It’s been an absolutely beautiful day in Chicago today. Bright blue skies and lots of lovely warm sunshine! Not at all what I was expecting from ‘the windy city’!
We crammed an awful lot in today and got to see lots more of the city again. Everything I ate today was incredible. There are literally not enough descriptive words for me to explain. You’ve just got to come here and try it for yourself.
The day started with a trip to Intelligentsia coffee, followed by us stopping at Nordstrom so I could buy my 3rd pair of TOMs. It was super busy because Bobbi Brown was doing a book signing there this afternoon and there were tons of makeovers happening.
Then we hopped on the ‘L’ train to visit Smoque, a BBQ place that has come highly recommended by pretty much everyone we speak to. It most certainly lived up to the hype and outshone yesterday’s barbecue by a million to one.
We had a platter to share with half a pound of brisket, half a pound of pulled pork and a quarter slab of St Louis style ribs. This was along with a refillable drink and sides of coleslaw, cornbread and a peach cobbler. This came to an astounding $15 (about £9)! Everything is so crazily cheap here!
This was followed by a 20ish minute walk to Hot Doug’s, which is a hot dog place with a fantastic atmosphere. The decor is bright red, yellow and blue with hot dog paraphernalia all over the walls and some cool classic rock blaring from the sound system.
I was too full up to eat a hot dog after our BBQ feast but Nick assures me that it was the highlight of Chicago for him. He ordered ‘The Anna Kendrick’, named so because it’s ‘hot’.
Another 20ish minute walk later and we arrived at Bang Bang Pie. Easily one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. We ordered a slice of their signature plum pie and took a bench in the sun in their garden that feels like someone’s back yard.
I don’t need to describe how incredibly delicious this was. I think the picture says it all really.
After that we jumped onto the L again and travelled to Big Star tacos in the trendy Wicker Park area of town. We couldn’t have picked a better day to visit. With the gloriously hot sunshine beating down, we took a seat out front and soaked up another fantastic atmosphere. Here we ordered a taco al pastor and a taco de pescado and a couple of beers. The food was delicious but the venue really makes it.
If you visit, make sure you check out the shops in Wicker Park, they’re really great. We particularly enjoyed Belmont skate shop and army surplus store (see inside here) and there’s a Carhartt, Aldo, Urban Outfitters, Free People and American Apparel among the fantastic independents.
Yet another bit of walking (well, you’ve got to burn off all this food somehow!) and we arrived at our final destination of the day, Hoosier Mama Pie. Hoosier Mama is totally different to Bang Bang Pie. Bang Bang has a cool, hipster vibe with lots of exposed brick whereas Hoosier Mama is very cutesy and vintage looking (you can check out the inside on Google maps here). Their pie is completely different too. We opted for their signature pie, the sugar cream pie. Although it looks a bit less appealing in the picture than the plum pie, it really was incredible. Imagine the best creme brulee you’ve ever eaten but in pie form. The recipe for this can actually be found online here – so I’m totally trying it when I get home!
As you can imagine, we waddled back to the hotel after all of that! Tomorrow we’re up bright and early to collect a hire car to drive 8 hours to Kansas City. We’ll hopefully be stopping in Springfield, Illinois if time allows. I’ve had a great time in Chicago and will be quite sad to leave but I know we’ll be back soon!