August 20, 2013 Chicago – Days 4&5
We spent the morning of our last full day in Chicago at the Oak Street beach only a short walk from our hotel. We grabbed some food for breakfast and ate it at the beach.
It was actually a beautiful beach with really nice blue water and soft sand. There was also a place where you could rent chairs and umbrellas but we were cheap and just sat on Jin’s jacket. The weather was gorgeous and we really wished we could have spent all day lying on the sand! But we still had quite a few destinations to make to that day so we begrudgingly left the beach mid-morning.
Hot Doug’s was our lunch place of choice. The line was around the corner when we got there, but apparently it is often much worse.
We each picked one of their special hotdogs and shared them. Jin chose the Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel. I got the Hot Doug’s Cassoulet with Saucisse de Toulouse with Fresh Herb Mustard, Great Northern Beans and Duck Confit. We also shared a small order of cheese fries (which were, not surprisingly, not small at all).
They were both pretty good but again very heavy and salty. After lunch, we took the bus back to the downtown area for the last 2 attractions on our CityPass. First we went to the Field Museum.
We got to see a 3D movie and all the special exhibits (quickly, since we were short on time once again) and take a photo with Sue the T-Rex.
Then we walked over to the Shedd Aquarium which was right next to the Field Museum. We saw the jellyfish exhibit first. It was kind of crowded but there were some pretty cool jellies.
The CityPass also included a 4D movie experience and an aquatic show.
The aquarium overall was okay but I feel like I’ve been to too many aquariums already and am starting to experience aquarium overload and fatigue, haha.
For our last meal together in Chicago, we decided to go to Girl and the Goat. We tried to make a reservation earlier in the week but to no avail. So we just showed up and put our name down on the list. Then a couple of seats freed up at the bar and we just decided to eat at the bar too. We got a bunch of different plates to share. Grilled baby octopus with guanciale, favas, radish pods, pistachios, and lemon vinaigrette:
This dish was just okay. It tasted fine but it was probably our least favorite out of everything we ordered, just because everything else was so good.
Sauteed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews:
Simple but very solid dish. The vinaigrette and the cashews accompanied the beans really well. And it’s so good to eat veggies!
Wood oven roasted pig face with sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple, and potato stix:
Oh my god I still think about this. It was so delicious. The meat was so well seasoned and tender. The egg and potatoes and the sauces were perfect with the meat. Best savory dish for sure.
For dessert, we got the miso-butterscotch budino with bacon toffee, glazed pineapple, and candied cashews:
It was probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. I’m really glad we decided to get it even though we were already pretty full. Not pictured: bread with butter and sweet garlic oil, and a glass of wine each. The total bill came out to be about $100 for the 2 of us, which was totally reasonable and worth it given the amount and the quality of food we got. A similar meal would easily have cost twice as much in NYC or SF. So a huge success for our last dinner!
That night we tried to go to bed early since we wanted to go see the sunrise the next morning (“We saw the moonrise, might as well see the sunrise” – Jin). So we got up at 5 in the morning and walked over to Oak Street beach again. This time we were smart and brought towels from the hotel to sit on. It was a little bit cloudy that morning but it was still a beautiful sunrise.
It was really cool how half the lake was lit up by the sun but the other half was still dark.
Afterwards we went back to the hotel to catch some more sleep before I had to get up and leave for my flight back to SF. It was a really awesome trip and I had a lot of fun exploring a new city. Thanks to Jin for sharing this adventure with me!