun places to eat when we travel. Even though we were in Chicago to run a half marathon, our eating adventures were no different.  Though we were only in town for less than 48 hours, we found time to hit some highlights.

Portillo’s was our first stop.  We had spent the afternoon checking into the Palmer House and  attending the expo for the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  We hadn’t done much walking, so we decided to walk to Portillos from the Palmer House.  It was a little over a mile so we definitely had worked up an appetite by the time we arrived.

Portillo’s is always busy and chaotic, and I explained to Cori how the ordering process worked.  She reminded me that this was a lot like the ordering at Katz’ Deli which we had just visited in New York.  We both decided on Chicago dogs, shared an order of onion rings, and a chocolate cake shake.  Within 10 minutes we were walking to a table to scarf down a delicious dinner.

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Doughnut Vault was a new adventure for me too. Towards the top of the Trip Advisor places to eat in Chicago, it did not disappoint.  We were standing in line about 20 minutes before their sign said they opened, but they were already serving.  The line was already stretched to the end of the block, and we waited a good 30 plus minutes, but it was so worth it.  Located at 401 N. Lincoln, it is the tiniest shop I’ve ever been in.  No more than three or four people can fit inside at once making the line seem much longer than it actually is.  After purchasing, we sat on their community style patio and dove in.  We shared a raspberry jelly filled, gingerbread stack, buttermilk old fashioned, and chocolate glazed.  There we so rich and sweet it was hard to have more than a couple of bites of each one.  Stuffed, we couldn’t finish what we ordered but were pleased with our selections.

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Harry Caray’s, named for legendary Cubs announcer, it truly a tourist trap, but it became our lunch destination after hitting Oz Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo.  After a morning of walking, we were ready for a nice big lunch.  The wait for a table was about an hour, but we were able to snag a high top near the bar without waiting.  The only downside was that we were baking in the sun.  Starving, we started with the hummus plate which was delicious.  We contemplated sharing an Italian beef sandwich, but in the end our hunger won out, and we each ordered our own.  There are many great places to get an Italian beef in the city so I wasn’t expecting this one to live up to others I have had.  With the first bite, my taste buds exploded.  The sandwich was one of the best I’ve ever had.  This could be because I was starving, or maybe it was because I had not had an Italian beef in over a year, but either way I’m still salivating over that sandwich.

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Gino’s East, another chain restaurant, was our final eating expedition.  Cori wanted to try authentic deep dish pizza, and Gino’s East was a quick walk from the Palmer House.  We ventured over around 8, and were told there would be an hour wait.  Again, we snagged bar seating to avoid that wait which was good since our pizza took over an hour to receive.   I’m not the biggest fan of deep dish pizza, and this one was no exception.  The Gino’s Supreme had a grainy crust that caused me to scrape the insides of the pizza out and leave it behind.  The actual filling was decent, but paired with the wait and the rude staff it is not a place I would revisit.  Cori agreed that deep dish wasn’t for her either.  For me, the best pizza will always come from Lowell, Indiana.

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Next time I’m looking for places to eat in the city, I’ll probably stick to the hole-in-the-wall types and leave the chain restaurants for the tourists.

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