Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chicago trip, part the second

Read Part 1 here

After visiting Fox and Obel twice in the first day, it was time to go re-acquaint ourselves with some of our other favorite places in Chicago.  We grabbed a drink at "Big Bar" in our hotel to start the evening out. 

I was pleased to discover a tasty GAPS-legal drink, which was grapefruit juice, honey and Jim Beam.  I know it PROBABLY wasn't fresh-squeezed lemon juice, but I did what I could.

First up was Rock Bottom Brewery....

...the skybar, of course!

Will and I settled into the best seat in the house for people-watching, and it soon became the coziest seat in the house as well when the owner came over and turned on the fire for us.

After quizzing the waitress on the ingredients, I ordered a bloody mary that was quite tasty.

Have you EVER seen a photo that begs harder to be Instagram-ed?  I had to figure out how to use it just so I could over-process the crap out of this picture :-)

Next on our agenda was Sushi Samba!  

They're so hip it hurts
 We ordered our starter drinks, and I was thrilled to find that they could make me a Pisco Sour (my FAVORITEST drink of all time) with honey instead of simple syrup!  This was practically GAPS-legal too, as long as you figure that wine is legal and vodka is legal and Pisco is hard liquor made out of grapes so it must be legal by extension.  And assuming they used organic local free range pastured egg whites and organic lemons.  Whatever.

Will got a lovely purple drink called a Chicha Sour.

Then we were on to appetizers.  We ordered the assortment of 4 ceviches, and the seaweed salad.  After tasting these I didn't even care anymore if some of the stuff in them wasn't quite GAPS.  Every one was frickin' amazing.

The ceviches we chose were:

Jumbo shrimp passionfruit cucumber cilantro
Tuna grapefruit juice jalapeno almond
Salmon blood orange tomato
Yellowtail jalapeno lemongrass

I could've left after just these and been happy, but we stayed and gorged ourselves on even more delicious food.

I had the sashimi plate, and Will had the bowl of Peruvian "big corn" and 3 handrolls MADE WITH RED QUINOA INSTEAD OF RICE!!!

And because our sides weren't groaning enough with all of that, we also shared a duck breast.  More appropriately, the best duck breast I've ever tasted.

Wish I could cook 'em like this at home
The only thing not absolutely perfect about our meal was that we found out their Sunday brunch doesn't start until 11 so we'd have to miss it in order to make our flight home.  AGAIN.  One day though, one day.

After dinner we made our way back to our hotel, and came across a massive gathering along the way.  We debated checking it out, but when we passed the front gates and saw that it was an oysterfest we decided to just keep on walking.  I will scarf down raw fish like nobody's business, but I just haven't learned how to like oysters yet.

 I think I was scarred for life as a child by my mom taking me with her to vote at the firehouse and they ALWAYS served  a nasty canned green bean and fried oyster dinner on election day.  I can still remember how it smelled...

The next morning started with breakfast at our hotel.  We could add it onto our room for something like $9/per person which was a great deal.  They had TONS of stuff!

Oatmeal bar

Mmmm...illegal dairy

I ended up with bacon, fruit, smoked salmon and an omelet plus decaf

Then we struck out into the city to amuse ourselves for awhile.  We dorked out at the Bean for a bit.  This thing is probably one of the most photogenic man-made tourist attractions in the world.

After bean-ing, we wandered back out of the park, passing some of the other artworks along the way.

The we headed a couple blocks into the loop to a juice bar I had scoped called Kramer's

This is where I was reminded of one SUPER ANNOYING THING about Chicago.  Everything is closed on the weekends!  Even chain restaurants like Subway, and especially little places like this.  Chicago is definitely not the city that never sleeps.

Kramer's was open, but their cafe was not, and neither were many of the other loop-area juice bars I had checked out (silly me for assuming they'd be open on a Saturday) so we perused their wide selection of bars and were on our way.

It was starting to drizzle, so we ducked into the Sears Willis tower because neither of us had ever been to the top before.

We'll I'll be darned, it IS taller than the John Hancock building

Once we descended back to earth we pressed on through the rain to get to Karyns on Green over in Greektown.  Which, of course, didn't open until 25 minutes after we arrived there.  GAAAAAAH!

So we backtracked through the rain and sought shelter in a Starbucks until the restaurant opened.

Rain, rain, go away
 When we arrived the second time at Karyns and at down to peruse the menu, we were a bit disappointed, and our disappointment only got worse throughout the meal :-(  Don't get me wrong, it was GOOD food, just not really anything that worked all that well into either of our preferred eating approaches.  I had really enjoyed eating at Karyn's Raw when I had been in Chicago before and I just figured this other restaurant in the chain would be similar, but no.

I started out with a thyme-apple drink of some sort, but I had to tell them to leave out the simple syrup.  It was plenty sweet without it!

Now the problem with the menu was that despite being represented as a "healthy" restaurant, the menu was rife with white bread and sugar.  And despite being assured repeatedly that his french toast was 100% whole wheat, we were eventually able to get the waiter to admit that the batter was whole wheat (?) but the actual bread was white.  I kinda think he was lying to cover his butt after having told us it was whole wheat.  Luckily Will had also ordered a quinoa breakfast porridge, so he had something to eat.

I had a portobello sandwich (didn't eat the bread) with a kale salad.  

When that didn't fill me up, I ordered the raw granola, mostly because it said it came with homemade almond milk.

Now here's where Will and I got into a disagreement.  The granola said it was a raw almond raisin pumpkin seed granola, gluten free and sugar free.  When it came out, it was SWEET (agave syrup I guess) and chock full of oats (which I also can't have).  Will says that granola is automatically assumed to have oats, I say they should've listed them with the rest of the ingredients!  I've seen oat-free granola at the health food stores around me, so I know it exists.  Oh well.  The almond milk was good.

That's enough pictures for now, I'll finish up in my third post!

Read part 3 here

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